Maira's Books

In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2004)

In contrast to the last book I mentioned, this was a fascinating book given to me by a friend to read. This is the first novel of a professor of Book and Paper Arts in Chicago. Clare, the "wife" in the title, is a paper arts artist, so we get a few glimpses of paper art techniques. The most fascinating thing of the book is the whole premise - Henry has a genetic condition that makes him time travel involuntarily, often to his own past and those of his loved ones. He meets his wife when she is a little girl. Every section starts with the date and the ages of Henry and Clare, so we know if we are in straight time or if Henry is time traveling. I was amazed that the author kept everything straight - what each of them knew when. This is a beautiful love story, as well as an intricate alternative reality. I enjoyed the setting of Chicago and South Haven - places I know quite well. With such a great first book, wonder what Niffenegger will do next.

Coming Out by Danielle Steel

Worst book I've listened to in a long time. I picked it up for the title, thinking it would be interesting to se how a bestselling romance writer would deal with coming out of the closet - well, she didn't. The "coming out" of the title was about two twin girls coming out in their debutante ball - one thrilled, the other a radical who didn't want to go. Of course, in the end someone does come out as being gay and other characters cross barriers in their own lives and "come out." I was surprised how poorly this was written. It was written in a simplistic way that was utterly boring - no interesting descriptions or settings, full of cliches, with one-dimensional characters. The main character was just too much - great lawyer, perfect mother of 4, perfect wife, daughter-in-law, etc. Steel tries to be very politically correct, but gave no depth to the issues she raised. I read something of hers years ago and found her to be very much on the edge. No longer. I double checked with other reader responses on Amazon and found quite a few that felt Steel's writing has slipped.