22 January 2010

Starting Off 2010

Here I am ringing in the New Year and noticing that the last time I updated this blog, I was ringing in 2009. Oh well... Stuff happens. I'm trying to be a little more committed to the blog this year and I think that is somewhat of a possibility since I have a brand new IMac and --finally--high speed internet at home.

A lot has happened since last time I blogged. I am in the process of planning my wedding this summer, so some books related to that may pop up on the list.

And on to the books....

First book of 2009...

Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

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I decided to read this book because I am developing a syllabus for a Literature of the American West course. I've always been interested in the novel because of the controversy surrounding it, but I had never picked it up.


Ceremony is the story of a young Laguna man returning from WWII with PTSD. He relives the alienation he has always felt on the Pueblo as a result of being half white. He attempts to regain his sanity by visiting a traditional healer and reconnecting with his people and his past, while still being forced to deal with the harsh reality of his his present mental condition and the violence and hatred displayed by the other young returning soldiers who were once his closest friends.


Silko's prose is extremely lyrical and the novel jumps back and forth in time. I almost felt like I would have gained more from the novel if I read it all in one sitting; I seemed to lose something each time I put it down. I would definitely benefit from a second read, knowing what to expect. It is a really beautiful book that deals with really difficult issues like post-traumatic stress, self-medication, alcoholism and violence and how these issues affect the Laguna population.


I also, just today completed Jodi Picoult's, Nineteen Minutes:

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Jodi Picoult is kind of my guilty pleasure (like watching a Lifetime movie). I've also read My Sister's Keeper, Mercy and Handle with Care (which I thought was the best of the bunch). Nineteen Minutes covers the events leading up to and the aftermath of a small town school shooting. Like most of her novels, much of the action takes place in the courtroom, and the narrative perspective shifts from character to character throughout the book. There were parts of this book that seemed a bit cliche and it seemed like the author was trying to fit in as many "hot button issues" as possible into one book. However, there were other parts that I found compelling, especially the storyline following Josie Cormier (although I wished it had been fleshed out a little more). The ending is surprising, but (not really a spoiler alert) a little disappointing. I felt like there were a lot of loose ends that never were tied up. Overall...I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

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