I discovered this book by accident at the library while browsing, although I knew about the author/illustrator from reading her stuff before. My son lI discovered this book by accident at the library while browsing, although I knew about the author/illustrator from reading her stuff before. My son loved this very interactive lift-the-flaps book about three cats, Moonpie, Andre and Tiny, and a dog they find and befriend inside of the book. I loved doing the voices for each of the three cats. Recommended for ages 3-6, 4 stars. ...more
The actual story is about a young Algerian man named Mersault who is ambivalent about everything. His mother dies in the very beginning of the book anThe actual story is about a young Algerian man named Mersault who is ambivalent about everything. His mother dies in the very beginning of the book and he goes to the funeral but is bored by it. When he returns home the next day, he continues with his life by starting an affair with a woman named Marie from his office and they go to see a comedy. She asks him later on if he loves her and he responds "Probably not," but they still agree to get married. He becomes friends with Raymond, an upstairs neighbor and even vouches for the man as a witness with the police he abuses his girlfriend for cheating on him. In a way, hanging out with Raymond leads to his downfall. Raymond's now ex-girlfriend's Arab brother and the brother's friends have started fights with Raymond, one of which Mersault was involved with. He and Raymond are at the beach that day, and later on as he is walking down the beach and the sun is beating down on him, Mersault sees the Arab brother and shoots him five times killing him. He is of course arrested and a trial ensues. The prosecution manages to convey that he is a heartless individual based on the way he handled his mother's funeral and his subsequent actions. He is sentenced to death by guillotine. Recommended for ages 15+, 3 stars.
I was not sure at all how to review this book as I wasn't 100% sure that I understood the complexities that Camus was trying to convey with this seemingly simple short book. At first glance it seems to be talking about the absurdity of life and humans in general, and how we're all going to die anyways so we might as well be happy, but I'm sure people have read/taught it many times probably think it is way more. As this reviewer (http://www.ratracerefuge.com/bookrevi...) has said: "Digesting the content will certainly take much longer [than the afternoon it takes to read it] as this little novel raises serious questions about morality, society, justice, religion, and individuality." The one part I did enjoy about the book was at the very end as he is awaiting his execution and has the encounter with the priest. As this article (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11...) says, "His only advantage, if any, is that he knows that he does not know anything except the succession of events that was his life. This certainty he cannot betray. That is why he revolts so violently against the priest who comes to console him. Consolation would mean substituting something else for the bare truth." "...more
Rosie Anderson, an eighteen year old girl in a small English town is missing. Kate, a local horse trainer who knew Rosie, is devastated as the girl isRosie Anderson, an eighteen year old girl in a small English town is missing. Kate, a local horse trainer who knew Rosie, is devastated as the girl is the same age as her daughter. She is convinced that something bad has happened to the girl, and is not surprised when the police discover her brutally murdered body in the woods. The Andersons seem like the perfect family, so who would want to kill their beautiful daughter? The story is intriguing in that it alternates between the viewpoints of Kate in the present time and Rosie reminiscing about her past and how she came to be murdered. Anonymous notes start arriving at Kate's house urging her to discover the truth about the Andersons: renowned journalist father, the too-perfect mother Jo and Rosie's little sister Delphine, and of course, Rosie herself. Will Kate be able to find out the truth? 3-1/2 stars
I picked up this book because it advertised itself as like the book/TV show "Broadchurch", and I really enjoyed the British version of the show, so I figured I would give it a try. Plus I love a good mystery and hadn't read one in awhile. The book definitely kept me guessing to till the end, and I changed my mind about the killer at least four times. It was fairly obvious about 80% of the way through who it was, but I was curious as to the why. It really did remind me of Broadchurch in the way that the main character was an innocent young person who died way too soon, and the wavering between possible murder suspects until the very end. My first gripe with the book was the author's tendency to alternate between Kate, an outsider's point of view, and the murder victim Rosie, as I felt that it focused too much on Kate. The second was the length, as it dragged a bit in the middle, hence the 3-1/2 stars instead of 4. ...more
Struan Robertson is top of his class in the tiny ex-mining town Cuik, in Scotland in 1989. A writer, Phillip Prys, whose work Struan enjoyed during hiStruan Robertson is top of his class in the tiny ex-mining town Cuik, in Scotland in 1989. A writer, Phillip Prys, whose work Struan enjoyed during his last school year has had a stroke. His family put an ad in the paper for a nurse to take care of Phillip. Struan, who had previously worked in an old folks' home as his after-school job, is a perfect fit in more ways than one. So he takes the job to fill in his gap-year before university. He genuinely cares about Mr. Prys, in a way that no-one else in his family seems willing or able to do. The family includes the miscreant teenage son, an overbearing entitled ex-wife who still calls herself Mrs. Prys even though it has been many years since they've been married, a chubby selfish daughter and her anorexic best friend, and the current Mrs. Prys who is about forty years younger than her husband. Will Struan survive his meeting the English or will it forever change him? 3 stars.
I picked up this book based off the blurb because I am fascinated with the relationship between English and Scottish people in the modern age, because even though they are part of the same nation, there is still a great deal of animosity there because of past historical events. I lived in Scotland for nine months while in school and my husband is English, so I have a unique perspective on this phenomenon as well. I, for the most part disliked most of the Prys family (especially the previous Mrs. Pryce), and felt sorry for the daughter and the current Mrs. Prys. I had a bit of a tough time getting into the book but was genuinely curious what Struan would get up to in that crazy house, and kept reading to find out. There was a bit of disparaging between the English and the Scottish but wasn't as bad as I would've thought, just your basic Londoners thinking they are better than everyone, especially a Scottish lad from a backwater mining town. But that is also linked to class and ethnicity as well. ...more
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