Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Wives of Los Alamos

When I started reading this book, the writing style bothered me.  It was written in a collective voice, "we arrived, we traveled, we kept secrets".  I quickly got past it and I really loved this book.  We (see what I did there) all know the story of Los Alamos.  Some of us may have even watched the amazing tv series Manhattan.  Have you ever thought about what it was like for the wives and children of the scientists who were sequestered in the middle of the desert for years? This book tells the stories of those wives.  The symbolism of the one voice is exactly perfect for this story. I highly recommend.

The Fatal Gift of Beauty (Amanda Knox)

Like many, I know a weird amount of information about the Amanda Knox case.  This book actually added to my wealth of knowledge.  It takes the viewpoint that one of the reasons that Knox was found guilty was due to the clash of cultures and how ultimately we can't understand where the other is coming from.  I highly recommend.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch

In the spirit of Girl in a Train, Gone Girl and other recent thrillers comes Dear Mr M by Herman Koch.  Mr. M is a Dutch author named Herman (please note the actually author of the book's name etc)  He lives on the 4th floor. On he 3rd floor is another Herman, who largely goes unnoticed by Mr. M.  This neighbor Herman is writing a letter to Mr. M.  He doesn't seem to be a fan.  And he is stalking the author and his wife.  And he believes that the subject of Mr M's best novel is well, him.  That book focuses on a teacher who went missing, presumably killed by a school boy and girl who were his students.  It seems Herman was the shook boy, whose teacher went missing.  HIghly entertaining, I whole-heartedly recommend.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage and One American Family by Alex Kershaw

As war comes to Paris, an American Doctor, his wife and son have the choice to flee or to stay and protect the American Hoapital and its patients.  Approached by the French Resistance, hey unhesitatingly accept the risk and become a drop location and help ferry many out of Nazi-occupied France, including downed British and American pilots.  Their teenage son takes photographs (even owning a camera was outlawed) to be sent out of the country.  Eventually, all three are arrested by the Gestapo and sent to concentration camps.  Over and over again they are given opportunities to flee due to their citizenship but chose to stay with those weaker than themselves.  This is an amazing story of personal sacrifice.  I highly recommend.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Did you like Kiss Me Kate or Pygmalion, The Taming of the Shrew or My Fair Lady?
This is a rebelling set in modern day by an amazing author Anne Tyler.  This is the story of a lost young woman who is stuck in a preschool job that she's not really great at, has no social life and lives with her distracted scientist father.  He needs her to marry his lab assistant so that thhe assistant can stay in America.  There is really not much more to the story than that.  It was cute and light and a really quick read.  Perfect to throw in your beach bag.  This is part of a series of books by contemporary authors retelling the works of Shakespeare.   I will be seeking out the authors.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I Am No One by Patrick Flanery

This is a very intelligent book and probably not for everyone. The main character is a learned American professor who has recently returned to NYC after many years of living and teaching at Oxford.  The author does an AMAZING job of portraying this character.  So authentic is his voice that at times it's a bit difficult to muddle through. ( Imagine an 8 hour lecture from someone really smart). The story tells on this professor who seems to be under surveillance. He is followed, his phone may be hacked, his email has been hacked and he is receiving weird packages that show every website he has ever looked at and every email he has ever sent.  Well, not really since forever, just since a certain event.
I like this book. It was really interesting and definitely thought-provoking.  It is definitely ot for the casual reader, though!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chronicle of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashidi

Thia lyrical novel gives three snapshots of a young Egyptian woman's life.  At six she spends her summer trying to make sense of the chaos that occurs during the inauguration of a new president.  People and houses and shops disappear in the night, her cousin speaks of revolution and her father is gone.   Later, she is a college student envisioning a film that will somehow explain this chaos.  Finally she is a writer and her father returns.  The book is interesting and the tone is soft and ephereal.  It left me with a sense of disconnect and a lot of unanswered questions.  I would be interested to know of this is the author's style or was just employed to set the to e of this particular novel.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Fold by Peter Clines

I just finished The Fold by Peter Clibes. The book tells the story of a secret government project which has solved the puzzle and accomplished teleportation.  Out in the desert, two portals have been built which enable you to walk through one and come out the other that just happens to be a mile away across the desert.  Only something seems a little off.  So an outsider with a photographic memory is sent out to observe the team and the doors.  
My favorite thing about the book was the details on what it is like to possess a photographic memory.  The author uses the analogy of ants who are endlessly marching through his brain carrying facts and facts and facts.  I found the character's defense mechanism against his abilities fascinating. I really enjoyed the book, however the ending seemed to wrap up a little too easily.  Overall a really great book! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

This book combines the stories of two women who come to their children in unusual ways, hundreds of years apart.
The first, Eden, has moved to a small town and into a historic home which may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.  She must determine the path her life will take after her plans do not come to fruition. She befriends several of her small town neighbors while investigating the history of her home and deciding which paths in life to follow.
The second is Sarah Brown, true-life daughter of John Brown as in the Riad on Harper's Ferry.  After her father is executed for his part in the plot to cause a slave uprising, Sarah must determine which path she must follow.
The story jumps back and forth between two women, who separated by centuries, still have a lot in common.
I really enjoyed this book, especially learning some of the back story on a famous historical event.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

After a dream of blood and murder, Yeong-Han throws out all the meat and animal products in her home. Her husband, who married her as she was plain and quiet and would be no trouble, IS troubled. As is her family. YEong-Han begins a slow descent into mental illness. Her story is lyrically told through the voices of her husband, her brother-in-law and finally her sister. We see each of them more clearly by how they deal with Yeong-Han's worsening condition. It is a haunting story with beautiful imagery. The story stays with you and I find myself thinking back over it at odd moments. This would be a really great book for a group discussion.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

I just finished reading The Quality of Silence.  Wow.  It was that kind of intense book that had me wanting to flip ahead just to release some of the tension and fear I felt for the safety of the characters.   I restrained myself, but barely.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Ruby, a young girl who is completely deaf,  and her mother,    Yasmin.  The two have flown across the ocean from England to Alaska in order to demand that Matt (father and husband) come home.  He is in Alaska studying wildlife in the frozen dark winter of the Artic Circle.  This has taken him to a remote native village.  Upon landing in Alaska the pair is met by the police, not Matt.  There has been an accident in the village.
From their we are swirled off into a menacing cold darkness in a quest to find Matt.  It is a dark (literally and figuratively) journey full of menace and foreboding.
I found this book very engrossing and informative.  I loved the characters of Yasmin and Ruby.  But this book was a challenging one to get into.  It took me about 20 pages to get used to the authors rhythm, but once in it was hard to put down (and to not flip ahead).  It was quite thrilling and scary to me, with lots of menacing characters (one of which was Alaska itself).  I really liked this book but it's not for the casual reader.   Great ending!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."