Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review // Oregon Trail, The House We Grew Up In, Ghettoside, All the Old Knives and A Walk in the Woods

Long time, no book reviews.  I've been reading up a storm, so these reviews are the cream of the relative crop.  Not pictured a long list of smutty crime novels and a few delightful-but-light Liane Moriarty books.  On to it!

book review, novels, best books

Oregon Trail // Be still my autodidactic heart.  This book chronicles two brothers experience doing the Oregon Trail together in a mule-pulled wagon in such rich detail I feel like an expert.  This book is not necessarily for those who love a romantic story, but it's so well written, so informative, so detailed that I could barely put it down.  It pretty quickly earned a top 5 spot of this year for me.

The House We Grew Up In //  My mom's book group read this together and she recommended it to me.  The story follows a family through 30 or so years, starting when the kids are teenagers.  At it's most boiled down, the book is about Big Crazy and how families fracture and come together and fracture again.  It's well written, I loved the characters and the drama is somehow presented without choosing sides.

Ghettoside // I loved and hated this book.  It's about the epidemic of black men on black men violence in LA. From a narrative side, it's amazing.  The story telling is woven together beautifully and all parties are presented as humans, not gangsters or bad people or victims.  I loved that the author was able to capture so many points of view on one issue, including families of those killed, the cops who prosecute, jurors and witnesses. There isn't much by way of problem solving - the author isn't presenting an opinion about the awful situation, just laying it out in all of it's horrifying glory, which, in my opinion, made an even stronger statement.  The book is truly masterful, and while I have no idea how to help the situation, it gave me hope that someone might soon.

All the Old Knives //  This book was a very quick read.  It's sort of a spy/crime novel, though lacking in drama.  In fact, the plot unfolds entirely in the two main characters minds and at a single dinner in a posh California suburb.  The narrative and characters were so well done that, by the time I finished the book, I felt like the world had shifted a little, like I'd missed a few days in there.  It's a great little read.

A Walk in the Woods // And on a much lighter note, this oldie-but-goodie came to me through Blogging for Books.  Bill Bryson is a favorite author of mine, so I was thrilled to pick this one up.  True to form, the book is informative, well-written and truly enjoyable. Though it's not my favorite Bryson book, I did enjoy it and look forward to seeing the movie.

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