Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Have you read any good books lately?

People ask me this all the time.

See, in anticipation of never having a quiet moment to myself AGAIN after I birth my second child in June, I have cloaked myself in a READING FRENZY. Since everyone knows I read so much, I get people asking me, "Are you reading anything good?" Most of the time, the answer is, "Why yes, I am!"

So I thought I'd feature some super awesome books on my blog from time to time. To make things easy, I'll rate them on some important criteria.

Style. First of all, the book must be easy to read. It must engross you in its story from the very first page. If the book contains too much unnecessary detail, Dickens-esque run-on sentences or weird words I have to look up in the dictionary, I'm going to get distracted (because I'm already sleep-deprived) and I will throw the book in ANGER and pick up the nearest Us Weekly, or OK Magazine, which is even better, because it's mainly pictures, as my good friend Alicia pointed out. Capiche? (Note, the above is a great example of a run-on sentence.)

Steam Factor. Not really of primary importance, but it's nice to know from the get-go if the book is going to be steamy or not-so-steamy. Come to think of it, I haven't read any really good steamy books lately. Hmm. Go figure.

Gross-out Factor. Does the book feature violence or icky situations? If so, I will let you know. I couldn't stand anything cringe-worthy in my first trimester, so I will warn you here.

Story. Does the story captivate on deep levels and catapult the work to book-club levels? Did it make me think, or merely entertain? Or is it more of a beach read?

Beach read. But I sure loooove me a good beach read! These books are lighthearted and funny and easy to put down and pick back up after a dive in the ocean. They can also be read while drinking pina coladas and/or getting a poolside massage.

Length. Duh.

Overall awesomeness. Really, how awesome is this book? I will tell you.

And if there are any more criteria you'd like me to include, please let me know. Anyway, whatever, blah blah blah, here is my first book recommendation!

Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

Thank you Charlotte from my Book Club for picking this book! I love this book because it transported me to another place from the very first line. It is eloquent, beautifully-written, but in a very accessible, easy-to-understand way. This book tells a series of unique events stemming from a violent act on a Nigerian beach from two different perspectives--a poor African girl named Little Bee, and a posh magazine-editor mom in the UK. The book tackles how both women deal with tragedy and loss, and ultimately come to grips with their lives. I'm not going to say much more because I think it would ruin the book, but trust me...it's amazing.

Style: 9/10. Loved the style! Easy to read, sucked me in at hello! And soooo beautiful. I wish I could write like this guy.

Steam Factor: 2/10. Not really steamy, but that's okay!

Gross-out Factor: 7/10. There are some violent moments in this book that are hard to read. This book deals with death. It deals with tragedy. Brace yourself accordingly. But...it does so with a beautiful overtone of optimism and elegance. It won't depress you. This book is populated by survivors. Little Bee's narrative is like a blinding light of hope.

Story: 9/10. Holy moley, did this book get me thinking. You can't help but thrust yourself into the story and think....what would I do? And could I find the strength to do it? It raises some very interesting questions about human nature, and how one brief decision--made in a split-second--can change the course of many lives forever.

Beach Read: 6/10. Hmm, not really, but it was easy to pick up again after a long day or putting Marley down for a nap because it was so awesome.

Overall Awesomeness: 9/10. I love me some Little Bee!

Anywho, I hope you read the book! Anyone else got any good recs?

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