Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Monsoon Summer

Mitali Perkin's Monsoon Summer tells the story of likeable Jasmine Gardner's summer in India. Her mother was adopted as a tot from an orphanage where she gets a grant to start a clinic. Leery at first, India's monsoon madness eventually infects even guarded Jazz as she opens her heart to her mother's homeland and uses her business acumen to help Danita, an orphan and friend whose considering marrying a rich geezer for financial security. Throughout the summer Jazz worries about her friend/object of unrequited love, Steve who's back in Berkeley running their business and fending off cool girls.

I enjoyed the characters especially Jazz who overcomes her own doubts and preconceptions about herself as the summer progressives. The teen novel shows a realistic encounter with a different culture and addresses issues bi-cultural people feel as they come to terms with their identity and how others relate to them. This won't be the last of Perkin's books for me.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


For January, my book club read the sparse, powerful Antigone. My copy included some insightful essays to provide a context for this play. The culture this comes from, was so different from our own. I was struck by Antigone's single minded idealism as she took on Creon, who wanted to execute her for disobeying his edict by burying her brother, who opposed the government.

It's a powerful play with flawed characters, which can teach any playwright or screenwriter a lot about doing more with less.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Great Book Club's Reading Timeline

Just a start