October 18, 2003
Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland

Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland: an incredibly powerful and hypnotic novel that pulled me in immediately.

In the beginning of the novel, Richard and Karen have sex for the first time on top of a snowy mountain. A few hours later, after giving Richard a note that she warns him not to read since she wants it back unopened, Karen inexplicably lapses into a coma. Her coma changes everything in the life of her friends and family and sets into motion unexpected outcomes. I won’t mention anything more (and I suggest not reading the reviews on Amazon since they contain a fair amount of spoilers. Best to just read this one and let you take you where it goes).

From the start, I could not put this book down. I found Coupland’s voice to be so engaging and his characters so real. I could not wait to see what was going to happen next.

Almost the entire novel was a surprise - I could not predict what was going to happen next and where it would end up. Saying that, however, I felt that the ending was weak. The book seemed to just kind of end. The last thirty pages or so were very disappointing in light of how much I enjoyed the book, but I would still highly recommend this one to others.

October 16, 2003
Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding

Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding: a very enjoyable book from the offer of Bridget Jones’s Diary despite the fact that it takes place in famine-stricken Africa.

Rosie Richardson works in publishing and is quite shocked to find herself girlfriend to one of television’s stars. However, the relationship is terribly flawed and emotionally abusive, helping lead to her decision to move to Nambula, Africa to help run a refugee camp. Four years later, a famine of epic proportions is threatening to destroy all that she has helped build, so she returns to London to enlist the help of the celebrities she used to know in raising funds and food for the camp.

The first part of the book is done in flashbacks of Rosie’s life before Africa while continuing to tell what is currently happening with her. I enjoyed both timelines and was almost disappointed when the book caught up with “real time” and became linear.

I found Rosie to be a wonderful character - strong without realizing it and willing to help others despite the risk to herself. While I suppose you could predict where the entire book was going, I nevertheless liked it quite a lot. Fans of Fielding and other chick lit authors should be quite pleased with this one.

October 14, 2003
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: while I have always heard about this book, I had never actually read it. So, when a bookring was started for it at BookCrossing, I jumped at the chance to read this classic children’s novel that chronicles the adventures of Rat, Mole, Frog, and Badger as they live their lives by the river near Wild Wood.

At the start of the book, Mr. Mole is doing a bit of spring cleaning when he suddenly decides that he must be out in the lovely day. He begins to wander when he finds himself near the river. Never having seen such a thing as a river, he becomes immediately entranced and soon makes a friend of Mr. Rat, a water rat living right on the bank. Mr. Mole is soon introduced to Mr. Toad and, eventually, to Mr. Badger, the other key characters in this delightful book.

I very much enjoyed reading The Wind in the Willows and only wish I would have come upon it when I was younger. For some reason, the concept of the animals having things like motor-cars bugged me since I could not see how a toad could fit behind the wheel of a car to drive. I could readily ignore that, however, since the book itself was so charming. I particularly loved the relationships between all of the friends and how much they cared for one another.

Recommended for children of all ages, especially the younger ones who would probably most enjoy the concept of a toad driving a car.

October 12, 2003
The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel

The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel: an absolute delight for several of the senses - seeing and hearing.

This novel starts out in Mexico as the conquistadors are obliterating the Aztecs. After a brief interlude with a conquistador and an Aztec princess, we are in Mexico City still, but far in the future. We immediately meet Azucena, an astroanalyst, who with the help of a gaurdian angel help people put the karma of their past lives into balance. She is going to meet her twin soul and true love, Rodrigo. Soon after meeting him, however, she loses him and begins a journey through many lifetimes to help all the people of the world learn the Law of Love.

At first, going from ancient Mexico to futuristic Mexico threw me off. I also felt a bit lost since the book starts talking about Azucena being an astroanalyst, but I wasn’t sure what that was. I quickly picked up on everything and enjoyed the story quite a bit. The occasional chapters from both a gaurdian angel and a demon always interrupted me from the story - they would always jolt me to reality.

There were several interesting concepts in this book that I found both entertaining and enjoyable. Whenever Azucena wanted to regress to a past life, she would listen to her CD player. A CD with the same tracks that she listened to was included so that the reader could hear what she was hearing. The past lives were also done in wonderful color illustrations by Spanish artist Miguelano Prado showing exactly what she was experiencing.

While the New Age talk may throw some people off, I found the book very entertaining and enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something a little bit different to read.