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Her Fearful Symmetry Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Although the structure of this book felt very different from that of The Time Traveler’s Wife, both books brought out a similar feeling in me – a simultaneous fascination and eye-roll. Fascination because you want to find out how these characters will react to their circumstances as well as where on earth the story is headed, and an eye-roll because things are a little over the top. Here, the over the top comes from the twin-ishness of the twins and a certain plot point that I never quite bought (but won’t spoil). Otherwise, the world of the story is wonderfully described – the apartments and cemetery both feel tangible – and many of the characters are complex and quirky (without being too quirky). It’s a good novel to sink into when you’re in the mood to suspend your disbelief and go along for the ride, when you want an absorbing story, a hint of the supernatural, and some atmosphere.

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Source: public library

I’ve been on a big fat novel kick lately, and I blame this book for starting it – since this one, I’ve read Connie Willis’ Passage (funnier, but still big and fat) and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Swan Thieves, which I just recently finished (and which takes itself even more seriously than Her Fearful Symmetry).  Now I’m finding it harder to get lost in the children’s books that have been piling up, however excellent they are, and I’m scheming which novely-novel to dive into next.  I’ve got Nick Hornby’s newest waiting on hold, but I don’t know if it fits the mold I’m looking for.  Any suggestions?  Something satisfyingly oomphy and emotional, good characters, that kind of thing?  A proper grown-up book?

Operation Yes Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes

How much do I love that cover? So much. The further you get into the book, the more you realize the cover designer actually read the whole thing – the specific green army men, the crack in the blackboard.

But that doesn’t count for much if you don’t like the book – fortunately the two went hand in hand. It’s one of those stories that sounds like a school story – and much of the action does center around the school – but it’s also big picture in that it takes into account family, identity, what kind of person you want to be, affiliations, and how you interact with the larger world. The kids are complex and real, the adults are complex and real. It’s tough and sweet and funny and makes you think about how you deal with what life throws at you. “Yes, but…”

Bonus points: a great school librarian who uses book titles as exclamations.

Source: my public library

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May 2010

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