I always enjoy books about Hawaiian history, and this one didn't disappoint. Moloka'i follows a young Hawaiian girl from her home on Oahu to the leper...moreI always enjoy books about Hawaiian history, and this one didn't disappoint. Moloka'i follows a young Hawaiian girl from her home on Oahu to the leper colony on Moloka'i. Rachel carries out her life in the isolation of the island, experiencing the events that anyone else does over the course of a life, but in extreme circumstances.
Moloka'i describes a community like any other, despite the extreme circumstances the people live under. The author humanizes the lepers while still sharing the horror of their condition - not just their illness, but their treatment at the hands of society.(less)
I came to read this book in sort of a strange way... I had bought it a year or so ago, started it, and somehow got distracted. Then at work last week...moreI came to read this book in sort of a strange way... I had bought it a year or so ago, started it, and somehow got distracted. Then at work last week a girl at work asked what I was reading and asked if I had read Lonesome Dove. I was suprised to have this particular person recommend a western to me, and I told her I would try again. I poked around goodreads, and found a comment that the first 100 pages are really the tough part. While I read the book and had it on my desk I had several other unexpected people recommend it and ask what I thought.
Finished the book Friday, and I did really enjoy it. However, it was REALLY tough to get through. It took about a hundred pages to get into the book, and then you really start to care about these characters. Then, left and right, for 800 more pages, people are killed off, stories are entertwined, and I was just EXHAUSTED.
By the time I was nearly finished, I just wanted it to be over. Several deaths were particularly painful to read, and it was just a very sad book. But it felt like a real description of the barely settled West, the characters were believable, and the love stories were as complicated as real life.
I really enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to other people, but I don't think I could ever read it again. I know it is part of a series, and I am torn about whether or not I will pick up the others. (less)
I have enjoyed other Margaret George books, but this one really didn't snag me. Perhaps if I were more familiar with the backstory of the apostles and...moreI have enjoyed other Margaret George books, but this one really didn't snag me. Perhaps if I were more familiar with the backstory of the apostles and disciples I would have appreciated some of the details more than I did.
I struggled to get through the whole book, and was glad to be rid of it. But I won't say that that was because of writing style, or even unlikeable characters or plot. I just never really got pulled into the work and spent most of the time dragging through.(less)
Had this from a recent laundry-room session, and picked it up after reading a collection of essays put together by Walker's daughter. Opened the book,...moreHad this from a recent laundry-room session, and picked it up after reading a collection of essays put together by Walker's daughter. Opened the book, and it turns out it's signed! (The second signed book I've found down there. Kinda neat.)
I actually managed to read this one all in one evening. I didn't intend to, but the book was sort of falling apart and I didn't want to put it in my purse. And as the story picked up with different narrators I got more and more into it.
For some reason I had dreaded starting this book because I thought it was written in a frustrating dialect, and I'm not sure where I got that idea from. The original narrator starts out a little difficult to understand, but as you pick up on characters and turns of phrase it was all very easy to follow. I did get a little lost when it came to timeframes and ages, and I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.
The characters were all complex, even those who didn't seem to be at first. I loved the various stories of friendship and the different depictions of love throughout the book. It seemed that every character had a different unexpected turn. (less)
After multiple attempts to start this book, I finally got through the first 50-ish pages and began to actually enjoy it.
While at first I found the ran...moreAfter multiple attempts to start this book, I finally got through the first 50-ish pages and began to actually enjoy it.
While at first I found the random little BOLD DEATH THOUGHTS rather irritating, they did eventually become less of a distraction. I never grew to like them, and continued to find them irritating, but they were no longer dibilitatingly so.
I believe this is a YA book, but I would not personally recommend it to many YA readers. It is depressing, slow to start, and has a lot of fits and starts in terms of story progression. That being said, if a reader is interested in the Holocaust, this would be a good book to read. As the author points out in the reader's guide, this book is unique in that it shows different sides of Nazi Germany - things like the kids being bored in the Hitler Youth meetings, Nazi soldiers killing themselves, and other assorted examples of "1940s Germans were human" without being super cheesy and unbelievably saintlike.
While I liked Liesel (the main character), I found the Death 3rd person perspective a little uninteresting. I understand that the author wanted to throw in some other aspects of the world, and that teenagers are avowedly self-absorbed, but I just didn't feel that Death was a particularly good narrator. I was particularly frustrated by the story-within-a-story-within-a-book thing that comes to light towards the end.
The end comes rather startlingly, though Death frequently lets you know ahead of time who will die.
... Hmm, I'm really undecided on how I felt about this book. I feel like I want to recommend it to 'serious readers', despite its flaws. But the flaws are significant enough to make me feel that many people might struggle to get through it or not be able to enjoy it. As a whole though, it was a worthwhile read, and I powered through 300+ pages in one day and stayed up late to finish it. By that reckoning, this must have been a pretty good book. I loved the teenage characters and their friendship, but found a lot of the writing a little over the top. If you can tolerate the author's quirks, I think it's a pretty good book. (less)
Super quick YA read, not much substance to it, but enjoyable. I liked the era it is set in, and the chapters with little gossip column lead-ins and qu...moreSuper quick YA read, not much substance to it, but enjoyable. I liked the era it is set in, and the chapters with little gossip column lead-ins and quotes from etiquette books are classic. I haven't read any YA girls novels in years, so I'm not sure how derivative and played out the plot is nowadays. (It isn't a babysitters club, so as far as I'm concerned, it's original.)
Not sure why it is getting all the rave reviews and press from Borders, but I did enjoy it. (less)
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It has been awhile since I read it, but I was definitely left with a positive impression.
Much...moreI was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It has been awhile since I read it, but I was definitely left with a positive impression.
Much of it is based on surmise and hearsay, but even so, it's an interesting idea. Women struggled to hold any kind of power at the time and were rarely educated. And we talk about girls envying the advantages of boyhood now... I can't even imagine what it would have been like a few hundred years ago.
Who knows if it's true, but I can certainly hope so...(less)
My dad's side of the family are all crazy Civil War buffs, so I've been raised knowing about a lot of these characters.
I fell in love with the movie G...moreMy dad's side of the family are all crazy Civil War buffs, so I've been raised knowing about a lot of these characters.
I fell in love with the movie Gettysburg when I was in middle school, but didn't tackle the book until a few years later. It was the first time I could really keep track of battles and generals and troop movements. It put a face on the Civil War.
Since then I have read nearly all of Shaara's son's books - including the prequel and sequel to The Killer Angels. I think this book was a gateway drug to all of the other Civil War fiction out there.
The book follows various characters throughout the few days of Gettysburg, and it shows the battle from various sets of eyes. You see the frustration and hubris of people who are often portrayed as god-like, and the wisdom of people you may never have known existed.(less)
I read this back in high school and totally loved it. I'd been wanting to re-read it for several years, finally got a copy and was totally disappointe...moreI read this back in high school and totally loved it. I'd been wanting to re-read it for several years, finally got a copy and was totally disappointed. I'm not really sure what my problem was with this reading or why I loved it so much the first time.
That said, this IS a neat book. Ragtime pulls together a lot of larger than life personages from the early 20th century and ties them together in interesting ways while still introducing the reader to 'average' citizens of the time. It's one of those books where you're left wondering what is fact and what is fiction, and I finish the book wanting to read more about Houdini, Emma Goldman, and Evelyn Nesbit.(less)
I devoured this book on Saturday, and basically read it all in one sitting. I found it difficult to identify with the narrator, but the descriptions o...moreI devoured this book on Saturday, and basically read it all in one sitting. I found it difficult to identify with the narrator, but the descriptions of the setting were enough to keep me reading. This is one of those times when the setting - the surroundings and time period - are as much a character as anything else.
I enjoyed learning about the circuses of the Depression Era, and think this would be a good candidate for those 'illustrated editions' that they come out with now - like for the DaVinci Code. It seems like some of the scenes and characters would really pop off the page in photographs from the time.
The edition I have includes some comments from the author, and many of the more unlikely episodes were apparently based on stories told by carnies. Of course, you then have to decide how much of those stories you are going to believe...(less)