Monday, June 9, 2008

Book reviews: the result of two weeks without internet

When I was in the field this past week (almost two) I had the chance to read (alot, more on that tomorrow). I had taken two new books with me, which I plowed through in less than 13 days. So I thought I would tell you a little bit about them in case you were interested.

Swine Not?: A novel, by Jimmy Buffett
This is a cute story about a pig and her family. She lives in a fancy New York City hotel and is constantly being hid from the hotel cook who hates animals and wishes to cook her. The pig is one a mission to find her brother, and the story is told from the pig and one of the children in the family's point of view. The official summary is: "When Southern belle Ellie McBride moves her twins from Vertigo, Tennessee to New York City, they wouldn't dream of leaving behind the family pig Rumpy. But the posh hotel where Ellie has found work (and living space) has "No Pets" writ large on its portal. So hiding Rumpy from the hotel staff---especially the ultra-carnivorous hotel chef, who would like nothing better than to transform their pet into pork roast---becomes imperative." (link)

I decided to read this book for the obvious reason - it is written my Jimmy Buffett, of whom which I am a loyal fan. It was no where near as long as his past books (256 pages, at least it felt shorter) and the chapters were very short. The story was easy to follow and almost reminded me of a young adults book (not that that is a bad thing, it was just an easy read), and was adapted, in part, from his friends true troubles of hiding her pet pig in a fancy NYC hotel. I am an animal lover, so I understand how the family in the book feels like it must go to great lengths to protect their hoofed family member. This book is an easy read for anyone, and would be a great story to read to kids, since the chapters are short, the tale is fun, and the characters are easy to relate with. It is not your typical Jimmy book however with drunk sailors/cowboys, tropical places, and lyric references dropped in random places. Still a good read however.

Forget Me Not, by Jennifer Lowe-Anker
In September 1999, climbing legend Alex Lowe lost his life in an avalanche on Tibet’s Shishapangma, leaving behind his wife Jennifer and three sons. In the months that followed this devastating tragedy, Jennifer and Alex’s climbing partner Conrad Anker, who survived the avalanche that killed Alex, found solace in each other and were married in 2001. Now, Jennifer Lowe-Anker’s new book Forget Me Not, A Memoir, offers a portrait of Alex Lowe through letters and expedition notes, spanning continents to tell the story of three people whose lives intertwine to a degree they could never have imagined." (link)

I devoured this book!! I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone. It was a nice read, and it surprisingly did not make me cry as much as I was afraid it would (Maria Coffey's Where the Mountain Cast Its Shadow made me pretty much cry through the entire book). Very interesting, touching story. I really enjoyed hearing about how she and Alex met, fell in love, all of the adventures they shared together, and how she handled her life while her husband was away doing what he loved while she continued to do what she loved (she is an accomplished artist). It was also fun to find some similarities between herself and I, on personal life experiences we have both had. It was sad knowing how he died and how hard it must have been for her to break the news to her children, that part really got to me, along with all of the other loss she has had to bear. Overall I think it shows just how strong of a woman Lowe-Anker is - how she lost her true love but was able to keep going forward and putting one foot in front of the other and was able to find love again. Great story, you should really check it out!

Here is an interview clip:

Whats next? Not sure. I have several books I would like to read: The Songlines, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, The Namesake, and Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living. Not sure which one will come first....any other recommendations out there?

No comments: