Friday, August 22, 2008

Garth Stein: The Art of Racing in the Rain

Jenny and Mark brought this book with them on their recent visit to us and left it for me to read and bring back to Mom (our own family version of Bookcrossing). I was initially very resistant to reading it, as I try to avoid books and movies with dogs, because they are always too sad - something bad always happens to the dog. But both Jenny and Mark convinced me that this book was worth it, and yes, although the dog does die at the end, that it is from natural old age and not some tragic accident, so I gave in and put it in my carry on to read on the plane.

Well the first chapter got me all teary eyed from the get go, and by the end, on the last leg of our journey I was nearly bawling - having to dig in my bag and find a tissue to blow my nose. The story IS sad, but it WAS worth reading.

The race car references were a bit over my head at times, but I absolutely loved the part when the main character, Denny, takes his dog, Enzo, the narrator of the story, for a test run at the race track, Enzo's first and only time to join his master at top speed. In fact what makes this book brilliant is the way the writer gets us inside Enzo's head, showing us what he thinks, feels, and observes. Incredibly well done.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer reading

Why, oh why, do I do this to myself? Staying up til the wee hours reading books that I just can't put down, because I have to find out what happens! I was at our library on Saturday and brought two books home and now I am all finished and hoping to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight!

Anita Shreve: Body Surfing

Just finished this last night! The story of a young woman, Sydney, who has been divorced once and widowed once by the age of 29, and is spending the summer at a cottage on the shore as a tutor for the daughter of a wealthy family. All is well til the two older sons arrive for the weekend, and one of them sweeps Sydney off her feet. This causes a rift between the two brothers, and a year later, on her wedding day, Sydney finds out why.

I enjoyed it, Shreve's novels are always so well written, they just barrel you along like a train. The characters are well presented, real people. And the twist between the two siblings certainly gave me food for thought!

Jodi Picoult: The Pact

This was the one that kept me up all Sunday night. This book is already ten years old, but I hadn't heard of it. I have a read some of Picoult's other books and enjoyed them, and this one is just as engaging.

It's the story of two neighboring families who have a son and daughter, respectively, who have grown up together all their lives and become a couple in high school. The daughter carries a secret with her that makes her desperately unhappy and she convinces her boyfriend, the son, to help her commit suicide. The rest of the story follows the prosecution of the son for killing her, and what this does to everyone involved.

Well written, could not put it down! Even though the outcome was what I was rooting for, in some sense, it did not come across as believable that a jury would make that decision at the end of that trial. It seemed a bit too convenient.