Monday, June 29, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Okay, it's been almost 9 months since I did my last book review, so without further ado . . . . . (The books are in descending order, starting with the most recently read)

A Thousand Splendid Suns: Khaled Hosseini's second novel after Kite Runner, which was equally amazing. As with its predecessor, A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place in war-ridden Afghanistan. Hosseini manages to concoct another astounding chronicle of the lives of two women whose journey's intersect in the most unusual way. It is an unbelievable adventure that tugs at your heart strings and keeps you engrossed, holding on to hope well after its characters have conceded. I must prepare you, this book is fraught with sorrow, unbelievable strife, and seemingly endless depression. However, this saga is like a flower than manages to blossom in the desert. If you don't go out and read this, I will personally stab you repeatedly with a rusted blade covered in excrement.

The Host: This is more of sci-fi romance, but a great book nonetheless. Created with adults in mind and not pubescent female teens, it was written by Stephenie Meyer, who brought us the Twilight saga. It is about non-violent, parasitic life forms that invade earth and begin taking over human bodies through an insertion process. Interestingly, they subdue their hosts' consciousness, but continue normal human activities with the exception of the Seekers, whose sole purpose is to use their host's memories to seek out all humans. There is a small resistance of survivors who become at risk when one of their own, Melanie, becomes sequestered by the enemy. This amazing story is told through the eyes of one of the alien's named the Wanderer, who fails to completely subdue Melanie's consciousness. She becomes overwhelmed by this human's strong mind and ends up yearning for the same love interest as her host. A great story of betrayal, unlikely friendships, and even more unlikely love during a time where humanity is at stake. Sounds weird at first, but an excellent book. And the alien sex is really hot! Just kidding.

Lone Survivor: Phenomenal story, concise, nail biting, raw storytelling at its best. This book is the recount of Operation Red Wing, a Navy Seal mission intended on assassinating the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. As the title suggests, the story is told by the lone Navy Seal who lived to tell this riveting tale about fighting Al-Qaeda from behind enemy lines. A must read for civilians and soldiers alike.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: I was vehemently disappointed with this novel. It had received such great reviews and encomium that I decided to read it despite its intimidating size. The story is about a boy who, for all intents and purposes, was born mute, and lives with his parent's on a farm in Wisconsin who breed and train dogs. The boy's father is mysteriously murdered and he must try to prove it was at the hand of his uncle who always has some hidden agenda. I thought the idea behind Edgar's story was very clever and original, although its execution was slow to develop and ultimately anticlimactic. Although a good story teller, the author was overly descriptive to the point where it disrupted the flow of the book and made it difficult to press on a times. The book was okay, but not one I particularly endorse (although Oprah does).

Kite Runner: In Khaled Hosseini's debut novel Kite Runner, we follow the lives of two boys in Afghanistan who are best friends separated only by the positions their father's hold. Something happens in the boys' lives that sets them upon separate paths in life. It is an amazing tale of friendships, loyalty, facing one's fears, redemption, and many other themes, during a time of turmoil and uncertainty in the Middle East. This was an amazing book, an easy read, and I highly recommend it.

Twilight Series: Okay, so my sister practically made me read the first Twilight book, which I didn't give a great review here. However, after deciding to read the subsequent books in the series, I take back everything negative I said about the author. As a matter of fact, I owe Stephenie Meyer an apology. The story was brilliant! I do stand by my opinion about the first book that it was slow and so forth, but certainly necessary for creating the back story for the ones that follow. In my professional opinion, the books became progressively better and more absorbing with each chapter. This was a compelling series about vampires and werewolves and the way Myers intertwines the elements of this saga is truly genius. Another warning though, unless you can handle staying up into the wee hours of the morning, frantically turning pages, having to discover what happens next . . . . I suggest you stay as far away from these books as humanly possible. I'd hate for you to lose any sleep.


Amy xxoo said...

I love book reviews, and i love reading. I got back into regular reading late last year and read 4 or 5 " classics " ( ' Pride and Prejudice ', " Jane Eyre ', ' Perfume: The Story of a Murderer ' .... ) in a row..... and then, since Christmas, i've struggled to make my way through a whole novel in a week or so.

The last book i read was ' Lolita ' - yes, THAT ' Lolita ' - and i'd recommend that. You want to feel repulsion for the main character, and you do, but I also could help but pity him for how real his love for Lolita was....

Mr. Poopie said...

Amy - Well done! I liked Pride and Prejudice, loved the movie.

I was in a similar situation until I found something worth reading. Once you're in the rythm and habit, you can take on anything! Thanks for the recommendation by the way. I'm gonna put it in my queue.

Slade said...

sounds like we may have similar tastes...have you read The Time Traveler's Wife??? It is one of my favs.

Mr. Poopie said...

Slade - I've heard of it yes, but haven't read it yet. It sounds so exciting, I moved it to the top of my queue! I'll keep you posted...Thanks.

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