Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Reading 2011

Amber's Summer Book Reviews:

The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You
By Dorothy Bryant
This is a great book, recommended to me by my grandfather who reads all day long. It's about a womanizing asshole who, in the first 5 pages, strangles and kills his girlfriend and drives off a cliff. He wakes up in a hut on the island of Ata. The natives nurse him back to health and he finds he needs to assimilate to their naturalistic lifestyles. After learning their language, he realizes their society is based around their dreams; Atans use their dreams to influence their reality.
Atans think talking is 'donageo,' or bad; after I finished the book, I didn't really feel like talking. I pay more attention to my dreams and have been writing them down. I highly recommend this book.

Beatrice and Virgel
By Yann Martel
Known for "Life of Pi," Martel is a good writer and I enjoyed reading this book, but it didn't change my life.
Henry is a famous writer who moves to a big city after his first book makes it big. (Martel chooses not to label the city, letting the reader imagine their own setting.) Henry has been working on a new book about the Holocaust for the past five years, an essay and novel that he envisions will be published in a flipbook. But his publishers don't like the idea, and Henry gives up writing and finds other hobbies. But when Henry gets a letter from a fan asking him for help, Henry decides to go meet him. The fan turns out to be a creepy old taxidermist writing a book about a donkey and howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil.
In the end, it turns out it's all a metaphor for the Holocaust, embedded within each other, layers upon layers; Henry's original book, the taxidermist's play, and even the book "Beatrice and Virgil" itself. There is some very good writing, especially the dialogue between Beatrice and Virgil, but I think the ending was a bit rushed.

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