I managed to know nothing about this book before I read it, and for that I am glad. I'm not sure I would have been as ready to follow Rosemary's meand...moreI managed to know nothing about this book before I read it, and for that I am glad. I'm not sure I would have been as ready to follow Rosemary's meandering thoughts if I knew more about the story. And the book does wander through time and place. It's philosophical and distant one moment, emotional and personal the next. I wasn't sure where things were leading or if I wanted to follow, but I was compelled to find out more about Fern, Lowell, and Rosemary.
This is another book club pick and again, I am so grateful for our little group and the new books it brings to my attention. The way the group brings me out of my comfort zone and leads me into surprising choices I would probably never read because I didn't like the cover, or author, etc.
While I didn't cry, I was deeply moved by this family drama. I liked the journey and the ending. And though it was unexpected, I appreciated revisiting my college years which happened to coincide with Rosemary's.(less)
Boy, Snow, Bird is another original, mesmerizing tale from Helen Oyeyemi. She weaves the story of Snow White- mirrors, a wicked step-mother, a beautif...moreBoy, Snow, Bird is another original, mesmerizing tale from Helen Oyeyemi. She weaves the story of Snow White- mirrors, a wicked step-mother, a beautiful girl named Snow, and the ever-present number seven- through the life of Boy Novak, her step-daughter Snow Whitman, and Boy's daughter Bird. And it is magical, and lovely, and mysterious, and chilling.
I was expecting the books three parts to be split into the perspective of Boy, Snow, and Bird, respectively. Instead, only Boy and Bird get their own section(s). Snow remains ethereal and enigmatic.
While I was engrossed in the novel overall, I'm not entirely sure the conclusion worked. I liked her ideas, but it was a little heavy-handed and rushed.
I really enjoyed Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and as soon as I saw this was available I knew I'd have to read it. Thanks to my book club for givin...moreI really enjoyed Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and as soon as I saw this was available I knew I'd have to read it. Thanks to my book club for giving me a reason to read it sooner rather than later.
It's a fun little story for fans of the book. It gives an enticingly brief glimpse into Ajax Penumbra's early years and his start with the bookstore. My only minor gripe is that it's all too short. And yes, it's meant to be short, but I wanted more. I would read other books in this world any day, including a full length novel about Ajax Penumbra.
3.5 stars and highly recommended for those who liked Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.(less)
I'm surprised I had a difficult time reading this book. I'm still not sure if the problem was the book or me. I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harol...moreI'm surprised I had a difficult time reading this book. I'm still not sure if the problem was the book or me. I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and expected to love this one too based on the summary. Some of the themes are similar and Joyce's writing is lovely. There are passages and lines in this book that are beautiful and rather perfect. Unfortunately, I got bogged down by the short, alternating chapters.
One half of the story is set in the 70's and focus on a boy named Byron, the summer something terrible happens, and everything changes. There was a sense of unreality to these chapters. The characters felt flat. Maybe that was intentional on the part of Joyce, but I felt disconnected from the narrative as I watched the events unfolding. I didn't believe that Diana could be that naive, even given the clues about her background and mental health. I wanted to give Byron, Diana, Beverly, James, Seymour and others a good shake. The only one who really had my sympathy was neglected Lucy.
The other chapters are current and focus on a man named Jim who has recently been released from a mental health facility. He suffers from OCD among other things, lives in a van, and has a job cleaning tables at a cafe. I liked Jim and Eileen. I wanted to know what would happen next, though I figured out Jim's true identity near the beginning.
I thought I was going to rate this 2 stars, however, the ending and certain haunting moments were enough to elevate it. 2.5 stars rounded to 3.(less)
I didn't realize this novel was a sequel to Mantel's novel Every Day Is Mothers' Day. You can easily read this book without having read the previous b...moreI didn't realize this novel was a sequel to Mantel's novel Every Day Is Mothers' Day. You can easily read this book without having read the previous book first. Events from the story are recounted by various characters. I do think it may have helped with a deeper understanding of the people though. It's a successful, black comedy- very dark on the comedy- but it was so disturbing that I really couldn't get into the story. For what Hilary Mantel is trying to accomplish, it works as an unsettling study of a group of people spiraling down under circumstances brought on themselves and through the chilling machinations of Muriel Axon. Just not for me.(less)
Hey, look at that cover- it's not just a shirtless guy. He's wearing a shirt and jacket! And there's a girl! Sure, they aren't dressed appropriately f...moreHey, look at that cover- it's not just a shirtless guy. He's wearing a shirt and jacket! And there's a girl! Sure, they aren't dressed appropriately for Iceland, but we're moving in the right direction. Progress has been made.
These books are fun and actually pretty interesting as well. This one moved along at a nice pace and I liked Annika and David. Looking forward to the next in the series.(less)
The best part of this book is in the historical details. The horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the devastating Dreamland fire are viv...moreThe best part of this book is in the historical details. The horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the devastating Dreamland fire are vividly recounted. I was familiar with the first fire, though not with the second. Alice Hoffman writes beautifully and she interweaves these real events into her story seamlessly. I was intrigued by Coralie and the world of freak shows and oddities. Eddie's journey was fascinating as well. Some of the secondary characters were my favorite- Maureen with her vague and tragic past, and Mr. Morris in particular. While the story was engaging I felt disconnected from the main characters. I'm not sure if that was due to the shifting point of view or something else. Not my favorite Alice Hoffman, but definitely worth reading.(less)
I wanted to love this book. I love books about books, bookstores, booksellers, and the ones with obscure literary references. Unfortunately, even thou...moreI wanted to love this book. I love books about books, bookstores, booksellers, and the ones with obscure literary references. Unfortunately, even though The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is all those things (and has a cute cover), the book is missing something.
It's sentimental and lacking depth. It's going for heartwarming and emotional with the story elements, and yet I didn't really feel very much for the characters. The structure is clever, with each chapter introduced by a short story picked by A.J. Fikry and addressed to a person close to him. I think it could have been quirky and a lot of fun, but instead the plot was really all over the place. The hinted at mystery of the mysterious package really isn't a mystery at all. It was unexpected, but not an ongoing mystery around which I thought the plot would center. Overall, the book left me feeling like I was watching an after school special, sure a somewhat nerdy after school special, but it had that sappy feel.
Most reviewers seem to adore this book and it's sure to appeal to many. It's got some lovely lines and the literary references were great. I liked it, but I didn't love it. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe this book and I met at the wrong time.(less)
Another varied collection of adventures of Sherlock Holmes as told by Dr. Watson. The standout tale is "The Final Problem" where we are introduced to...moreAnother varied collection of adventures of Sherlock Holmes as told by Dr. Watson. The standout tale is "The Final Problem" where we are introduced to Professor Moriarty. I also enjoyed "Silver Blaze" and "The Musgrave Ritual." It's in this collection that we meet Holmes older brother Mycroft. More than the individual mysteries it's the observation of Holmes himself that makes the reader come back for story after story.(less)
It's difficult to imagine someone as "innocent" as Daisy Miller in today's society. Henry James succeeds in making a statement about the differences b...moreIt's difficult to imagine someone as "innocent" as Daisy Miller in today's society. Henry James succeeds in making a statement about the differences between Americans and Europeans, the nouveau riche and the established society, with a character study of the young Miss Miller. Unfortunately, I simply didn't find Daisy very interesting or appealing. She's a little too clueless. I was involved in finding out what would happen to Daisy and didn't expect the ending. Spoilers about that follow: (view spoiler)[Who knew you could catch malaria at the Colosseum back in the day? I was startled by her sudden death. So yeah, I had to look up the "Roman fever" and the history of malaria cropping up in Rome from time to time. (hide spoiler)] All in all, not my favorite James novel.(less)
I don't seek out a lot of short story collections to read. Maybe it reminds me too much of my years of college English classes and all those anthology...moreI don't seek out a lot of short story collections to read. Maybe it reminds me too much of my years of college English classes and all those anthology collections. I heard a lot about Saunders and this particular collection because it was cropping up on all the "best of" lists at the end of the year. I'm glad this was a monthly book club selection that introduced me to George Saunders.
This collection is thought-provoking, sharp, uncomfortable, and even amusing. The title story is a stand-out and completes the collection on a emotional note. So many of the stories are memorable, particularly, "Escape from Spiderhead," "Victory Lap," "Exhortation," "The Semplica Girl Diaries," and the aforementioned "Tenth of December."
I had high expectations and I have to say I'm impressed.(less)
TransAtlantic feels like a much longer book than it’s 300 pages. But that’s not because it was tedious, it’s because I didn’t want it to end. It has t...moreTransAtlantic feels like a much longer book than it’s 300 pages. But that’s not because it was tedious, it’s because I didn’t want it to end. It has the feel of an epic while focusing on the lives of a few important men in history alongside four generations of women from the same family. There’s a reality and truth to this novel through the use of historical moments and figures and yet within the grand scope it manages to feel intimate. The prose is lovely and lyrical. While I very much enjoyed the peeks into the lives of the men and the history they helped to create, I was drawn in to the novel through the extraordinary women. It’s the four women- Lily, Emily, Lottie, and Hannah, mothers and daughters, living and working, making their way across the ocean first one way and then another, the tiny moments, all of the connections- that are the heart of this novel. There were many quotes that stood out to me, but I think my favorite is this:
There isn’t a story in the world that isn’t in part, at least, addressed to the past. (less)