Monday, January 23, 2012

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

This was January's book club book. I would say that 90% of us liked it. However, you have to be hardy and courageous to get past the first couple chapters. Then, it's all good. Well, it's not, but it's not harrowing.

This story is about an Indian infant who is given up for adoption and her birth family and her adopted family. It was really good and really educational and I liked it a lot.

Her adopted family consists of an Indian man who lives in America with his American wife. Really worth your time.

Northwest Corner by John Burnham Scwartz

This is the follow-up, yet stand-alone novel to Resurrection Road (which I have not read). I liked this book, but part of my enjoyment was waiting to find out what the crime of the main character was. As that is the subject of Resurrection Road, I am not sure I would have found this very exciting if I had read the first book.

So here's the story: This young man is involved in a viscious bar fight in Maine or Massachusets or Conneticut. He flees to his estranged father in California. His father is estranged because he was in prison for years and went to California upon his release. The book also deals with the victims of his father's crime and the young man's mother. Not much happens but it is very deep (I think?) Anyway, it was interesting and there would be a ton of stuff to discuss but I didn't love it.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

Note to self: When I write a book (ha!) my name shall not be larger than the title.

This book has a really great premise. It is current day and a large portion of the earth's population is missing. It's kind of like the rapture occurred, only most of the planet is fairly certain it was not the rapture. Why? Because there is no real pattern to who vanished. Jews, Muslims, Christians, murders, football players, all kinds of people are gone. This book is about those who are still here, the Leftovers.

The book centers around Kevin, his wife and his daughter and how they each deal with this mind blowing event. It was such a good book and I will definitely be on the lookout for more by this author.

EDITED TO ADD: OH MY! This is the man who wrote the book Election, later made into an indie movie staring that man that's married to Sarah Jessica Parker, oh! Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. I love that movie.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan

Apparently, there are 5 people in America who don't know who Sybil was. (Yes, my husband is one.) This is the story of Shirley Mason a/k/a Sybil, her psychologist and the journalist who wrote their story. It is fascinating and contains many details that you have never heard of. It provides background on the mental health profession at the time and how Shirley came to be diagnosed. It delves into the background of all three women and exposes the real horror that lies behind the story of Sybil. READ THIS BOOK.

Ben Behind His Voices by Randye Kaye

Apparently, after reading all those Swedish novels, I am now reading about mental health. This book is a memoir written by 'Ben's' mother. Ben starts out life as a perfect little boy but somewhere in high school develops mental issues. After years, he is diagnosed with schizophrenia. A diagnosis, by the way, that he doesn't agree with. This book details the struggles of a mother, daughter and son to cope with the diagnosis. You should read this book. It is engrossing, enlightening and very educational.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Irma Voth by Miriam Towes

I finished this book a few days ago and since then I have been pondering. I am still not sure if I liked this book. It is the story of a young woman who is Mennonite and lives in Mexico. She is married to a young Mexican man and has been shunned by her family. However, her father has allowed Irma and her husband to live in a house on the family's ranch. A film crew arrives in the area to film an art film involving Mennonites and Irma is hired as a translator. The book was fascinating for it's brief insights into the Mennonite lifestyle. The book was disturbing and dark for no apparent reason through the beginning. I *think* I liked the book, but I still can't decide. The book jacket states that the author was born in a small Canadian Mennonite community and has written several books and a memoir of her father. I would LOVE to read the memoir just wondering if any of the father in THIS book was based on her father (and I really hope not!!). I think this book just wasn't Mennonite-y enough for me. I will check out her other books and think this would be a great book club book.

The Hand that Trembles by Kjell Ericksson

I should probably stop reading all these Swedish books. I am not chosing them on purpose, it's just one of those coincidences that happens in life. HOWEVER, you would think I would notice the author's name. I always find them a bit off. As if maybe something is missing in translation.
Anyway...this book is part of a series following a female police officer and her cases. In this book, a female foot is found. Also, a fellow police officer is troubled by a cold case. The story is interesting, but having not read any others in the series, I didn't love it. I liked it enough that if I easily came across others in the series, I would pick them up, but probably won't seek them out.