Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two book that have nothing in common

Truthfully you can always make a connection between books though. They can be lumped together as good books, new books, books with strong main characters, books about death, and you get the idea.


Catherine by April Lindner (January, 2013)is an alternate point-of-view story, switching between Chelsea and her mother Catherine. Chelsea's always thought her mother died of a brief illness until she finds some hidden papers in her father's closet. Turns out that Catherine left when Chelsea was young to take care of some old business in NYC. All she has is an address, The Underground, a gritty gem of a bar where new and old talent share the stage.

As Chelsea uncovers more about her mother's story we read in opposite chapters about her mother's life at about the same age. Each of them meet a mysterious boy through the club and begin that transition of breaking away, transforming into young adult women. Love is tough with rock and roll boys though and it never turns out how they expect. Naturally.

The cover on this ARC was smoky and screamed "dime store romance novel" to me. We play a little game at my house in that if I'm torn between several titles to read my family will help me choose. This title was deemed way too hokey for me by my ever-lovin'husband so I set it aside for a few weeks. Luckily I picked it back up though as I very much enjoyed both Chelsea and Catherine as characters. Catherine's brother annoyed me so much I started talking back to him...out loud. Hate mean boys. Such terrible crap we, as women, often are forced to endure as Catherine demonstrates. I especially loved the whole Underground bar idea, making the reader feel a part of the hip music crowd. April Lindner has another book Jane and I'm interested in reading it. I liked Lindner's style.

Quote:

 Strange ideas pinged around in my mind like pinballs. I didn't want to think about my mother with Hence, but I couldn't help it. Had she really been in love with him? And had he loved her back? I though of what he'd said-if she were still alive, I'd know. I, of all people, would know-and it seemed possible, even likely. Had she run away from me and my dad to go back to him? (59)

Also read this excellent review of Catherine in this Boston Globe article.


The second major book I read in March was 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I've had this book on my shelf for oh, 6 years, no lie. A bookie friend passed it on to me while I was teaching in Little Rock but said to me "probably shouldn't read it until you are done with teaching..." and handed it over.  I knew the topic (school shooting) and actually thought waiting to read it was not the worst idea ever.

So I waited thinking I would just know when the time was right... The book is excellent but really there is no right time because while it is about a school shooting the main issue is bullying, which is such a hot topic now. I've heard many say things like kids just need to buck up, bullies have always existed, we had bullies-it's just part of growing up. I agree with some of those statements as I remember vividly being teased and harassed by students and even by my own brother as Peter is in the story. The difference today is how utterly harsh kids can be. Through reality television, brutal video games, facebook, and any number of other venues kids feel free to share their most vitriolic thoughts.   You can hear how horrible you are via text, skype, or facebook post.

Maybe many of you have read this one already and if you haven't you should. Told through a variety of viewpoints and time frames we get a truly well-rounded look at Peter, his friend Josie and their families.     I look forward to reading Picoult's latest book,  The Storyteller.  I don't have it yet but if I did I wouldn't let it sit on my shelf for 6 years!

As an advocate of peace and justice I firmly believe we need strict gun control laws. I have family members that hunt but I feel like handguns and automatic weapons are far too prevalent in our society. It can be a mental health issue as well, I understand that but if we made it difficult to get guns in the first place it wouldn't be an issue. The Columbine shooting occurred in 1999, this book was written in 2007, and we have yet to solve this crisis. And in fact the violence has increased ten-fold. Passionate topic for me, yes.

Quote:

 On the ride home, Alex stole glances at her daughter in the rearview mirror. Josie had gone to school this morning in a white cardigan and khaki pants; now that cardigan was streaked with dirt. There were twigs in her hair, which had fallen from its ponytail. The elbow of her sweater had a hole in it; her lip was still bleeding. And-here was the amazing thing-apparently, she'd fared better than the little boy she'd gone after. (70) 

 Read, read, read! What have you been reading recently?
Snow in the forecast. Crazy, yes.

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