Monthly Archives: November 2011

goodreads

If you love books and you love friends, here’s a site for you! This could put book bloggers like me out of business, but since it’s such a cool site, I thought I would take that chance and share it with you! 🙂

It’s free, it’s easy! It’s like a virtual book club in a very nice package. Get recommendations, rate books you’ve read, give recommendations to your friends, see what your friends are reading, display what you are reading now, and keep a list of books that you want to read. It’s a great place to browse and get ideas.

Here is the link, enjoy, and see you on goodreads!

goodreads

‘Fault Lines’ by Nancy Huston

This well-crafted novel with a curious structure drew me in immediately and kept me intrigued until the end. Narrated in the “matter of fact” voice of four six year olds, all from the same family, the novel starts in the present day and goes backwards through the generations. In this manner history is told in a remarkable way, taking the reader through four different countries and the experience of four different characters in the family.

The story begins with a strange little boy named Sol. He is an exceptionally gifted child but his behaviour is appalling. Watching his parents raise him, makes one wonder about their parenting skills and clues of a mysterious heritage begin to emerge. Sol bears a birthmark which his father, grandmother, and great grandmother also had, and thus the reader begins to think about the fact that more than just a birthmark may have been passed on through the generations. There are secrets, once buried, to be discovered and the novel builds suspense.

Nancy Huston was born Canadian, moved to France, wrote this novel in French, and then translated it back into English. Her novel has won awards in both countries.  Though this style of literary novel is not easy to craft, Huston controls it well and gives us a number of unusual insights. This is a great choice for a book club with lots of food for thought and discussion.

Here the author briefly describes the structure of the novel:

‘Light on Snow’ by Anita Shreve

Twelve year old Nicky and her father are on a walk one snowy night when they stumble upon a newborn baby wrapped in a sleeping bag. The mystery surrounding the baby and how it got there becomes one that Nicky and her father become completely stuck in, like snow that stops all traffic. Curl up under a quilt with a steaming mug of hot chocolate for this one.

Shreve tells a story well and you will find yourself compulsively turning pages. There’s always an element of mystery and the mood is atmospheric like an early dusk on a winter’s day. In ‘Light on Snow’ themes of light in various forms are unmistakable and run throughout the novel. Shreve often has themes of water in her books, but this time she has chosen snow. There are many different descriptions of various types and consistencies of the stuff. The barren, cold landscape of New England in the winter is an unmistakable parallel to the cold grief and still raw emotions of those living in the house.

Anita Shreve’s most popular book was probably ‘The Pilot’s Wife’ but she has written more than a dozen others. It you are in the mood for a story to get lost in for awhile, hers are an excellent choice. Her characters are real people and she makes you care about them. Her focus is on relationships and emotions but there is always a good plot in the mix.

She has a beautiful website where you can learn about the themes which run through her novels and get a glimpse of what she has written.
Anita Shreve Website

‘Let the Great World Spin’ by Colum McCann

There is one true story in this work of fiction. In August 1974, Philippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers on a high-wire. It was a daring performance that made headlines around the world.

McCann has intricately woven a beautiful story with many surprising connections, all united by this daring act that captivated so many. The characters tell their own stories: a young Irish monk who devotes his life to helping others, a group of mothers meeting to support each other and to mourn the loss of their sons in Vietnam, a hit and run accident, and two generations of prostitutes navigating life on the streets. McCann captures the heart of New York City from the Bronx to Park Avenue.

This is a profound novel, yet easy to read and compelling. McCann gives the high-wire performer this bit of wisdom as inspiration or warning – “nobody falls halfway”.