Thursday, February 03, 2011

Recent reads

Since Christmas, I've been devouring books at a rapid rate, and I've especially enjoyed two of them. They're very different to one another, but share a common element~ a girl who is different in some way, and feels like she doesn't belong.

The first is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender. It's difficult to explain this book which is marketed as "magical realism", but I'll try. Rose is a 9-year-old girl who discovers within herself an extraordinary gift, the ability to taste in food the emotions of the person who prepared it. Unfortunately, the gift is more like a curse. The prose in this story is lovely, and the descriptions are vivid, especially those of Rose's Los Angeles neighbourhood. I loved it, but found it extremely confusing too. Without giving too much away, there are other members of Rose's family with similar "talents" and as they are revealed, the story unravels a bit. I'm still not quite sure what happened to Joseph, Rose's depressed brother. It left me feeling sad, and a little bit empty {which was perhaps the author's intention}. Have you read it? I'd love to hear what you thought.

I loved Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. It was a quick read, and absolutely lovely. I read a review that described it as being "light as air, but thoroughly pleasant reading," and I have to agree. This story does have a too-good-to-be-true feel to it, but after the heaviness of Lemon Cake {and another recent read, about a woman whose 4-year-old son was struck and killed by a car~ why did I read that?!}, I was glad for it. Cecelia lives with her mentally ill mother and mostly absent father in a depressing town in Ohio, but a tragic accident changes everything and she moves to Savannah, Georgia, to live with her Aunt Tootie. I loved the descriptions of the southern town with its grand old houses, and its wildly eccentric, strong female characters. I must admit that the problems that arise in the book are dealt with a little too quickly and then the plot moves on, but again, I didn't mind. Sometimes I don't want to struggle too much with a book. I just want to sit back and enjoy it. With this book, I certainly did. I cried and I laughed a lot. "It is truthful in its ugliness, but believable in its premise that life holds a plethora of promise," wrote an Amazon reviewer, and I tend to agree. But then, I love me a happy ending. I also think it would make a great movie. Have you read it? And if so, what did you think of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt?

Currently on my bedside table, and both very, very good so far... The Help by Kathryn Stockett and the children's novel Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan. Do you know them?

With stacks of good books to read,  no wonder I'm having a hard time sticking to that early bedtime resolution!


  1. love that you're reading so many of the books on my list so i can get a review from a *real* person before i delve in! lemon cake has been on my list for a long time and now i'll add ceecee too!

  2. loved the help, by the way. it was *my* choice for bookclub for march! can't wait to discuss it with the girls.

  3. good for you getting so much reading done! i haven't had much time for that i'm afraid... well, i haven't made much time for that, is a better way of saying it i guess. i love the premise of that first book. how interesting! and sometimes you need a good, easy, pleasant read. life is hard enough, am i right? happy thursday!

  4. You read so many interesting books. I really need to venture out of my YA books, but they just make me happy and I find them easy to digest.

    But I will keep these in account and might try them out.

  5. I am going to trust my instincts here and proceed to read everything you suggest.

    p.s. we need to chat about how amazing it is that you're a children's librarian. I've got some questions :)

  6. I have to agree with others and say that I completely trust your recommendation when it comes to books. I feel bad sometimes that I tend towards the light and frothy but I have a terrible habit of just not picking up a book if I find it hard going and then will go far too long without reading at all as a result. I will certainly look into the CeeCee one for the future.
    Love your book reviews!

  7. i love books!

    i read the help when i got back from england and i loved it.

    sheba picked it for bookclub in march and i can't wait to talk about it. i hope you love it too.

  8. I'm still on the library queue for Particular Sadness and I can't wait to read it. It seems so perfectly made for me. When I finally get it and read it, I'll have to let you know what I think.


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