Ruby Ramblings

April Reads
May 3, 2010, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Books

Same as last month – only six books, although pretty good quality. I did not finish any of the book club books, but, on a positive note, I have switched to Better World Books for my book buying links, which means my international friends can now click on books with cheap shipping. This is generally a much better deal for the few folks who do buy books from my blog, but, let me tell you, the embedding is a hell of lot more difficult than Amazon or Powell’s.

ClayClay: The History and Evolution of Humankind’s Relationship by Suzanne Stoubach
For a former archaeology tech, this book was a fantastic mix of history, humor, and showed clear signs of the kind of obsessive personality that makes a good archaeologist and historian.

Good Omens
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Although I’m a fan of Gaiman, I’ve generally avoided Pratchett and the like. Although I do enjoy a good sci-fi or fantasty once in a while, I guess I’m kind of a snob about it. This was okay. Pretty funny, and I enjoyed the character of the young witch. Overall, I’m a little confused as to why it has reached the cult status that it has.

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai
If Good Omens is a parody of Armageddon, Hallabaloo is a parody of the Hindi Sadhu worship of India. A malcontent postal worker walk away from his job, and through a series of ridiculous events changes his life from the most lackluster of situations to becoming an aesthetic who sits in a tree commanding monkeys to do his bidding and telling fortunes. Somehow the population of the town never figures out that he knows everyone’s secrets because of his years of postal lobby gossip.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Kindle Version

I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. Somehow, I missed all the book and subsequent movie hype. The former editor of French Elle has a massive stroke that leaves him in “locked-in” disease. His brain is perfect, but he can move nothing except for one eye-lid. The entire book is written by him blinking for which letters he needs. Which is why it is so short, but it is also gorgeous and extremely well thought out.

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriquez
Kindle Version

This books wins my vote for favorite of the month hands down. I saw the documentary based on this book ages ago, but I don’t remember that going as in depth to the author’s actual life in Afghanisstan. On the run from an abusive husband, Rodriguez gets swept up in a national charity campaign and ends up opening a school for women in Afghanistan to help them have independent means.

What surprised me most, and in some ways I could really strangely sympathize with, was when Rodriquez allowed her Afghani friends to arrange a marriage for her with a local man who was already married. She became the western 2nd wife to an Afghani who barely speaks English. I think the important thing about this book is that this is one of those places that people in the west think they know a lot about, but really the on ground experience is sure to be quite different.

green ghosts
From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thwe
I have been wanting to get my hands on this book for quite some time. By chance, a copy came up on bookmooch. It is a great book about an area that doesn’t have that much authentic narrative available. Thwe meets a man while waiting tables during university, and his life is changed. The book isn’t really about that though, it’s about his life in Burma before escaping to England and the rise of the military coup. He played a prominent part in the rebel resistance and tells an amazing story of jungle fighting, losing many friends, and refugee camps in Thailand.

I volunteered at a refugee camp on the edge of Burma in 2001. I didn’t really understand any of the politics at the time and this book brings to light the resilience of those kids even more than my memories.

Better World Books is collecting donations for books to rebuild libraries in Haiti.

Send books postage paid to:

Better World Books
Attn: Help Haiti
55740 Currant Rd.
Mishawaka, IN 46545

Please send only books in good condition. Note: Book donations are not tax deductible.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’m glad you liked Clay. You read a couple this month I’ve had my eye on…the Kabul beauty school one (I remember when it was first out and reviewed favorably in TIME) and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Yeah, only 6, but choice stuff!

Comment by bybee

I’m intrigued by the “Clay” book! Good to see another Gaiman fan – I’ve yet to read Good Omens. I’m still flicking through “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” 🙂

Comment by roisinaobrien

[…] April Reads […]

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