Once again we have a backlog of reviews to get out so to clear out the backlog we’ll be doing another series of mini reviews for the 1001 list books we’ve both read over the last few months. We’ll be giving your our verdict on each of the books to help you decide whether you should read it or pass. Let us know if any strike your fancy. Click on the title links to buy the book on Amazon. Read more
Have you ever noticed how some books seem to drive a wedge between people? You check the reviews and find almost no middle-of-the-road ratings. Instead people either seem to love it or hate it. Well, welcome to the Love it or Hate it post category! Each month, we’ll pick one book to review and two contributors will battle it out to convince you to pick it up or throw it out. Last month we discussed Life of Pi and once again the “love it” fans won with 66% of the vote. Many thanks to Sara and Kristel for their wonderful reviews.
This month we will be discussing: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. We have two contributors this month and their names will be revealed after voting closes! Please make sure to vote for this month’s book even if you haven’t read the book you can vote! The poll is at the bottom of this post.
Book Summary (from GoodReads): Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú — the ancient curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim – until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.
With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washington Heights to New Jersey’s Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere – and to risk it all – in the name of love.
The House by the Medlar Tree (I Malagovia) Giovanni Verga
First Published in: 1881
Original language: Italian
Find it/buy it here: The House By the Medlar Tree (Classic Reprint)
Synopsis (from Amazon)
Realist (verismo) novel of Sicilian life by Giovanni Verga, published in 1881 as I Malavoglia. The book concerns the dangers of economic and social upheaval. It was the first volume of a projected five-novel series that Verga never completed. The author’s objective narrative and extensive use of dialogue to advance the action and reveal character represented a new style in Italian fiction. The action centers on the Malavoglia family, who borrow money from the local usurer against unreceived goods they expect to resell. When the shipment is lost at sea, the family must nonetheless repay the debt. A series of setbacks and losses follow, as the family encounters trouble from every quarter. The house is lost and heroic sacrifices are required of both the men and women until the debt is repaid. At the novel’s end the family retakes possession of the house by the medlar tree.