Monday, May 30, 2011

The Island - Elin Hilderbrand

Date Started: 5/29/11
Date Finished: 5/30/11

One-Word Summary: Relaxing

This is another one from the box 'o mom books and I have to say it was one of the better ones thus far. We follow four family members on a trip to Tuckernuck, off the coast of Nantucket. Having never been any of these places I have to admire how peaceful and picturesque Hilderbrand makes these places seem. She doesn't go overboard on the descriptive detail and doesn't hide the difficulties of living in Tuckernuck (no hot water, no electricity except for generators, no cell phone reception, etc.). The descriptions are just so relaxing in spite of the family drama that brings everyone there in the first place.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chasing Harry Winston - Lauren Weisberger

Date Started: 5/25/11
Date Finished: 5/28/11

One-Word Summary: Fluff

When you pick up a book titled Chasing Harry Winston you don't expect it to be the next War and Peace. You know full well that you are reading chick-lit and your expectations for the plot and quality of writing should thereby be adjusted accordingly. This is not to say that chick-lit isn't enjoyable; it most certainly can be. But it can also be bad.

Chasing Harry Winston wasn't bad. It was predictable, annoying at times, jumpy and probably too long. But if you're in the mood for chick-lit it will probably suit you just fine.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

Date Started - 5/19/11
Date Finished - 5/24/11

One-Word Summary: Beautiful

I love reading classics for a couple of reasons. First, they are classics for a reason - they've stood the test of time and therefore worth reading. Second, they provide a nice counter to the fluff literature that often fills my reading queue. Third, most of them are free on my Kindle!

So on with the review!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Russian Winter: A Novel - Daphne Kalotay

Date Started: 5/6/11
Date Finished: 5/18/11

One-Word Summary: Enjoyable

I have a confession to make and that is that I'm something of a Russophile. Not in the crazy I'm obsessed way, more in a I'm intrigued by Russian writers and have Russia as one of my top places to see before I die kind of way. I went on a kick where I read Anna Karenina, War and Peace, Tolstoy's short stories, Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov and Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida. I find that I love the rich descriptions of the Russian writers - they so completely transport you to a different world - one that doesn't exist anymore. They are incredibly dense but I enjoy that because it actually slows down my reading. I enter their world, with their samovars and vodka, and I love it.

I say all of this because it means I was predisposed to like Russian Winter. Not that others wouldn't also like it; the story is intriguing, though similarly split between an aged person and their recollections, just like Water for Elephants (odd that I would read these in such close proximity). The difference being that I didn't dread the chapters narrated by present-day Nina like I did the ones by present-day Jacob in Water for Elephants. I was frustrated certainly (we get it Nina, the past sucked - by why take it out on poor Grigori when all he wants to do is figure out who his birth-parents were?) but it didn't seem as completely depressing as Jacob's narration. Don't get me wrong, both were bleak descriptions of a life on the brink of dying from old age but in the end both characters make things right.

I won't ruin Water for Elephants in case you haven't yet read it; the ending was satisfying. But since this is my review of Russian Winter I can go ahead and run wild...