Tag Archives: the house on mango street

What I’ve Been Reading – Thanks to TripFiction


In my last post on books, I was looking for recommendations of books set in Quebec. I was so glad that I tweeted that out to the Universe, because TripFiction sent me a link to their site that included a setting location search! What a cool idea. “I’ll be using this site for all of my travels!” I thought.

Because of TripFiction, I placed a hold on this book at the library:


Ru by Kim Thúy

Fiction – Wow. I would have never picked up nor probably even known about Ru if I had not seen that link from TripFiction. It’s set in both Quebec and in Vietnam, so the focus is not entirely on Quebec; but I loved this book. It’s another one of those that jumps around in time and had me a bit confused at the beginning; but I was brought in almost immediately with the poetic descriptions. We live in a time when there seems to be so much controversy over refugees: This is a must-read. Thúy gives you a taste of the struggle, the feeling of a life uprooted, the sense (or lack there-of) of belonging. Although this book is fiction, it reads like a memoir and is truly very touching. It’s also a quick read. Take a weekend afternoon and read it. {It was the perfect break I needed while reading the next book I’m mentioning below.}



The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler

Fiction – This was recommended as a must-read classic if wanting a setting in Montreal. Who recommended it? I don’t know. The Google, probably. It wasn’t in my local library, so I purchased it used online, I believe from ThriftBooks. As I mentioned in my previous post, it took me a long time to get into. I felt like the book was confusing at first and all over the place. It wasn’t until about one-third of the way through that I started to get into it – making the connections and getting to know, relating to, understanding, empathizing with the character. Now that I’m done with the book, that first third doesn’t even feel relevant!

A Goodreads Review:

I threw the book across the room when I finished.

I saw that review before I read the book. I kind of understand why now! The ending didn’t really make me angry, though. In fact, there really wasn’t an ending. Duddy didn’t learn a thing nor grow. Maybe the reviewer threw the book across the room because it wasted her precious reading time!


I finished that ^^ book on a trip to Chicago {more to come!} Since it was a difficult read for me, I hadn’t anticipated finishing it!

I decided to find a secondhand bookstore for another book, especially since my husband was sick and couldn’t leave the hotel room. I found this nearby independent bookshop called After-words

I made my way downstairs where all of their adult fiction is located…


I could have spent all day down there! I probably could have filled one of these baskets, too.

And since I was having the most difficult time making a decision on a book and knowing that I have several books waiting for me at home, I decided why not read something based in Chicago!? I pulled up the TripFiction website and searched for books set in Chicago.

From there I began to look for books by those authors. The top-rated book on that list was Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros. This book was not available, but I found another one by this author:


The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Fiction – Like Ru, this book is an easy, poetic read, but in a different sense. Cisneros creates characters based on students she’s met. She then tells them through the voice of a girl living on Mango Street. I would recommend that you do not skip the Introduction to this book. It includes Cisneros’ insight on how this book was created. The way she writes just sings to my soul!

One of my favorite lines in the beginning:

The only people who ever enter the garden are the family who speak like guitars, a family with a Southern accent.

I  knew I was going to love this book. And I did. Although I have eight books set in Quebec awaiting me at home, I have now put Caramelo on my reading wish list.


Thank you, TripFiction for introducing me to some new-to-me books and authors I would have never known about otherwise!

How do you find new books to read?