One of my favorite fantasies is the "do-over" and this book was an extra-satisfying rendition of it. Kate Atkinson is a tremendously versatile writer...moreOne of my favorite fantasies is the "do-over" and this book was an extra-satisfying rendition of it. Kate Atkinson is a tremendously versatile writer and I highly recommend her in all her various iterations.(less)
This book was filled with moral dilemmas that cause you to look deeply inside yourself and question your own moral compass. What is right? Is it absol...moreThis book was filled with moral dilemmas that cause you to look deeply inside yourself and question your own moral compass. What is right? Is it absolute or is it circumstantial? How do your innate characteristics inform your decisions?
All of these weighty questions are wrapped up in a compelling tale about a couple who mind a lighthouse on a secluded island off the coast of Western Australia. There are some oblique Adam & Eve parallels that I really liked. Their choices will eventually get them expelled from their island paradise, but given their natures, they could hardly make choices other than the ones they did.
My husband and I both read this book and it made for a lively discussion over our Valentine's dinner. For what it's worth, my husband would give it 5 stars if he were rating it.(less)
Anna Quindlen is exactly the person I would be if only I were slightly smarter, privately rather than publicly educated, a lapsed Catholic, lived on t...moreAnna Quindlen is exactly the person I would be if only I were slightly smarter, privately rather than publicly educated, a lapsed Catholic, lived on the east coast and were a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Other than those inconsequential details--we are the same person. We are both femnist working mothers of three kids with a parent who died young and whose home decor skews red. We are outspoken and opinionated, yet love our solitude. Everything she thinks, I think. Everything she cares about, I care about. The way she experiences the world is the way I have experienced the world.
I am not alone in my feeling that Anna Quindlen thinks my thoughts. It seems that she resonates with many thousands of women of a certain age. I have followed her career since she was a young reporter, then a columnist, then a novelist. I'm sure I haven't read everything she's written, but I feel like I have read and loved most of it.
Ruth, Robin & everyone else I know who love words and have lived through the 60s, and 70s and have tried to figure out how to be a mother, a person of faith, and still retain a professional or personal life filled with meaning & accomplishment--run to the bookstore or library and get this book!(less)
I am not here to discuss the literary merits of this book. Like any good book snob worth her salt, I wouldn't necessarily think that "Stephen King" an...moreI am not here to discuss the literary merits of this book. Like any good book snob worth her salt, I wouldn't necessarily think that "Stephen King" and "literary merit" were words that could be used in the same sentence. What I am here to tell you is that 11/22/63 is the most entertaining book I've read in years or maybe ever. I listened to it on audio in my car, and even at $3.68/gallon, I was always looking for excuses to just drive around. I have never looked forward to errands or commuting so much in my life. I COULD NOT WAIT to find out what would happen next. I loved the characters and the story was just so compelling. I never thought the day would come when I would give a Stephen King book 5 stars. Actually, after about 1996, I never thought the day would come when I would actually read another Stephen King book. A few years ago, I rode up an elevator with him. I couldn't pretend I didn't know who he was, but I didn't want to act star-struck, so I said "I enjoy your work." He said "thanks" then we arrived at his floor. After he left, I kind of kicked myself, because the truth was, I didn't really enjoy his work and hadn't for many years (although I did like "The Stand"). Anyhow, if I ever get on an elevator with him again, I can say "I enjoy your work" in all honesty, because I enjoyed the heck out of 11/22/63. I might even act a little star-struck. I also might need to give him a little lecture about trying to be more moderate in his salty language. Okay--I can buy it when gangsters and bookies have to frequently use the F-word, but school teachers & librarians? In 1963? Seemed purely gratuitous, but that's my only quarrel with the book.(less)
Today is a sad day for me because I finished this wonderful book. I am just really going to miss these people! I haven't been this sorry to finish a b...moreToday is a sad day for me because I finished this wonderful book. I am just really going to miss these people! I haven't been this sorry to finish a book since I finished "And Ladies of the Club" 25 years ago.
Sarah Prine will go down in my book as one of literature's great female characters right alongside Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett and Scout Finch. She and her family make me want to be a better person and make me proud of my western heritage. She also makes me proud to be a feisty woman.
Like many other reviewers of this book, I really didn't want to read it: I'm not too interested in the Old West, I don't really care for folksy narrative and it just didn't sound that good to me--but since people I love kept recommending it to me, I surrendered. Soooo glad I did.
To my male friends out there--it's not just a woman-centric epic love story (thought it certainly is that), it's also a rip-roaring, page turning adventure tale. Read it, discuss it with your wife. It will score you huge points with her. And you'll enjoy it. Really.(less)
My vocabulary doesn't contain enough superlatives to express how much I loved this book. Its taken me 3 weeks to read it and along the way people have...moreMy vocabulary doesn't contain enough superlatives to express how much I loved this book. Its taken me 3 weeks to read it and along the way people have asked me what it's about. Well, what it's about (conjoined twins born in Ethiopia to an Indian nun and an American surgeon) doesn't even begin to tell you what it's about. It's really about what it means to be a father, a mother, a brother, a human being. It's about betrayal, redemption, loyalty, devotion and transcendent love. Its about the power of forgiveness both to the giver and to the recipient. It's about medicine, revolution and religion. I believe it is one of the top 10 books I have ever read.
I'm a devoted library user and I checked out this book on audio disc (it was very much enhanced by the outstanding narration), but now I intend to go to the book store and buy it in hard cover, because Abraham Verghese deserves the royalties!(less)