Skip to main content

Friday Finds -- July 30, 2010


Friday FindsHosted by MizB at Should be reading, this meme asks you what great books did you hear about/discover this past week?

There have been a lot of good books floating around lately. Well, they are there always - but I did find some great ones this week.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

I came across this book first last year, but didn't find it interesting enough to add it. But when one of my online book clubs chose this book to read, I had to add it. It's interesting how your tastes change. One moment you are sure a book is not for you, and the next day, it goes to the top of your TBR. It's a good thing, else we would be very boring people with predictable reading tastes. Incidentally, I was reminded of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series when I read this synopsis.
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them. Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez

This title has all the promise of being either a jovial or a thought-provoking book. This one's the latter. Books and movies about culture change always interest me, probably because I've been through that thrice already and it's interesting to see how someone copes. There's also the element of migrating to a new country because your current one is besieged.
The Red Umbrella is the moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.

In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched. As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own. Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez

I was looking through Akashic Books' catalog where I saw this one. 
Anna, who has a successful publishing career in the United States, is the daughter of an upper-class Caribbean family. While on vacation in the island home of her birth she discovers that her mother, Beatrice, has breast cancer. Beatrice categorically rejects all efforts to persuade her to go to the United States for treatment, even though it is, perhaps, her only chance of survival. Anna and her father, who tries to remain respectful of his wife’s wishes, must convince her to change her mind.


Comments

bermudaonion said…
The cover of Unwind totally creeps me out!
I like the look of all three.

Here is my Friday Find!
Anonymous said…
Great finds!
Aleksandra said…
Great finds! I read Unwind a few weeks ago & I loved it! Have a great weekend!
Awesome books, I'm so glad you featured them!

Unwind sounds really cool... I love the concept. And I've only been hearing great things about The Red Umbrella. I'd love to read them all!
DelGal Reviews said…
the excitement of never knowing what may "tickle your fancy" one day reading from the next day is always a cool thing. Hope you enjoy these, they look cool, and I may have to add them to my TBR list too
Have a cool weekend! :)
Alyce said…
I'm in the middle of listening to Unwind as an audiobook, and it's good so far. I was very excited to see that it was available on audio from my library a couple of weeks ago. :)
Tales of Whimsy said…
The Red Umbrella is so good. I absolutely loved it. It's young but it accurately portrays the time and experiences. Enjoy!
Leslie said…
What I like about your reviews and from what I see of your site you read some very eclectic books. They are about real people and their ups and downs. Even Unwind has that sort of element if a bit more futuristic. Some great stories, keep on blogging, I will follow.
Thanks,
TicToc
hhtp://www.wrighton-time.blogspot.com
Introverted Jen said…
I've had my eye on The Red Umbrella for a while now. I'm excited to read it!
Ellie said…
Just dropping by to say I just found your blog, and it's great! It's especially nice to find a blog with such a wide range of books amongst so many YA ones... not that I don't come away with a ton of recs from those ones, but I read such a mixture I think I'm going to like it over here! :-)
Ellie @ Musings of a Bookshop Girl

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.


In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …