Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wilderness by Dean Koontz (Short story, introduction to Innocence)


Addison Goodheart is 8 and there is something very wrong with him.  His mother can hardly tolerate to look at him and sends him out into the wilderness until she can face his presence again.  She tells him the story of the midwife who, horrified by what she saw, would have killed him had his mother not pulled a knife to defend him.
One day, while wandering the woods during a banishment from the isolated cabin that is all the home he has ever known, Addison is spotted by a hunter.  The hunter, who is enraged by the sight of Addison, tracks him through the woods.
This short story is the prequel to a series which begins with the book Innocence and that was released in December 2013.  I will be adding it to my list the second I finish this review.
I adore Dean Koontz.  My favorite book of his is From the Corner of His Eye.  I am particularly pulled in by his treatment of good and evil.  No moral ambiguity for Koontz, which I find refreshing.

The Deer and the Woodcutter: A Korean Folktale by Kim So-Un


One day, a humble woodcutter saves the life of a hunted deer.  In gratitude, the deer tells the hunter how he might win a beautiful fairy as his wife.  Daily the fairies descend from heaven to bathe in a pool in the mountains.  If the woodcutter journeys to the pool he will find all of the feathery robes which belong to the fairies.  Should he take one robe and hide it, the fairy whose robe he has hidden will not be able to return to heaven and will become his wife.  The deer cautions that he must always keep the robe hidden, until the time that the fairy has given birth to four children else he will regret it. 
Folktales make me wonder, who is the person that first told this story?  What is the genesis of it?  What folktales will our grandchildren know? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

Ehh.  This was good.  But I would have liked more details about Freud and what he thought and where it came from.  This book went deep into the mistress's thoughts, etc. which are clearly conjecture and very little into historical events, facts, and reality. 
It is interesting that Freud had a relationship with his sister-in-law.  She lived in their house for 40 years and helped his wife raise her 6 children.  The authors even make the claim that she had an abortion at some point.  However, I kind of hate when books try to re-write or create history for us. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Murderer's Daughter by Randy Susan Meyers

This is a beautifully written book, with great characters and it is so difficult to read.  This is the story of Lulu and Merry.  When the girls are small, their dad kills their mother, slices Merry open, and then fails to kill himself.  He is sentenced to life in prison and the girls are sent to live with their maternal grandmother.  Upon her death, they are abandoned to the foster care system.  This book follows them as they grow up and try to build lives of their own, never losing sight that they are all each other has.  They both struggle with guilt and their complicated feelings for their father.  It was really really haunting and good but not for the faint at heart.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Broken Harbor by Tana French


I was a bit apprehensive about this book because I read another of her books In the Woods which was sooooooo disappointing.  Basically, while that one ended, a huge portion of the story was NEVER EXPLAINED.  Which is not cool Tana French.  BUT, the story itself was so intriguing, so I thought I would check this out.
I finished this book a few days ago and then I have been thinking about the story and thinking about the story.  I REALLY liked this book.  It was pretty disturbing.  It wasn't hugely gory but I just can't stop thinking about it. 
A family has been murdered and only the mother survives.  The family's computer has been wiped clean and their are signs that some weird things were going on in the house.  The story follows 2 police detectives and their quest to find out what happened and why.
It's a great book and there are a lot of things to discuss. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Aunt Dimity & the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton

This book is sweet and comforting and silly and enjoyable.  Perfect if you liked the Mitford series by Jan Karon.  It is part of a series of books (this is number 17 I think?) that revolve around Lori, mother to twins and resident of Finch which is a tiny village somewhere in England.  The residents of Finch know everything about everyone and every event that occurs in their village.  So when a new resident moves in, it is very exciting.  Oh, and Lori has this possessed book through which she convenes with her deceased mother's deceased best friend "Aunt" Dimity.  Dimity is also the reason Lori, an American, lives in Finch.  When Dimity died, she left her cottage in Finch and the book to Lori whom she had never met.  So if you are looking for a new, light series, I would recommend these.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Up from Orchard Street by Eleanor Widmer


This book took a few chapters for me to get engaged in.  HOWEVER, after that, I really loved this book.  It is the story of an emigrant family in New York.  The matriarch Manya, is a widow raising two small children, her son Jack and her little sister sent from Odessa.  The story follows Manya, her child, her sister and her grandchildren.  It is an enlightening story about what life was like for those in the Jewish Ghettos of New York.  I really liked this book, it would be fabulous for a book club study.  According to the book notes, much of this story was autobiographical and this is the now deceased author's only novel.  She did write a book about censorship and  testified as an expert witness in an obscenity trial involving the banning in San Diego of Henry Miller's controversial novel, "Tropic of Cancer." Fascinating and so different from any of my experiences.  A great book!