Friday, January 28, 2011

Bumpy Landings by Donald J. Carey

Published in 2011. 252 pages.

Author Don Carey provided me with a copy of
Bumpy Landings for review. Thanks, Don!

First sentence: Jordan MacDonald eased the rusty old van into a too-small parking space and quickly killed the engine.

Plot summary (from the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data): Against his mother's wishes, a young Mormon in La'ie, Hawaii, earns his pilot's license in order to impress his girlfriend.

Why I read this book: Author Don Carey is the brother of my friend Karra, whom I met when we both served on a non-profit board a few years ago. I first learned about Bumpy Landings from Karra via Facebook - and I immediately knew I wanted to read it. Later, after I won some chocolate macadamias by posting and tweeting about the adorable book teaser, Don asked if I'd be interested in participating in a blog tour for the book. So here we are!

Some random thoughts:
  • One of the things that drew me to Bumpy Landings was my memory of wanting to learning to fly when I was the age of the main character Jordan. While that dream has faded over the years, it was nice to be reminded of that desire through this story.

  • I appreciated the subtle condemnation of racist attitudes amid the diversity of Hawaii. For example, "He [Jordan] assumed that by 'weirdos' Spencer [who is white and from the mainland] meant 'people who don't look like me.'"

  • The theme of self-discovery is a meaningful one. All of us - not just 21-year-old boys - should be on a continual quest to know ourselves and our place in the world.

  • The character Jordan - like both Don Carey and me - is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Some of the culture of the religious community - particularly the common practice of young people (like Jordan) serving a mission - plays a prevalent role in the storyline. I don't think that the reader needs to be Mormon or even have any specific knowledge about the Church, however, to enjoy the story, just as the reader doesn't have to have lived or even visited Hawaii to appreciate the setting.

  • I look forward to reading more of Don's writing! (I saw something about YA sci-fi on Don's blog, and I'm already intrigued.)

From the peanut gallery: My book-loving 15-year-old daughter also read the book. She says, "Bumpy Landings is a cute romance with a refreshing religious context. The story carried me smoothly along. The ending, however, was a bit of a 'bumpy landing' for me, as I felt disappointment at one of the character's choices. I do recommend this book."

Relationship to real life: Many writers, especially debut novelists, draw upon their own experiences as the basis for their work. Don talks about "How Much of This is You?" on his blog. I was amused by his comment that "in earlier drafts, Jordan was a lot more like me, and I had to change that and make him just a little less pathetic." I laughed out loud when I saw the goodreads post of Don's sister Marri: "Although the book is fictitious, I know some of you may wonder how much is based on actual people and events. The sister of the main character may sometimes resemble me, but when she is whiny, annoying, or not nice, it is clearly fictitious or perhaps he was drawing from another sister."

For more information:

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Favorite Reads of 2010

In 2010 on goodreads, I gave five stars ("it was amazing") to eight books. I gave another 42 books a four-star rating ("really liked it"). The following are a few of my favorites of those 50 good reads:

What were your favorite reads of 2010?