I decided to do a series of mini reviews of the books I read last Read-A-Thon, that way my thoughts about them are still fresh, instead of doing one by one (what I usually do) and I end up forgetting half of my thoughts when I get to the last one. Shall we begin?
L'oubli que nous serons by Héctor Abad
Thoughts: I felt weird at first thinking about reading this one in French, but it was a gift. I don't know how he does it (kudos to the translator too) but as I was reading this book, all the words formed in my brain in Spanish, and what is more, in the accent of the region. This is remarkable for me, that an author puts so much of himself in the story, that independent of the language you are reading it, you can feel the original voice. Abad takes us through his childhood and his early adulthood, showing us the events and the people that made him who he became, in particular, his father, a man that was very different of the norm, both for the area and for the time. For a read with so much emotional parts and with so much of the violence of the country, it is amazing how engrossed I became in no time. Definitely a great read.
Books are a travesty of memory, a prosthesis to remember, a desperate attempt to make it more durable which is hopelessly limited
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Thoughts: I will be honest with you, for the first 2/3 of this book I was quite disappointed. I bought this book since it kept being recommended to me, based on the fact that I liked Bossypants. While at first she would make me chuckle a couple of times, Moran wasn't completely grabbing me. However I kept reading, and I am very happy I did. The last part, beginning with her pregnancies and the termination of one, suddenly felt in a completely different tone, and the book turned into a whole different light. I find it quite puzzling that it was this part that made me change my mind, considering that as I write this review I am not even close to being a mother. But there you have it. I would still not put it as a recommendation due to Bossypants (it's not the same type of humor at all) but they both have strong messages for women out there. I would say, give it a try.
In the 21st century, any woman, succeeding in any arena, does not need "humanizing"
The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro
Genre: Short Stories, General Fiction, Canadian Literature
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Thoughts: What can I say about Alice Munro that you probably don't know already? That she is master at making "every day" out of the ordinary? That she paints a lot of Canadian landscapes in your mind and you don't even realize it until you get to the end of the story?. This is the second of her collections that I read, and I have to say, I liked Runaway, but Castle Rock is now number one in my shelf. Even though it is built in independent stories, they all share a common thread, in this case portrayed as the genealogy of a family. From Scotland to the United States to finally Canada, in varied characters and dark yet enticing sceneries. While it took me a while to catch the rhythm of Runaway, this set of stories grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let me go until the last page.
Places are apt to do that [disappoint] when you've set them up in your imagination.
Inés del Alma Mía by Isabel Allende
Genre: Historical Fiction
Thoughts: My first Allende read, this a novelization of the story of Inés Suarez, an Spanish maiden from the XVI century that, set on taking control of her life, embarks herself to the New World and ends up being one of the main figures in the conquest of Chile. I love this type of books and Allende did a great job giving voice to all this characters. Evidently I am more accustomed to characters related to Colombia, so it was fun to learn about this process for a different country. Inés makes her way from Spain, passing through Venezuela, Panamá, Perú and finally Chile; at first in the look for her stranded husband and then just determined to make her name stand. She will find adventure, chauvinism and love, sometimes all through the same person, and she will change the course of history.
A man does what he can. A woman does what the man can't.
In all, I feel it was a very good Read-a-Thon. I've read more books or more hours, but I haven't enjoyed as many as I did this time, and this makes me immensely happy. Have you read any of these books? What where your thoughts?