Tag Archives: Barbara Kingsolver Books

Goodbye finals, hello reading hibernation!

10 Dec

It’s official! I took my last final this morning, so the fall semester of my junior year of college is officially behind me! Woohoo! It feels amazing to be done, and now I have nothing but good things to look forward to over the next month. This week kicks off a slew of good things: meeting with the Easter Seals program director of the Asheville office tomorrow, going to see The Nutcracker with my mom on Wednesday (which I haven’t seen since I was really young), and leaving for Lynchburg, Virginia on Thursday to spend a week with Kayley and her adorable daughter, Clara. I can’t wait!

However, best of all, I rewarded myself for being done with finals by making a trip to Barnes and Noble. Yes, it was a success. Here were the two treasures I knew I could not live without:

photo-12

These two treasures are only the beginning of my month-long reading hibernation I look forward to every year in between the fall semester and spring semester. However, I know they will be perfect reads to start things off. To all of you book lovers out there, are there any books you are looking forward to reading this holiday season? Share your suggestion in a comment below! 🙂

 

 

Advertisements

WWW Wednesdays: August 22nd.

22 Aug

I’ve read some good books lately, so I thought I’d participate in a WWW Wednesdays this week. WWW Wednesdays were started by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Even though Gone Girl is the book by Gillian Flynn that is currently popular, I came across the synopsis of Dark Places on Amazon and thought it would be a good introduction to Flynn’s writing before reading Gone Girl. 

Just finished reading: Small Wonder: Essays by Barbara Kingsolver. This book of essays was a nice change from the usual fiction by Kingsolver that I’m naturally drawn to. Plus, since I found out that Kingsolver will be coming to Asheville as part of her book tour in November, I figured that I needed to read some of the other genres that she’s written in. I loved the book of essays though. Despite being essays and not one concise story, I found myself unable to put the book down. 

Reading next: These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf. I loved The Weight of Silence by Gudenkauf that I read last summer, and when I found out that there was another book that she had written, I knew that I had to give it a shot too.

Feel free to comment with your WWW Wednesday. I know how much I love seeing what everyone else is reading, and I could certainly go for some suggestions if any of you have read anything really great lately.

If you could choose any book character to be real, which one would you pick?

7 Aug

Those who know me really well know that Jodi Picoult is my favorite author. Therefore, it’s relatively surprising that it took me this long to finally go out and buy Between The Lines, a YA novel that Picoult co-wrote with her daughter, Samantha Van Leer. Here’s a synopsis of the book written by Picoult herself (from jodipicoult.com):

Between the Lines was Sammy’s idea, and frankly, she’s got a better imagination than I ever did at her age. It’s called Between the Lines, and it’s about what happens when happily ever after…isn’t. Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books—one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia . . . forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

It’s an absolutely STUNNING book – with the coolest illustrations that remind of Arthur Rackham’s work from the turn of the century and silhouettes that take my breath away — in other words, it’s a book you want to keep on your shelves and just look at because it’s so pretty. But it’s also sweet, and funny, and charming, and it was a delight to have the experience of writing it with my own daughter! I’m incredibly excited for its publication and we’ll be on tour this summer to promote it!

Even though I just started the book, I can already tell I’m going to love it. I mean, the basic plot involves a girl who finds out that the Prince Charming of the fairy tale that she’s read cover to cover multiple times isn’t just a character inside of a book. This simple idea got me thinking…if I could live inside of a book or if I could choose characters in a book to be real…which book/characters would I pick?

Though normally this question would take quite a bit of thought from me, I know without a doubt which character and book I would choose to be real: Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. It’s the best book I’ve read this summer and probably one of my favorite books now (not counting older literature like Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky and other popular fiction like any book by Barbara Kingsolver). Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars is my fictional dream guy. He’s intelligent, he reads a lot, he tells things how they are without sugar-coating them (but it’s an attractive quality and not something that’s ever hurtful to the girl in the story, Hazel), and he’s romantic without being overly mushy-gushy. As I was reading The Fault In Our Stars, on practically every page I’d think to myself: Why can’t Augustus Waters be real? I think at one time or another, everyone has imagined the possibility of their favorite fictional character being real. For me, at the moment, it’s Augustus Waters. However, a year ago it could have been a completely different character, such as Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Come on though, what woman doesn’t want Mr. Darcy to be real? I know that I definitely went through a Mr. Darcy lovesick phase myself.

So, now it’s your turn, if you could choose any character from any book to be real, which one would you pick and why?

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

30 May

In continuing with my “Barbara Kingsolver kick,” I read Prodigal Summer. It was a bit different from the other Kingsolver novels that I have read because of its strong focus on nature and the natural world that surrounds us, but I think that is one of the reasons that I really loved it (since I am a mountain/nature girl at heart). Here’s the synopsis according to Amazon.com:

Barbara Kingsolver’s fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel’s intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.

Of the three “stories” that made up the novel (Mr. Garrett, Lusa, and Deanna), I was most drawn to the character of Deanna. She is a wildlife biologist that lives alone in the southern Appalachian mountains who observes coyotes that live in the surrounding wilderness that she calls her home. I think I was most drawn to Deanna because of her satisfaction with living alone and isolated from the world, content to live among nature rather than humans. That is not to say that I would isolate myself that severely with no contact with the outside world. However, I understand the fact that Deanna is content with living among the wilderness. In that sense, she is not alone. She’s surrounded by woods and creatures that she has a strong connection with than she does with humans. Don’t get me wrong. I’m social. However, I love the mountains. Numerous times this past semester, I left campus and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway (only about a 7 minute drive from campus). I’d bring along my camera and a book, and I’d be perfectly content. There were times when I did bring along a friend or two, and that was fun. However, I was most content when I went alone. I think that is because when it was just me, my camera, and a book, I was able to move at my own pace, stop at whatever overlook I wanted, and sit gazing out at the Blue Ridge mountains for as long as I wanted. I could just sit and appreciate the beauty around me, and most of the time, I left the Parkway with a clearer head and a stronger love for the Blue Ridge Mountains that I am so happy to call home.

Therefore, if you love nature, I highly recommend this book. It’s amazing!

Pigs In Heaven By Barbara Kingsolver: A Book Review.

20 May

Earlier this week I finished a second book by Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs In Heaven. I loved The Bean Trees and Kingsolver’s writing so much that I just had to read more by her.

Pigs In Heaven is a follow-up to The Bean Trees. However, you don’t have to read The Bean Trees first to be able to follow the storyline of Pigs In Heaven. Here’s the synopsis of Pigs In Heaven (according to Amazon.com):

Six-year-old Turtle Greer witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, leading to a man’s dramatic rescue. But Turtle’s moment of celebrity draws her into a crisis of historical proportions that will envelop not only her and her mother, Taylor, but everyone else who touched their lives in a complex web connecting their future with their past. With this wise, compelling novel, the acclaimedNew York Times bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, and Animal Dreams vividly renders a world of heartbreak and redeeming love as she defines and defies the boundaries of family, and illuminates the many separate truths about the ties that bind us and tear us apart.

I can without a doubt say that I enjoyed Pigs In Heaven more than The Bean Trees, but honestly I think that’s because I had already gotten used to Kingsolver’s writing style and I was eager to hear more of Taylor and Turtle’s story together after first meeting them in The Bean Trees. Pigs In Heaven definitely didn’t disappoint.

Even though I was drawn most to the character of Taylor when I read The Bean Trees, when I read Pigs In Heaven, I connected most with Taylor’s mother, Alice. I think I connected with her most because her strength and strong belief in herself was evident through the fact that she left a marriage that she was unhappy in so that she could be there for a person who was struggling more, her daughter. Alice’s need to be there for her daughter, while also knowing that she had reached an age where she was expected to stand on her own to feet is something that really stuck with me. All teens go through those times with their parents. For me, the most notable was when I went off to boarding school. For most other teens, it’s when they go off to college. When I was first at boarding school, it was hard to adjust to not having my parents around. I remember the months before I left and how I was dying to get out of the house, but the second day I was away from them, I found myself sitting on my bed in my dorm room crying for a mom and dad who were three and a half hours away. Though I know that these feelings are normal, it’s not any easier when you realize you have to pack up and leave behind the people who have believed in you since before you were even born. How do you walk away from a love like that?

What I’ve realized, and what was discussed in Pigs In Heaven, is that even when it’s hard to leave home and go out on your own, you can still look back to your parents for guidance and support. In Pigs In Heaven Taylor relied heavily on Alice when she was in a really difficult spot, but yet Alice was the one to pull away when she realized that Taylor had to walk ahead alone with her own daughter that she loved as much as Alice loved Taylor. It was touching to see the support that Taylor and Alice had for each other, while also seeing how much they trusted that each of them would be okay. Even though I’m not a parent, I know from the standpoint of a daughter how hard it is to realize that it’s finally time to take your own responsibility for things, rather than relying on your parents. However, for me, my parents will be here to support me no matter what, and yet they’ve given me the wings that I need to fly.

I definitely, definitely recommend this book. Go read it! Now!