Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Answers to requests in the comments section of the Jan.2, 2009 review and giveaway of The Mighty Queens of Freeville By Amy Dickinson.

Topher: "Asylum is the one I'd like to hear the most about."

Asylum**** by Patrick McGrath

Late 1950s, high security psychiatric hospital, one of live-in psychiatrist's wives forms an obsessive romantic attachment to a criminal patient, another psychiatrist (the narrator) secretly adores her, she's beautiful, intelligent, but unhappy and emotionally in trouble; he tries to help her recover but things don't go quite the way anyone thinks they will, who is manipulating whom and for what reason? The story becomes intense and is well written. I recommend it highly. I also recommend his book Trauma****.
stacey : "I am dying to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society!"

Jennifer: "I would like to read, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer."

My full review is here.

Amy:"The Virgin Suicides" is an intriguing title. I'd like to hear about that. Was there a movie by that name?"

Francine: The Virgin Suicides by Jefferey Eugenides sounds interesting I think this was a movie.

The Virgin Suicides**** by Jeffery Eugenides

There is a filmed version which I have not seen, I have been told it did not do justice to the book. An unusual story, I was reluctant to read it but was assure it treated what would normally be a morbid subject with respect, even if filtered through the eyes of a young male narrator with an odd manner. One daughter in a family of girls kills herself. Michigan in the early 1970s, the father is strict and each of her sisters slowly spiral into emotional trouble, until another one commits suicide. The whole town thinks the father who is a teacher, should quit because he can't handle his own children at home. Basically we watch the family through the town's eyes, those outside the family. It's well done and certainly brought attention to a serious subject. I recommend it.

I also recommend his book Middlesex****, another I was reluctant about until reassured that there's nothing in it that would frighten the horses.

kalea_kane: "I would love to learn more about Hotel World!"

Hotel World**** by Ali Smith (Booker Prize shortlist and Orange Prize finalist)

This is about the behind the scenes lives of people who work or live in an English hotel. Never a dull moment, it follows five people, one a dead chambermaid who tells us her story too. The others are a depressed receptionist, a homeless woman invited to stay for a night, the dead chambermaid's sister, and a really bored travel journalist who stays there.There's some stream of consciousness used in the writing style but it worked for the story. Smith's writing is lyrical. Even the minor characters such as the girl who work in a shop near the hotel or a student driver and an amorous driving instructor, are interesting and add to the colour to the story. I would read this book again, rare for me. Highly recommended.

Stacie: I'd love to hear a review on The Swallows of Kabul. I have the book, but I haven't read it yet.

Anya: I'd like to hear about The Swallows of Kabul.

The Swallows of Kabul***** by Yasmina Khadra

This is a beautiful book, not an easy read for some, it tells the truth of what life is like in Afghanistan under the Taliban, especially for women. It's shocking and heartbreaking and infuriatingly all too real. But it's a story that needs to be told. There are scenes of execution but by now most of us have already seen or heard of these these in the news or on television. These scenes are important to the story and if you can face that, The Swallow of Kabul is ultimately an uplifting story of bravery and sacrifice.

If I did not discuss your choice here, I will post more mini reviews to answer your requests in the near future. Feel free to leave comments, questions, or links to reviews of these books. And good reading recommendations are always welcomed.


  1. Thanks for the reviews. I have 2 of the books mentioned- Swallows of Kabul and Middlesex and will add them next on my reading list.

  2. what a great idea to let your readers request the reviews. you've mentioned a lot of terrific-sounding books too!

  3. This is a great idea! I really want to read The Virgin Suicides someday. I read his other book and really liked it.

  4. I'll join the gang who are recommending *Middlesex*. I actually liked it more than *Virgin Suicides ... I thought it had more to it (plot and character development). But maybe I just didn't look deep enough :) (it has been several years since I read *Virgin Suicides*)

  5. I'd love to read Hotel World. I really enjoyed Middlesex.

  6. Hi, I think I got onto your blog!! That is no small miracle as my BlogSpot entry is in Arabic, which I don't speak :)
    Tried to read Middlesex, ground to a halt half way through but I'm told it's wonderful and one day I have to pick it up again (not going to be easy!)
    Really fancy your giveaway book. Had never heard of it but it sounds a bit like my daughter who is about to give up everything and come back out to Dubai as she can't cope in UK, sigh!
    Anyway, great to be here,

  7. *Dubai Reader: MaryAnne, I got your email and have entered you in the draw for Letters Between Us. Hope you can get into my blog more easily in the future.



"25 Books That Caused A Commotion" (1) 4 1/2 stars (5) 4 stars (6) 5 stars (8) American literature (21) Asian American authors (1) Australian literature (3) book awards (10) book giveaways (23) book news (4) booking through thursday (3) Books Read This Week (2) Books TBR in 2009 (1) Burma (1) Cambodia (2) Canada (11) Canadian lit (3) Canadian literature (11) Columbian literature (1) Cover Attraction (3) doctors (1) education (1) elephants (1) England (3) English literature (5) environment (1) epistolary fiction (4) Ex-Cottagers in Love (1) family (3) fiction (2) five stars (2) forewords (1) four and a half stars (1) four stars (1) French literature (3) Friday Finds (6) Giller Prize (2) Giller Prize longlist (1) Giller Prize Winner 2008 (1) guest reviews (10) Hachette (2) haiku (4) Haiku Friday (5) historical fiction (6) humour (1) immigrants (1) Index of Books Reviewed (1) interview (1) Iraq (1) Israel (2) Israeli literature (1) It's Monday What are you reading this week? (2) Italian literature (1) Italy (1) Jerusalem (1) Jewish Book Month (3) Jewish Literature (6) Jewish Literature Challenge (2) Judaism (1) Latin American literature (1) Latin American Reading Challenge (1) library books (1) Library Loot (28) Library Loot July 22 (1) literary fiction (38) literature (20) literature in translation (1) love stories (2) Mailbox Monday (19) male friendship (1) marriage (1) medicine (1) memoir (1) music (1) Musing Mondays (2) My Favourite Reads (1) my work (1) mystery (1) Native Canadians (1) New Crayons (6) New Crayons July 5 (1) New England (1) New York (1) Nigeria (1) Nigerian literature (1) Nobel author (3) Nobel authors (1) Nobel Laureate (1) non-fiction (1) Norway (1) Norwegian literature (1) Nova Scotia (1) Orange Prize (2) ornithology (1) Orthodox Judaism (1) psychological fiction (3) Pulitzer Project (1) rating system (1) Read 'Em Yet? Wednesday (1) Read in 2008 (1) reading challenges (62) reading challenges 2010 (1) reviews (46) Russia (1) Russian literature (1) Salon Sunday (1) Scandinavian mystery (1) short stories (2) Show Me 5 Saturday (2) Spanish literature (2) Sunday Salon (3) The Complete Booker Reading Challenge (1) The Martel-Harper Challenge (1) The Sunday Salon (12) Thursday Tea (4) Toronto (1) translation (2) triplets (1) TSS (2) TSS June in Review (1) TSS March in Review (1) TSS May in Review (1) TSS Week in Review (2) Turkish literature (2) Venice (1) Waiting on Wednesday (8) Waiting on Wednesday July 15 (1) war stories (2) Weekly Geeks (11) What Are You Reading On Mondays? (10) What's On Your Nightstand? (8) winners (14) women writers (2) Wondrous Words (1) Wordless Wednesday (3) writers (1) WW II (2) Wyoming (1)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin