The Philosopher’s Apprentice, by James Morrow (12 May − 25 May)

I read this book in 15-minute intervals on the train to and from work, and it was actually the perfect book for it. Just engaging enough to make me want to keep reading it, but not so much that I couldn’t put it down. Even when I had the weekend to finish it up, I was reading it in small doses.

This book is one of those with three “books” in it — three stories taking place at different points in the characters’ lives. It begins with a philosophy Ph.D candidate walking out on his dissertation defense. As he drowns his sorrows in a pub, he is offered a job — creating a conscience in a girl who has lost hers to amnesia. This, of course, is not the real reason for the lack of conscience, and the book takes you through all sorts of ethical dilemmas in attempting to account for this girl’s life and the lives of a heck of a lot of people. Highlights include a cloning experiment, an army of fetuses (feti?), and a trip on the Titanic Redux.

Rating: 8/10

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards (1 May − 5 May)

A bit of backstory: I bought this book a while ago at the university bookstore because I had a gift card and the title was interesting. Also, there was a positive comment from Jodi Picoult on the back and I was intrigued. Then a friend told me that her mother hated the book and it went on the back burner. The other day I saw that the book was being made into some Lifetime movie or something and I decided I needed to read it before I spoiled it for myself by channel-surfing.

As it turns out, I quite liked the book. The premise is that a doctor delivers his own twins in a blizzard in 1964, but has his nurse take one away to a home because she’s born with Down’s syndrome. The nurse can’t do it, and raises the baby herself. The book explores the relationships between the doctor, his wife, their son, the nurse, the daughter, and the people they interact with. It was very engaging (only moving and job-searching kept me from the book) and the twists of the book were just the right mix between predictable and unpredictable to keep me on my toes. Some of the writing is a little iffy, and the metaphors can be heavy-handed, but it’s all in all an enjoyable read.

Rating: 7/10