This book is the story of the four Latimer sisters, two sets of twins, named Edda, Grace, Tufts and Kitty. They live with their father, a Church of EnThis book is the story of the four Latimer sisters, two sets of twins, named Edda, Grace, Tufts and Kitty. They live with their father, a Church of England rector, and their stepmother in 1920’s Australia. The girls are going to be the first formerly trained nurses in Corunda, a prosperous town outside of Sydney. There is a lot of resistance to them to be thus trained not only by the un-trained female nursing staff already in the hospital as well people who don’t think the girls should be able to live on their own as unmarried women. The book chronicles not only the girls settling into their jobs as new trained nurses (which made me think of the Call the Midwife book and TV series, though it was set about 30 years later in England), but also how they each matured on their own in their personal and emotional lives. The story chronicles not only the sisters but also the lives of common Australian folk during the Depression of the 1930s, a story not usually told outside of the US. 3-1/2 stars.
Ok, I will admit that I originally picked up this novel because I had read "The Thornbirds" by the same author after watching the 1980s miniseries, and really enjoyed them. This one sounded just as interesting, so I decided to give it a try as well. Overall, I really enjoyed the story, even though it seemed to have suddenly ended just as it was getting interesting. I really think the author should’ve divided this story into two books or possibly one book per sister as that would make a better “romantic saga” as the publishers are terming the book. One of the things I did really like about the book is that the author had excellent vocabulary. The complex nature of the words used impressed me, and I found myself looking a lot up, which doesn’t bother me. I like books that educate me. I also liked learning about the Australian Depression, which I did not previously know that much about. I knew a little bit it as my paternal grandmother had grown up around Sydney during this time period, and she had told me some things.
Edda was probably my favorite sister, or the one I could most identify with as she was not afraid to speak her mind and was the most independent and knew exactly what she wanted out of life. Grace and Kitty started out weak, but eventually became much more complex characters as the story progressed. I also really liked Tufts as she ended up being the more research-minded sister, content to be a teacher though she does end up with a much more public job by the end of the book. I thought Jack’s character was a little weak, but I’m glad he was able to find happiness in someone. Charles Burdum was an interesting character, as I have definitely met men like him before. I would’ve liked to hear more about Dorcas as she was only included in the last part of the book.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. ...more
This was an interesting graphic novel in that it is one that can introduce the subject of the Holocaust to much younger children than it is usually inThis was an interesting graphic novel in that it is one that can introduce the subject of the Holocaust to much younger children than it is usually introduced to, which is usually in the fourth or fifth grade. The story is told from the viewpoint of a grandmother named Dounia who was a little girl during the time of WWII and the Nazi invasion of France, and is telling her story to her granddaughter Elsa. Her parents were sent to a concentration camp and Dounia had to live with French Resistance workers in the countryside. Eventually only her mother returned and she was completely unrecognizable to her daughter. Recommended for 7-11 yr olds, 3 stars. ...more
I had been looking for a book on the atomic bomb from the Japanese perspective for a while, and this was one of the books I had come up with in my seaI had been looking for a book on the atomic bomb from the Japanese perspective for a while, and this was one of the books I had come up with in my search. It tells the story of the Hirano family told over the span of about sixty years, from 1945-2004. The first part, "Town of Evening Calm", is about a young girl named Minami who works in a dress shop in Hiroshima ten years after the bomb dropped, but it keeps flashing back to ten years before and how the Hirano family faired on that day. Minami has survivor’s remorse because her father and sister passed away either on the day or shortly afterwards, but she and her mother survived. The book does go into some details about what it was like when the bomb dropped, and that part was hard to read. One of the most powerful parts of the book is when Minami says “All I know is that somebody wanted us dead. They wanted us to die, but we survived. Nobody talks about it. I don’t really understand what happened even to this day.” Minami is soon courted by a young man who works at the shop named Uchikoshi. She suddenly gets really sick from delayed radiation sickness, and dies.
The next section, broken into two parts, is "Country of Cherry Blossoms". The first part starts in 1987 with a seemingly unconnected family who have just moved to a new city. The daughter Nanami is about ten years old and is obsessed with baseball, and joins the local team. Nanami and her friend Toko sneak away to the hospital to visit Nanami’s brother Nagio, who has asthma. The second part is set seventeen years later, and Nanami is convinced that her father is senile as he keeps disappearing for days and racking up the phone bills. So one day she follows him and runs into Toko at the train station. While she is following her father, the story flashes back to his youth and how he met Nanami’s mother. Eventually we find out that he was visiting Hiroshima because he is Asahi, the brother of Minami, the girl from the first story. The book includes explanations of the text (which really explain a lot because I was rather confused as to the identity of all the characters and how they were connected), as well as a map of Hiroshima, and an afterword by the author/illustrator. Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars. ...more
I picked up this book browsing the children’s section. This is one of those books that I think I would like if I had grown up in a French-speaking couI picked up this book browsing the children’s section. This is one of those books that I think I would like if I had grown up in a French-speaking country or knew the films of Jaques Tati, who was apparently famous for originally creating the tragic comic character. David Merveille took Mr. Hulot and converted him to a wordless picture book, which is pretty ingenious if you think about it. I loved the 1930s-looking illustrations and the crazy situations Mr. Hulot seems to constantly find himself in. Recommended for ages 6-10, 3 stars....more
I found this book to be a rather slow read, as the text was really dense, but it definitely got easier to read the more you got into it. I really enjoI found this book to be a rather slow read, as the text was really dense, but it definitely got easier to read the more you got into it. I really enjoyed the snippets of memories about his father as a game keeper in Tanzania and his growing up there, which were interspersed among the narrative about the author and his father’s past. Although I know about the expansiveness of the British Empire, I sometimes forget that were British citizens living in Africa, outside of South Africa.
What would you do if you found out that your father, a man you always idolized, was not who he seemed to be? That is just what happened to the author, after being contacted by an Indian historian researching the Parallel Government, right before the Indian Independence from Britain. So the author sets out on a quest to discover the truth about his father, who was stationed there during the last days of the Raj (the period of the British dominion in India), and his role with the Indian Police from 1938-1947. Through the course of the author’s investigation into his father, I learned more about British-controlled India and the Indians’ first attempts at becoming their own separate country, and about how terrorism is perceived throughout the world. Because of his trip to India, the author is able to have some closure on his father’s death, and reconcile how he saw his father versus how his father really was as a man and as a professional. 3 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review....more
I randomly found this book while browsing the children’s section of the library. It is a book translated from the Hebrew. I’m not sure exactly the poiI randomly found this book while browsing the children’s section of the library. It is a book translated from the Hebrew. I’m not sure exactly the point of it, to be honest, as the two stories didn’t really have a correlation, unless the point was to show the differences. Naomi is going to kindergarten and is a good obedient child who does all that is expected of her, whereas Little Chick does not, but they both end up snuggling with their families at the end of the day. I liked the illustrations. Recommended for ages 3-7, 3 stars. ...more
I originally picked up this book after getting on a Renaissance kick, plus I liked that it was part gender history/religion/sexuality. It was a very oI originally picked up this book after getting on a Renaissance kick, plus I liked that it was part gender history/religion/sexuality. It was a very odd book. I definitely varied between thinking it was genius and total crap. Some things may be lost in translation, but it was frustrating how the author left so many loose ends.
The story is based off the real-life character of Mateo Realdo (Renaldo in the book) Colombo, who is apparently not related to the famous Columbus, but did discover his own "America". Mateo discovered the "Amor Veneris" which means "the love or sweetness of Venus," aka the clitoris. In historical fact, however who actually discovered it is debatable. In the book, he is an anatomy professor at the University of Padua, and learns how the body functions by primarily dissecting animal bodies. He falls in love with a Venetian whore named Mona Sofia and is determined to win her affections somehow. So he starts experimenting with herbs and fellatio with local whores, which get him into some trouble with the dean of the university, who already doesn't like him. Mateo is a well-renown doctor and goes to Florence to help cure a very rich noblewoman named Ines de Torremolinos. It is with her that he first "discovers" the Amor Veneris and writes about it in his book. This is what really pisses off the dean, who calls the Inquisition to burn him at the stake. I did find it a bit amusing that Mateo tries to explain himself in a 19-part oration about souls, kinetic energy, and the secret of women. He is only saved by a summons from Pope Paul III, who sees him as a possible heretic but an even better doctor. Renaissance medical practices are crazy, that's all I will say about that part of the book. He manages to live a little while longer thanks to saving the Pope, and eventually goes to see his Mona Sofia, who is dying of syphilis. One of the weirdest parts of the book is when Ines de Torremolinos receives the letter that Mateo has sent her during his trial and proceeds to perform genital mutilation, take herself and her daughters back to Spain where she buys a bunch of brothels (where she makes the women do the same to themselves), makes a ton of money and then is burned at the stake with her children. 3 stars. ...more
Gilgamesh was one of those classics that I had always intended on getting around to reading, but never really picked it up. It is, after all, the worlGilgamesh was one of those classics that I had always intended on getting around to reading, but never really picked it up. It is, after all, the world's first hero story and so important to our worldwide literary culture. So when I saw this version (it is called a version instead of translation because the author is not a translator), I decided to give it a try. I've not read the poem before, but I know from his mentioning of the other translations, that his is quite different and modern from the original Akkadian/Sumerian version. I thought the language was very good and masterfully done, though the repetitiveness of the text sometimes got a bit boring. I was a bit shocked by the graphic descriptions that he used to describe the sex and violence, considering that this poem is 3500 years old. This audiobook collection includes the author's version of the poem as well as a comprehensive essay written about the poem. I personally liked the essay, as it helped better explain the poem, whose ideas were difficult to grasp at times.
The basic story is about the Sumerian King Gilgamesh of Uruk and his self-discovery. It starts off talking about the wild man Enkidu, who is created by the gods as a foil to Gilgamesh, thought of as a greedy and selfish tyrant. A young trapper sees Enkidu helping the local fauna and asks the king how to get rid of him. The king enlists the help of Shamhat, a priestess of Ishtar (goddess of love, fertility and war) who acts as temple prostitute and seduces Enkidu and brings him back to Uruk. Enkidu and Gilgamesh eventually become best friends (though there are definitely some homoerotic overtones to their friendship). Gilgamesh decides that in order to achieve everlasting fame, he must kill the guardian of the cedar forest, a vicious monster named Humbaba. The conquences of this action affect the rest of the story. After Humbaba is killed, they head back to Uruk, where Gilgamesh is propositioned by the goddess Ishtar. He proceeds to verbally bash and abuse her, ultimately refusing her advances. Her retaliation is to get her father Anu (the father of the gods) to send the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh, but he and Enkidu kill the bull instead. As punishment, Enkidu is killed and Gilgamesh is overcome with grief. He decides that he must go see the only immortal human Utnapishtim and figure out how to beat death. Utnapishtim tells him the story of the flood and how he was granted immortality as a result of it. He also tells him of a plant that will make him immortal, but Gilgamesh foolishly loses it and there ends the poem. 4 stars. ...more
Overall, I agree with a fellow reviewer when I say that overall I enjoyed this book, but it seemed like the author was simply rehashing the formula frOverall, I agree with a fellow reviewer when I say that overall I enjoyed this book, but it seemed like the author was simply rehashing the formula from the first book but it was a good quick read. I am a little annoyed, now that I've gotten into this series, that the library only has the first two volumes of the series. So I will have to go to a book shop to find the third one.
This book is about Ehwa as a 16 year old girl who discovers the man she really falls in love with and her mother's deepening love and dependence on the traveling salesman, the picture man. Ehwa is learning more about her body and how relationships between women and men work, both emotionally and physically. I did think it was creepy when her beloved's employer, who is 80 years old, sees her once and thinks he can just buy her from her mother with offers of money and land. I'm glad the mother was strong enough to tell him to go bugger himself. Recommended for ages 14+, 3 stars. ...more
I had been wanting to read this one ever since I inhaled the first two books in the series. My local public library had lost their copy (I'm guessingI had been wanting to read this one ever since I inhaled the first two books in the series. My local public library had lost their copy (I'm guessing because of the content at the end of the book), so I had to get this book via interlibrary loan. I liked this one much better than the second one, which as another reviewer commented on, seems to be mostly a rehash of the first book. Ehwa is sixteen and the love of her life Duksam has to flee the area after disobeying his master. Now both she and her mother are waiting for their lovers to return. In the meantime, she thinks about all the boys she has fallen for over the years. When Duksam does eventually return, he immediately proposes marriage and Ehwa is given permission to marry by her mother. My favorite part of the book was the actual marriage ceremony itself, which was an interesting glimpse into traditional Korean culture and symbolism. The end of the book sees Ehwa thoroughly enjoying herself with her husband (which I admit seemed a little creepy as it was written by her son) and her mother feeling lonely at Ehwa's absence but glad to have the picture man's company. Highly recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars. ...more