An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender

An Invisible Sign of My Own
An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Feeling humbled by the (to me) unpretentious quirk that is Aimee Bender. How glorious when reading feels a little bit like falling in love – something that you instinctively understand but could not possibly explain. I must admit that for this novel a lot of the charm lay in the reviews of others. Indignant school teachers offended by an inaccurate portrayal of teaching and children. Fussy readers who cannot cope when a story is not “just so” – as if being “realistic” and “structured” is the only way to be when it comes to putting yourself on paper. And yet here I sit, grateful for strange minds that take me to different worlds, and especially grateful that my own mind allows for me to be taken there.

View all my reviews

Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved this book, which is a little bit weird because I hated the main character. I think perhaps the feeling of “learning” as I read helped to negate the fact that I could not quite get behind this woman’s treatment of people. I don’t know why but that kind of self inflicted isolation always strikes me as weak. I imagine my annoyance at this exact brand of character possibly says a lot about me as a person, and most likely nothing good, but I just can’t help it. While I did feel a certain (limited!) empathy for Victoria, I could not help but be angered by the senselessness of her situation – but then again, without her toxic persona there would have been no story to tell, would there? There would only be an unhappy beginning with a perfectly acceptable resolution that spanned over a year instead of ten. Hardly bookworthy. I think perhaps I myself am addicted to others, despite my affection for frequent isolation. Love is one thing I have never shied away from, despite having had my heart broken on a number of occasions, not only by men, of course, but by people I have trusted as well. I think a capacity for heartbreak can overwhelm all of us, but I struggle to relate to the kind of brokenness that retaliates in the harm of others. I especially do not understand the compulsion to harm myself or others in the attempt to “protect myself”. It is such a strange thing to me. This means that I am most likely lucky, which is something I know and do not take for granted. While I believe that I am personally plagued and affected (often negatively) by my own past, just like many others are, for some reason it has never shut me off to love. Love I feel and embrace with my whole being. Always. Whether I find it in a book that I love, or art, or a partner, my child, my family, my friends. It is all consuming, and the exquisiteness of love has always, and I hope will always, trump its ability to bring with it the most excruciating of heartbreaks.

View all my reviews

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wish I could give it six…

I am in love with Sarah Addison Allen. I know it seems like such a trite thing to say but she really caused a breakthrough around my own writing. I will always love her for that. Aside from the latest Allen – which I haven’t been able to get my hands on because I live here – this was the only one I hadn’t read. It was kind of expensive (I don’t know why her books are so expensive here in SA) but my brother got it for my birthday anyway. It was a kind of silly and predictable read, but in a gloriously satisfying way. I kind of expected just about everything that happened to happen, but it was comforting, happy making. I think that’s pretty special. If you write things that make people happy, then you are kind of friggen fantastic.
View all my reviews

 

 

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like everyone, I suppose, I find myself on occasion wondering if there is something wrong with me. After reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I couldn’t help but find myself trying so very hard not to be devastated. Why is it, Nadine, that you can’t just have a read and smile and be happy just like everyone else? They’re having way more fun that you are…I promise…

The thing is though – as much I would like to blame hype for my disappointment – I can scarcely explain why I should love one book for the exact reason that I find myself mildly disgruntled with another. (more…)