Barbara Kingsolver weaves an extremely compelling and thought-provoking epic story centered on the fictional character of Harrison Shepherd, a man torBarbara Kingsolver weaves an extremely compelling and thought-provoking epic story centered on the fictional character of Harrison Shepherd, a man torn between Mexico and America through the 30's and 40's. Even though in the beginning his life seems contrite, it is rich and filled with a grand culture especially when he is taken in as a cook by Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo who shape and inspire his life thereafter. Harrison is constantly writing and describing the people around him in journals that he keeps for years, always neglecting to mention anything about himself directly. His association with Lev Trotsky, an exhiled political leader from Russia, catches up with him later on when he finally decides to live in America and make his life. It is difficult to describe a book with so much going on, and so much of it is endearing and mind-opening. It describes a time in Mexico and also in America that I really know little of. It touches upon the concentration camps we set up for Japanese-Americans throughout the country and how paranoid and manipulative the government was concerning the issue of communism. The Lacuna is in itself a wonderful, invented story but is brought to life with scenes that involve Frida Kahlo and the political issues that affected America in such a negative way and that fueled The Cold War and McCarthyism.
"The most important thing about a person is what you don't know"...more
Dave Eggers is an incredible author and journalist and brings to light many issues that we all should be paying close attention to including human rigDave Eggers is an incredible author and journalist and brings to light many issues that we all should be paying close attention to including human rights, the story of Valentino Achak Deng, and now the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun. This man's powerful and moving story is brought to life by Egger who tells Zeitoun's story of how he and his family were ultimately and completely affected by the infamous Hurricane Katrina that occurred in 2005. Zeitoun, a building contractor and painter, makes a fateful decision to stay in New Orleans during the hurricane to watch after his properties and home while his wife and children evacuate. As the water rises after the storm, Zeitoun finds that there was a reason he stayed after all. He travels around the flooded streets in his canoe and helps rescue neighbors and other people who stayed behind. He even feeds dogs that were abandoned in homes and finds solace in the fact the he is needed and can be of help to those in need. Then, his heroic story takes an unexpected to twist and he is arrested and put into prison, without being allowed to call his wife, or anyone else for that matter. He is not formally charged, set at any kind of bail, and given a trial, and he believes that he is going to slip through the cracks of the justice system. What his situation shows is the total lack of organization and control that the law enforcement and the law in general showed in the aftermath of Katrina and the human rights that were totally violated.
Zeitoun's story is as effective and moving as Valentino Achak's Deng's from What is the What and must be read. ...more
Is love really all that difficult? Yes, yes it is. David Nicholls crafts a beautiful love story about two people who are so different that they reallyIs love really all that difficult? Yes, yes it is. David Nicholls crafts a beautiful love story about two people who are so different that they really only have one thing in common: they are both mad for each other. The frustrating thing is though, that however much these two people love each other, they maintain a "friends only" status throughout most of the book. What starts out as a possible love affair after just graduating college, Emma and Dexter's chemistry and attraction falls through the cracks as the years pass. Distance, missed opportunities, and even a letter that never gets sent, are all obstacles that ultimately determine their romantic fate and and life that they may have led together when they were young. Each character experiences struggles, dysfunctional relationships, setbacks, and successes and eventually it is clear that life is passing them by because their true soul mate is not truly in their life.
"One Day" offers laughs, tears, and insight and encourages to not limit yourself and if you truly want something, don't hold back. If you're in love, go for it. Missed opportunities are hard to overcome. Don't let the years go by in vain.
Thanks David Nicholls for such a glorious, heartbreaking read....more
I absolutely loved this book! It was honestly one of the most unique and different books that I have read in a number of years. Audrey Niffenegger cerI absolutely loved this book! It was honestly one of the most unique and different books that I have read in a number of years. Audrey Niffenegger certainly did not disappoint with the unveiling of her second novel, however, it is so refreshingly unlike The Time Traveler's Wife (which I loved also). This his how a second novel is supposed to be- totally it's own, with completely new, amazing characters. I do have to admit, some parts of this novel I was scratching my head and thinking to myself, "Well that's just silly." BUT I've changed my mind because it all came together and made sense of things that just didn't make sense. The inside summary of what this book is about is completely NOT what this book is about. ...more
Vividly capturing the 1947-8 Dakar-Niger railway strike, God's Bit of Wood never ceases to shock, to inspire, and to ultimately shed light on an eventVividly capturing the 1947-8 Dakar-Niger railway strike, God's Bit of Wood never ceases to shock, to inspire, and to ultimately shed light on an event that truly shaped the importance of the African culture. Despite its many characters and at times confusing names and places, each story of the workers and their wives, the whites and the oppressors, the beggars and the unloved, all demonstrate the immense struggle that everyone was going through during the strike and the tremendous courage it took to follow through with it. The strike itself was certainly a revolt against the mistreatment and racism that the Africans had been experiencing for years by the European colonists that took advantage of them. Even more than that however, another type of prejudice is addressed in the novel and that is the issue of gender. The women are constantly battling with their roles in society and with equality that never seemed to be possible until the strike. Finally, particular strong female characters are each in their own way finding their inner strength and standing up to their men who think they are lower than themselves.
Sembene Ousmane weaves a beautiful piece of historical fictions with God's Bits of Wood and teaches the reader to never forget that matters of race, gender, and equality, are all matters that might never go away but we must still always fight for. ...more
I was debating about how I should rate this book. Despite the 500 pages, it remarkably took me a few days to read. I found that I couldn't put it downI was debating about how I should rate this book. Despite the 500 pages, it remarkably took me a few days to read. I found that I couldn't put it down, despite some of its initial drawbacks. First, the characters were at times overwhelming and unrealistic as were the various plots that were weaved throughout that ultimately left me thinking, "Really?". But honestly, I can't remember a time when I enjoyed reading a book so much. Despite some is preposterous themes, the twists will grab you and so eventually will the lovable and hatable characters. ...more
This was such a great book- I read it in two days and loved every minute of it. The characters were wonderful and I was simply cheering towards the enThis was such a great book- I read it in two days and loved every minute of it. The characters were wonderful and I was simply cheering towards the end... It's going to be a great movie. This was definitely along the same lines as Mudbound and Cane River....more
Ken Follett weaves an intricate historical epic yet again with his first book of his brand new trilogy that focuses on world-changing events in the 20Ken Follett weaves an intricate historical epic yet again with his first book of his brand new trilogy that focuses on world-changing events in the 20th Century. Fall of Giants centers primarily around World War I and introduces a variety of characters from all different classes, countries, and points of view. In the beginning the reader is exposed to a harsh, political world that ocurred over a hundred years ago in which the poor were hugely oppressed by the rich and the nobility, women had few rights including the right to vote, and governments were known for their corrupt and often viscious ways. Then comes the murder of an archduke and all of Europe is thrown into the chaos of war. From 1914 until 1918 there is fighting, death, and finally victory for the allies. But all this does not come without a price. ...more
For no reason in particular, this book took me forever to read. Perhaps I was in a reading slump or my mind has been foggy and unfocused lately. HowevFor no reason in particular, this book took me forever to read. Perhaps I was in a reading slump or my mind has been foggy and unfocused lately. However, I wished I had read and finished it sooner. As I turned the last few pages, I discovered it was a deeply moving and heartrending novel that centered on how the Japanese were cruelly treated and "evacuated" into camps for their own "protection" during WWII. More than that, it was a story of young, forbidden love that knows no limits. You will find heroes and villains who are both obvious as well as surprising and in the end... well, I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. Please read this book. It was wonderful....more