I wanted to love this book given the rave reviews and awards it received. I could not get into it at all. I didn't really care about the characters an...moreI wanted to love this book given the rave reviews and awards it received. I could not get into it at all. I didn't really care about the characters and didn't care for the change in voice from granddaughter to grandfather. I only made it halfway through the first section about the deathless man. That's when I knew it wasn't a book I wanted to continue.(less)
Couldn't help wondering how much was fiction and what was truth. Hubby and I had to watch The Sun Also Rises to see the Pamplona characters acted out....moreCouldn't help wondering how much was fiction and what was truth. Hubby and I had to watch The Sun Also Rises to see the Pamplona characters acted out. (less)
A very quick read. I was a little disappointed in the ending, but I loved the way he captured running, the different temperaments of runners, and race...moreA very quick read. I was a little disappointed in the ending, but I loved the way he captured running, the different temperaments of runners, and race strategy. I got it via interlibrary loan and spent a very happy Sunday zipping right through it. A great read for runners and not a bad story for everyone else.(less)
The last book I hated this much that I couldn't stop listening to was EMPIRE FALLS by Richard Russo. I'm finding it similarly painful to listen to FRE...moreThe last book I hated this much that I couldn't stop listening to was EMPIRE FALLS by Richard Russo. I'm finding it similarly painful to listen to FREEDOM (I'm on the 11th CD of 19) and yet I want to know what happens to all these unpleasant people. Sigh. I loved THE CORRECTIONS and keep hoping that some of the wit and charm of that book will appear in this one. So far, no go. But I am nothing if not loyal and will continue only because I don't have another book on CD to listen to in my car right now and at least I'm multi-tasking since I'm also driving the car. And just to keep this in perspective, this review is coming from a woman who enjoys Video Solitaire. Yawn. And I have to wonder if Jonathan Franzen is as seriously unhappy as this book leads me to believe. If so, I hope he finds help soon.(less)
It's been a long time since a novel captivated me as much as The Art of Fielding. I know very little about baseball and thought I cared even less. Har...moreIt's been a long time since a novel captivated me as much as The Art of Fielding. I know very little about baseball and thought I cared even less. Harbach made me love each character, one by one, and crafted a great story about them. The characters (college baseball players, the school president, and his daughter) were compelling, the setting (a small, private college on the shore of Lake Michigan) stark and interesting, and the story simple (primarily about relationships and the forces that drive people), but elegant. The story begins with a gifted short stop, Henry Skrimshander, and his error-free streak. When Henry's record-tying streak is broken by an errant throw, the book shows how it impacts the other characters' lives. The book is beautifully written and contains tons of literary references especially to Melville, the college President's favorite author, after which the baseball team, the Harpooners, is named. I had been listening to it in the car on CD, but about 2/3 of the way through, I couldn't wait any longer to learn what happened to Guert Affenlight, Owen Dunne, Henry Skrimshander, Mike Schwartz, Pella Affenlight and the others. I got the hardback from the library and finished it in one sitting.(less)
Written from the POV of a 50 year old woman with early onset Alzmeimer's. It's a quiet book, mirroring the simple way that the disease robs it's victi...moreWritten from the POV of a 50 year old woman with early onset Alzmeimer's. It's a quiet book, mirroring the simple way that the disease robs it's victims of their lives.
I listened to it on CD read by the author and the reading wasn't the best although by the last couple of CD's I was driving around or sitting in my car because I didn't want to stop listening.
If you are prone to hypochondria and are in middle age, the book might freak you out a bit since some of the memory lapses of the main character are "normal" ones that everday health folks have.
This book was originally self-published but after it gained a huge following in the Alzheimer's community, was picked up by a traditional house.(less)
In The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian, an elderly couple, Ella with cancer and her husband John with Alzheimer's, set off from Detroit in their...moreIn The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian, an elderly couple, Ella with cancer and her husband John with Alzheimer's, set off from Detroit in their RV, a 1978 Leisure Seeker, headed down Route 66 to the Pacific Ocean and Disneyland against the wishes of their worried adult children. It's a perilous journey with many mini-adventures along the way, but for a couple deeply in love despite all life can throw at them, what they believe to be their last trip is truly the trip of a lifetime.
The book is structured as a simple roadtrip. Each chapter bears the name of a state through which they travel. Told from Ella's point of view, the story includes few flashbacks, and except for those and the slides the couple views most nights when they stop at an RV park, the story is told in the present and has the immediacy and familiarity of one told by a friend as you sit in an armchair listening.
I fell in love with Ella and John quickly and despite having an inkling of how it all might end, I had trouble putting the book down. A friend who knows Mr. Zadoorian told me that the book was gleaned from Zadoorian's experiences with his aging parents and was written as a way to deal with those losses. The book is fiction, but if his parents were anything like Ella and John, I sure wish I could have met them.(less)
In THE NIGHT CIRCUS which is set in the late 1800's to the early 1900's, two children who will grow up to be magicians are bound to each other in a ch...moreIn THE NIGHT CIRCUS which is set in the late 1800's to the early 1900's, two children who will grow up to be magicians are bound to each other in a challenge placed upon them by a pair of elderly gentlemen. The two contestants do not meet or even know their opponent's identity until they are adults, but their entire childhoods are geared toward the inevitable meeting. The challenge plays out at a mysterious black and white circus that is only open at night, hence the title. The book is filled with colorful characters and, well, magic! And the circus, whoa. I cannot begin to do it justice. The author's imagination and attention to detail left me breathless at times.
I waited to read the reviews until I finished the book because I had my suspicious about how they would read. I was right. Readers are divided into two camps: those who loved the book's world and those who hated the book's plot. I'm in the first category. I've often heard writers cautioned aginst falling too in love with the world they create, especially in science fiction and fantsy. I must admit that Ms. Morgenstern is very much in love with the world of this book, but I don't fault her. I'm in love with it too.
This was not a book I would have normally picked up. A librarian friend suggested this book at a NaNoWriMo Write-in. The author wrote it during National Novel Writing Month and it is her first published novel. While the plot left a bit to be desired and I can see where the critics find it lacking in resolution and conflict, I loved it and did not need to know any more than was told. Besides, I was smitten by the world she'd fashioned! Also, it's a love story, really, and I'm a sucker for a love story. Read it and draw your own conclusions!!!(less)
Great story about a journalist researching the French police roundup and deportation of French Jews in Paris during July 1942 while the country was un...moreGreat story about a journalist researching the French police roundup and deportation of French Jews in Paris during July 1942 while the country was under German occupation. Her discoveries had a profound impact on her personal life and that creates the main plot line. Lots of twists and turns.
I would have given it 5 stars except that the main character constantly second-guessing herself which (thinking like a writer) I took as an attempt to heighten the tension in the story. Instead this felt like manipulation. Still, it's a fabulous story and that story carried me through.
Plus, in reading I learned so much about this period in French history which I knew nothing about. These were not German soldiers rounding up Jews. These were Paris police officers herding Jews into an old auditorium where they stayed for days without food or water or sanitary facilities and then herding them onto city buses where they were taken to French concentration camps guarded by these same police before being shipped to Auschwitz by train where most of them were killed. Who even knew there were Jewish concentration campus in France? We sure didn't study that in World War II history!(less)