I liked this book. Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic) is a lot of fun. (Even though this book has a little bit darker tone to it) I started off worryingI liked this book. Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic) is a lot of fun. (Even though this book has a little bit darker tone to it) I started off worrying that the book would be a modern day fairytale, but it's than that, if you read it through to the conclusion. It is more than warm and touching by the end, and not in the predictable, cliched ways.
There are some FASCINATING facts about lightning strikes in this book and the affects on humans, cattle, buildings, etc... and I kept saying "NO WAY THAT'S POSSIBLE" but every time I turned to Google to disprove, it turned out to be true! Lightning is interesting stuff. Be sure to google images as well as facts to see the marks that it leaves on humans. INCREDIBLE!
One of my very favorite things from the book is the way to have a good death. There are 101 ways to die, but the best way to do it is to truly live.
Sometimes the fairytale magic of life ends up being the beautiful moments of our everyday lives. ...more
This is such an important, precious book, written for older children and teens. But I think whole families could (and should!)read this together. It'sThis is such an important, precious book, written for older children and teens. But I think whole families could (and should!)read this together. It's about a male to female transgender kid named George, who hasn't told anyone out loud yet that he is really a girl. He hides girly magazines that talk about make up and clothes. But most importantly, the class play of Charlotte's Web is coming up, and he DESPERATELY wants to try out for the role of Charlotte. He practices and practices the lines with his best gal pal, but his teacher won't let him even audition, because he's a boy.
There is something about playing the role of Charlotte, that he feels like will help his mom truly SEE, once and for all that he really is a girl. One evening they're talking, and his mom asks him what's up.
"Mom, what if I'm a girl?"
He thinks it, but can't bring himself to say it.
Poignant, heart wrenching at times, and important, this is one of the books you want to read aloud to your kids to teach them another person's point of view, and to teach your children compassion. You worry for George when the class bully crops up. You wonder how his mother, his teacher, and his "all boy" brother will react. There is a particularly triumphant section of the book that actually made me cry for joy. Because deep down we are all more alike than different, and most of us just truly want to be our best selves. I recommend this book to EVERYONE who is a member of the HUMAN race. ...more
Disturbing, harrowing book. I heard the author speak in Provo a few months ago about her experiences of being essentially kidnapped into reparative "tDisturbing, harrowing book. I heard the author speak in Provo a few months ago about her experiences of being essentially kidnapped into reparative "therapy" after disclosing to her parents that she liked girls. She is stripped of everything that makes her "her" and is abused and forced to wear a backpack of rocks, estimated at approximately 30 pounds, and stand facing the wall for hours and hours every day, from the time she wakes up, until around 11pm when she goes to bed. This backpack of rocks represents the burden she is carrying by "choosing" to be gay.
She tries to escape, she tries to kill herself, but it seems like there is no escape from the hell that is her life.
I don't want to give anything away, but sometimes you come across heroes in unlikely places. The persistent gay kid at school, a very special teacher, and a lawyer in this book who truly wears angel wings. Mad respect to that lawyer. Without him, I doubt this girl would have survived to tell her tale. Amazing book. A must read.
This book fills a huge need. It's open minded and inclusive and comprehensive. It discusses gender, LGBTQ, healthy self exploration minus guilt and shThis book fills a huge need. It's open minded and inclusive and comprehensive. It discusses gender, LGBTQ, healthy self exploration minus guilt and shame, good touches vs bad touches, the fact that body parts come in different shapes and sizes, but that all bodies are great! It doesn't just discuss mechanics, but also manners and ethics. It's written in a fun, cartoon-ish way for kids, and could be a good catalyst for GREAT conversations between kids and their parents. VERY healthy, affirming approach to all things sex....more
Great to have a sweet book from a real trans kids about BEING a trans kid, and what it feels like to be her. She describes it so simply: "I have a girGreat to have a sweet book from a real trans kids about BEING a trans kid, and what it feels like to be her. She describes it so simply: "I have a girl brain but a boy body" You hear the longing from her point of view to be herself: "My sister says I was always talking to her about my girl thoughts, and my girl dreams and about how one day I would be a beauuuuuuttiful lady". She has an amazingly supportive family, and the book overall is very positive and life affirming. Wonderful!...more
I love that this book exists. It solves a lot of problems with birth story from unconventional methods... 2 dads? The story works. 2 Moms? The story wI love that this book exists. It solves a lot of problems with birth story from unconventional methods... 2 dads? The story works. 2 Moms? The story works. A transgender parent? this story works. In vitro? The story works. Adoption? The story works. A single parent raising a child with no spouse or partner? The story works. All children want to know where they came from, but most books only talk about how Daddy has a penis, and Mommy has a vagina. Well, if you dont have a Daddy, that story wont make much sense. This talks about eggs, sperm, and uteruses, without assigning them to a gender. But my very favorite thing about it is how the story ends: "Who was waiting for you to be born?" because it immediately turns the child to thinking about their own situation, who loves them, and wanted them. Great!...more
I give this book 4.5 stars. Overall, it is a very fast, easy read, and it's quite a page turner. When the book started out, I thought maybe Dan BrownI give this book 4.5 stars. Overall, it is a very fast, easy read, and it's quite a page turner. When the book started out, I thought maybe Dan Brown is getting a bit formulaic. I mean, here we go again with Robert Langdon coming to save the day and decipher all the puzzles with a pretty assistant. But then, there are a few twists and turns to keep it interesting!
You will want to book a tour of Italy, specifically to Florence and Venice before the book ends. It was fun to keep Googling the different churches, museums, bridges, art, and artifacts as we read! Wonderful! I loved it!...more
I absolutely loved this book, and one of my only complaints would be that the book could have gone on much longer! It was a very fast, easy read, andI absolutely loved this book, and one of my only complaints would be that the book could have gone on much longer! It was a very fast, easy read, and I couldn't put it down.
In the early 1900's, when there was an excessive amounts of orphans in the New York City area, the orphanages designed a plan: they would literally farm the orphans out for adoption, in the midwest, for bidding. The families who took them in would be expected to get them to school and to take them to church. In return, they could expect another pair of hands to help out.
These poor orphans were immigrants who suffered horrible tragedies before even getting on the orphan train to begin with, losing both parents in a strange new land, with any extended living relatives still back home in the motherland. One girl loses her entire family, parents and several siblings in an apartment fire. She's the only member of her family still living, and she must face the future alone at the age of seven.
Her future turns out to be the Orphan Train. And who knows if she will end up with a wonderful family who will take her in and care for her as one of their own, or if she will end up in servitude to people who are unkind? As they pull into stations, all the children go up on kind of an auction block, people looking at teeth, checking over the kids, and many boys are looked at as potential farmhands. Are they tall and strong?
The story follows one girl in particular through the whole orphan train experience, and interweaves a modern day foster story throughout as well. I enjoyed both stories, the modern day "orphan" having an interesting heritage as a Penobscot Native American, who is named after the famous Penobscot Indian woman, Molly Molasses. One school assignment brings up the subject of Native American portages, the few things you would carry with you, in your canoe. Both young orphans in this book have only necklaces that speak of the unique heritage. The orphan train girl from her grandmother in Ireland, and the modern day girl has a necklace that represents her Indian heritage, a special charm necklace that has representations of the Penobscot tribe, given to her by her father, before he died in a car accident, and her mother went to jail.
I could say so much more, but I don't want to give anything away! You will just have to read and enjoy! Highly recommended!...more
I loved Girl With a Pearl Earring, so I was excited to come across Tracy Chevalier's debut novel. This book started out so perfect, so promising, everI loved Girl With a Pearl Earring, so I was excited to come across Tracy Chevalier's debut novel. This book started out so perfect, so promising, every word rang true. But, then it disintegrated badly. It ended up being a chore to get through in parts, especially regarding the geneology searches, and it was more than a little confusing at times, (who is that person again? I thought she didn't have any friends in that part of the world!) with a bit of a horrifying ending.
The inferences from doing research and genealogy are a bit of a stretch... There's no way they could've guessed all those conclusions from what little facts were actually uncovered.
You need to have a French/English dictionary by your side while reading. I pick up languages and common phrases easily, but this had a LOT of French interwoven with no explanation as to meaning. Frustrating! I usually enjoy language and word meaning but this seemed to be too much without effort to explain.
I hated the old time story of an innocent woman under suspicion, beaten, watched, guarded, and made a prisoner in her own house, her own children made to turn against her! Ugggh! I hate how women have been dominated, shamed, controlled, and made to be subservient to misogynistic husbands. This was a horror story for me, in the name of religion....more
I rate this beautiful, poetic book 4.5 stars. It was gentle, subtle, and hauntingly beautiful.
I put it down twice, around the 5th chapter, my mind waI rate this beautiful, poetic book 4.5 stars. It was gentle, subtle, and hauntingly beautiful.
I put it down twice, around the 5th chapter, my mind wandering, and then my friend told me to just go a little further. Because I trust her, I tried again, and I'm so glad I did! The rewards are there for the patient reader who can slow down enough to catch the subtle nuances.
The first thing I have to talk about is the poetic languaging that evoked such heartbreakingly beautiful images! I wanted to SEE the gardens, the church high on the mountain, far above the clouds. I wanted to see the horimono tattoo, and the wood block prints, and the jungles of Malaya. the heron circling above, diving down into the pond. The author described all these things so well, with a kind of ethereal magic, that I could picture it all easily in my minds eye. I would love to see a film adaptation of the book someday, by a director who is an artistic match to the author, Tan Twan Eng. But that director might be hard to find!
I loved the character of Aritomo, who singlehandedly introduced us to all Japanese art, and is a Master of them all: Japanese gardening, Ukiyo-e, wood block printing, and horimono, the dying art of taboo, full- body tattoos. He's also a Master at archery, and a Master teacher too. Most of all he's a Master of creating a safe space in which our heroine, Yun Lee, can tell the truth of what happened to her in the Japanese Concentration camp so many years before, why she always wears gloves on her hands, and in a masterful way, know exactly what to do to help her heal. The enigmatic Aritomo seems to be the hero of our story, a kindly, gentle man with a gentle artistic touch, both in his artistic endeavors, but also in the life of Yun Lee. The more we get to know Aritomo, the more of a mystery he becomes!
The greatest paradox of this story is that Yun Lee is scarred, literally and figuratively by her brutal, sadistic Japanese guards, and yet it is the most beautiful, gentle Japanese man who brings peace and solace and healing into her life again.
Other paradoxes abound. Opposites are peppered throughout the book, starting with Yun Lee trying to remember her past, even while she is losing her memory. There is also the brutality of war, vs the peace and serenity of the garden. The ugliness of man's inhumanity to man. vs the absolute beauty of the different art forms. It's through a painful tattoo that a sort of healing is brought about. There is a yin and yang symbol in the garden.
I loved this book, and highly recommend it. It's a different look at World War II, from a vantage point than we have ever had before. In this book we learn that Malaya, later Malaysia, was invaded by the Japanese just hours before they attacked Pearl Harbor.
Be prepared though, not all questions have answers. Not everything is resolved.
Don't read this book without googling the following and clicking on images of 1. Japanese gardens (breathtaking !) 2. Ukiyo-e (wood block prints) 3. Horimono (full body Japanese tattoos done with needles in the end of a piece of bamboo. )
You can also watch a video of how horimono was done on YouTube.
Shocking and disturbing! Some of it is pretty tough to take. It's horrifying that people live like that! I always knew that North Korea is a scary couShocking and disturbing! Some of it is pretty tough to take. It's horrifying that people live like that! I always knew that North Korea is a scary country, but had no idea just how bad it is. I truly feel for the people. That is NO WAY to live!...more
I absolutely loved this book, and was completely sucked right in. I really enjoyed reading about Teresa, the Saint of Cabora, a fascinating characterI absolutely loved this book, and was completely sucked right in. I really enjoyed reading about Teresa, the Saint of Cabora, a fascinating character from Mexican history. Teresita is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy, womanizing rancher and an indigenous Indian girl, only 15 years old, known as "The Hummingbird". Huila, the midwife/healer who delivers her, notices a special "mark" on the child's forehead at birth, knows it is a sign, and watches for her as she grows. When Teresa is abandoned by her mother, who leaves her child in the care of her sister, and walks away, never to return, the abandoned child must endure extreme poverty, hunger, and abuse at the hands of her aunt, until Huila, the midwife healer, practically rescues her and brings her under her protective wing, and into the big house to basically learn the art of healing.
Teresita is a precocious child, and grows in strength and audacity as she develops the mystical gifts she has been given. Both she and Huila are amazing strong, well-developed, well-rounded female characters. This book was truly a pleasure.
Religious and political strife play into the story, at a fascinating and treacherous time in history, when land was snatched by the power and greed, and indigenous peoples are the casualties. There are brutalities and suffering that occurs, and yet the skilled author never made the book feel too heavy or oppressive to me. It was truly a joy to read.
I am not a religious person at all, and even though there were religious elements to this book, I never felt like an agenda was being pushed onto me. The author walked a great balance between the family folklore, urban legends, religious traditions, and doubt. If Teresa of Cabora was a "saint" she was an awesome, unlikely one. I love that even after she was brought up to live a more refined life once moving to the big house, she fought wearing shoes, and refused to ride side saddle, but would hike up her skirts and ride like a man. She became a healing servant of the people, and I loved her....more
This isn't quite a literary masterpiece, but it was fun and sweet.
I started out not liking Samir, who almost seemed like a callous, (maybe even slighThis isn't quite a literary masterpiece, but it was fun and sweet.
I started out not liking Samir, who almost seemed like a callous, (maybe even slightly misogynistic) playboy. So later, it's kind of a leap of faith to think he later could be so kind, generous and family-oriented, and act honorably in so many ways.
So, if you can suspend a little disbelief, and just go with it, it's sweet love story that crosses cultures and continents....more
Great mystery! I picked it up because I saw a review from a Swedish critic that said the author, Mons Kallentoft, is a better writer than Stieg LarssoGreat mystery! I picked it up because I saw a review from a Swedish critic that said the author, Mons Kallentoft, is a better writer than Stieg Larsson, of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy fame. I happened to LOVE that trilogy, and loved the kick ass but flawed female character. Well, this book has one too, in a way. Our heroine, Malin Fors, is chief of police with incredible instincts, possibly even a sixth sense that sometimes gives her impressions. She's also a recovering alcoholic, still fighting her tequila demons, and the guilt over relationships left in the wake of her illness with addiction. Except for one ugly incident with an ex-lover where she behaves quite poorly, I enjoyed Malin.
There are bits of beautiful writing, here and there, but I still enjoyed the Stieg Larsson trilogy better. Stieg may not be the best writer, but the story was exceptional, fully engrossing, with probably the strongest and most interesting character that I've ever found in a book.
Still, I enjoyed this murder mystery, and would consider another by Mons Kallentoft. Interestingly enough, I was finished with Spring Remains when I realized that it's part of a series with the seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) as part of the title, and this one I started with must have been the second or third one. (?) It's hard to know which would be first, because that's not fully explained anywhere on the cover, title page, or anywhere else I could find. It did, however, read just fine as a stand alone....more
I almost put it down, because the beginning seemed like a Lifetime movie, and that's not really my thing. I'm not much of aI give this book 3.5 stars.
I almost put it down, because the beginning seemed like a Lifetime movie, and that's not really my thing. I'm not much of a summer, beach read kind-of-a-girl. And then, nearly a hundred pages in, I became invested in a young man, Dylan, who ends up being the victim of cyber bullying.
He runs away, and ends up at Haven Lake, an Icelandic sheep farm, run by Hannah, an older widow who has seen her share of tragedies in her life, pretty much all of which occurred right here on her farm: A mysterious drowning of a teenager in the lake, the subsequent suicide of her troubled husband, and the mysterious disappearance of her dear brother in law.
Hannah's daughter Sidney left the farm after all the tragedies,, but carries scars and questions about all the tragedies 20 years earlier, and has never returned to look for the answers that can help heal both her own heart, and her mother's.
Haven Lake ends up being a comprehensive look at all these people and many more. Flawed, but beautifully human, the characters have some things to sort out, and Haven Lake becomes the beautiful, peaceful backdrop to do it in....more