Thursday, February 23, 2017

TOB 2017 - Thoughts, Progress & Updates

Tournament of Books 2017

Thoughts - Progress - Updates

Hello everyone!! I've missed you. I think Arianna has mentioned our hiatus and I think this was a much-needed break for both of us. It's kinda funny that we both had so much going on at the same time but you can never predict where life takes you.

So... I'm not going to lie... I've been pretty bad about reading as well as blogging during this time away. My reading lately has been all for the Tournament of Books. Yep, it's that time of year again and I'm SO behind. Normally, when the shortlist comes out I've read at least a few of the books on that list. This year? Only ONE. Ugh....

Okay, so I've been slacking BUT I have been catching up a bit. I finished "We Love You, Charlie Freeman". This book is going to elicit quite a conversation during the Tournament and I think with everything going on right now in the media, it'll be quite interesting to see where that discussion goes. If you haven't heard anything about this book yet, the basic premise is a family recruited to teach sign language to a chimp. This Institute that hires this family holds a secret past that is slowly revealed over time. One of the craziest things I learned while reading this was that back in the day people were afraid to let deaf people use sign language in schools, they thought that it would encourage the deaf community to marry only each other and "create a perpetuating race of non-hearers". They would actually force them to wear mittens so they couldn't communicate that way. Anyways, this book was a solid 3-Star read for me. It didn't come together the way I was hoping but I appreciate what the Author was doing.

What else? I read "The Vegetarian" by Kang Han earlier in the year. That was a solid 4-Star read but I'll admit that it's been too long for me to elaborate on what I liked about it. I am looking forward to revisiting it during the ToB.

Oh, and "Moonglow" by Michael Chabon, which I am sad to admit is the first I've read from him. Parts of it punched me and other bored me to death. The Grandfather and his existential angst told through his war experiences as well as his love for space - positively brilliant. The family stuff, the Grandmother... most of that didn't come together for me. I want to write more about this and perhaps I'll come back later for a fully formed review but my initial gut reaction was to give this 3 Stars... a few days later 4 Stars. That one part of the book - when he finds the rocket and talks about life, this planet, and the fragility of the human race - I felt so moved... I wish Chabon focused entirely on THAT. However, to be fair, this book was based on stories from his father on his deathbed. I did see glimpses of "The Tsar of Love and Techno" with this one and maybe that's my biggest disappointment... the stories didn't come together like they did for that book. I am a huge fan of that contender. However, the brilliance of this book can be seen in one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"The rocket was beautiful. In conception it had been shaped by an artist to break a chain that had bound the human race ever since we first gained consciousness of earth's gravity and all it's analogs in suffering, failure and pain. It was at once a prayer sent heavenward and the answer to that prayer: Bear me away from this awful place."
I have read a few more from the list and would love to get into that but I think that'll have to wait until next time. Stay tuned for my thoughts on a few of my LEAST favorite ToB picks so far.  

Happy Reading,

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