If I am looking around for a fun, comfort read, there is none better than the Trixie Belden series. In this story the town hall weather vane, Hoppy thIf I am looking around for a fun, comfort read, there is none better than the Trixie Belden series. In this story the town hall weather vane, Hoppy the Grasshopper, is stolen and it is up to Trixie and her friends to solve the mystery. What I learned from reading this story is that weather vanes were popular in the northeastern part of the United States and to be on the lookout for them on programs such as Antiques Roadshow as examples of folk art. Trixie is back with her best friend Honey and her brother Jim and Trixie´s brothers Brian, Mart, and Bobby. The stories my be formulaic but that is what makes them special, like meeting up with old friends....more
A charming book about the friendship of three college students, Pen, Will and Cat. While they were close friends, to almost the exclusion of others, uA charming book about the friendship of three college students, Pen, Will and Cat. While they were close friends, to almost the exclusion of others, upon graduation the separated and didn´t remain in close contact. Years later Cat sends a message requesting that they all meet for their 10 year college reunion. Will and Pen, sensing Cat is in trouble, meet at the reunion but Cat is no where to be found. Pen and Will are devoted to Cat and their quest to find her forms the basis for the rest of the story. Ms de los Santos is a very good writer and excels at character development. Other reviews of her work describe her writing as poetic and I agree with this assessment. Falling together, is my introduction to her work and I am looking forward to reading her two previous books, both of which received good reviews....more
I admit that I wanted to read this book because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I continue to believe that Ms. Rowling is a brilliant writer and wasntI admit that I wanted to read this book because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I continue to believe that Ms. Rowling is a brilliant writer and wasn´t disappointed with her first effort at an adult novel.
The story begins with the death of Barry Fairbrother, a parish councilman in an idyllic English village named Pagford. His untimely death creates a casual vacancy for the council seat he holds and the reaction to this news sets the story in motion. Each of the characters tries to take advantage of the vacancy to serve their own purposes to gain the political power that goes with the councilman position. Never mind that a decent human being has died, the villagers only consideration is what will benefit each of them.
As Ms. Rowling tells the story of various village residents, she covers several themes that provide the backdrop for the tragedies that unfold. (SPOILER) Some of the themes include child abuse, drug addiction, rape, teen-age sex, deception, lying, spitefulness, etc. There are enough themes to keep the story moving along to fill the entire 503 pages. This brings me to some of the disappointments that I had with the book. For one thing the book is long and is tedious in some spots. Ms. Rowling is a master at character development but there are so many characters that it is hard to keep them straight. There is colorful language that is used that at times looks like it is just tossed in for no apparent reason. Finally, the story is told from many characters points of view that is hard to follow at times with very few likable characters. That being said, Ms. Rowling does a brilliant job of bringing together all the subplots in the book so there is a satisfying conclusion to the story. ...more
Included with this book are the actual conversations that Mrs. Kennedy had with Arthur Schlesinger Jr. on CD. It is wonderful to listen to her voice aIncluded with this book are the actual conversations that Mrs. Kennedy had with Arthur Schlesinger Jr. on CD. It is wonderful to listen to her voice as she recalled her life with President Kennedy. It was apparent that Mr. Schlesinger guided Mrs. Kennedy with his questions, but her responses appeared to be unscripted as she recalled the highs and lows of her husband´s presidency. I enjoyed listening to the conversations and being able to follow along in the book provided. I am grateful to Caroline Kennedy for allowing this information to be made public....more
Kate Morton is a very good writer. What I like most is her descriptions that set the time and place so vividly. That being said she almost overwhelmsKate Morton is a very good writer. What I like most is her descriptions that set the time and place so vividly. That being said she almost overwhelms her readers with endless detail and could easily have shaved off 100 pages. What is outstanding are her characters and the interweaving of the plot that brings the character´s lives full circle at the end. I admit I was a fourth of the way into the book before I really was interested and after that I was annoyed with life´s interruptions that kept me from finishing the book. The story is also very depressing but I am likely to read it again simply because the complicated plot is so compelling....more
Blueberry Summers: Growing up at the Lake is a charming book that just about everyone can relate to on some level if you grew up in Minnesota. Since tBlueberry Summers: Growing up at the Lake is a charming book that just about everyone can relate to on some level if you grew up in Minnesota. Since there are lakes in abundance practically everyone spends time at a lake with family and friends at one time or another. Curtiss Anderson shares his coming of age experiences with us through his stories about his Norwegian family as they spend their summers at the lake in a primitive farmhouse; no electricity or indoor plumbing. The stories are laugh out loud funny at times and deeply emotional at other times. One reviewer stated that the book isn´t a page turner, but I have to respectfully disagree because so many of the carefully crafted characters reminded me of people I knew when I was growing up and brought back happy memories for me. If you are looking for a book about life in simpler times I think you would enjoy reading this book as much as I did. ...more
Population: 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time by Michael Perry is a collection of essays about life in the small town of New Auburn, inPopulation: 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time by Michael Perry is a collection of essays about life in the small town of New Auburn, in Northwestern Wisconsin. Perry is a 24/7 on call EMT/Firemen and in his spare time he is a writer and the essays in this book cover a whole host of his thoughts about his family, his co-workers and the quirkiness of the people he deals with as he performs his duties. What is so extraodrinary about this book is how skillfully Perry makes the people come alive in all their triumphs and tragedies. This is a sad book in many ways as Perry talks about dealing with death due to the circumstances he faces in his job yet the reader feels the tremendous satisfaction that he feels when he gives it his all trying to help people; sometimes successfully and sometimes not. There are also times when the stories are laugh out loud funny as he tells about some of his experiences on the calls that he is involved in. This book was recommended by a friend and I have to thank her for introducing me to this author and I plan to read more of his books because I think so highly of this one. While I consider myself a good reader there were many times when I wish I had a dictionary handy. I guess I was quite surprised that a Packer loving, Wisonsin red-neck is such a gifted writer. ...more
To say that Sarahs Key is a page turner is an understatement. I read it in less than 24 hours and 10 year old Sarah waking from a loud pounding on theTo say that Sarah´s Key is a page turner is an understatement. I read it in less than 24 hours and 10 year old Sarah waking from a loud pounding on the door of her Paris apartment. It is July 16, 1942 and the French police are in the process of rounding up all Jews and sending them to camps in France where they will later be transported to the extermination camps in Poland. Sarah´s parents are frightened and Sarah decides to lock her brother in a secret cupboard so that he won´t be found and assumes she will be back to let him out because it is the French police at the door and not the Germans. What happens to Sarah and her family is alternated with chapters about Ámerican Julia Jarmond´s story 60 years later. Julia lives in Paris, works as a journalist and is married to a Frenchman, Bertrand, who is detestable from the start. The reader is forced to endure his insuffurable treatment of his wife and his constant fussing and fumings. When Julia is assigned to write a story about the round-up we learn about and the horrific treatment of the Jews as the were being held and later transported. Through her research, Julia learns about Sarah and becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. Her obsession sets off a chain reaction that affects her family as well as Sarah´s.
While the story is compelling the conclusion becomes melodramatic in many ways, so much so that I could not give it the 5 stars I would have liked to give it. It is now on to The Book Thief which some reviewers have liked better than Sarah´s Key. ...more
I thought the book was long and tedious. Jane Austen is/was a brilliant writer but I find I am not fascinated with her writing and wanted to give herI thought the book was long and tedious. Jane Austen is/was a brilliant writer but I find I am not fascinated with her writing and wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt by finishing the book. To futher add to my misery I found the DVD at the library that was made in 1972 and took it home and watched it. To my surprise I liked the movie, and further more, the book made more sense to me after viewing it. After consulting numerous reviews on Goodreads, I have come to the conclusion that one either loves or hates her work. I am not giving up and I intend to keep reading her books in an effort to change my own mind. Next up is Persuasion, mercifully, there are two hundred fewer pages in this book than in Emma....more
This is a charming book about the authors obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder, so much so that she decides to visit all the Wilder locals described inThis is a charming book about the author´s obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder, so much so that she decides to visit all the Wilder locals described in the books, and few others not mentioned, and gives a very funny account of her experiences. Her descriptions are so vivid and detailed that I no longer need visit the sites myself. Oh, I probably will one of these days and take her book along as a guide. She did, however, miss a landmark, sort of. Just a short distance north of Webster, Wisconsin off of Country Rd. A is a small cemetery where several of Charles Ingalls´ relatives are buried. Since Webster was my mother´s hometown I hope to visit there one of these days, but I won´t write a book about it. This book is a must read for all Laura fans....more
I tend to be stingy with my 5-star ratings but this book has all the qualities that I believe are needed to deserve such a rating. Some of those qualiI tend to be stingy with my 5-star ratings but this book has all the qualities that I believe are needed to deserve such a rating. Some of those qualites include descriptions that make the readers feel they are part of the story, characters once developed stay true to who they are, a compelling story that holds the readers interest from the beginning to the end and a narrative that is compelling and well written. Perhaps the quality that is exceptional in this novel is the horrific description of trench life and warfare in WWI. It was difficult to read but I felt the author gave an accurate portrait of what actually happened. This book left an impression on me and one that I won´t soon forget. ...more
John Nettles describes what it is like to become famous after success as a stage actor and later the star of Bergerac, a British dective series. SinceJohn Nettles describes what it is like to become famous after success as a stage actor and later the star of Bergerac, a British dective series. Since I am a huge fan of Midsomer Murders I had to track down this book. I wasn´t disappointed in this hilarious recounting of his early experiences prior to MM. I classified this book as a memoir giving Mr. Nettles the benefit of the doubt that all the experiences he relates are true. I found this book in a hardcover edition through an online bookstore so good luck to those of you who would like to obtain a copy. It is worth the effort to hunt it down....more
This a delightful book about the observations of an American mother raising her children while working as a journalist and living with her English husThis a delightful book about the observations of an American mother raising her children while working as a journalist and living with her English husband in France. Both have successful careers and plan to raise their family while living in Europe. Pamela Druckerman, after the birth of her first child, notices early on that French mothers seem to have fewer problems raising their kids than her American friends. French babies sleep through the night at an earlier age, they settle down and act properly when taken out for dinner and appear on the whole to be much better behaved without a lot of whining and crying. The question becomes, what is it that French mothers do differently and why are French women more relaxed mothers and less stressed than their American counterparts. To find the answer Ms. Drucherman approaches the topic on a number of fronts that include cultural differences in how both feel about raising children, as well as different behavioral approaches to child rearing that reflect different expectations. Ms. Druckerman as very adept at showing the differences through stories and anecdotes. Do the French really have the answer as to how to raise pleasant children? I would like to think so as I unknowingly raised my kinds using some of the French techniques described in the book. Besides parenting insights, Ms. Druckerman is very good at giving a picture of modern life in France which makes this book so much fun to read. ...more