Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Reviews: Sibling Relationships, Oysters &


Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

Spiotta wrote a story revolving around familial relationships, specifically that of siblings Nik and Denise. Nik is an obscure rockstar with OCD, reclusive tendencies. Denise is a loving mother, who seems to be not quite satisfied with how her life is and is sort of left with taking care of everyone in her family, including her mother with dementia, and Nik whose alcoholic tendencies leave him with no money. Denise's daughter, Ada, decides to make a documentary about her uncle's life escalating to the release of the final album in a series he's been making his whole life. Honestly, I didn't like this book. The characters weren't relatable to me and they left me depressed,  I say, skip this one.

Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm by Erin Byers Murray

This book is written by Erin, a former social blog writer who quit her job to work at Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Despite how awesome it sounds, she does the un-glamorous jobs like spraying oyster poop off mesh bags in freezing cold weather, works crazy long hours in the middle of the summer and faces the stress of being in charge of a baby oyster crop. On the other hand, she also gets free oysters, really cool experiences, like a gourmet meal and working in the kitchen at a fancy restaurant in NYC, and learns more about the farm-to-table process. She writes in a really open way, including about issues her marriage faced through this decision. I appreciate that in a book and author. And she basically lives out one of my secret desires. It was a fairly quick read and I recommend it.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Where to even begin with this book? It is a really excellent story that intertwines the lives of two characters. One is an old man, Leo Gursky, who survived in Eastern Europe during World War II, and the other, Alma Sevilla, a teenage girl with a father who died and is left with a broken family. Early on in the book, Krauss draws your compassion for both of these characters because of how their lives have happened and how lonely they both are. It did take me awhile to really get into the book but when I finally finished the last half in one day (it was due at the library) I was left really intrigued. There is a certain point where things come together and I felt so invested/hopeful/confused all at the same time. Honestly, I like a clean ending in a story and Krauss doesn't give it to me, but I still really enjoyed this. It sort of reminded me of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and would say it's along those lines of a story. 

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