Amazing, heartbreaking, the characters come alive even those you don't want to....This is the kind of book that will stay with you awhile and the next...moreAmazing, heartbreaking, the characters come alive even those you don't want to....This is the kind of book that will stay with you awhile and the next read will be hard to measure up!(less)
Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda is a novel about an Asian boy who is one of two Asians in an all white high school. Xing aka Kris is a tormented boy wit...moreCrossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda is a novel about an Asian boy who is one of two Asians in an all white high school. Xing aka Kris is a tormented boy with a lot of anger, loss and despair in his life. He constantly buries his identity deep within to blend into a society he cannot help but stand out in. In addition to the compelling struggle and a clearly tormented teen, Fukuda throws in a several high profile teen disappearances into the story adding suspense and creating quite a page turner. This short novel has a lot that drives it and it was well worth the read. (less)
" We've already been killed, all of us. It happened so long ago, we've forgotten it," (Khadra 164).
Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra is a powerful,...more" We've already been killed, all of us. It happened so long ago, we've forgotten it," (Khadra 164).
Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra is a powerful, thought provoking story of two men and their wives, during the Taliban rule in Kabul. Khadra weaves a tightly told story with beautiful language and imagery that only compounds the despair that the characters feel. The novel's opening includes the following quote that resonated throughout the entire novel, "Nobody believes in miraculous rains or the magical transformations of spring, and even less in the dawning of a bright new tomorrow. Men have gone mad; they have turned their backs on the day in order to face the night. Patron saints have been dismissed from their posts. Prophets are dead, and their ghosts are crucified even in the hearts of children..." (Khadra 2-3). The loss of self in this novel is immense and quite devastating. This is the kind of novel that will stay with me a long time. It was a tragic story of loss of a culture, an identity, and humanity. (less)
First of all, judging by the extreme weather in the book, I am never going to Kansas....
This is the second book I have read by Nancy Pickard, I absol...moreFirst of all, judging by the extreme weather in the book, I am never going to Kansas....
This is the second book I have read by Nancy Pickard, I absolutely loved The Scent of Rain and Lightning. Like that one, The Virgin of Small Plains is a small town mystery that kept me guessing throughout the whole book. Set in Small Plains Kansas, 17 years after a woman is found dead in the snow, the crime is revisited. The buried past emerges and the lives of several people will be changed forever. I loved the small town setting, the cast of characters, and though I rushed to finish because my interest was that high, I am sad it's over. (less)
**spoiler alert** The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard is a novel about a small town in Rose, Kansas and a family who suffered a horrible...more**spoiler alert** The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard is a novel about a small town in Rose, Kansas and a family who suffered a horrible tragedy who has enough power and money to get justice, even if it is the wrong kind.
The novel starts off with Jody at the age of 26, a woman suspicious of happiness, 23 years after the awful murder of her father and disappearance of her mother. She soon realizes that the man convicted of these crimes has been set free. The story then funnels back into the past and retraces the steps leading up to the crimes, the conviction, and the aftermath. It isn't until the release of Billy Crosby, a man that many agreed, belonged in jail, even if he was innocent that the questions that should have been asked 23 years ago surface.
I connected with Jody as a character. She was one of the true victims of this story, but willing to rise above her status and ask the questions that allow true justice to take place. Her family was dynamic and I felt as if I was going through this book with them.
I enjoyed the story, was shocked by the twists, and satisfied by the ending. I am sad it's over.(less)
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is a story of the Waverly sisters with a bit of magic and unique gardening/cooking mixed in. I connected with the...moreGarden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is a story of the Waverly sisters with a bit of magic and unique gardening/cooking mixed in. I connected with the Claire and Sydney and could see both perspectives quite clearly. Claire had grounded herself within the roots of the Waverly tradition in North Carolina and Sydney had done everything to run from it. Back home, both women are working to heal themselves and their relationships. I enjoyed the characters immensely, especially Evanelle who just had to give people things. I do feel I missed some of the southern charm in this book and I felt a lot of the magic had a minimal effect. I did love the apple tree though, I never saw a tree with such personality. Overall, it was a quick and enjoyable read. (less)
[Book: The Space Between Us] by Thrity Umrigar was truly an amazing novel on many levels. First, I thought the Umrigar created a powerful picture of s...more[Book: The Space Between Us] by Thrity Umrigar was truly an amazing novel on many levels. First, I thought the Umrigar created a powerful picture of several aspects of life in India. She removes her reader from their world and places them into the complexities of the Indian culture.
The novels follows two women, Sera and Bhima, through their separate lives dictated by their caste differences and through their lives together. The women navigate a relationship within the bounds of their castes and Bhima's obvious subordinate position to Sera, as her servant. The complexities of their relationships and the feelings of animosity, disgust, and reverence add to a duality that is both penetrates deep into the layers of their stories. Throughout the novel, you develop a clear sense of character as both of their lives unravel separated and in relation to each other.
Not only does this book explore a woman's life in reference to her placement in society, but it also explores a woman's life in reference to her gender and her place in her family.
Overall, [Book: The Space Between Us] was truly an emotional and cultural experience I will not forget.(less)
**spoiler alert** I took a few days to think about this book, before I wrote this review. I think because I am teetering between a three star review a...more**spoiler alert** I took a few days to think about this book, before I wrote this review. I think because I am teetering between a three star review and a four star review. I have been trying to separate all the voices in my head and really get out how I felt. Sometimes, its hard being what feels like the last person in the world to read such a well-loved book. I think that was one of the reasons I continued to hesitate, because what if it does not live up to the hype. For about the first two hundred pages, I felt I was missing something, which of course was living up to my fear. I wasn't connecting with the characters and it was a bit predictable. In addition I was dealing with the voices of my students. After teaching, To Kill A Mockingbird this year, teaching an extensive Harlem Renaissance unit , and watching my students struggle with the desire to find a strong African-American role model, rather than delve deeper into a history of racism and torment, this book was perhaps coming at the wrong time. So I needed to separate myself from all these voices, now that I sound crazy, and touch on what I really think.
I enjoyed the story and the message. It reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird, but perhaps with more hope. It is emotionally hard to read a novel in which one race of people are as dehumanized as they are in this book. It's even worse when you consider that most of this was true and perhaps still is true. I have not really had to witness this first hand and cannot even imagine the responses of the readers who live in the South and have lived through any aspects of this book. I can only take the view of a young woman living in NJ.
**************Spoilers Present Below************
I stated before, that I wasn't as drawn into the book in the beginning, but I would still say that I always enjoyed the story. I generally enjoy narratives that are written by several points of view, if they are done well, and I felt this one was done well. I also did think of Aibeleen and Minny as strong, likable, characters. Both in terms of how they were written and the role they played in the novel. Their decision to take place in the writing of the book, with the consideration of even the possibility of what could happen to them, was brave. I don't think the characters ever fully understood the extent of the potential repercussions, though the climatic backdrop was set up well for the reader.
It took me a bit longer to warm up to Skeeter. I am not sure I was entirely convinced she was doing this for the right reasons. While she made decisions in the book that seemed progressive, she always seemed to stand behind some sort of anonymity. She didn't ever actually admit anything, except to Stuart. I understand the danger, but clearly, the maids were putting themselves in more danger, for her to stand in the background and say I heard the writer was anonymous and then ultimately disappear. I also was never completely sold on her motivations. I feel she was empathetic, and it was never about the money. But I cannot be entirely convinced that if there was not an equally compelling topic to get herself noticed as a writer, that she would not have taken the other option. I feel it was not as much about the particular subject as it was finding something to get herself ahead in her career. Though I do feel she came to understand the importance of her topic and became more passionate about it. In general though, she seemed to be the weaker of the three women, because even in her own life she didn't stand up for herself. She continued going back to Stuart and she never stood up to her mother, or to her (ex) friends for that matter.
Overall, I felt it was a well-written book, with strong characters, and a positive message about a subject matter certainly difficult to write about. I felt Stockett did a wonderful job demonstrating the spectrum of the experiences. The impact at the end, did feel a little glossed over, considering the level of emotion in the rest of the book. Still as I finish the review, I am still between a three and a four star rating, but for a work of fiction it was an enjoyable story and worth the read.