Add me to the legions of fans of JoJo Moyes. I’m not exactly certain how to classify her books but women’s contemporary fiction suits as well as anythAdd me to the legions of fans of JoJo Moyes. I’m not exactly certain how to classify her books but women’s contemporary fiction suits as well as anything. The two I’ve read were love stories at their core. Some would call them romance, not me. Romantic perhaps.
It is 1960. Jennifer Stirling is hospitalized, suffering from memory loss due to a severe car accident. This alone caught my attention as what the brain will forget when stressed interests me. When released she goes home to her husband and we can feel her confusion and awkwardness as she tries to regain consciousness of who she is or was for that matter. Something seems off. Then she finds a letter with an impassioned plea for her to chuck her life and meet said composer at the train station. It is signed B. Who is this man and why would Jennifer consider giving up her privileged life to follow him? The reader will find out all in a story told in dual time frames over a span of 40+ years.
Essentially a thriller reader in need of a feelgood story now and then I am often left cold by forced sentimentality or down right sappiness. The Last Letter From Your Lover evoked feelings of sadness, both hopefulness and hopelessness, nostalgia and a yearning hunger for a love letter of my own. Aptly titled, I loved it. ...more
Imagine your sister is a murderer who committed suicide to escape a certain life long prison term? Imagine you were just two when this happened? ImagiImagine your sister is a murderer who committed suicide to escape a certain life long prison term? Imagine you were just two when this happened? Imagine parents who won't talk about her, who have erased any acknowledgment of her? Imagine a brother damaged by this experience and who is wounded warrior to boot? Imagine this lonely adult with so many questions left unanswered. It's amazing that Riley seems a fairly well-adjusted woman despite the seeds of dysfunction lurking in her family. When Riley comes home to settle her father's estate instead of finding comfort and closure she finds yet more secrets and a foundation built on lies which like a house of cards is bound to fall. ...more
In a Sunburned Country is what it is. Pure Bryson all the way and I loved every minute of it. It is not meant to be a scholarly course on Australia hiIn a Sunburned Country is what it is. Pure Bryson all the way and I loved every minute of it. It is not meant to be a scholarly course on Australia history but it is informative and fun. Considering Bryson's repeated mention of the many things that can kill you and the possibility of drinking your own urine, it's a wonder that we come away with a desire to see Australia for ourselves. But we do. Along with Bryson's familiar humor, he manages to capture the vastness of the land, the people, the diversity of nature, the beauty of this country. He wraps it up so well in his quote:
"Australia is an interesting place, it truly is and really is all I'm saying."
Enough said. This is an entertaining read, it truly is, just saying....more
In recent weeks I have become interested in the career of Author Lynda La Plante. I am finally getting on board with her critically acclaimed and awarIn recent weeks I have become interested in the career of Author Lynda La Plante. I am finally getting on board with her critically acclaimed and award winning TV series Prime Suspect. I thought I might also watch Above Suspicion but why not read the book first.
Above Suspicion is the usual serial killer thriller introducing Rookie Anna Travis. Travis is less interesting on paper than Jane Tennison of Prime Suspect fame. This is not quite fair as this is not an apple-to-apple comparison. Travis needs to be less indecisive as a character. I’ll give her a slight benefit of a doubt as she is immediately at a disadvantage as a member of The Murder Squad. She is a woman, she is inexperienced, she is young, and she is shadowed by the career of her the esteemed career of her father, a well liked, long-time careered policeman. Add to this that her superior, Chief Inspector Langton, can’t quite figure out if Travis can make the grade, whether she is worth teaching, or if she will be his mere dalliance. Until some of this is decided she is a ghost of the person she could be. She’s got to toughen up and draw from within before I can get behind her. Before book’s end there is hope that the second outing will show her less confused and more her own woman. ...more
The publishers summary will give you all you need to know about this book. I couldn't say it better. What I can tell you is that I liked this story abThe publishers summary will give you all you need to know about this book. I couldn't say it better. What I can tell you is that I liked this story about a cop who maintains his moral self in the worst of times. Detective Henry Palace is a man I'd like to know and one who could make the last days of life worth living. The mystery was secondary for me. There is a sequel which I may not read as I thought the uncertainty of what might come was a fitting end. ...more
One Summer America, 1927is clearly not a walk in the woods but a lazy stroll down memory lane. You may not know everyone who has a role in these pagesOne Summer America, 1927is clearly not a walk in the woods but a lazy stroll down memory lane. You may not know everyone who has a role in these pages but you're bound to be familiar with at least a few. Lindbergh, Hoover, Coolidge, Sacco and Vanzetti, Babe Ruth, and Sikorsky. Bryson gives us a tease on some and more detail on others. Unfortunately he jumps all over the place in these histories even though all his characters have something to do with that one summer. It's a a bit confusing and makes for jerky reading.
I had to wonder how and why Bryson chose this particular summer to write about. I don't think he randomly selected 1927 as Douglas Brinkley (Washington Post) writes in his scathing review . He likens Bryson's to birthday cards from the year you were born, a token of the times.
Our book group wouldn't go so far as to be negative and all thought they learned something and will use One Summer America, 1927 as a stepping stone for some research on whatever figure captured their attention. Mine would be Calvin Coolidge as most of the others were more than I need or want to know.
Perhaps I'm used to the Bill Bryson of the Thunderbolt Kid A Walk in the Woods. Something just seemed off here. I particularly missed his laugh out loud humor and blend of fact with a good story. I did enjoy the prologue but wasn't quite certain how it fit. I finally decided to listen to In a Sunburned Country...more
Hats off to Sclazi for taking creative approach to the subject of lock in syndrome. Having read both non-fiction and fiction regarding this medical coHats off to Sclazi for taking creative approach to the subject of lock in syndrome. Having read both non-fiction and fiction regarding this medical condition I was fascinated by Scalzi's treatment of it. He creates future world where a virus creates a medical crisis that leaves many of its victims being locked in and uses technology to bring his thriller to a new level.
I'm really not the best person to describe this SF read but am glad I read it. I have seen many fine reviews and accolades for this title. It has series written all over it and has been picked up for a possible film. ...more
You might call Me Before You a romance, but it doesn't strictly fit the definition of that genre term. Perhaps, a love story or more correctly the stoYou might call Me Before You a romance, but it doesn't strictly fit the definition of that genre term. Perhaps, a love story or more correctly the story of a relationship. Louisa Clark finds herself in need of a job when the Buttered Bun where she was employed closes unexpectedly. Louisa's family, including her mom, dad, grandfather, sister and nephew depend on her wages as jobs are scarce and no one else is employed at the time. So what's Louisa to do? When it's stated that her old boss Frank will give her a good reference she replies
"Oh, fecking marvelous...'Louisa Clark is very good at buttering toast, and a dab hand at the old teapot."
This statement alone gives a clue to locale and also a peek at the quick wit that makes up Clark's personality.
After some hiccups in job hunting Louisa takes a six month temporary position as caretaker/companion to Will Traynor, a wealthy young man confined to a wheelchair, a quadriplegic. The day Will was hit by a motorcycle became the end of his life as he saw it. Louisa's and Will's relationship isn't off to a good start as Louisa doesn't know what to make of Will's dark moods and finds her role a bit more than she bargained for.
I loved Me Before You and found it very realistic. When I finished it I had to know if Jo Jo Moyes worked with or knew a quadriplegic. I found my answer in a GR interview where she states:
"Not quadriplegics. The thing that really informed it was a member of my family who suffers from a progressive disease. I have been involved in feeding her, taking her out, and that kind of thing. Part of what inspired Me Before You was just questions I had in my head about quality of life. At what point does the quality become meaningless? At what point do you give someone the right to decide for themselves?"
I'll leave my synopsis at that as I dislike giving away too much of a story. I have added additional thoughts and life experiences in a comment on this review. I'm certain these enhanced my enjoyment of Me Before You but may hold little interest for the general readers of GR reviews....more
I don't know why it bothers me so that I thought this book was just ok. So many of my GR friends have embraced this Station Eleven and have shouted itI don't know why it bothers me so that I thought this book was just ok. So many of my GR friends have embraced this Station Eleven and have shouted its praises from the rooftop. I struggled through the first 80 pages, didn't want to throw it under the couch, but wasn't finding myself engaged. Perhaps I should have quit while I was ahead but stubborn that I am, I carried on. It never really got better for me but I did finish. At least I won't feel left out.
Shakespeare is dead and I prefer him to remain so. That could have been part of my problem. The only character I really liked was Miranda. I love stories about pandemics but was surprised that I wasn't cheering for these characters to survive. The Traveling Symphony was a unique tool but never captured my fancy.
I certainly can't fault the writing. Creative? Perhaps. I have been as positive as I can be in regards to my feelings about Station Eleven.
How can We Are Not Ourselves be a debut novel? If you had the opportunity to hear Matthew Thomas explain it, it would make sense. Ten years, yes ten yHow can We Are Not Ourselves be a debut novel? If you had the opportunity to hear Matthew Thomas explain it, it would make sense. Ten years, yes ten years of hard work, tweaking and self- editing before he even tried to sell his manuscript. Ten years. Thomas' diligence paid off in a bidding war for his novel and with glowing early reviews from professionals and readers alike.
It was enlightening to hear Matthew Thomas speak at R.J. Julia's in Madison, CT this past Monday evening. It also makes my thoughts on We Are Not Ourselves harder to express. Not only did I really like We Are Not Ourselves but I liked Matthew also. These two things combined make we want to get this right but unlike Matthew I don't have ten years.
Simply stated We Are Not Ourselves is an impelling saga of a multigenerational Irish family and their life in New York. Would this description alone make you want to read this? We Are Not Ourselves has beautiful language, a well-constructed plot, is atmospheric and has characters with great depth. What makes this one stand out in a crowd of good books and worth your time to commit its 600+ pages? For this reader it was the feelings it evoked. It is like watching ordinary people with ordinary dreams and passions, a window to their soul or self.
Eileen Tumulty, daughter, wife, mother is at the center and the driving force of much of the novel. The author's thoughts on naming her were quite interesting but I leave you to your own conclusions. We meet Eileen as a young girl and it is here, like most of us, that her self is formed. She is the daughter of an alcoholic mother and a father who is like the mayor of the local pub. Early on Eileen becomes fixed in her caretaker role. These things should make Eileen a strong woman with the power to be whatever she wishes yet somehow she becomes a shadow of what?, circumstance?, choices?, leading to her own undoing. She wants, she yearns, she strives, and the quest is always just a bit beyond her reach. She is a sad rendering of a smart woman and it is hard for me to like her. Ed Leary, her husband became my focus. A man who is content to just be. A college professor who truly believes motivating and teaching his students is far more important than position or money. A man with a brilliant mind that is slowly falling apart. Clues are given, the thought of Alzheimer's is there but it is kick in the gut when it is confirmed. Connell, the offspring, their son. The relationship between Connell and his parents bears close attention. The father/son affinity is powerful and doubly sad in consideration of Ed's disease. Watching this sensitive boy dropped in the middle of this nest was painful.
In the end I haven't disclosed much.We Are Not Ourselves is a book that needs to be digested in its own way by each reader. I do feel it is worth your time. Read a few reviews. Consider the subject matter. Enjoy. ...more