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
**spoiler alert** Sometimes the people closest to us turn out to be the most unfamiliar of strangers. Jennifer Haigh's heartbreaking and revealing nov**spoiler alert** Sometimes the people closest to us turn out to be the most unfamiliar of strangers. Jennifer Haigh's heartbreaking and revealing novel takes a bold stand on life and marriage and asks the question: do we really know our better half as well as we think we do? At first glance, Ken Kimble is in every way the epitome of a perfect husband both in looks and in a personality that cracks like a whip with all the women he encounters. He seems too good to be true and he is, revealing himself to be an expert manipulator who cruelly deceives three wives leaving them nothing but a broken heart.
Birdie is the first to be tricked into Kimble's empty promises and cold demeanor after he seduces her and puts on a flashy courtship. Marrying her when she is only 18 years-old and he a cool 32, their union produced two children he could care less about and a young wife who had no idea what she was getting herself into. The years fade on as he begins to spend more and more time working late nights "teaching" at his school while Birdie, naive and alone, finds a friendly companion in drinking. Everything collapses when Kimble abandons them all for one of his students. Eventually, however, he even breaks off that relationship for a more appealing one in Joan, a lonely heiress who is immediately captivated by Kimble's dangerous charm. This only lasts a few years due to Joan's second affliction of cancer and conveniently, all of her wealth is passed on to him. Later on, he meets and marries his final wife, Dinah, who had actually been his first two children's babysitter years ago. Being significantly older than her, this relationship takes its toll as well but it can be argued that age has nothing to do with Dinah and Kimble's problems. Kimble is simply far too selfish and cold a man to live with but because of his wealth and their son, Dinah is forced to stay with him and submit to a life of unhappiness.
They say what goes around comes around... the memorable climax of the story will leave the reader mesmerized and perhaps a bit relieved, although maybe not fully satisfied. While Kimble does indeed pay some kind of retribution for his cruel and wicked ways, the ugly imprint he has left on the lives of his wives and his children alike will never go away. What is, what could have been, and what should have been are the realities that Birdie, Joan, and Dinah battle with each day of their life because they were unlucky enough to have a man pull the rug right out from beneath their feet.
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
Cleave blew me away with his recent novel, Little Bee. I was excited to read the older Incendiary, yet I was deeply disappointed and disgusted. Yes, ICleave blew me away with his recent novel, Little Bee. I was excited to read the older Incendiary, yet I was deeply disappointed and disgusted. Yes, I finished the entire novel but only because I kept hoping that it was going to turn around and improve. It did not. With a promising beginning, I was immediately intrigued with the heroine of the story writing a letter to Osama Bin Laden blaming him for the deaths of her husband and son in a terrorist attack at a soccer match. However, as it went on, I became less and less thrilled with this woman who was cheating on her husband while he was being killed and then loses her grip on reality and life. This was the biggest sob story I have ever read with the most ridciulous characters and scenarios... I cannot begin to describe, and I won't. All I can do is urge other readers to not even try with this one. I wasted a a couple weeks on this... not because I'm a slow reader but because it was so miserable to read. Cleaves, I was really let down....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
As a person who usually reads novels that are praised for their ingenius plots, complicated and deep characters, and/or wonderful prose that inspire tAs a person who usually reads novels that are praised for their ingenius plots, complicated and deep characters, and/or wonderful prose that inspire the mind and soul, I was extremely hesitant in reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I wasn't going to read it... and the only thing that pushed me was the fact that the entire series is a bestseller and that everyone is reading it. I am ashamed to say that factors like these intrigue me and absolutely stir my curious mind. I had to read it... and so I did. I will admit that throughout the duration of reading the first of the triology, I was shocked, insulted, and... completely and utterly spellbound. Yes, it is literary trash but I couldn't take my eyes away from the pages. The improbable and at times ridiculous scenarios and lack of "realness" of the characters certainly made me annoyed but at the same time I appreciated the story and the author's ability to take the reader to another planet entirely: fantasy land. A place where things don't make sense but a place where every whim and crazy thought is satisfied. And in a way, isn't this the point of a book? Of any story? Fifty Shades of Grey is imperfect. However, there are times when we need books like these that allow a person to let go in the story and to surrender to its absolute ridiculousness. The only other series to have inspired in me this acceptance of a crappy novel was The Twilight series. I might get in trouble for saying that on this site because of all the Twlight fans out there but we all have to admit that it was junk. But really, really good junk... and I loved it... hey, we all love doritos, or cheese doodles, or what have you... and we all know that they're not good for us... yet we can't help but stick our hand into the bag for the hundredth time for some more MSG.
And... the books get better. Fifty Shades Darker develops more of a plot and a teeny bit less sex, which was kind of a relief because there is only so much you can to do make each following sex scene different and unique...
Anyway, the bottom line for me is rejoice in literary MSG. We all have to treat ourselves once in a while!...more
What if you woke up every morning in a strange bed, next to a man you didn't know, unsure if you even know your own name? You get up in your confusionWhat if you woke up every morning in a strange bed, next to a man you didn't know, unsure if you even know your own name? You get up in your confusion and go into the bathroom and look in the mirror only to see that you have wrinkles on your face and you are twenty years older than you thought you were. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn't it? Only it isn't. This is how Christine lives her days, every day, since her horrible car accident that left her like this. She must be told daily by Ben, who claims he is her husband, although she feels as if she is meeting him for the very first time. She is given little choice but to believe and trust him and go about her day only to discover more things about herself and her life, things that she is keeping from Ben and doesn't want him to know about. Christine learns she has been meeting with a doctor quite frequently who calls her every day to remind her that she has recently started writing a journal, a journal describing how her life has been the past few weeks from her point of view. With the help of her own written words, Christine finds out that her husband has been hiding certain details from her, such as the fact that she had a son, that she had successfully written a novel, and perhaps most important of all, that she did not become this way because of a car accident. Instead, the event that impaired her so devastatingly was actually becasue of a horrific attack that left her bloodied, broken, and her memory virtually erased. The more she writes and reads her journal, Christine begins to get glimpses of memory back and starts to show progress. Yet, there are still questions that are left unanswered.... Christine must figure out why Ben has been keeping things from her and is not telling her the whole truth. Most foreboding of all, Christine needs to know why on the front of her journal are the words "don't trust Ben" that are written in her own handwriting.
Before I Go to Sleep is a thrilling first novel that keeps the reader guessing until the twist ending that won't soon be forgotten....more
Reading this wonderful book for the second time was like coming home. This is one of the most moving and unique books I have ever come across and I wiReading this wonderful book for the second time was like coming home. This is one of the most moving and unique books I have ever come across and I will continue to be mesmorized by it as its beautiful words and characters will always be with me. Profound, mystifying, and original, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a book about many things and gives incredible insight on the way the world works and the nature of which we as humans perceive all things. However, most of all it tells the tale of the lives of a couple of different people who each in their own way are broken and misguided and trying to figure out simply how to live and go on. Some of them are told in a few sentences while others are told in chapters. The main character, Oscar, recieves the most attention as the nine-year-old hero who embarks on a quest to find the lock to a key that belonged to his late father who had fallen victim to the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. He travels across New York City in each of its five boroughs over the bridge and through the streets following clues as to where this magical key has come from. He meets a number of different people who each in their own way get him a little bit farther in finding out the truth to his quest and in accepting his father's death.
This book was a joy to read and was especially refreshing reading it for a second time. I was extremely pleased and incredibly satisfied.
Read immediately if you have not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...more
**spoiler alert** Everything you think this book will be, it is not. A mix between adventure, romance, and tragedy, The Wives of Henry Oades tells the**spoiler alert** Everything you think this book will be, it is not. A mix between adventure, romance, and tragedy, The Wives of Henry Oades tells the story of an English family who pack up their things and move to New Zealand because of a job opportunity offered to Henry Oades. This destiny-changing decision was only suppossed to last for a couple of years, but ended up affecting them for their rest of their lives. At first Margaret, Henry's wife, is grief-stricken to lose the life she has known in England but is consoled by the fact that living in New Zealand is not forever. However, as a couple of years turn into the promise of more years to come living in the alien country, she begins to embrace her new homeland and pressures her husband to move the family from the bustling and dirty town to the quiet and secluded countryside. This move proves to be a treacherous mistake when one night, awaiting her husband's return from work, Margaret and her four children are kidnapped by the local tribe called the Maori. They burn her house to the ground, with her unconcious friend in it, stuff her newborn twin girls into sacks, and force them on a dangerous trek throughout the wilderness of New Zealand. Margaret's husband is griefstricken when he comes homes to find his house burnt to the ground and his family nowhere in sight. Immediately he makes plans to search for them but he himself meets unfortune when he falls off his horse and breaks his leg. He must be rushed to the hospital in town and is confined there for over a month, thus delaying any search for his family. With the finding of the dead body in ashen home, he is convinced that his wife is dead and his children are gone forever. The pain over the loss of the loves of his life is too much for him and so he moves to California. Meanwhile his family are slaves to the Maori and live their lives day by day, hoping for escape and praying that their husband and father come to save them at last.
Six years pass and Henry Oades comes into the good fortune of inheriting a dairy farm from an employer who left his home and business to him after years of working diligently and honestly. His business is booming as well as the prospect of a new wife, Nancy, a widower with a newborn. He relates to Nancy and to her own loss and marries her so that they both won't be alone any longer.
In New Zealand, Margaret and her children are still slaves to the Maori until a stroke of unlikely good luck falls upon them. They are stricken with small pox and are released by their captors. Terribly ill yet free, Margaret and her family make the precarious journey back to town expecting the open arms of Henry Oades. Upon arrival, however, sinking reality sets in as they find out that he has left the country and has left them behind. They follow him to California and finally arrive at his house.... only to be greeted by his new wife, Nancy.
Of course, Henry and Nancy take Margaret and the children in and they all form an odd relationship under their new very strange circumstances. Because of this, they are all accused of polygamy and are must go through a series of trials through the judicial system and are shunned by the town.
The questions are... who does Henry choose? Whom does he really love? Would you take back your first wife after believing for years she was dead and gone?
Dave Eggers yet again opens the reader's eyes to a world that could very well be our distant future. In fact, the socieWhat an important book to read!
Dave Eggers yet again opens the reader's eyes to a world that could very well be our distant future. In fact, the society he portrays is scarily like our own and we are at its doorstep, knocking. "The Circle" combines facebook, google, instagram, among all other internet monopolies, and makes them obsolete, while "The Circle" creates its own singular brand that globalizes the internet as we know it. Now people use their real identity for everything online, no more multiple usernames and passwords, and best of all, solving "the chaos of an orderless world" (p. 370) is within "The Circle's" reach. The company is at the head of countless innovations and studies and is very rapidly changing the world in a big way. Now, anyone can purchase a small, but technologically advanced camera and stick it anywhere without it being detected. The live footage at that location comes on your screen, on anyone's screen, with 100% accuracy, as if you were actually really there. Even more daunting, a person may also become "transparent", meaning one's actions, words, body language, activities, etc, are exposed tot he entire world, 24/7 on a live feed- simply by putting on a special high-tech necklace. Privacy has become almost unattainable, while knowledge and "Truth" are virtually uncensored and exposed. Literally.
Protaganist/antagonist Mae Holland is new to "The Circle". Having gotten hired with the help from her college friend Annie, who is already an elite member of "The Circle", Mae falls easy prey to a company who wants control while masking it as utopia. The longer Mae continues to move up in her new place at work, the more she becomes an invaluable member of this digital world, brainwashed by its danerous ideas and becomes convinced that everything, everyone, and every place must be known, seen, and heard, at all times, for anyone to have access to anyhwere.
What begins as a groundbreaking and perfect company, "The Circle" turns out to be the beginnings of the demise of society as we know it where free will and simply being free is nonexistent. We must as readers, and humans, pay attention to a fable like this one. We must recognize now the failings the internet has and the consequences that come with constantly being in touch with all information at all times- our smart phones are already there. Is knowledge really power? And is there ever a point when one can know too much? We need to remember to be human-to be people first- and not just a device. ...more
This book astounded me and certainly deserves to be on a bookshelf right aside The Diary of Anne Frank. Zusak's haunting, moving, and beautiful storyThis book astounded me and certainly deserves to be on a bookshelf right aside The Diary of Anne Frank. Zusak's haunting, moving, and beautiful story is possibly one of the best modern stories about WWII to date. It s originality in itself is something to be talked about. Death as the narrator might be morbid but is truly fitting and appropriate when it is about the suffering during those horrible years in Europe. Liesel Meminger is a true heroine who steals your heart as you read about her own thefts and loves and losses she encounters throughout this endearing tale. Death says, " I am haunted by humans" but I am certainly haunted by Markus Zusak and his wonderful craftsmanship. He is the true "word shaker"....more
Boy did I have trouble with this book. I had difficulty giving it a rating... sometimes I just wish there were 1/2 stars because in reality I would haBoy did I have trouble with this book. I had difficulty giving it a rating... sometimes I just wish there were 1/2 stars because in reality I would have given it 3 and 1/2 stars- but ended up giving it 4. I had a lot of problems with this book because I found it to be a completely difficult, yet gripping book to read. I didn't like any one character because in my eyes none of them were honorable and they all had their own problems that were as a result of their own stupid, careless mistakes. This book was depressing and had me in a terrible mood throughout the whole time I was reading. I just wanted it to end, but of course I kept chugging along because I wanted to see what happened next. I ask this: does that make a good book? I don't know....more
I enjoyed reading The Gates although it did not have as much a profound affect on me as did Connolly's brilliant The Book of Lost Things. Easy to readI enjoyed reading The Gates although it did not have as much a profound affect on me as did Connolly's brilliant The Book of Lost Things. Easy to read and full of hysterical connotations on the idea of black holes, parallel universes, and of course, the portal of Hell, The Gates left me scratching my head as to how John Connolly was able to pull this one off- but of course, he did. While reading, I was frequently reminded of Christopher Moore's equally hilarious novel entitled A Dirty Job as well as the hysterical movie Shawn Of The Dead. I hope this becomes a movie....more