Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I have a confession while I love reading and talking about books, I’m pitiful when it comes to taking time to write reviews. I confess my poor record for getting them done is partly because of laziness. I could give you other reasons but the truth is reviews are not my favorite way to talk about books. I’m convinced the joy of taking an abundance of English courses where we had the luxury of engaging one another in extended discussions is to blame.

Well the book fairy was looking out for me. I read Eva’s at The Striped Armchair’s recent Sunday Salon post. She shared summaries and asked her readers to ask her questions. She'll use the questions and answers as the basis for her reviews. Love this!

Are you willing to indulge me? Below are four of my recent reads, books that deserve a good review. I’d love to answer your questions. Please ask me, the more the better. Post your questions in the comments between now and next Tuesday.

Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
Seventeen-year-old Samar — a.k.a. Sam — has never known much about her Indian heritage. Her mom has deliberately kept Sam away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a really cute but demanding boyfriend.
But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house, and he turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage.

Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
When her father loses his job and leaves India to look for work in America, Asha Gupta, her older sister, Reet, and their mother must wait with Baba’s brother and his family, as well as their grandmother, in Calcutta. Uncle is welcoming, but in a country steeped in tradition, the three women must abide by his decisions. Asha knows this is temporary—just until Baba sends for them. But with scant savings and time passing, the tension builds: Ma, prone to spells of sadness, finds it hard to submit to her mother- and sister-in-law; Reet’s beauty attracts unwanted marriage proposals; and Asha's promise to take care of Ma and Reet leads to impulsive behavior.

Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie
Ivory Coast, 1978. Family and friends gather at Aya's house every evening to watch the country's first television ad campaign promoting the fortifying effects of Solibra, "the strong man's beer." It's a golden time, and the nation, too — an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa — seems fueled by something wondrous…
Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the studious and clear-sighted Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It's a breezy and wryly funny account of the desire for joy and freedom, and of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City.

Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
It tells the story of Ti-Jeanne, a young woman in a near-future Toronto that's been all but abandoned by the Canadian government. Anyone who can has retreated from the chaos of the city to the relative safety of the suburbs, and those left in "the burn" must fend for themselves. Ti-Jeanne is a new mother who's trying to come to grips with her as- yet-unnamed baby and also trying to end her relationship with her drug-addict boyfriend Tony. But a passion still burns between the young lovers, and when Tony runs afoul of Rudy, the local ganglord, Ti-Jeanne convinces her grandmother Gros-Jeanne to help out. Gros-Jeanne is a Voudoun priestess, and it's clear that Ti-Jeanne has inherited some of her gifts. Although Ti-Jeanne wants nothing to do with the spirit world, she soon finds herself caught up in a battle to the death with Rudy and the mother she thought she lost long ago.

Find more confessions at Poet Mom's.


the prisoner's wife said...

it's ok to "forget" to review...sometimes there's so many books, and so little time to write about them.

confessions...hmm...sometimes i forget to feed my son. he's so fickle about his eating habits, sometimes i don't bother to fix him dinner because he won't eat it anyway. lately he's been telling me "mommy, i want to eat" at like 8 o'clock at night, then i realize i didn't feed him!

susan said...

Hi Wife,

Glad you came by. Oh, I have been equally guilty especially since I don't normally cook.

Have you thought about a weekly post for Confession Tuesday?

Please, please ask me a question.

Nymeth said...

Brown Girl In The Ring has been on my wishlist for a while, but I don't actually know that much about it. Forgive me if the questions aren't very good!

What did you think of the characterization?

Does the story incorporate elements from Caribbean folklore and mythology? If so, what do you think of how they were used?

Had you read Nalo Hopkinson before? If so, how would you compare this to the rest of her work? If not, do you plan to?

What were you favourite and least favourite things about the book?

Color Online said...

Hi Nymeth,

Great questions.

If you'd like to know more, Bonnie Norman has a review at Color Online

Melissa said...

Secret Keeper is one that I've been wanting to read. When I read your synopsis it reminded me a little of the memoir Falling Leaves when the family is in Hong Kong with the women trying to negotiate traditional power structures. There is a lot of intergenerational struggle. Is that true also in Secret Keeper? Also, in Falling Leaves there is a huge clash between the lifestyle in Hong Kong (and later America) and traditional Chinese familial values--exposure to Hong Kong is what stimulates some of the chaffing with traditional values. Is there something like that here?

Melissa said...

Oops--I meant to say intergenerational struggle between all *3* generations.

Serena said...

Ok here are my questions for Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger:

1. Do you think the struggles SAM faces between her American life and her Sikh heritage are portrayed well? Was it emotionally draining for readers to watch the clash of those cultures?

2. A story like this is bound to change a character, do you think SAM evolved from her experience and does that shine through in the narration and character development?

3. Does the story delve into how the entire family copes with the uncle's arrival or just with how SAM copes?

4. Is there anything more you would have liked to have seen in this novel?

Ali said...

Question about Aya: The story follows several different characters. Did you have a hard time, like I did, in following the different storylines?

Eva said...

You know, I didn't come up with this idae! It's from Weekly Geeks, and the lovely Dewey (who has now passed) created it. But thanks for the credit anyway. ;) I've come up with some questions for you!

Shine, Coconut Moon sounds like it could veer into stereotypes/the 'same old' storyline pretty easily. Did you find it to be original?

Secret Keeper sounds really depressing, especially for a feminist! Was it?

Did you like the 'storyline' of Aya? What was your favourite part of the book?

Would you classify Brown Girl in the Ring as more sci-fi or fantasy? Or just straight up magical realism?

Icedream said...

I swear I could have written this confession, only probably not as well. I love book blogs but I hate to write reviews. I'd much rather point out books I enjoyed and let the publishers synopsis speak for itself. :P
Ok, I think Brown Girl In The Ring sounds fascinating. What is the significance of the title?