Books

Lily’s Literature #4


I’m finally back with another segment of Lily’s Literature! I read a weird array of books this month–they were all very different from each other. I feel like if I read too many similar books in one go, I’ll get bored and stop reading altogether. In other news, I color coordinated my bookshelf. So yeah…that happened.

After my last book review post, I picked up the book She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I had a lot of people tell me this was one of their favorite books, so I figured it was about time I checked it out. Right off the bat we’re introduced to the protagonist, Dolores. The novel follows her throughout her life, told in her voice. There are so many tragic events that happen to Dolores, which make for a good read, but also for a very sad character. There were often times when I was frustrated with her, but I think it was only because I hadn’t experienced her pain, and if I had lived through the kind of things that she had, I would be angry and wounded too. shes-come-undonoe

I was incredibly impressed with Wally Lamb’s writing. As I kept getting deeper into Dolores’s life, I had to check online to make sure Wally wasn’t a woman himself–his writing was that convincing. He made his characters so real that there were times that I actually felt depressed from what I was reading. Like, one time my husband came home from work and he could tell I was sad and he was like, “Is everything okay?” And I was like, “Oh yeah. It’s just that one of the characters in my book is going through a really hard time right now.” Lolz. Anyway, I would totally suggest this great read to both men and women.

After that, I went in a completely different direction and picked up Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Now let’s be real. Vonnegut is a weirdo. But he’s creative and tells his stories beautifully and bluntly. The only Vonnegut I had read previous to this was Welcome to the Monkey House, a book of his short stories that I was assigned during my sophomore year in high school. What I concluded from his work then was that it was weird but good. I would still use that feeling to describe Slaughterhouse-Five. Weird but good.slaughterhouse-five

I didn’t really know what to expect with this one, and after reading it, I knew I would’ve never been able to guess that the story would unfold the way it did. It was a story about a solider named Billy Pilgrim and his time in World War II. I’ve always kind of hated war related books, but this one was different. It was also sprinkled with a futuristic element because Billy is kidnapped by a race of aliens called Tralfamadorians. They live in a peaceful world and teach Billy a lot about himself and humanity.

This book won’t be for everyone. However, it was a quick read with interesting characters and a very creative spin on your typical war story.

Today, I just finished the memoir Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. This was a phenomenal account of what life was like in Limerick Ireland in the 30’s and 40’s. The story follows Frank’s family as they struggle to make ends meet. His “Mam” Angela tries to do the best she can for her many children even though her husband can’t find work, and when he does, he spends all his money on “the drink”. I loved the accents written into the story. It made everything come alive. There was so much detail. Everything was expressed through Frankie’s (a young Frank) mind–so observant and innocent.

Angelas-Ashes

One of the first lines of the book was, “When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all.” True enough. Three of Frank’s siblings died of starvation and sickness, their clothes looked like rags, their “house” flooded when it rained (almost daily), and Angela would end up begging for money on the street. Life was rough for these folks. The story really brings to light what life was like in those days. As they would say in the book, Jasus and Mary Mother O’ God what a sorry sight.

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27 thoughts on “Lily’s Literature #4

    • Nahh don’t feel bad. A book is a book and if you’re reading something that you like, then I think it’s all good in the hood. I’m making up for lost time when I didn’t read for pleasure at all. Thanks Audra 😀

  1. I loved reading Angela’s Ashes because i was born and raised in Limerick city, so I knew all the streets and accents. It was a great and accurate approval of a poverty soaked city.

    • That’s so cool! I’m glad it was accurate because I felt like I was transported there, during that time period. That’s really so cool though that you knew the streets and places he talked about. Jealous!

  2. Because I am really old and because I read quite a bit, I read each of these when they came out. Excellent choices. Everything Wally Lamb writes is superb, with ‘Undone’ at the top. Amazing how his voice is so feminine, isn’t it? I’m not a huge Vonnegut fan, although it was required reading for my clique back in the day, he kind of bored me. I felt he was a bit of a one trick pony. As for Angela’s Ashes–it remains in the top 10 books I’ve read. The visual imagery gives you sweeping views of his life while his rich re-telling of that life holds you enthralled. Really, really good choices, Lily.

    • I’m glad you’ve read all of my picks! Wally Lamb is good but slightly depressing. But good. Very good. Yeah Vonnegut is weird. I could take or leave him.
      Angela’s Ashes was pretty much what I expected. I did get kind of bored during some parts of it. Like, it was pretty repetitive about the dad not having a job and them having to find food. BUT it was still good. I manage to get bored in almost every book so that’s not really a bad thing. Thanks Addie! PS I like your new picture 🙂

  3. ZZ says:

    Slaughterhouse Five was way too preachy for me. I mean, how many other authors have told us that “war is bad”? Does he think we don’t know that already?

  4. How do you drown from rain? Seems like you would have enough time to get away.

    I actually bought a book last week. It was weird how the book store was filled with people reading. Were they just being cheap and trying to read it without having to pay for it or were they trying to make a human connection? I’m not sure. I could never read sitting on a stool.

    • Well if you have a baby, that’s the only drowning you have to worry about. But they had an upstairs so they were usually safe. But yeah I know what you mean.

      I love book stores. Good for you for buying a book! Actually, at the very end of Angela’s Ashes (like the last couple pages) a character is introduced and his name is Tim Boyle. Haha weird huh?

      • I hope they described him as incredibly cool and indestructible. I still have to see Miracle at St. Anna because Joseph Gordon Levitt steals my name for that film.

        P.S. I have been seeing doppelgangers of you at least once a week aka all tall blondes look alike to me.

      • All tall blondes do look alike. That’s why I cut my hair and now I’m letting my natural color grow out. It’s kind of like a light brown/dark blonde. I’ll blend in better that way.

        But yeah, Tim Boyle invited these guys to a party and they all got laid at the end. So he basically introduced America to the Irishmen in a good way. 🙂

  5. I’ve read some Vonnegut and enjoyed it. I remember everyone going on about Angela’s Ashes, but never felt a need to pick it up.
    And now I can just say “Jaysus, Mary Mother of God” and people will think I have.

    • Yeah I don’t think you need to pick it up. I think you have the accent down already! I’m planning on renting the movie as well. That’s something easy you could do and then just pretend you’ve read it!

    • Kurt is pretty cool. So creative, right? Angela’s Ashes was pretty great. I love stories where you travel through a person’s life. So good.

    • Yes. I don’t think I could have handled it if I was any younger than right now. Haha. I’m glad I picked a winner though. Thanks!

  6. Great reviews. Now stop reading! You’re making me feel bad. JK! I love when books are written with a thick accent. It really makes it easier to get into and more entertaining.

    • Thank you! Lolz I gave you a book to read! But don’t feel bad about not reading. I’m mostly reading stuff you’ve already read anyway. There aren’t too many good, new books out now anyway 🙂

  7. Ah man, I remember I had to read Slaughterhouse Five for Literature in year 12 and I absolutely loathed it! That could have been partially because we had to re-read it to death, but I couldn’t stand the characters, particularly Billy Pilgrim. I just had no urge for him to achieve anything.

    Also, his wife is called Valencia. Which is a type of orange, so that’s all I kept thinking about whenever she popped up.

    • Haha yeah in school I never paid attention to the books we were supposed to read. I would read like, half of the books MAYBE. But yeah I wasn’t particularly fond of this one, but I was happy that I was able to read it quickly.

      Hah now I want some oranges…

  8. What are you doing? Trying to find the most soul sucking books available for some good summer reading?! You should 1000 Acres or A Map of the World for some serious fun.

    Go lighten up Francis!

    Love the Lily’s Literature posts!

    • I love soul sucking books! I find books seriously boring if they’re all light and happy. Sad situations make a good read!

      Glad you like these posts! I haven’t gotten tired of them yet, so they’re will be more to come! Maybe even some humorous books…to lighten the load 😉

  9. I love “She’s Come Undone” and “Angela’s Ashes”! Both so wonderful. “Slaughterhouse Five” has been sitting on my bookshelf for ages, unread. I need to get to that one soon. 🙂

    -Sarah

    • Sarah! I still haven’t thought of a good title for your book reviews. So hard! Slaughterhouse-Five was probably my least favorite of this bunch–nowhere near as good as the other ones! 😀

  10. Pingback: 10 reasons why we shouldn’t give up hope for a Jacquel’s Russian History remake~by Starshelle | The Jacquel Rassenworth Blog

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