Sunday, August 24, 2008


Some more wonderful books I've read over the summer:

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
Wow! A book that promised a glimpse into 1940s British India and so much more. The central character, Vidya, is forced to question the customs by which they live by, the very beliefs they have after her father is brutally clubbed by the British police. Although the title is aimed at Vidya *climbing the stairs* to gain knowledge, I found her brother's story much more riveting. At times Vidya appeared too naive for her age (she is 15) though this probably reflects our own reality now with children growing up too fast.

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
This book was clearly crafted with a great deal of love. The author chooses her words with extreme care. This retelling of Rumplestilskin was fresh and different. I confess that despite the gorgeous writing (and cover) I didn't identify with Charlotte Miller. Perhaps because Charlotte is business-minded, the older sister ... and I am neither. I felt much more connected to her impetuous younger sister.

The Humming of Numbers by Joni Sensel
Not many books are set in tenth century Ireland. I didn't realize that Vikings were raiding this area so often. Another beautifully rendered historical fantasy. And the romance between Aidan and Lana crackled just perfectly. Gorgeous cover.

Head Case by Sarah Aronson
This was one gritty book and reminded me of the time I spent working in the spinal-cord injury ward at the Veteran’s Hospital. I’d play chess or rummy, read books to the patients who practically lived at the hospital because they had so many other medical problems. They had few visitors and loved a good game. And these brave men reminded me daily how lucky I was to walk out of there. Ms. Aronson doesn’t spare us on what it could be like to live with quadriplegia. Frank Marder narrates his grim story, with humor, without sentimentality: Two people are dead. I have to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down. And you read ahead and find out how a nice boy like Frank ends up like this.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
This book reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee because the narrator is looking back after many years. From the inside cover: It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove -- a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others -- who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

I've also been reading a lot of how-to-raise-dog books and my favorite so far is Bill Tarrant's Retriever Pups: the Formative First Year. Beautifully written and full of practical advice on living with your dog.
I hope your summer's been full of good books, rest and relaxation and good times with your family.


Bish Denham said...

Hi Vijaya,

I think you must read much faster than I do...I'm a slow reader. But you've been a good girl and have been reading all summer. I haven't picked up one book.

It's been a long 2 months. I'll be home in 4 days and am looking forward to getting back into my own routine.


Vijaya said...

Yes, I am a fast reader ... and it's my one guilty pleasures. There are nights I stay up far too late reading because it's the only time when I know there will be no interruptions. Don't ask me about the writing though.

Safe journey home.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you identified with minor characters more in the first two books!

I also really liked Climbing the Stairs and Head Case. And I enjoyed these mini-reviews here!

Vijaya said...

Thanks, Laura. It just goes to show how much care the author takes even with a supporting character.

Angela said...

Thanks for the reminders--I must try to get Curse and The Humming of Numbers in my reading pile ASAP. It will keep my mind off the wait I have for Courtney's new book!

Anonymous said...

I added some of these to my to-be-read list. Thanks for posting!