Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Bingo: Four Lines Complete

My book bingo card is filling up! If you aren't a regular reader of my blog, there's more information in my initial book bingo post, where I wrote about completing the first two lines (marked with pink X's in the image above).

The audiobook I finished yesterday completed two intersecting lines, outlined in yellow on the image above. Starting with the fourth column and going down, then across the second row from the top, these are the categories, their corresponding titles, and my comments:

THAT YOU THINK YOU WILL DISLIKE: Soccer: In Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
Chosen especially for the category, I was not sure if I would get far with it. Me and sports are not pals. (Aside from curling, which I play but do not watch.) Fortunately, I was wrong about this one. It's about the history of soccer and it's chock full of fun facts. I wrote about it at length a few days ago.
BY ANY BOOKTOPIA AUTHOR: The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon [Books on Tape audiobook: 12 hr: read by Ann Marie Lee]
I had the pleasure of attending one of the Booktopia events in 2013. A list of all the Booktopia alumni on the Books on the Nightstand website made it easy to choose something for this category. The BOTNS podcast is where I heard about Lawhon's novel, which is inspired by a true historical event. A judge went missing in NYC in 1930 and his disappearance has never been solved. The three women closest to Justice Joseph Crater reveal a possible scenario in this compelling audiobook. There's a lot of dialogue and narrator Ann Marie Lee does a fine job of performing all the different voices.
ON A TOPIC CURRENTLY IN THE NEWS: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty [Penguin audiobook: 16 hr: read by Caroline Lee]
What I had in mind for this category was nonfiction of some sort, maybe On Immunity by Eula Biss. At the same time, I was trying to find a spot on my bingo card for Big Little Lies, a book I picked up because I had previously enjoyed The Husband's Secret by Australian author Liane Moriarty. AN AUDIOBOOK was already taken, and so was SET IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. Then I realized that Moriarty's novel deals with family violence and bullying, topics that are often in the news. Sadly. Big Little Lies combines social commentary with suspense and humour. A drunken brawl erupts among the parents at a school fund-raising trivia night and someone dies; the narrative then backtracks to the events leading up to that point. It's cleverly done, very engaging, and Lee is an excellent narrator.
SET BEFORE 1800: My Guardian Angel by Sylvie Weil
(Intersection with a previous line: see my initial book bingo post.)

A NON-HUMAN MAIN CHARACTER: The Tusk that Did the Damage by Tania James
The Gravedigger, an elephant gone rogue, is one of the central characters in this atmospheric and layered novel set in southern India. I reviewed it here.
SET IN ANOTHER COUNTRY: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison [Random House audiobook: 5 hr 45 min: read by the author]
There are books used in other bingo categories that could have been used here instead. Novels set in Australia, England, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Ukraine and the USA are counted elsewhere on my card. One of my categories is "WITH A CHILD ON THE COVER" and I was tempted... but Morrison's title has "the child" not "a child." Aside from the audiobook category (which was already taken), I couldn't see any other place to fit God Help the Child, which is set in current-day USA. It is an outstanding novel, not to be missed. Morrison revisits the themes of her previous writings, The Bluest Eye in particular, and just keeps getting better as her work grows more spare. See also my reviews of Morrison's Home and A Mercy.
HAS A PLACE-NAME IN THE TITLE: The Green Road by Anne Enright
It may be a bit of a stretch to use this one here, but a road is a place, isn't it? And this road has a name as well as a role in the plot. My bingo card, my rules. The Green Road is a story-cycle, a novel composed of a series of interconnected short stories. Far-flung members of an Irish family reunite for Christmas when the matriarch decides to sell her home in County Clare. The dysfunctional, yet loving, relationships reminded me of Enright's earlier novel, The Gathering. See also my review of The Forgotten Waltz. I like everything she writes.

PART OF A SERIES: The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
(Intersection with a previous line: see my initial book bingo post.)

Nimona is a shapeshifter, pictured with dragon wings on the cover of this smart, very funny, full-colour graphic novel. Stevenson (of Lumberjanes fame) initially created Nimona as a webcomic. Nimona is a kickass heroine, a sturdy, irrepressible girl who can turn herself into a mouse, a monster, a rhinoceros, or anything else. She is super-enthusiastic about her role as sidekick for supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart, who may not be such a bad guy after all. You know it's all in good fun when the knights have names like Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, Sir Coriander Cadaverish and Sir Mansley Girthrod.

There are just five more empty spaces on my card, and I've got titles in mind for each of them. Back to reading!

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