Adult

Book Review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

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girl translationGirl in Translation 

Written by Jean Kwok
Read by Grayce Wey 
Published April 29, 2010 by Riverhead
Audio Format: Published April 29, 2010 by Penguin Audio
Genre/Topics: Adult Fiction, Cultural, Coming-of-Age
304 pages, 9 hours 

Three Word Review: Determination, Heartbreak, Family Bond

Kimberly Chang is an 11-year-old who recently emigrated from Hong Kong to New York. Kim was an excellent student in school, but she now struggles due to lack of English skills and peer discrimination. Gradually, Kim’s determination helps her through language barriers, understanding American customs, and forming a few friendships. She lives in two worlds: school and home. Kim is in translation between trying to excel in school while helping her mother work  in a clothing fabric and living in very poor living conditions. She is determined to work hard and never settle for less than she’s capable of.

Girl in Translation was another enjoyable audio book. Grayce Wey does a good job providing a clear voice while also giving an ‘Asian’ accent during the dialogue that I was able to understand. Wey expressed each characters’ voice and emotions. I thought this book was enjoyable and would recommend, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.

Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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24hr bookstoreMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Written by Robin Sloan 
Published September 26, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre/Topics: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Books, Technology
288 pages 
 

Three Word Book Review: Fun, Humorous, Mysterious

Clay Jannon recently lost his job as a web designer for NewBagel Company. He’s searched online for jobs with no luck until he stumbles upon a simple help wanted sign outside Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. It actually is open 24 hours and Jannon works the night shift when hardly anyone enters the bookstore. However, Jannon begins to notice something strange because the individuals who do enter don’t exactly buy the books instead they trade books after giving him unique cards with codes. These individuals and books are so unique that Mr. Penumbra tells Jannon that he cannot read them and must keep a detail log of each individual down to their coat buttons. Jannon is now very curious and attempts to uncover the truth with his friends and technology. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a fun book that makes you think about how today’s technology with ebooks mixes with paper books. Which book version will you read the book in?

Book Review: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

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hearing heartbeatsThe Art of Hearing Heartbeats 

Written by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Translated from German by Kevin Wiliarty 
Published January 31, 2012 by Other Press
Genre/Topics: Adult Fiction, Cultural, Romance 
325 pages 

Three Word Review: Dry, Anticlimactic, Slow

If you cannot notice by my word review, I didn’t really enjoy The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. Julia Win’s father disappears and a possible clue is the discovery of a unmailed love letter written decades earlier by her father, Tin Win. The address is in Burma, so Julia leaves New York in search of her father. She meets an elderly man, U Ba, who claims he knows Tin Win’s past and his deep love for Mi Mi. The story is mainly told through his eyes as Julia learns about a passionate side of her father that she wasn’t aware of. Tin Win and Mi Mi depend upon each other and have a special intimate bond. I won’t spoil the beating heartbeats message.

I didn’t enjoy The Art of Hearing Heartbeats for several reasons. I thought the story had great potential with a passionate love in another country. In my opinion, it lacked character depth and never really reached a climax. U Ba’s narrative was dry and at times I was glad I wasn’t Julia trying to stay awake listening. I felt the book left me hanging and ended suddenly. There were ‘ah’ moments between Tin Win and Mi Mi and I’m sure many would enjoy this book, but it lacked too many elements for me.

Book Review: The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

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beautiful girlThe Story of Beautiful Girl 

Written by Rachel Simon 
Read by Kate Reading 
Published February 1, 2011 by Grand Central Publishing 
Genre/Topics: Adult Fiction, Disability, Relationships
340 pages, 12 hours 

Three Word Review: Heartwarming, Unique, Beautiful

This book mainly surrounds three individuals whose lives were effected by one event. The event begins when Lynnie a young white woman with mental disabilities and Homan a deaf African American man escape from the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded so that Lynnie can secretly give birth. They leave the baby in the hands of Martha, a widow who prefers a quiet lifestyle. Lynnie is caught by officials and sent back to the school, but Homan escapes and is now on the run. Lynnie and Homan understood each other and were deeply in love. Homan called Lynnie ‘Beautiful Girl’. The book changes perspectives from Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and Kate who works at the school. The event occurs in 1968, and their lives are told for the next four decades. The Story of Beautiful Girl truly is a beautiful story how each individual somehow connects and loves each other in their own way. I highly suggest this book.

I listened to The Story of Beautiful Girl and absolutely enjoyed the reading. Kate Reading provides a unique voice to each character and makes the story come alive. Lynnie sometimes has trouble speaking and Reading’s narrative expresses her speech difficulties.

Book Review: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

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Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend imaginary
Written by Matthew Dicks
Published by St. Martin’s Press on March 1, 2012
Genre/Topic: Adult Fiction, Fantasy 
311 pages 

 

Three Word Review: Unique, Imaginative, Suspense

Budo is Max’s imaginary friend who always sticks near his side. Budo is unique, because he appears human-like and has been around for 5 years when most imaginary friends die in kindergarten. Max himself is unique, because he has a form of Asperger’s Syndrome which is why Budo is such a great companion. Budo likes most of Max’s teachers, but he doesn’t like Mrs. Patterson who works in the Learning Center who supposedly knows what’s best for Max. Mrs.Patterson performs a terrible situation with Max. Budo communicates with other imaginary friends to help Max even if your friend may no longer believe.

I enjoyed this book, because it was a unique perspective and makes us wonder if we remember any imaginary friends and how the silent guidance helped us.