Olive Kitteridge

Book: Olive Kitteridge

Author: Elizabeth Strout

Short Summary:
Olive Kitteridge book coverThis is a book of 13 short stories taking place in the small coastal town of Crosby Maine. Although each chapter is its own story, there are reoccurring characters that we meet that weave these stories into a novel. The one thread that holds the entire story together is the retired school teacher, Olive Kitteridge. Although she is only briefly mentioned in a few of the stories, we get to know her, her family, and her world through the pages of the book. The story is told in a linear manner, showing the aging and growth of the characters through the years.

My thoughts:
This was one of the best books I read this year. Even the characters we meet only briefly are extremely well developed and real. Olive, the main character, made such a great point to revolve this book around. I didn’t always love her character, in fact sometimes I wanted to flat out yell at her, but this just contributed to making the book that much more real to me. I found her most endearing moments to be when she was interacting with teenagers or former students. Since she was a retired school teacher, although often a feared one, this appeared to be the population she somehow connected with the best. She could be harsh, but beneath the rough exterior, I do believe Olive had a good heart. One theme I found throughout the book was the power of living. Life in this small town could be very difficult for the characters we meet, but each character still clung to life with all they had. This book makes for a great book club discussion and I would highly recommend it.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Books I Read in 2009

As I browse through other book blogs, I am amazed at how many books some bloggers read in a year. I am finishing 2009 having read a mere 18 books, but it’s quality over quantity, right? I don’t know what my exact goal for 2010 is yet, but it’s definitely more than 18. Now that I have completed my master’s work, which involved a lot of boring text book and article reading, this should be a much easier task. Here is my 2009 list:

1. Marley and Me by John Grogan
2. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
5. In The Woods by Tana French
6. Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
7. The Likeness by Tana French
8. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
9. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
10. The King of Torts by John Grisham
11. Exile by Richard North Patterson (audio)
12. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
13. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
14. 4th of July by James Patterson
15. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
16. The Truth About Forever by Sara Dessen
17. Eclipse by Richard North Patterson (audio)
18. Testimony by Anita Shreve

There were some really great books in this bunch, but my top three would be Olive Kitteridge, The Hour I First Believed, and We Need To Talk About Kevin.

I hope to write a brief review of these three books soon!

Bookworm

I started blogging this past summer during my amazing trip to Guatemala and quickly fell in love with it. Unfortunately, life has taken a turn for the more mundane since arriving back in the states. There has been a serious lack in interesting blogging material.

Since blogging about my day to day life is a sure way to have zero readers, I decided to try writing about something I am very passionate about. No, it’s not music (although that will always be my number one love and maybe a future blog) it’s BOOKS!

Reading and I have a long history. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Numerous hours of sleep have been lost because I simply had to read just one more chapter, page, word.

Book stores enthrall me. Time falls away when I enter a store lined with books just waiting to be read. I can rarely enter one of these book stores without a new piece of literary magic in tow on my way out. Carrie Bradshaw has shoes. Julie Brichta has books.

This book blog will be my experiment as we ring in 2010. I have yet to decide exactly what I will include in this blog, but that’s part of the fun. Just like my traveling blog, I will see where this blog takes me. Hopefully it’s somewhere good.

Julie