Tag Archives: literary road trip

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (review and giveaway)

Word Lily review

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (Dutton, April 14, 2011), 336 pages

Summary
Lincoln, thought by some to be a perpetual student, finally quit school (after several degrees) and moved back home. Now, he’s working at the newspaper, overseeing internet security and fixing printers when they need it. It’s not a great job; Lincoln’s working second shift, in a windowless office all alone. He can’t meet people, because he works when they’re awake. And he really doesn’t like snooping through private emails, but that’s what he’s paid to do.

Thoughts
Much of the book consists of email exchanges between two women, friends. Lincoln can’t bring himself to send them a warning, and he kind of feels like he’s become friends with them — even while feeling like a creep for reading their email.

In some ways, this is a coming of age novel. Although Lincoln’s not a teenager, when the book opens he doesn’t have a clear picture of who he is, and he’s lacking direction and motivation.

The Y2K scare and preparation aspect of the book (it’s set in 1999) is fun. I love the Omaha, Nebraska setting. I also loved being back in a newspaper office, talking about inky fingers, second shift, and copy-editing.

Overall, I found this book charming, and not entirely shallow. The book touches on themes of self-concept, esteem, ethics, fertility, and marriage.

Rating: 4 stars

About the author
Rainbow Rowell (Facebook @rainbowrowell), is a columnist for the Omaha World-Herald. She lives in Omaha with her family. She has a journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Other reviews
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Thanks to the publisher, one of you can win a copy of Attachments! (U.S. or Canada only.) To enter, leave a comment on this post. (One entry per person.) I’ll accept entries through Monday, May 2, 2011.

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. See who won.

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Havah by Tosca Lee

Word Lily review

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee (originally published in 2008 but reissued in 2010 by B&H), 384 pages

Summary
Havah is, as the subtitle suggests, a story of the biblical Eve. It begins in the Garden, with creation. I’m not really sure what else to say here.

Thoughts
I think this is one of those instances where, at least at first, I was disappointed because my expectations were so high. I’d heard great, amazing raves of this book for almost 3 years before finally picking it up. For the first few chapters, I was underwhelmed. After awhile, though, I adjusted. It’s really a great novel, and I appreciated the writing.

I appreciated that she used nontransliterated names for the characters; it helped me come to the story anew. And I did see the story afresh, at least certain aspects of it. It is, at least in some ways, an exploration of what it means to be human, what it means to be a woman.

Better than most, but it didn’t blow my mind.

Sadly, the part of this reading experience that most has stuck with me is the Author’s Notes at the end of the book. When I read it, it felt like Lee felt the need to defend her choices, to remind her readers that although the book is based on the biblical narrative, it is fictional. Maybe I read too much into it. I actually hope so.

Even though it wasn’t a perfect read for me, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Lee’s books.

Rating: 4 stars

About the author
Tosca Lee (Facebook) is also the author of Demon: A Memoir; her third novel will be a first-person account of Judas Iscariot; and she’s also written a novel with Ted Dekker, Forbidden, due out this fall. She lives in Nebraska.

Other reviews
My Friend Amy
Book Review Blog
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I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken

Word Lily review

Lucky Baby: A Novel by Meredith Efken (Howard Books, April 13, 2010), 293 pages

Summary
Meg Lindsay lacks one thing: Her mother’s approval. From the outside, her life would be considered successful. She’s fulfilled by her work in the orchestra she helped found, and she’s married to a successful physicist.

Thoughts
Lucky Baby is almost unbearably sad in the beginning; I was bawling in the first 20 pages!

I love, love, LOVE the imagery in this book. It really fits the story — helps flesh out the story. The magical realism (swirling colors, mysterious characters, and more) is a perfect fit.

This book is masterfully crafted and beautiful.

More than being just a great book, though, this story touched me. This is one of those stories that, I think, will become a part of who I am. Part of that, I’m sure, is the China aspect; I love China. Another part is the adoption aspect. But really, the book is more than the sum of its parts.

In sum: I love this book.

About the author
Meredith Efken (blog) is the author of the SAHM I Am series. She and her husband live with their two daughters in Nebraska. One of their daughters was adopted from China, and it was that experience that inspired this book.

Because Efken lives in Nebraska — yay! — this book counts as a stop on the Literary Road Trip.

Other reviews
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I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Nebraska poet on parade

As April is National Poetry Month, I’ve been seeing more than my usual share of poetry posts around the blogosphere. I’ve been especially tickled when I find one featuring the work of a Nebraska poet, in this case Ted Kooser.

Carrie at Books and Movies posted several Kooser poems, all taken from his Delights and Shadows:

And Beth Kephart wrote about meeting Kooser.


Ted Kooser was the United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. He won a Pulitzer for Delights and Shadows. He is a Presidential Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the author of twelve full-length collections of poetry. Born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939, Kooser earned a bachelor’s at Iowa State University in 1962 and an master’s at the University of Nebraska in 1968. He lives on an acreage near the town of Garland, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge, and their dogs, Alice and Howard.

This post is part of my Literary Road Trip through Nebraska.