September 9, 2012

Recent Reads

95. The Art of Fielding
I agree with the jacket blurb by Nicolas Dawidoff: "The Art of Fielding is a mere baseball fiction the way Moby-Dick is just a fish story." What unites the characters in this story is the setting of Westish College. It is an exploration of talent and hard work, of mentors and coaches, the pain of loss and the love of learning, of the joy of unexpected relationships, and yes baseball. I enjoyed following the story from multiple viewpoints. A well written book. Rating: 3 stars.

96. Honolulu 
Here is a jacket blurb: “In Korea in those days, newborn girls were not deemed important enough to be graced with formal names, but were instead given nicknames, which often reflected the parents’ feelings on the birth of a daughter: I knew a girl named Anger, and another called Pity. As for me, my parents named me Regret.”

I really, really wanted to love this book, and am having a hard time reviewing it - there is the book I wanted to read, and then the book I actually did read.

Immigrant stories are so similar at the diaspora view, and yet so particular at the individual level. This story has all the elements that I love - girls with dreams, women with grit, "picture brides", historical setting - and yet. And yet. I felt like I was snorkeling along the surface of a really deep story. And while snorkeling is fun, I really love deep dives.

I loved his other book Moloka'i, but this one not so much. Rating: 3 stars.

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