Friday, May 25, 2012

Book # 31 - The Hummingbird's Daughter

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Luis Alberto Urrea
499 pages

This is the real story of the author's relative, who rose from her illegitimate beginnings to become the Saint of Cabora in Mexico.  Teresita Urrea, a young girl abandoned by her mother, sought out Huila, the local medicine woman.  Huila could sense that even at an early age, the young Teresita possessed certain gifts.  Only time will teach her to use them wisely and only for good.

Luis Alberto Urrea has a very engaging style.  He builds his character very slowly so that I get to know, love and care for his characters.   Halfway through the book, the action picks up and I was able to finish the story in no time.

Book # 30 - Silent Spring

Silent Spring
Rachel Carson
Audiorecording, 9 CD's

Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring launched the movement to protect the environment from unnecessary toxins.  Published in 1962, she talked about the chemical warfare against weeds, insects and bugs that resulted in poisoning the environment.  Thus, many silent springs ensued, where no bird sang because they ate the poisoned earthworms who ate the poisoned earth.

What I found most interesting in this book were the explanations on how the human and insect bodies react to the toxins released in the environment.  She also discussed diseases that were caused by the exposure to the chemicals.

Reading Silent Spring left me with a sense of awe and a new respect for our environment.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Book # 29 - English

Wang Gang
9 CD's, Audiorecording

A young boy's love affair with the English language, his friendship with his teacher and coming of age against the backdrop of China's repression under Mao Tse Tung.

Book # 28 - The Next Thing on My List

by Jill Smolinski
7 CDs, Audiorecording

June Parker meets Marissa Jones at a Weight Watcher's meeting. She offers a ride when she saw Marissa waiting at the bus stop.  In the car, Marissa momentarily unbuckles her seat belt to reach into her purse.  She wanted to share a recipe with June.  In that horrible instant, June swerves to avoid a dresser falling out of the truck in front of her.  Her car rolls over, and the next thing she know, the paramedics on the scene say, "Don't bother with that one, she's gone."

When June cleaned out Marissa's purse, she finds a list of "things to do before my twenty-fifth birthday." Guilt-ridden, she vows to finish the remaining eighteen items.  Only two were crossed out - Lose a hundred pounds, and wear sexy shoes.

This is a charming story and it got me thinking about the things on my bucket list.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book # 27 - Consider this, Señora

Consider this, Señora
Harriet Doerr
finished reading 5/3/2012

Recommended by Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North.  This is a book about Americans and Europeans choosing to live in Mexico.  This book reminds me of my mom's hometown in the Philippines, where life is slow and everybody knew everyone.  The beauty of this book is its slowness, its pace forces the reader to appreciate country life.

Book # 26 - The Buddha in the Attic

The Buddha in the Attic
Julie Otsuka
finished reading April 20, 2012

This is a story about Japanese picture brides as they forge new lives for themselves in other lands.

Abstract, anonymous and poetic. Julie Otsuka writes beautifully but I cannot seem to connect to her characters. She continues in the tradition of When the Emperor was Divine, where the people in her novel could be anyone, but not someone I would feel so connected to that I would care about her book.

Book # 24 - Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
Rhoda Janzen

Finished Reading 4/18/2012

A woman deals with a botched surgery, a bad accident and a divorce. Her foul-mouthed, bipolar and atheist husband left her for a guy he met on Down and out, she had no choice but to go back to the loving arms of her Mennonite family.

That about sums up the story. What the author should do is write a book about her mom. She is the funniest person in this book

Book # 25 - When the Emperor Was Divine

When the Emperor Was Divine Julie Otsuka 3 CDs, audiorecording
Abstract. The main characters in the book are never named, in contrast with every other character. In each book, I find a person to connect with, and it was difficult in this book. This is a story about Japanese family's exile to the internment camps in Utah during World War II. To anyone who wants a more involved story of the internment camps, I would recommend Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata. The audiobook's saving grace = it's only 3 CD's and 3.5 hours long.