Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Admitting That It's Time For Some Mini Reviews

I really hate to do this guys...all of these books that I'm going to talk about really deserve full, in depth reviews because they were all fantastic and have lots of details that should be talked about and tons of context that needs to be talked about....but. October is coming to an end and the books keep adding up and blogging time has been limited. So I'm going to go ahead and just tell you briefly why you need to read each one of these books, ok? Ok.

So first let's talk about Gandhi: A Manga Biography by Kazuki Ebine. Can I just say right off the bat that I think all history books should be written in this format for now on. As in school text books. Because I would've enjoyed history so much more if I got to read books like this in high school. This book was fantastic. Ebine takes us through the life of Gandhi from his childhood through his death and tells us through art and comic style how Gandhi changed his country, his society and the world. I knew Gandhi was a man that promoted and caused social change through non violent actions and endured hunger strikes for his causes, but that was the extent of what I knew of him really. This book was just fascinating and I now know so much more about his life and the extent of what he did politically, socially and personally and it was such a beautiful story. Looking forward to the other books in Penguin's Manga Biography series!

After that I read Macbeth, and I'm not going to even review that one because I read it during the readathon and really didn't absorb anything, but lets just say that those characters could've taken a lesson or two from Gandhi.

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan just cemented for me how AMAZING of an author Margo Lanagan is. This was such an absolutely beautiful, captivating, haunting, and tragic story that I can barely put into words. So different from her first novel, Tender Morsels, but just as important of a novel. This is a novel about an island of men who have taken seals as brides. that's not really what the novel is about...It's much more complicated than that. It follows a multitude of characters who live on an island where a woman has been given the gift (or the curse?) of being able to pull women from the bodies of seals. These women are seemingly perfect and every man on the island soon wants one of these women as their bride. But the women suffer a life of enslavement basically, taken from their natural state and forced into being the wives of men who take them as a piece of treasure, craving to go back to the sea. There is so much more I can tell you about this novel and part of me still wants to write a big long gushy post and I still may. But let's leave it for now that you all MUST read this one. Simply an amazing book.

Now let's go to a piece of nonfiction, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Oh Mary Roach, I love you so damn much. I swear, there's no other investigative journalist out there writing the way that Mary Roach writes. Yes, this is a book all about cadavers. It opens with her in a room full of heads on tables where budding plastic surgeons are about to practice their skills on the decapitated dead and then goes on to describe all of the different uses for a human cadaver. And let me tell you there is SO much more that goes on with cadavers than I ever knew!! It left me both wanting to donate my body to science and at the same time never ever wanting my body touched by anyone after my death. And that will only make sense to you after you've read this book. And in typical Mary Roach style, she tells us all about this science with a wonderful sense of humor.

Lets end these reviews with a book of poetry...actually, a "choreopoem", a term I wasn't familiar with before this. The book is For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. This book was so unique, so beautiful, so sad, and something that I'm now dying to see performed. It's a book written for African American women and tells of the experience of several women, each represented by a different color of the rainbow, who have all gone through different tragedies, accomplishments, traumas and defeats. But they endure and overcome. And the language is just beautiful and moving. The book is written as a script for a play but at the same time, it's also a book of poetry. And it's been performed by people of every race and creed as Shange describes in the introduction. I really hope to be able to see this myself some day!

Ok...finally up to date now with reviews!! Woohoo!! Now go read all of these books because they were all awesome :p


Jeane said...

Those look like some amazing books! some of which I've had on my radar for quite a while. You've upped my interest in them!

Becky said...

I should do this with those darn reviews I have that are piling up. It's actually pretty nice to have so many great books to check out. Honestly, I need to see if I can get that Gandhi manga.

Chris, you read such great stuff!

Beth F said...

Mini reviews are sometimes the only answer. As you know, Stiff is one of my favorite books.

Trish said...

I need to do some mini-reviews as well--it's a great approach but for me it always seems to be admitting defeat. Which is silly because it's better than not writing at all, right?

I SO want to listen to Stiff. So glad you found it worthwhile!

Andi said...

Stiff is SOGOOD! I actually bought it for my mom years ago for Mother's Day. We both adored it. Roach's writing is super-fab.