This Girl's Bookshelf: August 2009 - Book reviews and bookish thoughts

Book Review Blog Carnival #25!

Today I am hosting the Book Review Blog Carnival. If you're a blogger who has written a review recently, you can submit your review for the next edition of the carnival. The Book Review Blog Carnival runs every two weeks. In addition, I and all the other book reviewers in this carnival would appreciate it if you blogged about the carnival!

There were a ton of great submissions this time around, so I'm breaking them up into some rough categories.

Reader in Mind reviews Allah is Not Obliged, a fictional journal set in northern Africa.
The Hungarian Bookkeeper revisits a classic, Don Quijote (part 1).
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett at Chewing a Leaf.
The Expanding Life reviews Hattie Big Sky and ruminates over stories of pioneer women.
There's a review in The Viewspaper of one of my favorites, Margaret Atwood's dystopian Oryx and Crake.
Zinemark reviews Twenties Girl, a romance and ghost story.
I'll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book! reviews Thomas Pynchon's latest, Inherent Vice.
BooksForSale? reviews Shift by Jennifer Bradbury.

Novels: Mystery/Thriller
Mysteries in Paradise reviews Lord Edgware Dies, an Agatha Christie novel also known as Thirteen at Dinner.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a mystery with a philatelic (stamp collecting) twist, at The Hungarian Bookkeeper.
Eye of the Whale is an 'ecological thriller', reviewed at How to Make a Difference with a preview of the first chapter.
An audiobook edition of James Patterson's 8th Confession over at Melissa's Bookshelf.
The audiobook of Death of a Dormouse at Mysteries in Paradise.
At Necromancy Never Pays, there's a review of The Language of Bees, a book starring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.
Mysteries in Paradise reviews The Build Up, an Australian mystery.
Mysteries in Paradise also reviewed Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child.

Other fiction
Fists, a short story collection reviewed at The Truth about Lies.
Chewing a Leaf speaks her mind on Kitchen, a set of two stories by Banana Yoshimoto.
Doctor Brodie's Report, a short story collection by Jorge Luis Borges, at The Truth about Lies.

Nonfiction: Memoirs
Iran Awakening is over at Things Mean a Lot, a book which has been on my to-read list for quite some time.
A guest post at Home School Dad: Trudi's Garden, a memoir about much more than gardening.
BookDads reviews A Worthy Legacy, "the record of a grandfather’s wisdom [and] an evocative memoir of family life in Nigeria".
The Symposium introduces us to an extremely intriguing book, Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement.

Other Nonfiction
I Want to Teach Forever talks about the book that made her love math again, Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities.
A DIY guide to your own green energy, Homebrew Wind Power gets reviewed at Frugally Green.
Money Blue Book goes over their favorite Personal Finance Books.
And Bargaineering reviews one of those books more in-depth, the Total Money Makeover.
At Read and Lead, there is a writeup on the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, with related books.

Coco le Cochon is a taste of France, with a interview with the author by Misadventures with Andi.
A review of Here's How I See it/Here's How it is at BooksForSale?.

Keep reviewing, bloggers! I have a few reviews of my own to finish, so I'll see you next time.


Movie Review: The Time Traveler's Wife

Doing something a little different today because I recently went and saw the new film The Time Traveler's Wife. The film, starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, is based on the novel of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger.

A few summers ago, over the course of three days, I devoured this monster 560-page romance-cum-SF novel, the very first novel of the author and only one to date. Her next novel, a ghost story by the name of Her Fearful Symmetry, is set to be released at the end of September.

The Time Traveller's Wife Traveler's Eric Bana Rachel McAdams film poster reviewTime Traveler's Wife Audrey Nifenegger book cover review

The film version of The Time Traveler's Wife just came out, with a mostly starry cast and a bit of fanfare. How does it stack up to the novel that left me with summer reading whiplash?

The Time Traveler's Wife is, in a nutshell, a time travel story and a love story like nothing you've ever seen. It's a classic story of true love with a very large twist. It's incredibly hard to explain -- Every time I try to explain the plot of this novel to someone, I am met with blank stares. Sorry. Basically, my advice is to read the book, then you'll understand.

The movie version of The Time Traveler's Wife manages to remain more faithful than most movie adaptations I have seen. Much is cut, but little is changed and the soul of the story remains intact. The emotional impact is somewhat lessened on the screen, but... well, I still cried.

Reading the book The Time Traveler's Wife, I spent three days spending 40 years (give or take) with the characters, feeling the love between them and living their lives with them. The movie manages to fit the plot into a scant 100 minutes, leaving me feeling rushed and like something was missing. You can't do a massive book like this justice in just an hour and a half.

The acting was wonderful, particularly the adorable child actor portraying Alba. The only time I felt pulled out of the world of the movie was seeing Ron Livingston (of Office Space fame) in the role of Gomez - an important character in the novel, reduced to a face and a name in the movie. All characters who are not Eric Bana or Rachel McAdams get precious little screen time in the movie, because the movie has no room for anything but the main couple's relationship.

Length: Too short. There's a lot to the book that made it such a gripping read, that stuck with me long after I had finished reading it. The film was very enjoyable, and very good, but somewhat forgettable. I don't think people will be talking about it years later.
Grade: 89/100. Scores better than most adaptations of novels. The filmmakers committed no mortal sins. However, it really should have been longer.