Top Reader Reviews
Short ones lead us into more serious chapters which lengthen with the depth of the story and the times.
We are confined to the Hotel just as is the Count and I marveled at his patience, joy of living, and philosophical insights during the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia. From a grand suite of rooms to a tiny attic with him we meet many interesting characters.
Written in first person, Attorney Paula Vauss, aka Kali Jai, leads us down a winding lane of chaos, intermingling sadness, happiness, loss, redemption, love and family transformation along the way. From the days of traveling with her wild eccentric Mother to the lonely days of state placement to the "love 'um and leave 'um" lifestyle she maintains as an adult, we meet the people who hold her interest and influence her along the way. Continually paying off her "debt" to her Mother, Paula suddenly finds herself a sibling. Not once, but twice.
"You know how Karma works", is the final piece of the puzzle her dying Hindu-mythology-loving Mother leaves for her, as it changes her life forever.
I also enjoyed the science and history reflected throughout the book. While fictional, it is an educational and accurate portrayal. I highly recommend this book for women's book clubs, as it will foster a lively and thoughtful discussion about the choices we all have made. The book is not appropriate for high school groups, due the several more graphic passage.
The book is now on my "recommended" list!
Ann knows when she married Wade that he has early on-set dementia and that his first wife murdered one of their children. The beauty of the story is not about the murder, but how Ann goes about bringing closure to an act that was so brutal. We don't often get a glimpse of the aftermath of a tragedy, it goes against our sensibilities not to know what happened but the author is more concerned with how life continues after such a tragedy. The book spans a thirty year period, moving from present to past, back and forth from character to character each giving us just a bit of insight always moving forward never back.
Idaho is beautifully written book but, challenging as it does not move in the direction you expect, it will move you from comfort zone.
I read a print version while listening and had to keep pausing the audible version while annotating my print copy. Some lovely language throughout. Lots of interesting tidbits for gardeners and want-to-be bee keepers or regular folk wanting to provide habitat for pollinators.
Provocative take on some social concepts and behaviors... I think this would make an interesting book group choice paired with Animal Farm, Handmaid's Tale or even The Giver trilogy
Rosie and Penn have five children. Rosie is a Physician and Penn is a writer, and tells the children made up fairy tales. The baby of the family Claude is different. Claude loves to wear dresses, play with dolls, wears jewelry, Barrettes in his hair,and approaches life differently than his brothers.Claude is happiest when can do this.Rosie and Penn want to see their children happy. Claude draws himself with long hair and dresses.At first his parents feel that all children go through phases.
This is a controversial topic that ?is spoken about currently, but I feel that many of these issues just have always existed but never were addressed as openly. Children(and adults) can be devastatingly cruel, be bullies, and do not accept whatever the "norm" should be. It is not often that we speak of transgender children, sometimes as young as three.
Laurie Frankel gives me much to think about. Should answers be black and white, yes or no? Does a person have to make up their mind if they feel they are a girl/boy? Is it so simple? Should society force families to keep a "secret" if their feelings don't conform to what is supposedly expected?
I love the way that Laurie Frankel writes about family, love, support and acceptance I also feel that the hardest job in life is to be a parent. Of course, we want to see our children happy, but can we admit that we have certain expectations that might be or not be in our children's best interest?
I highly recommend this intriguing novel. It is so very different and unique, and Laurie Frankel's descriptions are amazing!
The Narrow Road to The Deep North is the sixth novel by award-winning Australian author, Richard Flanagan. Despite his humble beginnings in a remote Tasmanian village filled with "verandah-browed wooden cottages", Dorrigo Evans is clever enough to get scholarships for high school and university. He leaves the locale where he used to "smell the damp bark and drying leaves and watch clans of green and red musk lorikeets chortling far above. He would drink in the birdsong of the wrens and the honeyeaters, the whipcrack call of the jo-wittys "
By 1940, he is a promising young surgeon, engaged to Ella Lansbury, a girl from the right sort of family, when he joins the army. Stationed near Adelaide while awaiting dispatch overseas, Dorrigo's chance encounter with his Uncle Keith's young second wife, Any Mulvaney, results in a liaison he could neither have anticipated nor resisted.
A few years on, Dorrigo Evans is a Prisoner of War, in command of a thousand men charged with building the Burma Railway, where cruelty and death were unwelcome, but commonplace: "They had smoked to keep the dead out of their nostrils, they had joked to keep the dead from preying on their minds, they had eaten to remind themselves they were alive "
Dorrigo is constantly wracked with feelings of inadequacy, but "He could do this, he told himself He had no belief he could do it, but others believed he could do it. And if he believed in them believing in him, maybe he could hold onto himself"
The survivors return home to a life that feels alien: "He didn't fit with his own life anymore, his own life was breaking down, and all that did fit his job, his family seemed to be coming apart". Dorrigo goes through the motions, marries, has three children and "Occasionally, he felt something within him angry and defiant, but he was weary in a way he had never known, and it seemed far easier to allow his life to be arranged by a much broader general will than by his own individual, irrational and no doubt misplaced terrors"
A celebrated surgeon and a war hero, Dorrigo despises the society of which he is part: "He did not believe in virtue. Virtue was vanity dressed up and waiting for applause". From those who have been there, he sometimes hears words of wisdom: "Adversity brings out the best in us, the podgy War Graves Commission officer sitting next to him had said It's the everyday living that does us in"
Using multiple narrators, Flanagan examines the well-known cruelty of the Japanese captors from both sides. He also exposes the staggeringly selfish attitudes of POW officers, the sometimes secretive, sometimes selfish and sometimes extraordinarily generous behaviour of enlisted men, and also the postwar politics of punishment. With descriptive prose that is exquisite, it is no wonder that this novel is a winner of several awards and a nominee for many more. Profoundly moving.
The story goes back and forth through time slowly imagining Christina's sad story and how Andrew Wyeth came to know and paint her. Christina spent her entire life living in her family's dilapidated farm house in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. As a young child, she developed a debilitating disease that was never diagnosed but slowly robbed her of the ability to walk and use her limbs effectively. While she was quite intelligent, her father made her leave school after eighth grade and tend to household items. She never fully got over having to abandon her education. Between the school issue, her illness, and an unhappy romance, Christina developed into a complicated and sometimes bitter woman making choices that demonstrated her acrimony. I found it hard to like her but enjoyed learning her story.
Wyeth met Christina one summer when his family was visiting Maine. They went on to develop a relationship that lasted many years. Andrew Wyeth brought out a more sympathetic side of Christina, which he immortalized in his painting. The portions of the story where Wyeth appears and interacts with both Christina and her brother Al were my favorites.
Christina Baker Kline writes a character driven novel that brings Christina's World vividly to life. Thanks to BookBrowse and William Morrow for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
"Moonglow" is written as a memoir, with Chabon telling the story of his grandfather's last days during which he told Chabon much about his life (which he had not previously shared.) Chabon's grandather (who is not named) lived a very interesting life, which included serving in World War II. His wife (Chabon's grandmother) fled Europe after the war with her daughter in tow. Throughout their marriage they dealt with many difficult things. It is hard to describe more than that without giving away the plot. Suffice it to say, the book is very well written and very interesting.
If you like Chabon's other books you'll like this one. You'll also like it if you like historical fiction, especially set from World War II on, or if you like books with lots of characters.
I found this book a bit difficult to get into at first, but once I was a few pages in, I was captured by Shubin's tales and explanations. Some passages are written with such learned vocabulary that I had to reread them, but once I could comprehend the message, I was in awe. Not only in awe of the subjects but also of how Shubin is able to explain and put a new twist on how things connect in our world.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with an itch of curiosity about the universe, the earth, and people. It is an eye-opening read!