06 12 / 2013
I am an absolute sucker for college admission novels. It’s such a great transition period in life, and so much fun to read about. This one is a really good one with great characters. The ending is really weak, but who cares. We all know there is no end to what rich parents will do, but you end up feeling so sorry for all these people that play the game with extra accoutrements which end up being baggage. In this book the kids kind of win, but the adults most certainly do not. Smirking just slightly on that one.
06 12 / 2013
I’m a fan, and have been for years. It is satisfying to see Bohjalian branching out into historical novels. This one takes place in Italy both during and after World War 2. He’s smart to pick up one dilemma and work with it, much as he has always done. This reads well, though his characters are not very loveable. But I suppose that they should not be and that is the point—human fragility.
06 12 / 2013
I think this is a first novel for Kelly, and I hope she continues writing. This was more of a thriller than I anticipated, and it went all over the place with twists and turns. A good read.
19 11 / 2013
I was excited to read this, because I had read one of her other books, The Boy in the Suitcase, and really enjoyed it. By the end of this book, I was engaged in the book, but it was not easy going. It might possibly be the fault of the translation, but the style of the book as it skipped around in location and time period was difficult to follow. It was also difficult to make the necessary connections, though of course the end brought it together. I went back and read the opening pages and a few more things clicked into place. I almost wanted to read the book again, because I thought I’d get more out of it on a second read. But there are only a very few books that I have ever reread. I do like the characters, since not a one of them shines as being a paragon of any virtue. They are totally human, and the author presents them well. I see that there are three in this series. I’ll have to go find the one I missed. Thumbs up for Nordic suspense!
18 11 / 2013
I was so happy to see a new book from Sujata Massey as I’ve really enjoyed her Rei Shimura series. It seemed strange to see a novel from her set in India, but I gave it a try and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a saga, and though long, reads very smoothly. It’s quite easy to get caught up in the story of Kamala. This historical period is presented lightly and naturally, but if you don’t know anything about Indian history, it seems like a good way in. I’m guessing that a sequel will follow, and I look forward to that. This is quite an enjoyable read, and is more about the story than the writing itself. That is, it isn’t one of those flowery and descriptive books that popular Indian authors write, but if you like sagas, this will hit the spot.
08 11 / 2013
Here is yet another book about parenting in other cultures. There have been a rash of these books that I’ve encountered in the last year or so. This one was particularly engaging since the author talked a lot about her years in Japan and her experience there. It seems well-researched and gave me some interesting things to think about. But it is a little bit been there, done that in some places. Maybe I am just reading too many of these? It did make me reflect unexpectedly on my own child-rearing experiences and realize how fortunate I was to have access to two different cultural perspectives. If these books help people to realize that there are more than one way to do things, then I’m all for it. But you can’t raise a child in a vacuum, and if your surroundings don’t give with your philosophy then you’re out of luck. Still though, if we can take the good and the wise from other cultures, then today’s parents are lucky to have resources like this.
07 11 / 2013
If you’ve ever lived in Vermont or wanted to, this book is for you. It is the witty and amusing tale of a family who moves to a small town in Vermont and buys the country store there. If you’re a Vermonter, you’ll have fun scoffing. But it is a sweet book to read at this time of year since it conjures up visions of the Vermont that we all want Vermont to be. Well written, albeit preposterous in parts.
07 11 / 2013
There is really just one thing to say about this book. Everyone should read it. Period. I firmly believe that this will become a classic read. It will help you to understand autism, sure. But it also speaks to compassion and humility. With autism as prevalent as it is in our society, we all need to know more about it. Who better to speak of it than Higashida? It’s a short book. Just trust me and read it.
20 10 / 2013
Book # 121 The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life, by Rod Dreher
I stumbled across this book at the library and was drawn to the idea of a good life in a small town. Right from the beginning, we know the author’s sister is going to die of cancer. He tells the story of his life, his sister’s life, and the community they grew up in. I was wary of liking this due to the author’s affiliation with conservatives, and his strong religious beliefs. But that didn’t detract at all from his premise and it all rang very true. I started reading this book in the early evening hours and didn’t put it down until I was done. It was that engaging, and it left me with a lot to think about. Worth reading, for sure.
18 10 / 2013
Just about everyone should read this book. It is a readable account of the foster care system from the point of view of people in it. It paints a small picture in terms of the cases cited, but a very real and fair picture and a very readable picture. It is shocking, heartbreaking, and one can’t imagine what a solution could be.