Sunday, 27 February 2011

left and leaving.

So, after struggling with Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn for about two months, I accidentally left it behind on a table in Thunder Bay. On several occasions I have wanted to throw this book away as it is bleak and I have never understood those Soviets anyway, but out of spite I have carried on. And that is probably why I'm sort of not happy for leaving it.

Oh well, new exciting books are in my suitcase and I will read Kanata by Don Gillmor on my long transatlantic flight back home.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

seven.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (2000)

Stargirl is the new girl at Mica High, Arizona. And she is different. A total freak who wears hippie dresses, plays the ukulele at lunch and gives presents to strangers. And Leo is in love with her.

She is the freak that turns into a popular cheerleader and then to the most unpopular girl at school by cheering on the wrong team. And because Leo is her boyfriend, they turn against him as well and he has to choose between her and them.

A middle aged male American teacher recommended this book to some of our students in Amsterdam last year and I became curious. I started reading it to my English class a month ago, but it took me too long time just to read a couple of pages each lesson so I gave up the idea. Instead I finished it in two hours by myself.

It is a perfect book for teenagers, daring you to be different and to not care what others say about you. It is well-written although I found all the clues that something bad is about to happen a little bit annoying, but for someone in the right age group it will probably make them turn the page faster. I know I would have loved this book when I was 13, and I certainly would have longed to be like Stargirl.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

six.

Eating Air by Pauline Melville (2009)

Ella is a famous ballet dancer who is married to Donny, a man she hardly sees. They met when Ella was still a teenager and Donny was an anarchist who didn't even believe in anarchy. They are offered to live in a house of a famous artist and here Donny starts with his first robberies which later turn into ideological terrorism.

This book starts in the present, with a plotting of a terrorist attack, then goes back to the sixties and seventies when all the plotters were young. And then it mixes the past and the present.

I liked the beginning of the book, but then it just got confusing and even boring at times. It has too many characters, and I couldn't remember who is who at the crucial end. But the use of a narrator who interrupts the story from time to time was interesting.

But the thing that disappointed me most with this book was that the story focused too much on Ella instead of the terrorism that it started out with. I loved the first part of the book, but I was really not happy with the rest of it.