This book was a nice read, very enjoyable. The story moved at a nice pace and kept me interested throughout. If you like flowers you will especially a...moreThis book was a nice read, very enjoyable. The story moved at a nice pace and kept me interested throughout. If you like flowers you will especially appreciate all the information related to flowers and their hidden meanings that is woven throughout the pages.(less)
What a great novel! The characters are memorable and the story of the four sisters living in Africa along with their missionary parents had be captiva...moreWhat a great novel! The characters are memorable and the story of the four sisters living in Africa along with their missionary parents had be captivated from the beginning to the end. Not only will you get a captivating story about brutal life amongst the poorest in the Congo, but you will learn so much about what life is like in Africa as Barbara Kingsolver literally brings it to life on every page. Well worth reading.(less)
This is one of those books that you will want to read again, after you had some time to absorb the story. 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' , by Lisa S...moreThis is one of those books that you will want to read again, after you had some time to absorb the story. 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' , by Lisa See, was recommended to me by a good friend who told me that not only was she saddened when the book ended, she wanted it to continue, but she was so intrigued with the ancient art of foot binding that she was compelled to research it on the internet. I agree whole heartedly with my friend; this book leaves you yearning for more and I am certain that 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' will soon become a classic and a must read for every book club.
The story is set in 19th century rural China and chronicles the life of a girl named Lily, along with her laotong, Snow Flower. A Laotong is a special relationship between two girls who are sworn sisters for life. This relationship was considered even more emotionally intimate than a regular marriage between a man and a woman, which sole purpose was to produce sons. What is unique about this book is the mesmerizing way the author depicts Lily and Snow Flower as they encounter the agony of foot binding, the emotional turmoil of arranged marriages and the art of 'nu shu', an ancient secret language only used by women. As a reader, you are brought into their special relationship and will find yourself taking sides when later on a misunderstanding threatens their relationship.
I was most intrigued by Lily's own mother, who like every other mother in China in that time period, desired to have their daughters' feet bound. This desire was due to social customs and societal expectations and if they didn't conform, their daughter would not be marriageable and would end up a servant in another's household. Although it is not fair to judge another and their customs, the story still left me wondering whether it is justified to inflict a lifetime of pain and suffering on your daughter to make her more beautiful so that she can marry into a wealthier household.
Although foot binding is no longer practiced today, women throughout the world still do things to their bodies to make them more desirable to men. Breast implants, plastic surgery and starving oneself to achieve a thinner body are common practices done routinely here in the United States. It is easy to wonder if we are any different today by inflicting pain on ourselves in our quest for beauty than the ancient Chinese. They viewed small bounded feet as a woman's most beautiful and sought after feature and we view eternal youth and extreme thinness as ours. I am personally waiting for the day when we will cease to physically change our bodies and instead look inwards for the beauty that we all possess. (less)
Let's face it, this is a great read with memorable characters and a storyline that keeps moving forward. You come to care about Chiyo and her Chairman...moreLet's face it, this is a great read with memorable characters and a storyline that keeps moving forward. You come to care about Chiyo and her Chairman and love to hate the other Geishas who weren't nice to Chiyo. I was deeply drawn to the whole Japanese Geisha culture, a subject of which I had very little knowledge. And even though the author is from the west I feel the story contained adequate detail to give me a basic background of what life was like for Geishas.(less)
Great book, love the storyline. Just saw the movie and although it wasn't nearly as good as the book (what movie is?) it is still a must see. I recomm...moreGreat book, love the storyline. Just saw the movie and although it wasn't nearly as good as the book (what movie is?) it is still a must see. I recommend both the book and the movie to all who love a very interesting, time-traveling storyline.(less)
The Shack is a work of fiction that tells the story of Mack, a father who deeply suffers after his youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted by a serial k...moreThe Shack is a work of fiction that tells the story of Mack, a father who deeply suffers after his youngest daughter, Missy, is abducted by a serial killer during a family vacation. Four years after the tragedy, a strange note appears one day inviting Mack back to the shack, the scene of the crime, and here is where Mack encounters the Trinity who appears in various human forms. Here at the shack, the author beautifully combines the teachings of Christianity blended along seamlessly with the new spirituality movement. Mack is shown that God is neither male or female, no hierarchy exists between the trinity or anyone for that matter, and that we need to strive to coexist in an equal circle where love and respect can flow both ways equally. What struck me the most was how Mack was shown how to forgive the man who took his daughter’s life—not an easy feat. How does one make sense out of hatred, war, and unspeakable acts of violence towards one another? This book may not give you an answer but it will inspire you to think about our free will and our ability to make the decision whether to judge or not. Overall, this book was a bit awkward in the beginning and will certainly not win the Pulitzer, but what it will win is our attention and our hearts as we realize the importance of the powerful message the author aims to achieve: not judging others and forgiveness. For many, this book will be life-changing and the one inspirational read that will positively transform how life is viewed and ultimately lived. (less)
**spoiler alert** What a great premise...what if we could bring someone back again using a bit of their DNA? Tommy Taylor's book kept me pondering ove...more**spoiler alert** What a great premise...what if we could bring someone back again using a bit of their DNA? Tommy Taylor's book kept me pondering over this very possibility as his story tells about a plan to do just that with the DNA of Jesus Christ. This story is unique and thought-provoking. I finally came to the conclusion that...yes, we cou possibily bring someone back thereby creating the exact DNA duplicate, but I feel the soul is where the person really is...so I have my doubts that if this book continued past the re-birth of Jesus, that Jesus would look the same on the outside, but most likely be a different person on the inside.(less)
What a wonderfully written book. I learned so much about Mary Boleyn and enjoyed the magnificient insights into what life was like within the royal co...moreWhat a wonderfully written book. I learned so much about Mary Boleyn and enjoyed the magnificient insights into what life was like within the royal court of King Henry VIII. Although a bit too detailed throughout the book, the storyline still kept my attention and my newfound respect for the the Other Boleyn Girl. (less)
A Thousand Splendid Suns, is a novel depicting the plight of women in modern era Afghanistan. This is the same author who wrote The Kite Runner, the p...moreA Thousand Splendid Suns, is a novel depicting the plight of women in modern era Afghanistan. This is the same author who wrote The Kite Runner, the post 911 best seller depicting war torn Afghanistan. The Kite Runner gave us our first inside view to this country’s volatile past and culture and focused mainly on male relationships. Well, Khaled Hosseini has succeeded again as he draws you once more into another emotionally powerful story set amidst the last thirty years in Afghanistan. This time he gives us a glimpse of women’s lives as they survive the hardships of living in a Muslim society at the hands of the Taliban and most chillingly, their own husbands.
A Thousand Splendid Suns chronicles the lives of two girls. The story begins with Mariam, who is an illegitimate child or a ‘Harami’, as it is called in Farsi, a dialect in Afghanistan. At fifteen, she is forced to marry a much older man after being left alone when her mother commits suicide. The other girl is Laila, raised in a home with parents who have a more western view of women. When Laila also reaches the tender age of fifteen, a rocket hits her house killing her parents, she is left pregnant and alone on the streets of Kabul. She is taken in by Mariam and Rasheed and soon becomes Rasheed’s second wife.
What is unique about this story is the unfolding of a very deep relationship that is forged between Rasheed’s two wives in response to his brutality. We see Mariam and Laila struggling to survive in a society that views women as the property of their fathers and husbands. The heroic act and sacrifice that Mariam performs out of love for Laila is truly heart wrenching. But what firmly grabbed my attention was the lack of medical care provided to women under the Taliban and the horrific scene when Laila is forced to undergo a cesarean section without anesthesia. What is most upsetting is that scenes from this novel represent typical accounts of what many women have experienced in Afghanistan.
I have no doubt that this novel will receive the public acclaim and exposure The Kite Runner enjoyed and once again educate the masses about the repercussions of war inflicted on the people who have no choice but to live in such unimaginable conditions. (less)