Looking for something good to read? Here are a few entertaining novels I’ve recently read:
Science Fiction: The Wind Up Girl
It’s the 24th Century in Thailand and gene-hacked food is owned by corporations and bio-terrorism is the norm. Enter genetically programmed slave-girl, Emiko, an obsolete Japanese sex-toy who runs for her life. Filled with mystery and plot-action, it’s a great read. When all hell breaks loose between the military, officials, con-artists, and unlikely heroes, it becomes a page turner. This would be an excellent film. It’s only a matter of time.
The Sense of an Ending
Julian Barnes wrote this 2011 Man Booker Prize winner and it’s a concept driven, not a plot-driven story. A modern British man reflects upon his life and the past friendships which profoundly affected him. It’s brief and full of rich wisdom. I liked it because the character sketches Barnes created were vivid and unsentimental. He captures the concept of time, memory, redemption, and forgiveness. It’s a novel where the characters seep into your skin like a British mist and leave a lasting impression about the meaning of life.
On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Henry Lee, a Chinese American boy, and Keiko Okabe, a Japanese girl become friends at an all-white private school in Seattle. After the December 7 Pearl Harbor attack, executive order 9066 issued the detainment of Japanese citizens. Families were escorted to military camps as prisoners until the end of the war. Henry risks the wrath of his racist parents and travels to Idaho to visit and court Keiko, for whom he has fallen in love. Ford created the historial climate and devoted his time creating characters and developing their friendships. He could have but did not jump on a soap box and lecture to the reader about policy or unfairness. He shared a teenager’s story about friendship and love and it was a beautiful story. My favorite of the summer reads.
The House Girl
Another historical fiction novel I enjoyed was the 2013 best seller by Tara Conklin. One narrator is Josephine, a house slave on a Virginia plantation during the 1850s who runs away. The other narrator is a modern NYC attorney, whose case involves reparations for the descendents of slaves. Carolina Sparrow’s research leads her to the story behind Josephine, the house girl. The split narration is a nice technique, but I do admit I liked Josephine’s history twice as much as the angst of ambitious Carolina Sparrow. I did enjoy Conklin’s descriptions and I liked the book despite the distractions of two unrelated characters.
What did you think of these novels?
Category: authors, books, culture, writingTags: books, Jamie Ford, Julian Barnes, On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Paolo Bacigalupi, Tara Conklin, The House Girl, The Sense of an Ending, The Windup Girl
Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. –Eleanor Roosevelt
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. –Benjamin Franklin
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.–Milton Berle
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. — Robert Louis Stevenson
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Teddy Roosevelt