Friday, August 26, 2011

The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum

Published in 2011. 368 pages.

The world is full of impossibilities - some beautiful, some terrible - but sometimes, when you least expect it, they can become possible.
                ~ Abby

The Forgotten Locket is a satisfying ending to The Hourglass Door trilogy. I was bothered by some of the same things as in the previous books, but overall - as before - my inner teenage geek had a good time with it! (My initial response to The Hourglass Door is here, with my thoughts on The Golden Spiral here.)

I re-read The Hourglass Door last fall for my Teaching Through Literature Discussions workshop. I found that I enjoyed the book more on the second read - perhaps partly because I wasn't trying so much to figure things out. I also found that I appreciated the book more having heard the author talk about it and the writing process. Among the interesting things she said are these:
One thing that bugged me while I was reading was looking at the beautiful gold locket on the cover and seeing in my mind's eye the beautiful silver locket described in the narrative. In the end, I understand the point of the cover picture - but for most of the book I was thinking that the cover designer hadn't even read it!

Here is a favorite passage from The Forgotten Locket, one that I think deserves some contemplation:

"What kinds of things did you wish for?

Orlando turned his attention to the fire, avoiding my gaze. "Oh, I never made a wish myself."

"Why not?"

"I don't know. Maybe it was because I didn't want to look at my life and see what was missing. Once you identify what you lack, then it's all you see anymore. Wanting something I couldn't have would only lead to unhappiness, so I tried to be content with what I had."

"That's terrible," I said. "It misses the whole point of wishing. It's not to focus on what you don't have; it's to show you what could be. Once you know what you want, then you know what to reach for, what to dream about. It's how you change things."


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Three Audiobooks I Enjoyed

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
Published in 2006.
Audiobook performed by Carol Monda.

I read a number of negative reviews of Rise and Shine shortly after I started listening to the audiobook. I'm glad I didn't respond to those by abandoning the book, as I ending up enjoying it a great deal.

There is a lot to ponder in this novel: the difference between who we are and what we do, the relationship between sisters, the importance of family, and an understanding of what really matters. I was listening through tears near the end of the book - probably not such a great idea when driving in rush hour traffic.

Anna Quindlen certainly has a way with words. It had been many years since I'd read one of her novels, and I'm happy to have made my re-acquaintance with her work!


Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline
Published in 2007.
Audiobook performed by Barbara Rosenblat.

It had been a number of years since I had read a book by Lisa Scottoline. It won't be as long before I read another!

Daddy's Girl was a great audiobook "read"! It is laugh-out-loud funny in places, with enough twists and turns in the mystery to keep me guessing to the end. The story also has a meaningful exploration of what "justice" means, with references to The Merchant of Venice and the Underground Railroad.


The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Originally published in 2000.
Audiobook performed by Jeff Woodman.

This is the second book of The Queen's Thief young adult fantasy series. (My review of the first book - The Thief - is here.)

With lots of adventure and a little bit of romance, this one is hard to resist. There are some fabulous theological insights near the end, as the thief Eugenides struggles to understand the path his life has taken. I thought the ending was perfect - and leads right into the third book of the series, The King of Attolia.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Published in 2009. 201 pages.

Summary of plot (from Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Data): While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weighs whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.

Personal response: If I Stay is a quick but powerful look at family, love, and what matters most. I hope no one was watching me cry while I read during lunch at the sandwich shop!

Thoughts of other bloggers: Natasha at Maw Books Blog said, "Gayle Forman is able to pack in a wallop of a storyline and character development in just a few short pages." For Suey at It's All About Books, the "bottom line" was "I loved it, even if it did make me quite weepy." Melissa at One Librarian's Book Reviews had some issues with the book, although she thought the ending was "beautifully done." At The Book Nest, Corinne said, "I liked the feel of love that just sort of radiated out from all the relationships in this book." Darren at Bart's Bookshelf called If I Stay a "powerful story about loss and love in all its meanings."

Up next: Where She Went is the recently published sequel. It's definitely on my to-read list!