Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides

Eugenides' debut novel opens with an attempt at suicide, and ends with the death of the five Lisbon sisters, set in 1970's suburbia. It is Narrated by the boys who were obsessed with these very girls while they were alive, getting together and looking back on the events and situations that led to their ultimate demise. The title of the novel is derived from a song by the fictional band "Cruel Crux" a favorite of Lux, who is actually of a questionable morality, despite her overly-religious and over-bearing parents.

The novel follows the progression of Bonnie, Mary, Therese, and Lux, after the death of the youngest Lisbon sister, Cecilia. The girls become isolated and anti-social, and slowly their lives fall apart.

The unique style of narrative is quite possibly what makes this book such a page-turner. Compiled from the 'diary entries, notes, and heresey of various characters', the book leaves many questions unanswered, and it is up to the reader to assume exactly how things happened.

Although the subject matter is depressing, and at times, grotesque, the added element of not knowing and not understanding the motives of the characters adds a surreal quality to the book.

The book itself is not simply about the suicides of five teenage girls, it is about the most mundane aspects of human experience, and the empty spectacle of a society that claims to understand but only succeeds in feeding its own selfish interests.

Although some may find the ending unfulfilling, the book is compelling, and wonderfully written with great imagery.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris

I will admit that the first thing that drew me to this book was the cover, and after reading the first few pages, it became quite possibly THE most hilarious piece of literature I had ever picked up in my entire life.

In this novel made up of essays, Sedaris chronicles his peculiar childhood growing up in North Carolina, his various odd career paths, the crazy members of his family, and how it all shaped him to become his present self.

Sedaris' delightful autobiography contains both climactic events in his life and seemingly petty situations, and his ability to communicate humor in every day occurrences is better than any other author I've read. From his "tanorexic" sister, to his white trash brother, to his other sister who wears fat suits and cosmetic bruises (Amy Sedaris-- you should check her out, she's an actress who's been in Strangers With Candy, School of Rock, and also provides the voice of Cinderella for the third Shrek movie), to his fruit-hoarding father, and a mother who fills easter baskets with packs of cigarettes, the entertainment that I got out of reading about his dysfunctional family makes me want to pack up and live with all of them.

Suffice to say that my favorite excerpts were about his sister, Amy, who failed first grade, "pretended" to steal from the grocery store as a child, and who had her own club when she was little called "The Funny Face Club" where she would go door-to-door after halloween and offer to take neighbor's pumpkins away for 25 cents, and then just throw them in the street. Amy Sedaris has also made contributions to her brother's other books.

The only other thing that I can say about this book is that it is a straight trip of "LOL" throughout the entire thing, and there's no more that I could possibly say to talk it up as much as I already have.

It has remained one of my favorite books, one of the best I have ever read, and more people should read it so that we could all be really avant-garde and fresh and quote lines from it every day that no one else will understand.


The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

The first time I read The Lovely Bones, I was an eighth grader and probably too immature or too young to understand the meaning of the plot, characters, and narration. However, reading it as recently this past summer, it has hit close to home in the wake of recent events that have shaken my own community, leaving me to dwell on things such as life, death, and everything in between.

Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon is the novel's voice, the first sentence itself ("I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973") forshadows a story full of grief, sadness, and acceptance. The most unique aspect of the story is perhaps the fact that She narrates the events from heaven, watching on as her family and community try to make sense of her death and go on with their lives.

Taking a shortcut home from school through a cornfield, Susie is lured into a makeshift underground den, raped, and brutally murdered by her neighbor, Mr. Harvey, man who has taken many lives before hers. Sebold makes it a point to mention that everyone has his or her own version of heaven, Susie's resembling a high school, a heaven of her "simplest dreams."

The book follows the lives of her immediate family after her death, their attempts to cope and find peace in a world without their daughter/sister/friend/etc. Susie's father immerses himself in work and is determined to find her killer, her mother sprials into depression, her younger brother learns to deal with the absence of a sister who was gone before he even really began living his life, and her younger sister breezes through adolescence, her first boyfriend, the rest of high school, doing the things that Susie never had the oppurtunity to do.

The "lovely bones" that surround Susie's death-- the developement of the relationships between her friends and family, the progression of the life of her murderer, the memories remembered and the new ones made, are truly what make this novel one of growth, redemption, and in a way, coming of age.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


The First Book Review:

The Kite Runner - By Khaled Hosseini

I originally read this book as a summer reading assignment for school, after seeing it at the front of Border's, purchasing it, and getting the hell out because I was late for work.
However, I had heard some great reviews about it in spring of last year, and thought I'd check it out.

This is the first novel by Khaled Hosseini, which just makes it all the more impressive. If you're into the contemporary genre, enjoy eye-opening and educational books, and need a good read, you should pick this book up.

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, a priveleged boy living in Afghanistan with his father and servants in the early 1970's. The country is in political turmoil, yet even in difficult times Amir can find solace playing with his best friend Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. The boys are inseparable, like brothers, until one fateful event changes their entire relationship.

From then on, Amir is haunted by his cowardly actions, and has trouble facing himself, Hassan, and his father. As the days go on and the country is headed toward complete distruction, Amir and his father flee to California.

One part of the book chronicles Amir's boyhood, and then picks up with him as an adult, trying to establish a life for himself and forget about his troubled past. As an adult, a long time after he arrived in America, he finds out that Hassan and his wife were murdered by the Taliban, and he must venture to Afghanistan to find and rescue their young son, and attempt to find redemption and peace within for his actions as a boy himself.

The plot twists and characterization alone at times made me forget that I was reading a fictional account and not a memoir. In a metaphor from the title, this story soars, and I urge all to pick it up... and learn something.

Monday, January 8, 2007


A legitimate post, but only sort of.

I suppose a good way to start is by talking about my own interests in books.

My all-time favorite author is Chuck Palahniuk, although I will read almost anything handed to me. Last year after keeping a tally of books I read throughout the school year, it totaled to over 100. This year, however, is quite pathetic, seeing as I have been reading the same book since maybe the second month of school. It's not boring at all, mind you, Jeffrey Eugenides is brilliant, and I loved The Virgin Suicides, and Middlesex is great, but of course I have an excuse. I find myself not having enough time to do what I want this year, but that doesn't stop me from being able to read some trashy teen novel like Gossip Girl in less than a day.
After awhile, I find myself just being able to absorb books. I love the fact that I love reading, yet hate the fact that oftentimes I find myself going on facebook or myspace in favor of picking up a novel I have been reading for four months.

But more about what I like...
Some of my recent favorites, in no particular order, include;
Me Talk Pretty One Day
The Kite Runner
The Things They Carried
Friday Night Lights

Ignore the fact that I fail to list authors or anything of relevance next to the titles, but I suppose that those are some of the books I will begin reviewing first.

Until then,


This is basically a new blog setup I have, because blogspot was being a hooker and wouldn't recognize my username.

-Steff, sixteen, book reader/reviewer/fanatic

This blog is an assignment for my media studies class, but I will write reviews about books I've read, my favorite books by genre and/or time period, the books I have recently been reading, etc.

As always,