Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe

The title of this novel is somewhat misleading, it is really just a run of the mill Brooklyn deli and the author has a Korean wife and in-laws. I was expecting more of true glimpse into the Korean culture but didn't really see so much of that, it was more of an aside to the story. The memoir is almost equal parts about the purchase and running of the family deli and the author's work as an elite journalist at the Paris Review. I had absolutely no desire to hear about Mr. Howe working for George Plimpton in Manhattan. The author then goes down among the unwashed masses to help run the deli which mostly sounded like such pretentious snobbery to me. Like it was a science experiment or something. Very disappointing.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Next To Love by Ellen Feldman

3 stars. "War... next to love, has most captured the imagination." - Eric Partridge

Next To Love follows the lives of three women from a small town in Massachucetts from 1941 to 1964. Most of the novel takes place during the war years and what happens to them and their spouses who are all soldiers fighting in Europe. The only character I felt was more developed was Babe, the other two I didn't get much from although I was hoping to. The whole story just fell kind of flat for me.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Wow. I listened to the audio version of this book, so beautifully narrated by Anne Noelani Miyamoto. Her character's voices and the pronunciations of the Hawaiian names and language really brought this story to life for me. I fell in love with sweet Rachel, Katherine, Kenji, Papa, Uncle Pono, Halleola, and Ruth. Spanning the years from 1896 to 1970, this is the story of Rachel Kalama, diagnosed with leprosy and sent to live on Moloka'i in the Kalaupapa settlement. Very difficult to hear is the ravaging effect of this brutal disease and the way the inflicted were treated by the outside "clean" world. I had heard of the colony long ago but did not know much about it. This novel helped me to better understand the people who made a life for themselves there and feel more compassion by seeing it from their perspective.