Saturday, November 8, 2008

Self Proclaimed [and named] Literphiliac

I am a big-time book lover and recently me and a few of my cousins decided to form a small book club.

Anyway, I got to choose this round's selection and I thought I would share what I came up with, here.

1. Let's get it started here with a winner: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz is 2008's Pulitzer Prize winner in Fiction

The titular Oscar is a 300-pound-plus "lovesick ghetto nerd" with zero game (except for Dungeons & Dragons) who cranks out pages of fantasy fiction with the hopes of becoming a Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien. The book is also the story of a multi-generational family curse that courses through the book, leaving troubles and tragedy in its wake. This was the most dynamic, entertaining, and achingly heartfelt novel I've read in a long time. My head is still buzzing with the memory of dozens of killer passages that I dog-eared throughout the book. The rope-a-dope narrative is funny, hip, tragic, soulful, and bursting with desire. Make some room for Oscar Wao on your bookshelf--you won't be disappointed. --Brad Thomas Parsons

2. Throw food and anything Italian (this one has a Sicilian focus) in a book and you are going to get my attention, and La Cucina: A Novel of Rapture did just that!

Review: Sumptuously appointed, celebratory and sensuous, this debut novel is a mouth-watering blend of commedia dell'arte and Greek tragedy. Prior cooks up a cinematic yarn full of characters so rich you'll fear they're fattening, but readers will be sure to splurge on this saucy tale chock full of sex, recipes and murder. Born in 1915, Rosa Fiore grows up on the family farm in the Sicilian village of Castiglione with six older brothers and her younger Siamese twin siblings, Guera and Pace (war and peace). Rosa spends most of her time in what is really the core of the family, la cucina, the kitchen, which is the outlet for all Rosa's passions except one, her lover, Bartollomeo. ... Ironic humor, fantastical subplot twists, attention to touching detail in setting and tone and a delightful gift for characterization make this sexy black comedy an award-winning recipe for pleasure. The combination of sex and food will undoubtedly invite comparisons with Like Water for Chocolate and 8Y Weeks. Add a dash of Goodfellas, and there's something for everyone.

3. They put locks on diaries for a reason -- because they are so fun to read! A sneak peek into this one looks like a unique perspective into one woman's experience in the wild, wild west: A Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

In Brief: Based on actual historical events, One Thousand White Women is the poignant story of May Dodd's journey west. Committed to an insane asylum by her blueblood family for an affair with a man beneath her station, May finds that her only hope of freedom is to participate in a secret government program whereby women from the "civilized" world become the brides of Cheyenne warriors. She soon falls in love with John Bourke, a gallant young army captain, even though she is married to the great chief Little Wolf. Caught between two worlds and two men, Dodd is forced to make tough decisions that will change her life forever.

Happy page turning!

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