Tag Archives: Emma Donoghue

My Great Reads 2010

I started 2010 out with the ambition of reading 100 books this year. Like all great plans mine was waylaid by the exigencies of life. I did, however, still manage to read some great books.

My top reads this year are:
1. My absolute favourite read this year is Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann – a great literary read that uses an interesting cultural device to tell an expansive and wonderful story.

2. Brief Interviews with Hideous MenDavid Foster Wallace – Wow, I found this book to be a breath of fresh air. It’s very literary but it breaks free from the usual storytelling devices and then on top of that it contains some really amazing stories. It’s changed the way I believe people can write about things.

3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery – This is just a wonderful read. Written by a French writer it explores unlikely friendships within the quagmire of the French class system. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to read it again.

4. infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali – I don’t read very much non-fiction but I thought this offered a glimpse into a world I know very little about. It makes me want to know more about women and Islam.

5. Freedom Jonathan Franzen – Because he tells a great story that speaks to our times. And he gets bonus points for making me laugh.

6. Loving Frank – Nancy Horan – A great story about Frank Lloyd Wright‘s lover Martha Borthwick. It’s one of those books you can’t put down.

7. Room – Emma Donaghue – Well there’s no question that this is a creepy story about a woman who gives birth to a little boy while she is enslaved in a small room for seven years, but wow does Emma Donoghue ever create a singularly believable voice for young Jack.

8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer – I’m a sucker for any books on war and this one is a great read. I’m now eager to travel to Guernsey now that I know it exists.

9. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen – I completely immersed myself in Ms. Austen’s world when I was reading this. What a testament to the durability of great literature.

10. Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Album – Because this book helped me understand dying better and that’s something I needed to learn about this year.

I’m starting next year’s list which includes:
Irshad Manji – The Trouble with Islam Today
Sea Sick – The Global Ocean in Crisis
Malcolm Gladwell – Blink and What the Dog Saw

I would love to hear from others any recommendations you might have for fiction or non-fiction that I can put on my ‘must read’ list.

Thanks,

Tess

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Room: Emma Donoghue Guest Book Review Savannah Morin


Big thanks to Savannah for contributing this guest review of Emma Donoghue’s Room.

Room haunted me for days after I had finished it. A profoundly disturbing premise, it was mostly affecting because it could be real. The story is told from 5-year-old Jack’s perspective. Jack is living in an 11 by 11 foot room with Ma, the only person he has interaction with. Everything he sees in Room is everything he knows. He is under the impression that Room is everything; there is no outside, there is no world, no nature or other girls and boys. There is just Jack and Ma. The story captures you right from the beginning because it leaps into just how sheltered Jack is about the world, and just how deranged their living situation is. It implores you to wonder how could anybody live like this. Jack’s Ma had been captured and raped and held prisoner in Room, to her a living nightmare. She keeps Jack happy by inventing multiple games and tasks for them to do during the day; math, exercise, crafts and cooking, amongst many other things.

Finally the time comes where Ma cannot stand it any longer; she starts to reveal to Jack that there is a real world out there; an outside, real people and things to do. There is so much to tell, so many rules to break and to explain it to innocent five-year-old Jack is nearly impossible and frustrating. Once she realizes how much she has held back from Jack, the more Ma knows they have to get out of Room.

What was most impressive and interesting about this book was the intricate world that Ma had built for herself and Jack, no details were left out, all horrors were brought to the surface and a real life situation is unveiled. Suspenseful, disturbing and enthralling this story of survival and circumstance is a fascinating read to the very end. I highly recommend this book to sophisticated readers who will enjoy a painfully truthful and entertaining ride that doesn’t hold back.

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