No One Writes Back

 

No One Writes Back

No One Writes Back is a novel by South Korean author Eun-Jin Jang. The book is fairly short, and covers the travels of a young man traveling with his mp3 player and his dog. More comfortable with numbers than names, he gives each of the people he meets a number, then asks them to give him their address so he can write them a letter. He calls his old neighbor from time to time, asking about the mail. As the title suggests, no one ever writes back.

The story seems a little aimless, but the narration is still engaging enough to make up for it. And along the way, our hero (unnamed) meets a woman (whom he names 751) and strikes up an accidental platonic relationship with her. Against his will. She’s persistent.

The only caution I would give about this book is that, since the main character spends a lot of time at motels, there is a fair amount of sex mentioned. Not graphically, nor involving him, but still not something I would recommend for a kid.

This is a wonderful book, with a beautiful twist ending. (I did not cry. I’m kind of proud of myself.) I highly recommend it. ♥

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Friday the Rabbi Slept Late

friday the rabbi slept late

Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, by Harry Kemelman, is a classic mystery story. I picked up a copy at the used bookstore because we were reading it for book club. Of course, I didn’t finish it in time. And I had something else scheduled for that day. But hey—I’m one step closer to actually going to book club. This is progress, right?

I don’t think this would be a classic if it weren’t for the strong Jewish flavor. Don’t get me wrong—Kemelman writes a pretty good mystery. There are twists and turns, and all that. But most of the book is Jewish culture, with a mystery to solve. Did I learn something about Jewish culture? Absolutely. Was it a good mystery? Meh. It was about as good as any of Agatha Christie’s lesser-known works.

If you really like cozy mysteries, or if you want some good Jewish fiction, go for it. But if you’re looking for a good mystery, go with something else. ♦

What Christians Believe (C.S. Lewis)

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So, I didn’t realize this when I picked up the book, but all of What Christians Believe is already encompassed in C.S. Lewis’s larger book, Mere Christianity. And, to be honest, if you’re interested in the subject or the author, you should just pick up Mere Christianity.

What Christians Believe is the smaller, easier-to-read, condensed highlights reel. Is it still good? Yes. But all of my favorite parts, including a wonderful analogy of Christ “belonging” to humanity the same way a colony tree belongs to its sister trees, are left out.

(Short) story short: if you’re looking for an abstract of Mere Christianity, pick up What Christians Believe. But if you actually want the meat of the matter, read Mere Christianity. ♦

Read-a-thon Week!

Well, folks, here’s how it is.

Postpartum depression sucks.

Don’t read that wrong: I didn’t say motherhood sucks. I didn’t say babies suck. Babies are awesome. My baby is exceptionally awesome. But he’s taken a lot of my time, and every now and then, depression hits and hits hard. Which means that about 90% of the time (and getting better), I feel great, and I’ve got a marvelously renewed purpose in life. And then sometimes I just want to throw things.

Which brings me to the reason I haven’t posted practically anything since my son was born. Most of the time, I’ve got this newborn baby to play with, take care of, and just stare at, wondering how something so dang cute could ever have been living inside me. So naturally, I’m not thinking about my blog. Then, whenever I’m not taking care of Little John, it’s because I hate the world. So naturally, I don’t care about my blog.

I’m repenting, because I need this blog. It’s an outlet. I’m also repenting, because I flatter myself by thinking some people have missed it. I’m apologizing, because the coming week is all going to be book reviews. I’m nursing. I have a lot of down time, stuck in one spot, with very little conversation to pass the time. I’ve done a lot of reading.

So, since I’ve been having a read-a-thon, I’ll invite you to join me! If you don’t particularly care what I’ve been reading, or what I thought about it, you can pretty much just skip this week. Toodles. ♦

The Miserable Mill

9780064407694

Lemony Snicket is at it again, with book 3 of the Series of Unfortunate Events. The Miserable Mill took me about two days to get through (a grand total of probably two or three hours, to be honest), and it made a fun read. Heavy literature? Hardly – but good for “snack food” reading.

The Miserable Mill includes hypnotism, chewing gum, coupons, and a horrible sawing machine. Also, a sword-fighting baby. It’s a fun read. ♦

The Giver

Remember how I was going to read a gajillion books this year?

Yeah, so I finally started reading again after about 2 or 3 months’ absence. I guess I just read myself out. But my mom took me and Ethan out to see The Giver in theaters, and I was impressed. So, naturally, I had to read the book again to see how the movie compared.

Surprisingly, I would recommend the movie just as strongly as the book on this one. Much of the dialogue is taken straight from the book, and the only differences between the two were, I feel, very fitting to adapt the book into a visual, feature-length format.

The Giver is a dystopian novel about a “perfect” society that has erased all differences, and all memories of the past. Jonas, the main character, is selected to become the “Receiver of Memories,” the only member of the society that remembers what life was like before the Community, and therefore, an important adviser to the Elders. But Jonas starts to realize the Community has done too much to make everything the same, and wonders if he can force a change back.

The book is fantastic. The movie is also fantastic, in different ways. I highly recommend both, in any order you like. ♥

Through the Looking-Glass

through the looking glass

Yes, I’m reading a lot. I’m sick. I have been for months. So this baby is gonna be grown on Golden Grahams, Pokemon Yellow, and a whole lot of English literature.

Which brings me to Lewis Carroll. I liked Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland so much, I just kept going with Through the Looking-Glass. Through the Looking-Glass is, if anything, even more ridiculous than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The plot is slightly more cohesive – following Alice as a pawn in a chess match as she moves her way toward the end of the board to be queened – and yet, the transitions actually make even less sense in this one. In Wonderland, at least Alice usually walked through a door or a forest or something before she found something crazy. In Looking-Glass world, she usually just turns around and finds she’s in a boat. Or on a train. Or at a door.

At any rate, this is an even easier read than Alice in Wonderland, and I found it quite amusing. I give it two thumbs up. ♦