Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini 
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date: 5/21/2013
ISBN: 9781594631764
402 Pages


It begins with the heartbreaking, unparalleled bond between two motherless siblings in an Afghan village. To three-year-old Pari, big brother Abdullah is more mother than brother. To ten-year-old Abdullah, little Pari is his everything. What happens to them - and the large and small manners in which it echoes through the lives of so many other people - is proof of the moral complexity of life. In a multigenerational novel revolving around not just parents and children but also brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which family members love, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe - from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos - the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

My Review

This story describes the beauty and essence of Afghanistan that makes us all fall in love with the country. Hosseini explores the relationships between parents, their children, extended family and friends in such a way that no one else can. I immediately fell in love with these characters. I sympathized with them, celebrated with them, and explored their relationships with them. I really enjoyed this book and can't say enough good things about it! Hosseini's writing style is elegant and beautiful. He brings beauty to a country that has been consumed by war and violence for so many years. I love reading his books because I learn a little more about the culture every time, and I find it very fascinating!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf  Books
Publishing Date: 3/14/2006
ISBN: 9780375831003
550 Pages


Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist - books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the held of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

My Review

First off, I love reading a book that, at the end, I know I've learned something, even if it's through a fictional setting. The story of Liesel is very powerful and teaches us how it felt to live in Nazi Germany. It's different from other books in that it takes on the perspective of non-Jewish families during that time period. We see the Hubermann family struggle to do what they believe is right. They take in Max, a Jewish man, and hide him in their basement. Hans gives a piece of bread to a Jew as he's being forced towards a concentration camp. I think some people can have this idea in their minds that all non-Jewish Germans living in Nazi Germany were on Hitler's side, when clearly that isn't true. However, many of them were forced to partake in the Nazi ways as a result of fear for their lives and their families lives. This book is a great way to learn about history, while still enjoying a really good story.

I really recommend this book to everyone. It has such strong messages throughout the entire story and shouldn't be passed up. It has also made me realize how much I enjoy reading historical fiction! Like I said, you learn a little about history, and still have an amazing story to get you through. If any of my history classes in school were taught through books like this, I think I would have remembered a lot more about them! :)

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Book! Can't wait to read it!

So I don't often buy books new, and if they are, I rarely ever pay full price. However, I couldn't wait to get this one! I LOVE The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns; basically, I just love Khaled Hosseini's writing style and his stories. When I got a gift card to Barnes and Nobles for graduation, I couldn't resist. I went to the store on Monday and saw that this came out Tuesday. So I went back yesterday, dragging my boyfriend along, and bought it! I just want to finish reading the book that I'm on right now so I can start this one! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: 2013
ISBN: 9780062209849
309 Pages


Today is Christmas Eve.
Today is my birthday.
Today I am fifteen.
Today I buried my parents in the backyard.
                                                       Neither of them were Beloved.

Marnie and her little sister, Nelly, are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren't telling. While life in Glasgow's Maryhill housing estate isn't grand, the girls do have each other. Besides, it's only a year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both.

As the New Year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? Lennie takes them in - feeds them, clothes them, protects them - and something like a family forms. But soon enough, the sisters' friends, their teachers, and the authorities start asking tougher questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls' family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.

My Review

What a strange, but wonderful book! This story was unlike anything I've read before. It was a little dark, disturbing, and vulgar at times, but it made the story raw and original. Marnie and Nelly are wonderful girls that are just trying to stay with each other, the only family they know. Lennie is a grandfather figure to them and loves the girls dearly. This book was great. Marnie is a little rough around the edges, and Nelly, a quiet, soft-spoken girl. They don't seem like they would be close sisters, but after their difficult childhood, they are there for each other. I highly recommend this book to everyone, as long as you don't mind a little vulgarity.

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Bout of Books Read-a-thon!

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01 am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is a low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

I can't wait to start this read-a-thon! I've barely been able to read the past couple of weeks because I've had finals, and I still need to finish a paper before the 17th, but I still want to participate! Hopefully I'll get the paper finished by the 14th, so even though I'll be a day or two late, I'm still excited! :) This is definitely a great way to kick off being done with school forever!! I better get as much read before June 11th when I have to join the real world and start my job. My boyfriend and I are moving to a new place in 3 weeks, so unfortunately my books are packed in boxes, but I was smart enough to make one box that was all books I haven't read yet :) I'll have to dig it out this weekend!