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Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James
Curiosity turned into rage as I discovered this so called "erotic romance". E.L James manipulates her readers as much as her characters in this graphic and salacious novel. Even though it is specified for mature audiences only, all the ingredients are there to appeal to the teenage population : a young, intelligent, beautiful college student, a handsome and extremely wealthy executive, heavenly dates, designer clothes, high-tech accessories, bickering and cursing...: just the thought of one my daughters putting her hands on this filth made me furious. But the most exasperating is that you become fond of the immature protagonist and so concerned about her fate that you cannot put the book down!
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
I listened to this book in my car: it made my commute so much fun, I kept laughing out loud! Talented reader Rosalyn Landor probably added to the humor and wit of this charming, refreshing story of a high class lawyer who is mistakenly hired as a housekeeper. The quid pro quo continues with funny mishaps and a romantic development : I enjoyed the light , unaffected tone which is sure to put you in a good mood for the day!
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Author G.D Roberts unveiled an unknown country for me : India. After listening to the 35 CD's (or you can read the 936-page masterpiece), I definitely wish to visit India: the mesmerizing descriptions of the city of Bombay and its surroundings, the amazing experiences and interactions of the main character lives with people make me anxious to travel to this far off destination . Even tough I'll fear the crime-filled slums, I'm now very tempted to go see for myself this exotically enchanting place and perhaps try also to help its suffering and underprivileged inhabitants.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
I loved this story of the friendship of a little boy and a tree who gives him all it has: its shade, its apples, its branches, its leaves, its trunk...until nothing is left but a stump. I was fascinated by this kind, talking tree. It represented the unconditional love and generosity of my own parents . However, as I grew up I realized I had not understood the complete message: this absolute sacrifice is never questioned by the little boy who shamelessly and selfishly takes everything he is given.
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
After finishing this funny book (which made me hungry all the time, as Julie Powell tries the 524 recipes of Julia Child in her tiny kitchen), I decided to pick a very thick cooking book at the library and attempt the tour de force myself. 365 days to complete the project seemed unreasonable to me, and that is why I'm still working on it... after 2 years! Finding the right ingredients has been the greatest challenge, but the novelty and success of our family meals are worth the time consuming experiment.
The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks is famous for his heavyhearted stories, but this one affected me the most because it involves not only a lovable lead protagonist, but also an adorable Great Dane puppy who becomes a gentle giant ready to protect his mistress at the cost of his life. Alternating comical and tearful scenes, this story of friendship, mourning, and love after loss is also a suspenseful thriller different from Sparks' other novels. I caught myself sobbing at the end....
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
This beautiful love story takes place during the Russian revolution. The epic scenery, the intricate relationships of the characters, and the sublime poetry enthralls me at each reading. I was told I changed, not the book...nevertheless, revisiting brings me new insights and a deeper knowledge of the personae and of the political situation of the times. And, yes, I'll probably read the new translation of Pevear & Volokhonsky, which has just been published to honor the Russian poet on the 50th anniversary of his death.
The Little Prince by Saint Exupery
I have offered this philosophical tale to kids and adults alike . The simple prose and appealing illustrations rejoice the youngest, and the symbolism and the message the oldest. In this story an innocent but very wise little boy challenges the beliefs, convictions and priorities of a busy and stressed adult with extremely pertinent questions. It is a lesson in humility and humanity which is sure to reset your own values right and perhaps even give you the secret of the nature of life...
Jocelyne C. is an extra-help library assistant for the San Mateo Counties Libraries. She also devours an average of three books per week.