Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

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 I think I'm one of the few people who read this book and didn't love it!  For some reason, I didn't connect to any of the characters at all.  They didn't seem complex or interesting.  The story itself seemed to be "told" rather than shown.

The story is about Henry - we first meet him as a 56 year old widower who has recently lost his wife to cancer.  He has one son who he has a strained relationship with.  One day, he watches as a nearby hotel (The Panama) brings up items which had been hidden in the basement since WWII.  These items were family belongings that Japanese citizens left there for safekeeping as they were taken away (relocated to camps).  As Henry watches, he begins to remember his childhood and his relationship with a Japanese girl, Keiko.

I get the sentimental aspect of it - the awful truth of how our country treated Japanese citizens during WWII and how anyone of Asian descent was looked at with suspicion.  The sadness of being different, and losing someone who you connected with.

I think this book could have been so much more, both in emotion and in history. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

 The Forest of Hands and Teeth
  The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Unfortunately, this book only gets 3 stars from me.  On one hand, the writing is great - very readable and compelling.  Unfortunately, the plot and story just didn't do it for me.

A small village exists, surrounded by fencing to keep out the "Unconsecrated" - which are zombies that like to feed on the humans.  The village is run by the Sisterhood and protected by Guardians.  The village has survived for so long that no one really knows why they live this way, why there are the Unconsecrated.

Mary has heard stories of the ocean from her mother all her life, and when the village is breached, she decides to leave and try to find another village and other humans.  Together with a few other survivors, they set out.

The story could have been fabulous, but nothing was ever explained.  Why are there zombies?  Why was the village set up the way it was?  How many other villages are there?  What about the paths - how and why are they there?  Why does no one travel them???? 

With a bit more work, this book could easily have been a 4 1/2 star book, but as it is, I don't really recommend it.