I began this book knowing nothing about the plot or themes involved, which may be unusual. The story follows two friends, one who is very big with a sI began this book knowing nothing about the plot or themes involved, which may be unusual. The story follows two friends, one who is very big with a small mind, and one who is very small with an average mind. Both have big dreams for the future, and are migrant workers moving from job to job in California. This is a very short book, and no words are wasted. The writing is clean and the dialogues are real and engaging. The themes make readers consider certain life questions that I wasn't especially captivated by or moved to ponder. I think thats why I didn't enjoy this read very much. I did keep the book, though, and may pick it up again in a few years and try again. ...more
This was a fast and chilling sci-fi read. Mae is ecstatic to begin a new job with the Circle - a giant company that feels like a combination of GoogleThis was a fast and chilling sci-fi read. Mae is ecstatic to begin a new job with the Circle - a giant company that feels like a combination of Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. She is eager to please and jumps into her new position with no evaluation. Slowly the company asks more and more of Mae, and asks more and more of society as they focus on "completing the circle," becoming all-powerful, and completely obliterating any privacy. Events move slowly, and it almost seems possible that a non-reflective and passive characters like Mae and her colleagues could get caught up in the excitement and allow for this shark-like company to effectively completely control the country.
Although Mae is uninteresting as a character, and the writing is sometimes a little flat, the purpose of the book is more to show the progression of the company and cause readers to think twice about the direction of technology. I enjoyed the book, and it lead to some great discussions with our neighborhood book club. ...more
This is one of the first fantasy books I've read, and also Kazuo Ishiguro's first book of this genre. The book drew me in immediately. I loved the simThis is one of the first fantasy books I've read, and also Kazuo Ishiguro's first book of this genre. The book drew me in immediately. I loved the simplistic and mysterious writing style Ishiguro used to describe the world he created for his novel. The novel takes place in a post-Arthurian world, so King Arthur is mentioned, and some of his knights are part of the story. There is also a dragon. And ogres.
An elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice are living in a small community of Britons, and they start to realize that they, and no one around them, no longer have any memories. The couple cannot even remember their son anymore. They describe this as a "mist" of forgetfulness. Somehow, the couple knows they are supposed to travel to see their son, who must reside in a neighboring village. Most of the book describes Axl and Beatrice's journey, through neighboring saxon villages and even a monastery, to find their son. Somehow, I promise! it seemed natural, and made a good story, that they encountered ogres, pixies, and even a dragon along the way. The story flowed together nicely, and many mysteries were revealed along the way. The end was a little surprising to me, but in reading other reviews, I noticed many other readers seemed to expect it.
The themes of the book are lovely, and focus on the love and bonds between people. It made me think about whether memories are good, or bad, and consider how memories complicate relationships, bringing more harm than connection sometimes.
My only complaint is that in my mind if an author creates a world, and creates rules for that world, I really like to see everything perfectly fit and tie-up in the end. I felt some of the memory loss was inconsistent, not every event seemed to have a purpose, and a few questions seemed to remain at the end. I plan to read again, and may find more connections on a second read. I recommend this one for people like me, who are unaccustomed to fantasy. It's a quick read with great writing and an engaging story....more
This is a genuine and lovely story. The central character is Francie Nolan, a strong-willed girl growing up in Brooklyn around 1915. Francie is a secoThis is a genuine and lovely story. The central character is Francie Nolan, a strong-willed girl growing up in Brooklyn around 1915. Francie is a second generation immigrant proud of being born an American. She loves to read and works hard on her education. Her impoverished family struggles to maintain security and pride. They move forward, sometimes trudging, sometimes dancing, trying to make meaningful lives. Each character is strong in some ways, but Francie is the strongest. I love strong female characters and especially coming-of-age stories. This is a new favorite!
When we were given this book as our neighborhood bookclub's pick, I thought it sounded familiar, but couldn't place it. My neighbor chose it because sWhen we were given this book as our neighborhood bookclub's pick, I thought it sounded familiar, but couldn't place it. My neighbor chose it because she had heard the story was like a classic version of Gone Girl. When I ordered my audio version and saw the cover art, I remembered seeing an old copy of this Daphne du Maurier book on my mom's shelf when I was a little! I also found out that my in-laws read and enjoyed it. It's always great to read something and know I'll be able to discuss it with others. Now I know where to steer the conversation during the holidays this year :)
The story begins in the present, narrated by a woman who never shares her name. She talks about remembering Manderley, a special home from her past. She then fills in the story, beginning with her time in Monte Carlo, where she was a companion to a grumpy American woman. Youthful and shy, she develops a relationship with a wealthy man named Maxim from a mansion called Manderley in England. Maxim had recently lost his wife in a tragic accident, but does not want to talk about it. The narrator timidly allows his secrets in exchange for the promise of a new exciting life. The plot is mysterious and interesting, and the narrator satisfies the reader by becoming stronger as she understands and comes to terms with the past.
This 1930's book is relevant and the story is fresh and interesting. The characters are rich -- especially the narrator who is flawed, but likable. My favorite things about this book is the descriptive writing and engaging plot. I listened to this one quickly -- in a rush to the end! Then I went back through it again to capture more of the descriptive writing and details. I recommend this to everyone - and let's discuss it at Thanksgiving!...more
Wonder is an upbeat tale of a fifth-grader named August (Auggie) Pullman and his friends and family. Auggie, who was born with a facial abnormality, dWonder is an upbeat tale of a fifth-grader named August (Auggie) Pullman and his friends and family. Auggie, who was born with a facial abnormality, decides to start attending school for the first time in his life. For some reason, he and his family decide that middle school (horror of horrors!) is the right time for him to start. The book follows Auggie's year in the fifth grade. Auggie tells part of his story, and the rest is told by his friends, sister, and sister's friends. The writing style is simple, so children would enjoy it too, but still descriptive and perceptive. R. J. Palacio does a great job capturing the spirit and complexities of fifth-graders. The characters are a mix of good and bad, and Palacio shows different sides of the kids depending whether or not an adult is nearby. The story comes together nicely and the ending is satisfying. It was touching, but not overly sad. Overall, it was a really enjoyable read!...more
This book was a lot of fun to read. I felt nostalgic reading Judy Blume again, and found myself smiling at her familiar writing style. Judy Blume is gThis book was a lot of fun to read. I felt nostalgic reading Judy Blume again, and found myself smiling at her familiar writing style. Judy Blume is great at creating believable and fun characters, and this cast did not disappoint. The novel takes place in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and centers around the true story of several planes that crashed in the town in the 1950's. The characters are fictional, but Blume writes in the prologue that she researched news stories and intended to portray events accurately.
There are many characters - maybe as many as 30 who are all affected by the crash. The central character is Miri, a young girl who lives with her single mother, her grandmother, and her smart reporter uncle, whose numerous articles appear throughout the novel. Although there were a lot of characters, most had memorable stories and descriptions and were easy to remember. I enjoyed a peek into 1950's as gender roles, and relationships crossing religious and ethnic backgrounds were explored.
This book does not have profound sentences and it won't leave you deep in thought. It does, however, provide insight into daily life in the 50's and it includes gems like this, where Gabby reads a job description for an airline stewardess:
(from page 81:)
Here is the Career Opportunity for Which You Have Been Waiting!
If you are interested and feel that you can meet all of the qualifications below, please write in detail and attach a full length photograph.
HEIGHT: Between 5′2″ and 5′6″
WEIGHT: 135 pounds maximum
ATTRACTIVE: “Just below Hollywood” standards
Plenty of Personality and Poise
MARITAL STATUS: Single, Not Divorced, Separated or Widowed
AGE: 21–26 years old
EDUCATION: Registered Nurse or Two Years of College
VISION: 20/20 without glasses
Must be a US citizen and available for training within 6 months.
If you feel you qualify—
If? Gaby thought. Come on! She qualified with a capital Q. To get her parents’ blessing she showed them a line in a magazine about how being a stewardess was a career for “Wives-in-Training.” She knew they’d approve of that.