Book Reviews

Love a good book group. We had our monthly book group meeting the other night. Such an interesting group of people. Conversations went in some interesting directions. We had just finished reading a gem of a book WhenThe Emperor was Divine. The book was written in such a way that each chapter was seen from a different view point of each character. The book was about an upper middle class Japanese family that is sent to the camps in WW2 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. One of America’s dirty little secrets. These people lived in the camps for almost 4-5 years. They never did anything wrong but were stripped away of their entire lives in one night. She writes about how the mother got them organized to go, how the boy longed for his father who was taken somewhere else, how the daughter dealt with growing up as a teenager during the time and how when they all (including the father) returned to their home and how they felt and were treated. Julia Otsuka, the writer, writes in a very simple prose that makes the story even more haunting. Definite worth the read.

Unfortunately, the only other book that I was able to read this month was American Woman by Susan Choi. I know the book got great reviews but I could not get through it. The book is like being on a bad journey that you can’t get out of. The characters are adrift in a boring existence that never seems to go anywhere. It certainly did not go anywhere for me, because I put it down after I finished half of the book. I hate when you feel compelled to finish a book and because of that, you never move on to read something else. That book went under the “life is too short” category. I moved on.

On a musical note, I just got the new Dave Matthews album. Even if you aren’t a fan of his, this is really an excellent album. Can’t stop playing it. I am also digging the new Dido album. I am going to see Gillian Welch next week, and I think she has a terrific soulful voice worth listening to. One last album, which we have played out is Fountains of Wayne. My family loves it. Again, my son was Joey Ramone for Halloween so this is not kid’s tunes but it is a solid pop album worth listening to again and again and again and again….