This is about a New England family in the 70s and how they deal with their daughter/sister's condition - the condition is Turners Syndrome - which meaThis is about a New England family in the 70s and how they deal with their daughter/sister's condition - the condition is Turners Syndrome - which means that she doesn't go through puberty and instead continues to look to the rest of the world like a child. However, this is much less about the actual condition and the girl with the condition and more about the dysfunctional family who use Gwen's condition as an excuse for their behavior. The family "falls apart" after her diagnosis. The mother is in denial and the father, who is a scientist wants to know everything. They disagree and grow apart. The wandering eye he has doesn't help. The eldest boy gets out; the youngest boy has no memories of a happy functional family. This is told through the perspectives of all the family members and we get a sense of them through the present, their past and the ways in which they relate. At times all of the characters are annoying in their refusal to speak from the heart and deal with things. But in the end they all find their peace and work out their demons. I enjoyed reading this....more
A memoir about marrying into a apple farm family and the unexpected difficulty of assimilating to the life. Theresa was an outsider, she'd had a hardA memoir about marrying into a apple farm family and the unexpected difficulty of assimilating to the life. Theresa was an outsider, she'd had a hard life with a difficult mother. She'd been on her own at a young age and was living in and working at her uncles bar when she met Adrian Curtis. He was eldest son of the local apple farm, a farm said to be cursed because they'd had so much tragedy. It was an unlikely match and no one expected it to work, let alone for the marriage to last. His parents never accepted Theresa and much of this story is just plain sad. At the heart of this memoir is the pesticide chemicals used to treat the orchard and the farm and the ill-health the chemicals caused. This takes place in the 60s and 70s. It's interesting because the chemicals are mentioned throughout the book, and yet it is also a silent part of the story. Much more could be said about the illnesses and problems, but at the same time the point is made with few words. Apples are wonderful, but difficult to grow. Farm life is hard. The relationship that farmers have had with pesticides and chemicals and the land is complicated and difficult. Theresa and her children manage to survive and escape the farm life. In many ways this is a story of a lost way of life, but this is not a romanticism of farm life, it deals with some of the complexities that go along with that loss of the family farm. ...more
This is about an Armenian family struggle against the Nazi occupation in France in the 1940s. A slightly different take on the time than many of the nThis is about an Armenian family struggle against the Nazi occupation in France in the 1940s. A slightly different take on the time than many of the novels I've read. Maral, the teenage girl, is at the center of the story. As their Jewish neighbors are taken away, the Armenian's struggle with food rations and health and the young men secretly work for the resistance. This is a coming of age during war time story. Maral and her childhood friend and young love Zaven promise themselves to each other before he goes off to war. Several years of struggle and hardship and still they cling to hope. This was a super quick read and while I enjoyed it and learned a bit about the Armenians it left me wanting a bit more as well....more
This book was disappointing, mostly because the book thief that it was about was not a likable guy. He stole books because he desired the status thatThis book was disappointing, mostly because the book thief that it was about was not a likable guy. He stole books because he desired the status that owning rare books would give him, more than really loving and appreciating the books themselves. He was manipulative and felt entitled, and while the extent of his scams were rather brilliant - it was a bummer.
What I did enjoy was learning about book collectors and book sellers. I'm a book lover and a bit of a bibliomaniac. However, rare collectable books do nothing for me. The value of a book for ME has nothing to do with it's rarity or potential monetary value. I feel much the same way about records. So in that sense, I guess I'm not really a collector. So I think in the end, that was the most interesting part of this book for me was learning about the different aspects of book collecting and the pursuit of the books. The idea that one would seek out a rare book, and once it is obtained essentially lose all interest and move on to the next strikes me as sad. My ideals of collecting are full of much more meaning and are about having books (or items) that are loved and appreciated. Money doesn't enter the equation in my own pursuit.
Much of this is about the network of rare books sellers and the "book detective" who organized the system of notifying other book sellers of theft. I enjoyed that angle. This book is a true story, and it's told as a story. But the researching and interviewing is as much a part of the story and in fact the story is on-going. Honestly when I first picked this up I wasn't sure if it was written in a "novel" format - it is not.
I'm glad I read this, as I got something out of it. But I didn't love it....more
I LOVED this book! This is a memoir about punk rock that hits so close to home it's awesome. Though I used to do so on a daily basis, it's been awhileI LOVED this book! This is a memoir about punk rock that hits so close to home it's awesome. Though I used to do so on a daily basis, it's been awhile since I've read many personal zines. When I started this, it took me back to my zine reading days and it also told me a whole lot about Bob that I never knew. He gives a colorful description of being a young punk in the early to mid 80s and what it was like to find a new band and hear a new record. He shares his absolute passion for records and recounts the way music was shared on dubbed tapes and shows were spread by word of mouth. Reading this transformed me back in time and reminded me of some of the best personal zines I've read and even some of the novels and memoirs that have developed out of those zines. This is broken up into antidotes about all of the most important, noteworthy and landmark records, bands and people from Bob's life. When I read a book - I want to be sucked in and short stories usually don't do that for me. I like continuity. So I was pretty stoked when just a couple stories in that is exactly what happened - I fell deep into the story - the history of Florida punk and the life of Bob Suren. While the format follows an obsession with record collecting and telling a story based on a record, this book is so much more than that. This tells the story of Florida hardcore, it tells the story about, Burrito Records and Sounds Idea the store, distro and showspace, and it tells a personal story about Bob - about his passion for music, for punk, for record collecting and the ebb and flow of life. We meet the most important people in Bob's life -- bands mates, store workers, and members of noteworthy and important bands by close and far. We also meet the girl who becomes Bob's wife and she takes one a big role in this story as well. The chronology jumps around a bit and each story is told in it's own right, so there are some overlapping parts and some jumps. But when it all comes together it paints a full picture and it's inspiring and a bit heartbreaking as well. I had a working relationship with Bob Suren and Sound Idea for many many years. My zine, Slug & Lettuce had a regular full page ad from Sound Idea and Bob was dependable and consistent when many were not and it was that consistency that helped fund S&L. I have a fondness for Bob and all that he has done, though in reading this memoir I came to realize how much about Bob I didn't know. We traded zines, ads and records, but rarely talked about life. I saw his band play once and talked to him at least one other time while he was touring, but that is about it. Our regular correspondence was brief and functional. And that strikes me as odd now. I'm glad that I am able to get to know Bob more though this book, cause in my mind, it's better late than not at all. So it is with all my heart and passion that I recommend this book. If you know Bob Suren, Burrito Records, Failure Face or Sound Idea - then you will enjoy this. If you have a particular interest in Florida hardcore, or American hardcore in general, or specifically in the 80s and 90s, then you will enjoy this. If you've got a nostalgic side to you that likes a sappy story like Rob Sheffield's "Love Is A Mix Tape", then this is like a hardcore 90s version of that. This is also a document of our history - of DIY punk and hardcore. It's a book written by someone I know, about something near and dear to me, about something that I lived, even though in a parallel path. It's important, it's heartfelt and it's sincere. I love this book!...more