Monday, December 1, 2014

The Pearl that broke its shell by Nadia Hashimi

This book was really illuminating when it
comes to women's rights in certain Muslim countries. Two stories are presented:  that of Rahima, who as a child, lives as a boy in able to allow her to attend school which she can not do as a young girl and Shekiba her great-great grandma, who also lived as male for a time. Shekiba lives in the time when Afghanistan first gains its independence and Rahima lives under the Taluban and the American war in Afghanistan. Not my favorite book but definitely worh readin and a true education on how lucky we are, as females, to live here. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I loved this book and found it so true to my current life and lifestyle. The story centers around a group of disparate women united by the fact that their children are in the same kindergarten class. The book starts after something criminal has occurred at the big school fundraiser and apparently someone is dead. The author then starts at the beginning and we see how the women met, the small cruelties they inflict on each other and the kids and the personal problems they have at home. It is very approachable writing wih humor and heart and I loved loved it!

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Wow was this fascinating. This is book about the last person to be executed in Iceland. Based on years of research and incorporating text from historical documents, the author tells a story that is heartbreaking and mesmerizing.  A young woman who is utterly alone in the world has be condemned to death for the murder of her employer. While
Awaiting her death by beheading, she is sent to be housed as a servant and prisoner in the house of a farming family. 
I found this book terribly moving and it really begs the question as to why some people just seem to get a really rough set of circumstances and others do not. It's as if there are two worlds that do touch but most are not free to roam back and forth. An educational and heart-breaking story. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Imagine if you could tell everything about a person by tasting food they had prepared. Now imagine you are 8 and everything you eat screams of the deep sadness felt by your seemingly upbeat cheerful mother. This book is really good, quirky and thought provoking. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the idea of lemon cake with chocolate icing. 

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

This book by the author of the Silver Linings Playbook was very good. It tells the story of a young man whose life centers around his girlfriend and basketball which is their ticket out of the dead-end, crime-ridden town in which they live. Their lives have been made a bit easier due to the fact that his girlfriend is related to an Irish gangster which offers them a layer of protection as some of the only white kids and a predominately black high school. Looking forward to his senior year as a starter on his team, the man character is asked by his coach for a favor. It seems that a young man is moving to the school after having survived the murder of his parents. He is just coming out of a mental facility and still believes that he is an alien awaiting rescue from his parents who are not dead but merely in space. He also happens to be one of the best basketball players in the country and plays the same position as the main charecter. 
It's a really beautiful story with a couple of twists and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (un corrected proof)

I really enjoyed this book. It's a mixture of the fantasy and cop thriller genres. The main character is dispatched to a distant continent to investigate the death of a friend of hers who has been murdered. The character development is really well done. The author leaves plenty of room for this to become a series of books. It reminded me a bit of The Sparrow by Maria Russell Doria. I would definitely recommend this book. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I stayed up way too late finishing this lovely book. Set primarily in Brittany during the final days of WWII, the book focuses on the lives of three charexter a: a young blind girl, a young radio whiz and a diseased man searching for the jewel which will save his life. Marie Laurie loses her sight at 6. Before this, her eyes feast on the treasures of the world at the museum where her father serves at the locksmith. With the Germans coming, they flee the city, taking with them the museum's prized jewel. Hunting them down is the Nazi Von Rumple who believes the jewel keeps alive forever the person who possesses it. Concurrently, we follow the story of a young German orphan who is plucked from his orphanage to attend an elite Hilter youth training school where his brilliance with machines, specifically radios, becomes evident. 
Go get this book. It is fairy tale like and informative and terrifying in it's portrayal of the banality of evil. Did I say go get this book??

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?