Wednesday, June 24, 2009

one book club down...

had my book club meeting happy i can finally say that now. my very first book club meeting milestone. awww!!! anyway, i thought i would write about it immediately before i forgot any more of the details. it was at this italian restaurant that i've been to before. i thought the food ended up getting in the way of the discussion, actually. the woman across from me ordered calamari (the appetizer) and i was kicking myself for not doing the same. i got pasta.

back to the topic at hand...the leader of the group set it up quite well. she also had a worksheet full of questions, middle school style. that helped the flow of conversation when we had an awkward lull. i must say, she was also quite welcoming. just by looking at them, there didn't seem to be much diversity. of course, that's surface stuff. i was very surprised at how vocal i was. many people mistake me for being quiet. they don't know how opinionated and strong willed i can be. anyway, i certainly contributed my two cents even when it didn't seem like the popular or pc things to say. i counteracted points when i saw flaws. overall, i was myself. being the "minority" person at the group, sometimes you try to not be too intimidating or too vocal. don't want to be perceived as the "angry black girl." but, i think i achieved a satisfying balance. i met some pretty interesting people at the book club. interesting people, great discussion...whats not to love. can't wait for the next meeting!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

zadie smith white teeth

i am currently re-reading zadie smith's white teeth. i am remembering why its one of my favorites. i will definitely be back here to thoroughly discuss my thoughts, interpretations, and questions. there are so many other books on my list to read and re-read, im afraid i will run out of time. plus, i have so many other things to do (including managing two other blogs besides this one).
there is the one i mentioned earlier today by adichie.
the road
revolutionary road
things fall apart
finish to kill a mockingbird (i know, i know)
sag harbor
reread song of solomon and many other toni morrison ect.

tomorrow is my first book club meeting about tell no one by Harlan Corben. i hope that it goes well. keep your fingers crossed!

the thing around my neck

okay, so i already raved about chimamanda ngozi adichi in a previous post. you may recall me discussing the short story collection, This Is Not Chick Lit (she contributed the story The Thing Around My Neck). well, the rest of the world is starting to see what i saw apparently. lately, her name is all over the place, specifically, on the pages of elle. Fab-u-lous!

seems she's written a few books before. her new book is her own short story collection with the title of the short story that introduced me to her in the first place. the settings for the twelve stories included are divided between the U.S and her native Nigeria. look forward to tales about assimilation, cultural issues, gender issues and alienation. i, most definitely, can't wait to get my hands on this one...

i did some research on ms. adichi and the results are in...i like her. of course, i am a fan of her work but i also like HER. she's intelligent and feisty. similar to me, she is not crazy about labels. she is also unapologetically opinionated and frank. i love it! plus, she's only thirty-one. many women (and some men) don't exert that type of self awareness until waaaay later in life (oh yeah, she is also a virgo. i get virgos. i am virgo). ms. chimamanda adichi, i will be watching, reading and (im sure) enjoying.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

tell no one book review (harlan coben)

last saturday, i completed my neighborhood book club selection, Tell No One by Harlan Corben. as i mentioned before, the great thing about book clubs is that many times it will lead you to read books you would never have considered. this was certainly the case with Tell No One. it came in (via Barnes and Nobles mail) looking like the books one might buy at the local CVS. never thought of myself as a book snob but i guess i am. learn something new about yourself everyday. the novel is a thriller, mystery, suspense type, not my usual genre but i was pretty open-minded (you know, besides my snobbery).
anyway...overall, i enjoyed the story. it certainly had a compelling beginning. i was worried that i would have trouble getting into, or caring about the plot. i was wrong. never did I find myself skimming through the boring parts. the technology talk didn't go over my head at all. and although it wasn't the best quality of writing, if you kept an open mind, it wasn't mind numbing either. if the purpose of a story is to entertain, harlan corben achieved this goal.

of course, there were major problems (i know you knew it was coming...)
the narrator of the story (David, a doctor who works in an "urban" community helping the less fortunate) claims adamantly that he does not judge. however, he is one of the most judgemental and condescending characters i've come across in a while. what puzzles me? is it the nature of the character (David) or is it the author's actual point of view? i will try to give Mr. Coben the benefit of the doubt but i'm not convinced. (as jay-z said "i don't believe you, you need more people")
almost all of the characters in this novel are stereotypes:

-the asian killer, who appears to have no sympathy or feelings of any kind. preferred weapon of
choice: his bare hands.

-the black drugdealer/ thugs who have no concept of life besides their own "hood mentality." same goes for the hispanic characters.

-the love of David's life, Elizabeth, a white woman who is perfect in every way. she tries to help the downtrodden (aka thugs) even at the risk of her own life.

-the cops, who are of course stupid

-the lawyers, sleazy and money hungry

oddly enough, only the lesbians get a reasonably fair shake (i may be wrong, though).

so, there's that issue...
the other problem is that in order to keep the love of David's life pure and perfect, coben give some weird, afterthought ending to tie up the loose ends (poorly) in the last chapter. *Spoiler Alert* Elizabeth didn't shoot the deadbeat idiot ( no, she's too good for that), the 1st person narrator did. so why didn't he mention that important information in the first 368 pages??

the last complaint ( i promise) concerns the premise of the book (the motivation, if you will). all of the events that happened (mostly bad things) happened because of the death of a guy who sounds like a major a-hole whom we never meet or even hear that much about. some rich jerk's jerkier son was killed. so, for close to a decade, just about everyone who may or may not have had anything to do with it must pay with their lives??

i'm not buying that!

i will keep you updated on what the others thought of the book at my 1st book club meeting next week!