drown by juno diaz- so i have yet to read the brief wondrous life of oscar wao, diaz's most famous novel, but was given this book and decided to give a new author a try. in this collection of ten short stories, diaz narrates from the point of view of young men struggling to find identity. i found that i really enjoyed his writing style, but often didn't find much connection to the stories. that being said, 'negocios' was the story i felt exemplified what diaz was attempting in this book. beyond that, 'how to date a browngirl, blackgirl, whitegirl, or halfie' was a sad and funny look at the way race and status play out in the mind of a teenage boy. it is always interesting to read a story written from a perspective so far from your own, and drown kept me on my toes as i tried to understand and relate to the struggles of the characters.
a man in full by tom wolfe- if you asked jeb what his very favorite book was, he would tell you a man in full and then scan the bookshelves to hand you his copy. i knew i had to read this book, since we always have a good time discussing books and rarely does jeb read, or much less love, a piece of fiction. i think what jeb loves about wolfe's fiction is his attention to detail. tom wolfe is the king of research. this is the second book i have read by wolfe and each time i have been beyond impressed with the level of thought and knowledge that go into his stories. a man in full tells a number of stories about the lives of multiple characters in atlanta, georgia. as the story goes on and each of these people's lives become entangled the plot only grows thicker. politics, business, romance and psychology all abound in this novel and i highly suggest you all go pick this one up.
july, july by tim o'brien- i'm sure that many of you have read the things they carried, o'brien's award-winning novel. i have to admit that when picking up this book i had a lot of doubts. i worried that the storyline sounded too sappy and that i would have trouble separating this novel from my love for the things they carried; wow, was i wrong. july, july tells the story of a group of adults attending their 30th reunion back on their college campus. the story goes back and forth through time, explaining the events of the reunion followed by the events that occured those thirty years ago. as the class of 1969, each of the graduates have been touched in some way by the vietnam war and this is where o'brien does his best writing. i found it insightful and honest and enjoyed the glances to the past and finding out 'where are they now.'
my stroke of insight by jill bolte taylor- a neuroanatomist by trade, bolte taylor dedicates her life to the study of the brain. in 1996, at age 37, she suffers a massive stroke and sees firsthand the unraveling of her own mind. this book was exceptional. a true story of triumph and a great refresher on the intricate ways our brains operate, my stroke of insight starts from the morning she realizes she is having a stroke and details her struggles and triumphs through surgeries and recovery. i really have to say that i gained so much from this book. bolte taylor is such an inspiration and spends a chapter talking about inner peace and the way in which her stroke brought her a euphoric understanding of life. i don't want to spoil everything the book has to offer, but throughout the last month i think it was the best book i have read.
i am in the process of making my christmas list and a pile of books are always at the top. what books have you read lately that i should add to the list? i am currently reading middlesex and am enamored by the writing. bring on more great writing by telling me what i need to add to my bookshelves.