Adventures in Reading

Read My Book, Please
August 11, 2008, 2:52 pm
Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: , , , , ,

One of the unexpected benefits of book blogging is that occasionally authors or publishers contact me to review a book. I have had a growing handful now ranging from a short story collection to an academic look at the history of children’s literature to a novella by an up-and-coming young author. However, it is also somewhat nerve racking. Obviously these people want a positive review of their work and so far I have had luck where the books I have received are appealing and interesting. More or less, I stick with accepting books I would have picked up on my own anyway.

But the other day I had an e-mail request to review a book that was Christian inspirational. I like to think of myself as open minded and able to enjoy a well-crafted book regardless of the themes or ideologies tackled within the pages; but I’m an atheist and I have had no luck finding any pearls of wisdom, enjoyment, or even half-decent reads with books like Tuesdays With Morrie, The Secret, The Last Lecture, etc. So really, what are my chances of finding anything appealing about this book and providing my honest opinion?

It has taken me longer to write this post than it took me to come to a decision. I let them know that I was open to reviewing any book that came my way, but I felt it was only fair that they knew where I was coming from. Free books are lovely but not worth selling out on my own opinion. I was sure though to tack on a few other bloggers I’m aware of that may have a greater interest in the book.


Tahmima Anam’s A Golden Age
November 20, 2007, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

“Dear Husband,
I lost our children today.”

Despite the bountiful amount of advanced reading copies (ARC) available to me, I seldom actually readthem. Pick them up and hoarde them like a dragon with treasure: yes, but to actually readthem is a different matter. This is in part a result of the lousy selection I usually have available. However, a few weeks ago the beautiful cover of Tahmima Anam’s A Golden Age peaked out at me from the shelf, and I not only took it home but I read it too.

A Golden Age is the first novel in a three part series of the Haque family. Set in East Pakistan in 1971, Anam delivers a sensational and moving story that takes the family through the Bangladesh War of Independence. Rehana, the mother, is originally from Calcutta but finds herself swept up in the politics of the country when her son Sohail and her daughter Maya become involved in the resistance. As a result of the story’s point of view (Rehana’s) and Anam’s phenomenal writing this is unlike many other war stories. Rehana is a mother who will sacrifice anything for her children and the story is told through the tender voice and hand of a very passionate woman.

I am very excited about this book. I am not if I can put it any other way. Many of the recent releases I have read leave me indifferent or unsatisifed. But Anam has delivered an emotional and political tale of family life that is both moving and absorbing. This is only the first book in a trilogy, but I will say that the A Golden Age could end at the close of the Bangladesh War of Independence and leave the reader pleased. It will be interesting to see where Anam takes her characters and story in the following books.

My only frustration with the book: all of Anam’s descriptions of delicious and spicey foods left my mouth watering. A Golden Age is already released in some places outside of the United States, but here it is marked to come out some time between December and January. Definitely keep your eye out if you are looking for a terrific read as this was one book I could not put down.

Also reviewed by A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore…

Literary Observations on the Internet
November 14, 2007, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

A few months ago I joined LibraryThing (for free) to track what books I had read for the 50 Book Challenge, and I was really quite pleased with the cataloging ability of the site but I was truly partial to the networking aspect. After finally getting around to checking my e-mail I found a new and exciting function: Early Reviewers. Being an Eary Reviewer allows you to sign up to get Advanced Reading Copies (ARC) of books and then you post your opinion about them. So, anyone interested should definitely head over.

My other exciting find of the day is that one of my favorite authors Roddy Doyle will have a short story collection title The Deportees out January 10th. I know what will be kicking off my year of reading…