Pollyanna and the Wondrous Book

Lyda here.

As part of Pollyanna’s Reading in Wonderland Challenge – and because I read some great reviews – I just finished a terrific book.

I read “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz. It won the 2008 Pulizer Prize for fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for best novel of 2007. I reserved this book at the library, and waited months to get my turn to read it. It was worth the wait.

The title character is “a teenage Dominican who buries his broken heart and frustration in sci-fi novels and Star Trek action figures” – ya’ll know they had me at sci-fi.

The story and characters move back and forth between the Dominican Republic and New Jersey. There’s a rich mix of two cultures, and the beautiful and tortured history of the people who inhabit both. The writing is rich with pop culture references, Dominican slang, political commentary, and penetrating observations on the human condition. The funny, strange, divine, and tragic mix of events, people and places weave together into a brilliant book about love, beauty, and the unbearable joys and sorrows of life.

I felt the flavor and colors of this book surrounding me the whole time I was reading it. I didn’t want to put it down, and I still feel I am carrying it with me.

I’m looking forward to reading more from Junot Diaz.

For me, this book fulfills Pollyanna’s Reading Challenge #12:

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’:  Read a book from a different country and culture. The author can be from a country you have never visited. The book can be translated from a different language. The book can be set in a country you have never visited. If you read a lot of books from one country, for this category, read something different.

This definitely counts as different for me.

My current tally on the Challenge: Seven challenges down, five to go.

I’ve still got challenges #3, 6, 7, 10 & 11. This book could have counted for #3 as well as #12, but since I came up with this, the least I can do is read 13 different books. Go ahead, twist my arm. Make me read.

So, anyone have any book recommendations for my remaining challenges?


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