Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Change of Heart (Jodi Piccoult)

I liked this book, though there was a lot of God in it for me. It also seemed like a partial retelling of Shawshank Redemption, which I loved, but which kind of tainted the book for me. As much as I adore Jodi Piccoult, I think Steven King is one of the greatest modern soft fiction writers, so he's pretty hard to directly compete with, I think.

The story centers around a death row inmate who might (or might not) have divine properties. He also might (or might not) have murdered the daughter and second husband of a woman who was widowed previously. And he might (or might not) get to donate his heart to the daughter of the murdered police officer and his surviving wife, once his sentence is carried out.

There were three big themes in this book, from my perspective. The first was grief and what it does, or has the potential to do, to people. Grief is everywhere, most obviously in June's character, who lost two husband's and has a daughter that needs a heart transplant.

The second theme revolved around faith and religion. Basically, the end message for me was that faith is what you need it to be, and so are the things you believe in. There is no one way to faith and no one way to feeling redeemed.

The third theme kind of involved the brokenness of people, and how they can be fixed. We see this with Maggie, June, literally with June's daughter and of course with Shay. I think this theme was the most interesting to me.

Those most of her books center of bizarre coincidences, or strange turns of events, I felt like this one did that more than the others, to the point that no slim change of them actually happening remained.

I also kind of felt like she was phoning this one in... the writing didn't feel as, I don't know, tight? as her previous books. Or maybe there just seemed to be more depth in the others. I don't know. Not my favorite of her books, for sure. Overall, B-

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New to me... graphic novels

So, I've never read any graphic novels before... honestly I found it a little hard to take them seriously as a real narrative form, but I've been reading / hearing a lot about them, so I thought I would give it a try.

I read "The Trial", which is an adaptation of Kafka and "I am Legend" which is (I think) not originally a graphic novel, but a regular novel, then a movie, then a graphic novel. I picked up the trial because I thought it looked interesting. I picked up I am Legend because PB and I saw the movie and I remember him telling me how different the book was than the movie.

At any rate, I did like both of them OK. I wasn't blown away, but I think it was because I was having a hard time processing words and images simultaneously. You would think it would be easier, but I found myself so drawn to the words that I kind of skipped over the images most of the time. I think that a lot of the story in the Trial was in the pictures so I think I missed out a lot there.

I am definitely going to try The Watchmen as well - I forgot to mention that reading about that movie is what inspired me to check out graphic novels in the first place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Queen of Babble Gets Hitched (Meg Cabot)

The third of the Queen of Babble books, this one picks up the instant the second book left off. It was good, light reading. It was interesting to read this book, because for whatever reason I kept hearing it in the English voice that narrated a different chit lit book I listened to on tape.

The book basically takes us through her the Queen's failed engagement and eventual reunification with the best friend from the first book. This one was just good, not the best of the series ( I think that was the second one). 

Overall B.