The Week In Books 2008, No. 7

I apologize in advance if these reviews seem short and superficial (not that any of my reviews are very in depth) but I have finally succumbed to the latest round of plague afflicting our household. I knew it was just a matter of time. Remember those commercials where the sick person’s head swells up like a balloon and floats up? That’s a good description of how out of it I feel, but I’m so thankful that I don’t have a sore throat this time. Anyway, on to the books:

Suite Francaise is a novel by Irene Nemirovsky, published post-humously. Nemirovsky was a famous novelist in France prior to World War II, but because of her Jewish and Russian ancestry, she was eventually arrested and taken to a series of concentration camps, where she was killed. What is truly amazing about this book is the fact that Nemirovsky wrote it long-hand without finishing it (she intended it to be five parts for a total of 1000 pages, but she only finished the first two portions before being taken). I can only imagine how brilliant it would be if it were complete, because the book in its current form is complex, nuanced, and captures the daily life of the characters in a surprisingly coherent way. The story follows a large cast of characters in the immediate aftermath of the German occupation of France as their lives intersect and layers are unfolded to show who they truly are and what drives them. Based on this book, and because I’m curious to see how Nemirovsky’s style may have differed in her completed works, I plan to check out more of her books.

Nectar in a Sieve
by Kamala Markandaya is the story of an Indian woman whose life becomes increasingly desperate from her childhood until old age. I found this book to be almost crushingly depressing because the grinding poverty and constant slew of terrible things that happen to the characters was unredeemed by any real hope or progress or faith. I don’t say that to imply that the book is not good or worth reading – on the contrary I learned a lot about India and was moved by the terrible suffering and loss experienced by poor people in that region. I just want to warn you that this is not light reading and the volume of tragedy can be overwhelming at times.

Just in time to find out that I need to cut fat from my diet again for a while, I checked out Rocco’s Real-Life Recipes by Rocco Dispirito. This chef had a cameo on “The Biggest Loser” a few weeks ago and his food looked good so I thought I would try some but such was not to be. The recipes in the book are fast and many sound delicious, especially if you have extra room in your grocery budget. I do plan to photocopy a few of these recipes and maybe I’ll make them to try out on Josh and Hannah because this is definitely not fat free or low fat cooking!

This week I reviewed some books about rabbits on the Kids’ Week In Books feature.

For those who wondered after reading my post below, NO. I am not pregnant. But I did already have a funny idea for how I will make the announcement on my blog if/when I do get pregnant again. 🙂

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