Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Book Review Stuff

I've got a new Border's coupon and I'm ready to use it. I generally head straight for the sci-fi/fantasy aisle so that I can be sure to find something I like. I go to the mystery section next and check for new books by my favorite authors.

I expand my horizons (stupid cliche, but what the hell) at the discount table since I can pick up a hardcover there at less than the price of a paperback. I've found some excellent novels on the discount table in genres that I would have never considered at their regular prices.

"I Am Charlotte Simmons" is a novel that I wouldn't have come across normally. It was published in 2004 and was written by Tom Wolfe. The story is centered on the title character, Charlotte a naive freshman from North Carolina, but the greatest character to me is the fictional Ivy League School, Dupont University, (patterned I believe on Duke) since Wolfe takes us inside the locker rooms and offices of the elite basketball program, into one of the exclusive frat houses, through the freshman dorms, into the newspaper offices, the cafeterias, and the libraries of the school.

Charlotte's rural upbringing doesn't prepare her for the social aspects of college life at all. She was the valedictorian of her high school class, but never socially connected to her peers so while she's able to excell in her college class work she fails to make friends even with her roommate.

This novel is hard to put down, but sometimes a bit difficult to read. The awkwardness and the uncertanties of youth are bared wide open and it may hurt a little to see onesself in one of the characters. Check the discount tables in your local bookstore. There may be a gem waiting there for you.

I'd like to explore a wider variety of reading material. Can you recommend a good novel?

12 comments:

mist1 said...

You still read?

That is so 2006.

Nölff said...

I just look at pictures. Highlights for kids works for me.

Matt said...

Tom Wolfe is a highly respected writer. Good stuff.

there's also a section at Borders called "Crap."

Matt said...

It's right between history and histrionics.

Webmiztris said...

I'll have to see if the library has that one. thanks!

some of my favs:

Thank You For Smoking - Christopher Buckley

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon

She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

and anything by Chuck Paluhniuk, David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs!

Trying2BMe said...

I can recommend all day long and the bargain tables, flea markets and yard sales are the place.

Anne Rice... Violin, Feast of All Saints, Cry to Heaven or the Vampire Chronicles.

Margaret Atwood... The Handmaid's Tale

Toni Morrison... Beloved

John Irving... A Prayer for Owen Meany

Darlin', I could go on and on for days on books. I love them and hope to write one of my own someday.

Superstar said...

I normally like the "bargin" at any store, but for some reason at the book store...I get really impatient and want to scream...This is a BADDDDDD thing.

I reccomend Weedflower, about a japanese American living in 1941 and her journey at a camp. I am reading it to my 7th and 8th grades for the interculteral dynamic. She has a "love" intrest at 12 I am not sure how much "love" there really is...with a Natvie American...
Just am really enjoying the book then watching how my 95% Hispanic student population is relating to it. ;o)

Elaine said...

Ooh that book sounds good!

I would have so many recommendations but here are just a few:

She's Come Undone

Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister (Cindrella story from the ugly stepsister's point of view.)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

The Notebook (quick read).

dirk.mancuso said...

Jali, I have such a gay man crush on a straight woman who reads right now.

Here are my suggested books:

A Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

~Macarena~ said...

I am reluctant to explore sci-fi or fantasy because the stuff with pretty covers ends up having too many made-up words on the first page. I can't comprehend that page if I don't know whether a proper name is a person, street, town, river, etc., and therefore I can't get past that page and give up on the book.

So please recommend stuff.

I just finished My Sister's Keeper, which was good until the end, and will be returning to Year of Wonders, which is excellent so far. If you're interested, there are amazon links on my sidebar.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Years ago, when I visited my mother in Coral Gables, Florida, the local library had a section called "Cheerful reading." I think its real name was "Crap."

I am addicted to the Friends of the Library bookstore, where most hardcovers are $8 and trade paperbacks $5 or $6. They often have new books, and have practically ruined me for regular bookstores. Amazon is a regular expense, too.

I especially like novels by Asian writers, but my favorite novel is "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston because of its captivating heroine.

I also love anything by Sandra Cisneros.

"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd, is wonderful, and if you like short stories, try "World Famous Love Acts" by Brian Leung, "Interesting Women" by Andrea Lee, "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" by Z.Z. Packer, and Pam Houston's title story, "Waltzing the Cat" is one of the best I have ever read.

"The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing" by Melissa Bank is great, as is anything by Joanne Harris.

David Sedaris is delightfully funny.

I have always loved John Steinbeck's "The Pearl."

"Mama Day" by Gloria Naylor and "House Made of Dawn" by N. Scott Momaday are both wonderful.

No book reports required.

more cowbell said...

Fiction:
The Secret Life of Bees -- Sue Monk Kidd

The 5 People You Meet in Heaven -- Mitch Ablom (no,not religious)

The Time Traveler's Wife -- Audrey Niffenegger

The Last Days of Summer -- Steve Kluger

Snowflower and the Secret Fan -- Lisa See

Riding the Bus With My Sister -- RAchel Simon

Fledgling -- Octavia Butler (a bit hard to take in the beginning, but worth it.)