Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Project 40: September

“Buried Alive: The Biography of Janis Joplin” by Myra Friedman
I’ve wanted to read a biography of Janis Joplin for a long time, since I’m a big fan of her music. I love that she wasn’t traditionally beautiful, but still made it as a star. This was about as good and detailed a biography as you can get. Myra Friedman was a personal friend and publicist to Janis, so she saw everything that went on while the band was on tour, as Janis went on and off of drugs, in and out of love, everything. She doesn’t try to make Janis a victim of drugs or fame or a bad childhood or anything. She recognizes the places where Janis chose to act a certain way towards people and chose to be involved with destructive behaviors over which she had a great amount of control. The whole book shows a Janis Joplin who needed to be loved, a very insecure young woman with a lot of talent and a lot of fear. The book got a little colloquial at odd times, but I was ok with that. A-

“Lost Horizon” by James Hilton
I had a bit of a hard time with this book. It wasn’t badly written; it was just kind of boring. Four foreigners are kidnapped and taken to the Himalayas, but they don’t seem too bothered by it. Then they come to the city of Shangri-La, and it’s all well and good. Oh, but they can’t leave. But only one man knows that. The story of the city is kind of interesting, but I expected the whole book to be a little more spectacular from what other people have told me about it, and I was super disappointed in the ending. C+

“The Bonesetter’s Daughter” by Amy Tan

I think my friend who recommended the chick lit books also recommended this one. But I actually liked this one! It’s told in two parts, the first focusing on Ruth, a Chinese-American woman trying to handle her aging mother, LuLing. Ruth thinks that her mother has Alzheimer’s Disease; she gives her wrong age at the doctor and pulls out a picture of her childhood nursemaid and claims the woman is her mother. While searching her mother’s apartment, Ruth finds a stack of memoirs, written in Chinese by her mother. She has them translated, which becomes the second part of the book, the story of LuLing’s life in China. I picked this book up at just the right time, as I’m trying to figure out my part in my aging grandparents’ lives. A

1 comment:

Martin said...

I read Amy Tan's "Saving Fish From Drowning", which I sort of liked. I like the title quite bit, and also the setting: mostly Burma. I read another of her books as well - but I am not sure which one (eek). I will give Bonesetter's Daughter a look.