Monday, December 17, 2012

And Three More...

Before I begin, I need to tell you that I am thinking already about my reading goals for 2013.  Are any of you thinking about reading goals?

After reading Await Your Reply by Dan Choan earlier in the fall, I was wondering around the used book store and came across You Remind Me of Me, also by Dan Choan.  It turned out that You Remind Me of Me is his debut novel, published in 2004.  I liked it.  It is also a novel about brothers and identity, as was Await Your Reply. Knowing that Choan is an adopted child,  I find it very interesting that he continues to explore the concept of identity.

You Remind Me of Me is the story of three lives all connected in ways they are not aware of.  It all begins with a young unmarried woman in 1966 who gives up a child for adoption.  The book is about Troy Timmens, who struggles with finding his place in the world.  However, his son, Loomis, is Troy's one stronghold...the one thing that does make sense and meaning of Troy's life.  Jonah Doyle is younger than Troy.  He was raised by his mother who always seemed bitter and lacking in love.  Jonah carries horrible scars on his face from a dog attack...but those aren't as bad as the scars he carries inside his heart.  After his mother commits suicide, Jonah sets out to try to make sense of both her life and his life, trying to understand how they became who they were.

I liked the way Choan wrote the story.  It goes back and forth between years and stories, but it never seemed too confusing to me.  Each chapter is titled by a date...I think that helped.   Good book!

On a lighter note, one of my book groups had chosen Dress Me in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris.  It was also published in 2004.  I guess that I am catching up on books written that year!  The book is a collection of essays...some of which are laugh out loud funny.  A good example of his writing (about his sister):

"Growing up, she had a reputation for dishonesty, and her relentless, often inappropriate truth telling is, to her, a way of turning that around. 'I'm not going to lie to you.' she'll say, forgetting that another option is to simply say nothing."
Doesn't that sound like families?  It was great fun to read.  It is also light, quick reading, which is sometimes a perfect break between heavier books.  If you haven't read it, I recommend it!

I just finished reading The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, Oprah's latest Book Club pick.  It is quite good.  This is also a debut novel, and I look forward to seeing more of her writing.  It is a bit reminiscent of Toni Morrison's writing.

Fifteen year old Hattie left Georgia to find a better life in 1924.  The story begins with Hattie meeting (and marrying) August and giving birth to twins.  She named them Philadelphia and Jubilee.  August thought the names were "crazy".

"Hattie's mother, if she were still alive, would have agreed with August.  She would have said Hattie had chosen vulgar names: 'low and showy' she would have called them.  But she was gone, and Hattie wanted to give her babies names that weren't already chiseled on a head stone in the family plots in Georgia, so she gave them names of promise and of hop, reaching forward names, not looking back ones."
The twins were the joy of Hattie's young life.  But after their birth, life began to get harder and Hattie lost her joy.

Each chapter is about one (sometimes two) of Hattie's children, but all intertwine as they tell the story of Hattie's life.  Hattie ended up having eleven children.  And at the end of the story, Hattie is left with a granddaughter, who completes the "twelve tribes".  And joy begins to return to Hattie's life.

And now I am off, to continue my reading...I have lots of books to finish and begin!

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