Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jamie's Book Club : Reviews & Recommendations

One of my favourite things about summer is having ample time to sit back and read a good book.
While I try to maintain this practice during the year, I'm more often than not restricted to travel time on the bus or subway for pleasure reading.
I also try and read as many books as I possibly can during the summer both because I often find I can't stop once I've started and also because I like to challenge myself.
So far this summer I've gotten through a few (I find I've been dividing my time between books and wedding magazines) and I thought I'd pull out my Oprah-like clout and make some book club suggestions.

The first book I read this summer: From the Corner of his Eye (Dean Koontz)

I enjoyed the first part of this book, when the story took a turn right away that I wasn't expecting and when seperate story lines were developed so that you were waiting to see how they would come together.
The story focuses on several people: a mother in labour who's husband is killed in a car crash on the day her son is born. The son goes on to exhibit somewhat supernatural abilities and loses his sight at the age of three. A man, for reasons unknown, kills his wife, then goes on a killing spree. He is hunted by a detective who also seems to have supernatural abilities. A young girl dies giving birth to the daughter conceived when she was raped. The baby is adopted by the girl's sister and the child grows up to exhibit supernatural abilities as well.  
I found by the end of the book I was tired of the characters and I felt that there wasn't enough explanation behind the killer's actions.

Book Two: House Rules (Jodi Picoult)

I've liked every Jodi Picoult book I've read because there's always some surprise or twist that reveals itself during the legal proceedings of every story. I found the 'twist; in this story however was very obvious. This is also one of the few Jodi Picoult books that didn't make me sob like a baby.
That being said, I enjoyed this book. The story is about a young man with Asberger's Syndrome who enjoys crime scene analysis. Without giving too much away, he finds a crime scene and tampers with it which implicates him in the crime. The story really gives the reader wonderful insight into the autistic world. Growing up my sister and I were friends with a boy who was on the higher end of the autism spectrum and while I can't say definitively that it was Asberger's, the main character of this book certainly reminded me a lot of that boy (who is now 24 and a man).
If you like Jodi Picoult's books and you want something that won't make you cry (trust me, cause I cry at most books), pick this one up.

Book 3: The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

I bought this book as a birthday present to myself after hearing a bit about it.
While long weekending at the cottage, my friend Ginger Rose said she was reading The Hunger Games and described the plot to me. I was intrigued.
For the low, low price of $10 I purchased the first book of the trilogy.
I was a little hesistant at first because the book was in the teen/adolescent section but I remembered that I was slow to get on the Harry Potter train, too, because I thought they were chidren's books. I finished this book in two days - because it's good and because it's a fast read.
The book tells the story of North America in the future, now called Panem, and divided into 13 districts plus the Capitol, which exerts a Big Brother sort of influence on the districts. To punish the districts for a past rebellion against the Capitol, every year each district must send 2 tributes to The Hunger Games. The 24 tributes enter into an arena and fight to the death for the amusement of Panem.
While this didn't exactly fill the Harry Potter void, I found this book captured my attention and kept me interested right through to the last sentence. I'll be heading back over to Indigo to buy the second book. Once I'm finished reading this:

Book 4: The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

I've only just started this book but already I'm invested.
I can't tell you too much about the plot unfortunately, as my reading time was somewhat disturbed yesterday. And I can't even give you a synopsis off the back of the book because I left it at work.
I've heard only good things about this book, however, and there is a movie based on it so I'm making this (and The Hunger Games) my book recommendation for the remainder of August!

Go pick up a book and lose yourself in at least one good story before these warm days and nights disappear.
Happy Reading!

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