Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Hiding Place

Oh hooray! "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom it is!

This is one of my all-time favorite books. It's actually a biography, not fiction, but it's a superb read that I guarantee will keep you turning pages. I read it often, I think of it often, I refer to it often. A true five-star, life-changer in my opinion. And if you're anything like me, read with a tissue. :) It's that powerful.

Here's one review:
Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was a Dutch woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis by hiding them in their home in Haarlem, and their reward was a trip to Hitler's concentration camps. Corrie's father, sister, brother, and nephew died as a result of their imprisonment. But she survived and was released--as a result of a clerical error--and now shares the story of how faith triumphs over evil.

For thirty-five years Corrie's dramatic life story, full of timeless virtues, has prepared readers to face their own futures with faith, relying on God's love to overcome, heal, and restore. The Hiding Place tells the riveting story of how a middle-aged Dutch watchmaker became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler's death camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century.

heads up

I'm not trying to rush the discussion of "The Namesake" one single bit. Just thought I'd throw out my pick (I believe I'm up next!) so everyone can try getting their hands on it. I know sometimes it takes a while if you end up on a hold list at the library...

I choose Corrie Ten Boom's "The Hiding Place". Unless everyone has already read it, in which case I have a back up..... what do you think?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spoiler alert! - updated

Don't keep reading if you're not done; I just wanted to respond while the book was still fresh in my mind.

First: LOVED IT.

Lahiri's descriptions were so rich, especially--I'm noticing this now as I think back through the book--when it comes to the aspects of Bengali & American life that she juxtaposes. Here are the ones that I could think of:

  • Food: At first I thought she was describing the Indian dishes for the benefit of those of us who don't know the cuisine, but then the descriptions of the restaurants Gogol ate at & the food at his first dinners with Maxine & Moushumi were just as minute, & so hunger-inducing.
  • Family: His repressed relationship with his parents vs. Ruth's hippie parents & Maxine's laid-back parents. Even the things they talked about at the dinner table were so different: I remember something about him thinking that his parents would never argue about movies or music.
  • Parties: the loud, crazy Bengali parties vs. the dinner parties he went to in NY, especially with Maxine's family
  • Clothes: She goes to such great lengths to describe Gogol's mother's saris, his jeans, his girlfriends' sweaters, shoes, everything. I was particularly struck at the beginning with his mother's reaction to the hospital gown she had to trade her sari in for when she was giving birth, because it only reached to the knee.
  • Homes: The Gangulis' fastidiousness (I loved the remark about some Bengali families laying newspaper on the carpet in the room the kids were in!) was quickly rejected by him as soon as college, & he loved the quiet disorder in Maxine's family's house.
  • Death: Forgot this one initially, but it stuck out to me more than most. Gogol seems to always notice graveyards, perhaps because they're so different from the Indian funeral customs. But in the end, the photo of his father in their house on Pemberton Road is "the closest thing" he has to a grave.
Also, I thought it was really interesting that death is what spelled the end of Gogol/Nikhil's two committed relationships. First, his father's death yanked him back into his Bengali world, causing things to end between him & Maxine. Then, the death of that secretary at Moushumi's department was what caused her to find Dmitri's resume & contact him, beginning the affair that ended her marriage with Nikhil. Both times, it seemed like the past came crashing into the new world he was living in: his Bengali past intruding on his firmly established American life, then this American man from Moushumi's past intruding on their somewhat Bengali (if only because they were both Bengali) life.

Did anyone else find it ironic that the man who ruined Gogol's marriage, the one whose "name upset Gogol more than his own" for the first time, also had a Russian name? It's a good thing Gogol is my husband's favorite author (he served his mission in St. Petersburg & majored in Russian at BYU), because now I can read "The Overcoat!"

Lastly (I know this is long), I find it interesting that after all of their rejection of the lifestyle their parents created for them, Gogol & Sonia wind up appreciating it, even embracing it. It reminds me of that little rebellion period that I think most of us go through, where our parents are uncool & not smart in the least, & then we mature, get married, have kids, & end up doing a lot of the same things our parents did.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Namesake

I have finished reading this book and have two sleeping kids so thought I would post a few comments.

I knew nothing about this book going in so I did not know what to expect. As I started reading I fell in love. It was a real page turner for me. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and watching there lives. I enjoyed how every now and than it would switch to a different characters perspective but still fall all the characters.

I was kind of sad when the book ended. I wanted it to keep going so I could find out what happens to "Googles".

I am excited to see what others say and to post more. I did not want to spoil it for anyone who has not finished!