Saturday, December 3, 2011

Everyone's pushing small town rural. A farm book would just be white noise.

I have had several people ask me recently for book recommendations. And I almost said, oh, just check my blog. And then I didn't because I decided it would be embarrassing. But it made me think that I haven't posted a review for a while. Now that is partly because my extracurricular reading has slowed way down, and partly because my posting has slowed way down.

So some book reviews tonight.

Beloved Publisher: Vintage
Beloved by Toni Morrison

This book was for my American Lit class. True confessions, I finished reading it (and it was my second time reading it) two weeks before they started. Phew. 

The story: Sethe is a woman who escapes from slavery with her children and it is the story of how her life falls apart. Characters enter her life, Paul D who she knew as a slave, and a mysterious young woman. The story is about slavery and it is raw and brutal. 

The review: One of my students described it best when she said this book is raw. It is raw and describes very ugly things in a lot of detail. So it is not a pleasurable book to read. But after studying it with my students, I just feel like this book is really beautiful. The language and craft with words is beautiful and amazing (oh, I just got a little too English Professor on you). But also the ability to look at something that ugly and really confront it is powerful. 

My students, for the most part, hated it. And I fully understand why. It is not easy and it is depressing. But I told them, "It's ok if you hate this book. But this book won a Pulitzer Prize, and Toni Morrison is a big deal. And I want you to figure out why." And at the end, they did. 

These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.)
These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

The story: This is written as the journal of Sarah Agnes Prine who is living in the Arizona Territory. She is a strong woman who fights through terrible circumstances to help her family get settled and prosper in the new territory. Besides Sarah being a very cool and powerful woman, it is a love story. 

The review: The first 100 pages of the book were really slow. And I actually had a hard time getting through it. But then the story picked up and I really enjoyed it. There are some shockingly brutal scenes, but they are told so delicately from Sarah's perspective that it doesn't make the book horrible. And I cried. It has been a long time since a book made me cry. 

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