I saw this cover and it was SOOO familiar.... I knew I'd read it, but it took some time to find the book on my shelves... but I did. Guessing I pickedI saw this cover and it was SOOO familiar.... I knew I'd read it, but it took some time to find the book on my shelves... but I did. Guessing I picked this up in 2000 when it came out at our local Fountain Books bookstore. Now - to move on to the other books recommended and noted. Or perhaps re-read it....more
This book totally did the job of keeping me engaged, even if some of it was a bit maddening or over the top. I still enjoyed it. In the vein of Jodi PThis book totally did the job of keeping me engaged, even if some of it was a bit maddening or over the top. I still enjoyed it. In the vein of Jodi Picoult this involves an impossible situation and the social, political and legal ramifications that follow. Rose's daughter is being bullied and teased at school, so she volunteers to be a "lunch mom". While on duty, her daughter gets teased and runs to hide in the bathroom. Rose tries to talk to the girls who were teasing, and then an explosion happens in the kitchen starting a terrible fire. Rose has to make a decision - get the girls out, then go look for Melly, or leave the girls and go straight for Melly. She rushes the girls to the exit, then goes after Melly. She rescues Melly, who has suffered smoke inhalation but will recover at the hospital and is viewed as a hero. That is until Amanda (the bully) is found, seriously injured in the building. Everyone blames Rose for abandoning Amanda. Even though she didn't, the entire school and community turns on her and gets ugly and lawsuits are all anyone is talking about. This was a little bit much for me. Everyone was just so nasty, it was almost unbelievable, even though the hive mentality can be brutal. Anyway, Rose can't let it rest - she is looking for answers - why was there an explosion in a brand new school, if the contractor is at fault what happened? She starts to ask questions and gets more than a few answers that lead to more questions and a much bigger picture which turns this into a bit of a who done it mystery with super mom as the investigator. Almost unbelievable at times, I still enjoyed the ride....more
I'll admit that it took me a little while to get fully absorbed into this story about a woman who removes herself to a remote island to rebuild a housI'll admit that it took me a little while to get fully absorbed into this story about a woman who removes herself to a remote island to rebuild a house originally built by a secret uncle, the dark sheep of the family, over one hundred years before. Rae Newborn has had a roller coaster of a life. She has suffered greatly from depression which started as post partum depression after her first daughter was born. She grew estranged from her husband and daughter and fought through bouts of suicide and institutional therapy. She remarries a wonderful man and they have a daughter. They have a great life. But then in a tragic accident she loses both of them and she once again is in a dark place. Almost two years later, she goes to this island, owned by family but trusted over to the state as a bird sanctuary. Always intrigued by the uncle her grandfather refused to talk about, she decides to rebuild the house on the island of Folly. In doing so, she hopes to rebuild herself. But she is paranoid and terrified of the watchers. And not without reason, she has been attacked once shortly after her husband and young daughter died, and even now, the police seem to thing she could be in danger. During her self-imposed exile from society, she makes many discoveries about her family, herself and her island. She is a master wood worker craftsman and artist and the details of trees and wood in the descriptions of her work were very enjoyable. I got hooked on this while on vacation, and just happened to be near a Folly Beach (opposite side of the country) while reading this. I got hooked and loved it!...more
When I saw a description involving the LES in the 80s and hardcore punk, well I knew I had to read this. And I enjoyed this. But I have a lot of thougWhen I saw a description involving the LES in the 80s and hardcore punk, well I knew I had to read this. And I enjoyed this. But I have a lot of thoughts, and can't help but wonder if when you know a lot about something it makes reading a fictional story about that much harder to do. I found myself questioning the time details - the time line and the locations. Was Venus Records really on St. Marks in 1987 or was it on W. 8th? Hardcore shows at ABC NO RIO in 1987 - I don't think so. But in the end these details don't really matter and it's part of the fictional process. In fact before I started to get hung up on the details - I was excited that it was so accurate - that ABC NO RIO was mentioned, and that this went beyond the generic surface of the time. So that said...
This starts with two young boys in Vermont partying, celebrating, and then one of them od's. On this one last night, Jude meets his step sister and she ends up pregnant with his dead best friends child. Jude crashes hard, and falls into a pit of drugs and despair and ends up going to NYC where he falls in with his friends brother, who is straight edge. Jude gets swept up in the hardcore sXe scene. They start a band, he turns his life around, and Jude and Johnny take Eliza under their care in honor of Teddy's child. At times it's a bit cliche, and yet it's also quite believable. This is well researched and the setting of the late 80s in the Lower East Side is very real... Krishna consciousness, CBGBs matinees, Tompkins Square Tent City, Squats, drugs, riots... This book hits so close to home in many ways (or at least overlaps on a time and place in my life that I can relate to) that I have been writing a review in my head for days and could continue to to do so for some time, which probably means that this book will stay under my skin and in my mind for quite some time.
My only real complaint is that at times it's hard to follow as the writing style with switch time, place and person in one passage. One minute it's direct and the next it's vague. It will start out giving you the ending, then fill in the story. The constant changing pace can be odd, but much like my jolt with details - I could move through it. The time period is very well researched, but I suspect just that - it's researched, not lived, which is fine, but also what left me feeling slightly jarred at times. I could critique this and that and ask for more here and there, but in the end... I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars...more
I did not like this book. I hate when I do not like a book. I am a JG Ballard fan, but this was only so-so which is yes, disappointing. In the societalI did not like this book. I hate when I do not like a book. I am a JG Ballard fan, but this was only so-so which is yes, disappointing. In the societal collapse as it implodes on itself, Ballard rings true. This is essentially about a middle class revolution - an uprising over community maintenance fees. With a central character who we are not really sure if he's a pawn in a bigger picture, or a willing participate. Possibly the target. Random acts of violence in attempt to make a point. I found myself completely un-invested and just not caring at all. ...more
Home Run! Just what I needed - the sort of book that makes me want to skip work and stay up all night reading. What I really loved was the multi-dimenHome Run! Just what I needed - the sort of book that makes me want to skip work and stay up all night reading. What I really loved was the multi-dimensional story line. This is about a girl who lost her mother when she was young and now as a teen she is trying to find her with the help of a psychic and a private investigator who also was on the original case ten years prior. But it's also a beautiful study of elephants and their feelings and grieving process. Alice (the mother) is a scientist who studies elephants in Africa. She takes a particular interest in researching grief. Elephants are amazing animals who feel and remember and every thing I have ever read never ceases to amaze and enthrall. So in this book, while Alice is presenting her life's work and study of elephants, we are also learning the side of her personal life, through the eyes of her daughter Jenna and the other people involved in the New England Elephant Sanctuary where Alice ended up with her partner and husband. This is also a murder mystery because when Alice disappeared, Nevie was found dead and Alice was found injured but then she disappeared from the hospital. The investigating officer was about to retire and was not looking to make a murder case, the death seemed to be an accidental trampeling. Yet many questions remained - why would the elephant have trampled Nevie? Why was Alice found unconscious. Why did Thomas have a psychotic break? Why was Alice never found? Was she in face dead, or was she hiding her guilt. And in the middle of all of this we just grow to love the elephants. I LOVE this book....more
It's been too long since I jumped into the world of Cometbus. This edition dedicated to NYC booksellers could not have come at a better time for me, hIt's been too long since I jumped into the world of Cometbus. This edition dedicated to NYC booksellers could not have come at a better time for me, having just gone through a bought of spring book selling myself. I'm a book lover and book geek and so this story about the unique, passionate, "bearded" curmudgeons who are the legendary booksellers of the streets of NY was a great read. Makes you look at the profession of bookselling a little bit differently and it also makes you realize that everyone has different motivations for what they do. Aaron is a gifted writer and story teller and there is nothing lacking in this collection, not even the quest for the girl! Loved, loved, loved this!
But now I'm trying to remember which issue of Cometbus I first read about Aaron selling books on the street in Brooklyn... seems like yesterday and forever ago and it seems that Aaron has really joined the ranks and established himself in NYC within the professional booksellers. I'm so sad that I missed checking out his shop on my last visit.
I also am inspired to go and re-read every Cometbus I have! ...more
The plaque comes to a small mountain village on a bolt of cloth. The village suffers and goes into quarantine. People turn on one another and show botThe plaque comes to a small mountain village on a bolt of cloth. The village suffers and goes into quarantine. People turn on one another and show both the worst and the best of humanity. Anna learns about herbalism and midwifery because she has too, and ends up helping many. Crazed villagers, mad with grief blame the "witch" for the plaque and turn on each other. Meanwhile Anna and Elinor try to find patterns to the plaque and study plants in order to help. I enjoyed this. But I also found that I was not obsessively engaged. I attributed that mostly to my schedule while reading this but in hindsight it's as much about the pace of the book. ...more
I enjoyed this story about a young girl who finds her life's work with dogs - specifically with huskies and dog racing. It's a bit awkward at times - jI enjoyed this story about a young girl who finds her life's work with dogs - specifically with huskies and dog racing. It's a bit awkward at times - jumping from the Bering Straight in the 20s to the 90s in Wisconsin but it all ties together in the end in a blood line of awesome dogs. ...more
Miles is a forest firefighter. After a particularly bad fire in which one of his crew dies, and he is badly burned, he takes off on his (pregnant) girMiles is a forest firefighter. After a particularly bad fire in which one of his crew dies, and he is badly burned, he takes off on his (pregnant) girlfriend and essentially goes into exile in the most remote place he can find in the Yukon. Moving forward a few years, his crew is waiting out fire season hoping for some work. Meanwhile Mile's x shows up with her daughter. Miles has an unexpected reaction to seeing them. Alex is hard as nails though, and has no intention of sticking around, she just wants to punish Miles with meeting Rachael because she knows it will haunt him. He's not a bad guy afterall, he just had a hard freak out. While they are on their brief visit, a fire is spotted. Miles and his crew head out, but it's a brutal unpredictable fire. They have to access a plan, which ends up being an evacuation. Meanwhile, a local tracker is out with a small hunting party, they are unaware of the fire's danger. Miles sets out to save them. Meanwhile, everyone is evacuated from the town, except for Alex and Rachel who refuses to leave without Mile's dog. The last third of the book is a brutal description of what it's like to be caught in a forest fire. It's told from multiple perspectives - including the bear the party is hunting. It is eerie, beautiful and haunting. Not something I will soon forget....more
This is about the designer and head of the women's department responsible for developing the famous Tiffany Glass lamps. Largely uncredited, it's inteThis is about the designer and head of the women's department responsible for developing the famous Tiffany Glass lamps. Largely uncredited, it's interesting to learn about the artisans who created these innovative works of the time. This is told as a fictional story, but it's based in reality. I really enjoyed this. It was surprising at first how much power these women had in the workplace. Clara was trusted and given an entire department to run, which seemed unusual for the late 1800s. Yet, one of the base rules Mr. Tiffany had is that the women could not marry while employed, which was difficult for many young women. And in the course of the book, the woman's department is threatened by the union. There is an interesting balance of power from the creative spirit of Louis Tiffany to those in charge of the business finances. It is also a spirited description of the development of glass art and the development of stained glass windows and lamps. This is largely a story about Clara, a strong and independent woman who is a strong artist, but also leads the fight for the rights of women workers. We also get to know an interesting cast of characters that she lives with in a bohemian boarding house, as well as a realistic glimpse into immigrant life on the Lower East Side. All of this sets a rich picture of life in New York City at the turn of the century. I particularly loved the learning about the artistic side of Tiffany studios and the development of stained glass arts. And of course I love the story of a strong woman who fights for her rights and recognition of her work....more
I hated this book and didn't finish it. And I hate to not finish a book. I loved the idea of this - the early years of scientific discovery, engines, elI hated this book and didn't finish it. And I hate to not finish a book. I loved the idea of this - the early years of scientific discovery, engines, electricity, turbines and power stations. But the story was bogged down with history that felt removed from the characters and the story. The story danced around so much that 200 pages in I still was wondering what was happening. I started to not care about the characters. It got to a point where I knew I was not going to be satisfied and just put this aside....more
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