book reviews

I have some book recommendations from the lastest supply of reads I’ve recently completed:

The Terror by Dan Simmons

This is a fictional account of what might have happened to the Franklin Arctic expedition which was lost during the mid 1800s.  Only a few remaining artifacts have been discovered including a message left in a cairn on Prince William Island which told about the abandoning of the ships Terror and Erubus in 1848 after 3 years frozen in the ice.  During their 3 year freeze, the book posits that the men are stalked off and on by a creature that picks them off one by one, horribly mangling the bodies.  There’s a real Stephen King feel to parts of this story, and at 767 pages, it’s a hefty read but I found that once I picked it up, I literally couldn’t wait for my regular reading time every day to dive back in.  The descriptions of the isolation and the cold will make you glad it’s not winter.

Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums:

This is a memior written by a guy who grew up as an effeminate gay boy in Mississippi during the Civil Rights era.  After the death of his macho father in a car accident, followed a year later by the death of his beloved mother of cancer, the author and his younger siblings were sent to live with their grandparents in a small town outside of Jackson.  It’s as much a love letter to his mother and grandmother as it is the story of his uncomfortable boyhood as a flamboyant chld who yearned to wear skirts and dress up as a witch on Halloween.  In his teens, the author befriended a group of older theater types who encouraged him in the arts.  This group included Eudora Welty, famous Jackson resident and nationally renown writer.  A well-written and poignant book.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver:

The fictional story of a boy who commits an act of mass murder at his school as told through letters written by his mother to his father.  I’m only about 1/3 of the way through with this one, but I’m finding the writing compelling.  Her writing style reminds me of Meg Wolitzer’s, in that her descriptive style is wonderful and personal.  There’s much to relate to in her descriptions of what it feels like to have your life taken over by a child, and the ambivelance every woman feels regarding marriage and family.  I’ll be ready to read her next book, The Post Birthday World after this one.

 Also on the nightstand – What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

From Booklist 

In 1975, the abduction of the teenage Bethany sisters rattled residents of Baltimore. Now, some 30 years later, a woman who flees the scene of a hit-and-run accident claims to be Heather, the younger of the two sisters. Could this mysterious blonde really be the missing teen, or is she pulling some sort of clever, unspeakably cruel con?

I’m not expecting to like this much due to the fact that it’s a fictional crime story.  I prefer my crime real and gritty, not made up, but I’ll give it a chance just because the story sounds interesting.   We’ll see.

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2 Responses to “book reviews”


  1. 1 V May 17, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    I read We Need to Talk About Kevin on my way home from Alabama last weekend. It had me crying on the plane…

  2. 2 observantbystander May 17, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    I’m just loving the writing in that book so much. Her descriptions of what it feels like to be a woman are incredibly accurate – scary accurate. Wish I could write like that.


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