Really shouldn't have taken me this long to finish this book but life got in the way I guess. This was a decent book, however, I wish the author went...moreReally shouldn't have taken me this long to finish this book but life got in the way I guess. This was a decent book, however, I wish the author went more into Grace's finding out about her mother and Mr. Frederick. It felt like a loose end.(less)
reposted from my book blog. *** As a child, did you ever have an imaginary friend? I don’t particularly remember having one when I was younger and in th...morereposted from my book blog. *** As a child, did you ever have an imaginary friend? I don’t particularly remember having one when I was younger and in this book, one of the effects of having imaginary friends is that when they eventually leave your life, you’re supposed to forget about them. So maybe I did have one but just forgot.
However, Jane has never really been able to forget Michael – a handsome, funny, and caring man – who she used to have ice cream with on Sundays when she was a young girl, neglected by a mother who was a powerful figure in the Broadway scene. Michael was her only friend and comforted her during a rough time. But as with all imaginary friends, eventually it was time for Michael to leave.
Years later, Jane is producing a movie based on a little girl and her imaginary friend, based on her own story. Michael, after being designated imaginary friend to many kids over the years, has come back to New York, waiting for his next assignment. He hasn’t exactly forgotten Jane either and is thrown for a loop when he notices the adult Jane one day. He’s never had contact with any of his kids after his designated times with them, so he’s confused as to why he’s in New York again, so close to Jane.
One day, Jane and Michael bump into each other at the cafe where they used to eat ice cream together. Jane, of course, can’t believe that her imaginary friend is back, and even more so because other people can see him now too. They have no idea why they have been reunited in this way but they’re both happy to see each other again. Michael doesn’t see Jane as a little girl anymore and Jane is attracted to Michael as well.
They strike up their friendship again but now on a more adult level. And they both question if they can act on their feelings towards each other or would it break some type of imaginary friend/designated kid rule. You question it too as you read along because 1) in a way it is sort of creepy and 2) he is supposed to be imaginary. However, you find yourself rooting for them because they clearly are perfect for each other and you so wish that their love has no boundaries.
I found the premise of this book very interesting, the whole idea of what if your imaginary friend was the love of your life? We don’t really give the idea of imaginary friends another thought until our own kids have imaginary friends themselves. I like what James Patterson did with this subject and it made for a quick, light, and interesting read.
reposted from my book blog. *** An Irish Country Doctor follows the adventures of the newly degreed doctor, Barry Laverty, in the small village of Bally...morereposted from my book blog. *** An Irish Country Doctor follows the adventures of the newly degreed doctor, Barry Laverty, in the small village of Ballybucklebo, Northern Ireland in the 1960’s. After receiving his new medical degree, he is eager to take an assistant position in the small practice of one older Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’ Reilly. That is, until he meets Dr. O’ Reilly himself.
Dr. O’ Reilly is a seasoned doctor and understandably has acquired his own certain practices and habits when it comes to treating his patients over the years. His motto is to never let the patients get the upper hand. He uses shortcuts when diagnosing patients and treating them. Initially, this bothers the young Dr. Laverty, who having just graduated from medical school, was taught there was a proper way to do all this. That Dr. O’ Reilly’s practices are not what he was taught. However, when he realizes, in one of his first cases with Dr. O’ Reilly, that O’ Reilly’s shortcut still arrived at the same diagnosis had he done it Laverty’s way, he begins to think that perhaps he could learn a lot from Dr. O’ Reilly after all.
In a matter of a couple of weeks, Barry gradually receives the trust of the people of Ballybucklebo. Along the way, he meets several of the village’s quirky citizens which include an old couple that have been unable to marry for so many years for lack of a roof, literally. Barry also deals with how to include a love life with an independent Patricia, an engineering student who has a limp due to a bout with polio. Barry also learns to slowly accept and respect Dr. O’ Reilly and even start becoming friends. Fingal isn’t just the respected village doctor, but a nice man who truly does care about his patients and fellow villagers, as well as his Labrador, Arthur Guinness, and cantankerous cat, Lady Macbeth.
I quite liked this book for its simpleness, which I don’t mean in a bad way. I just felt very at ease and felt like I was one of the villagers in small Ballybucklebo as I read the book. The writing was straightforward but also funny, which gave the book a village-y feel.
There was just the right amount of characters to show that even though the village was small, the two doctors were busy enough but not too busy to have friendships with their patients. I liked the different personalities of the characters, from the eccentric Maggie MacCorkle to the hypochondriac Mrs. Fotheringham.
I also liked the particular time period the book was set in, 1960’s Ireland. I haven’t read too many books set in Ireland, let alone in the 60’s, when the medical field was in between the old and the new, and where many unwed pregnant girls succumbed to either illegal abortions or going away to have their babies and later give them up for adoption (a situation that one of the characters in the book deals with).
Overall, this was a fun and light read, with characters you come to love. Apparently, this is the first of planned five in the Irish Country series. The second and third, An Irish Country Village and An Irish Country Christmas, respectively, have already been published. I will have to check if my library has them because I’d like to keep following the adventures of Drs. Laverty and O’ Reilly and the inhabitants of Ballybucklebo.(less)
I honestly didn’t know about the Gnostics before this book was in my hands. But not to worry because the author clearly knows a lot about this subjec...more I honestly didn’t know about the Gnostics before this book was in my hands. But not to worry because the author clearly knows a lot about this subject. This comes in the form of character Chloe Eisenberg, a professor of Philosophy and Religion.
In The Gnostic Mystery, an American businessman named Jack Stanton, travels to Israel to visit his old close college friend, Punjeeh, now an ER doctor in Jerusalem. He also hopes to rekindle his Christian faith on this trip. On this trip he buys what he thinks is just a souvenir from a local boy. However, it turns out this souvenir is actually an ancient scroll written by the Gnostics - a group of early, misunderstood Christians.
Jack’s trip becomes a journey full of unravelings instead of a rekindling of his faith. With the help of Punjeeh’s wife’s friend, Chloe Eisenberg, Punjeeh and Jack learn more about the Gnostics, as well as aiding in shedding more light about this ancient group by their acquiring of the scroll.
Overall, this book was an okay read. It’s definitely not a Da Vinci Code, in terms of suspense, which I think it was trying hard to be. However, I did enjoy learning about the Gnostics and the Essenes, who were one of the three main groups of Jews at the time of Jesus(if I read it correctly), in addition to the Pharisees and Saducees(the two that I did know something about). My only complaint about this is that when Chloe is telling Jack and Punjeeh about the Essenes, it didn’t feel like a conversation. I felt like I was sitting in a college lecture hall and the author used Chloe as his medium to inform me at length about the Essenes. I didn’t feel a fluidity to the book.
Also, I found the character of Jack to be inconsistent and unbelievable. Here’s a successful and wealthy businessman, yet he doesn’t know what hummus is when offered to him at dinner. I don’t know, maybe because he’s stereotypical American? But still, for a businessman, you would think he’s had a lot of business contacts from various cultures and countries. Not that I expect everyone to know what hummus is, but for this character, come on. Also, his dialogue was inconsistent. He would go from speaking intelligently or at least how you expect a normal 30-something year old to speak, to adolescent exclamations.
In spite of this, I couldn’t really hate the book because I was really interested in the subject matter and found it to make a lot of sense, though I do have to conduct my own personal research on the Essenes and Gnostics, before I completely buy into the plausible theory that the Gnostics were the first true Christians and that most of the Catholic/Christian foundations may not be as profound as the thousands of years which followed Jesus’ death have claimed them to be.
Decent effort, but I just wasn’t totally wowed by the book as a whole.(less)
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. An excerpt from the USA Today review of the book says that...morePeople of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. An excerpt from the USA Today review of the book says that it is less flashy and has more substance than The Da Vinci Code. I very much agree with that assessment and it’s exactly for those reasons which make People of the Book a really great read.
The novel centers on the real Sarajevo Haggadah, which was rescued from shelling during the Bosnian War. The haggadah is one of the earliest Jewish manuscripts which was adorned with images. Besides the haggadah, Dr. Hanna Heath is the main character of the novel. She is an Australian rare book expert and she was offered the job of analyzing and conserving the haggadah in Sarajevo.
As she works through the book, she uncovers small artifacts within the old pages, such as an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, and a white hair. It is with these artifacts that Geraldine Brooks weaves her fictional history of the haggadah. With each artifact is another chapter of the haggadah history. Brooks takes us from Seville in 1480, to Tarragona in 1492, to Venice during the Inquisition era, and to Vienna during World War II, all contributing to the grandeur and rich background of the haggadah.
I loved how Brooks transported us to the different time periods in the book seamlessly. I felt very much in tune with all the characters and in the present with them, everyone all part of book’s history. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you like books such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code or Steve Berry’s The Amber Room. Or if you like history in general and ever wish you could go back to a certain time period. You won’t be disappointed.(less)