The novel is about all sorts of imprisonment: physical, mental, spiritual. It's almost like a morality play, with stock characters who might as well bThe novel is about all sorts of imprisonment: physical, mental, spiritual. It's almost like a morality play, with stock characters who might as well be wearing signs proclaiming GREED, ENVY, PRIDE, WRATH, etc. People trapped in loveless marriages, indifferent jobs, money-grubbing schemes or self-righteous posturing are victims of the "mind-forged manacles" evoked by Blake. The social criticism may be dated, but the commentary on human nature surely is not. But Little Dorrit is no mere morality tale. Dickens is too big-hearted to be a scold. In fact, he loves his characters so exquisitely he can't let the bad world happen to them. Oh, they undergo various trials and predicaments. Some even die. But Dickens the Kind Creator gives no one a burden she cannot bear or one that does not ultimately improve her or doesn't testify to her inherent goodness. He can't even stand to create a truly evil character. The villains have a cartoonish quality, cut-out understudies for evil, not evil itself. The cigar-puffing black-outfitted Blandois is so farcical a portrait of a villainy I doubt even Dickens' contemporaries took it seriously. The preposterous incompetence of the bureaucrats in the Circumlocution Office (i.e., the British Treasury) is a lampooning of all red tape ever spilled anywhere. The hapless prisoners of the Marshalsea and the poor residents of Bleeding Heart Yard have their foibles, their sins and blindnesses. The puffed up rich and powerful are cast from their false pedestals with contempt.
Revealing the common humanity of them all. No need to debase his characters with barbarity or subject them to violence, actual or spiritual. Like a loving father he gently prods them to light, and like wayward children, they obey. ...more
This book is a reminder to appreciate the simple, little things in life. It's a reminder that when you're dead, the things you've accumulated and theThis book is a reminder to appreciate the simple, little things in life. It's a reminder that when you're dead, the things you've accumulated and the things you've done will disappear. What will remain is the ways that you've affected or touched other people. This book is a guide to a way that you can live your life where you'll be able to look back at the end and feel peace and contentment. Within this story about the special connection between a spiritual mentor and his pupil, the old man imparts his wisdom his pupil regarding many troubling questions about human existence. ...more
04.11.2011: ========== This author has a genuine voice that helps her characters be felt and understood. It takes a real talent for an author to allow h04.11.2011: ========== This author has a genuine voice that helps her characters be felt and understood. It takes a real talent for an author to allow her characters to be deep and fully formed. The romance was an unexpected and fun twist. The details on the lifestyle and thinking of an Iranian woman was very enlightening to me. It makes us as women really look at all the freedoms we have and how easy it is to take it all for granted....more
A pleasant surprise. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was an enthralling read. I couldn't put it down. The writing is straight-forward and beautA pleasant surprise. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was an enthralling read. I couldn't put it down. The writing is straight-forward and beautifully simplistic. I found the historical aspect fascinating, especially from the European viewpoint as the eastern bloc fell to communism. This is a sequel to The Kommandant's Girl, which I haven't read yet. However, it stands alone well. Easily recommended. The author kept the story moving with an interesting plot with quite a few twists. ...more
In this perky mystery complete with toothsome hi-cal recipes, Davidson ( Catering to Nobody ) brings back Goldy Bear, the cherubic culinary sleuth witIn this perky mystery complete with toothsome hi-cal recipes, Davidson ( Catering to Nobody ) brings back Goldy Bear, the cherubic culinary sleuth with Shirley Temple curls. Fleeing her abusive ex-spouse, a physician she dubs "The Jerk," Goldy and her teenage son Arch find a snug third-floor refuge in the Aspen Meadow, Colo., mansion of quirky Gen. Bo Farquhar, a retired munitions and terrorist pro who breezily detonates bombs while gardening and bird-watching. As the general's live-in gourmet cook, Goldly still has time to run Goldilocks' Catering and juggle two suitors--attractive psychiatrist Philip Miller and comfortably chubby cop Tom Schultz. Philip's shocking death--he careens off a cliff in a BMW after munching her brunch--casts suspicion on Goldy. Which of her foes might want to frame her? And who is the critic writing vicious reviews of her cooking in the Mountain Journal ? The plot spins along in good-humored fashion, while Goldy continues to whip up goodies for events like a disastrous "aphrodisiac dinner" for eight and a barbecue at which her luscious dessert smashes on the floor. When Arch vanishes, Goldly panics, but the author makes sure that all enigmas wind up in solutions that will surprise and please.
05/05/2012: =========== This was one of the books by this author that I really enjoyed. The characters have real personalities and reactions you would expect. This story kept me guessing until the end as to who was guilty of murder and why. The plot of the mystery is interesting, but what really sets this book (and the series apart) is Davidson's skill in portraying complex characters, rather than entertaining clue chasers. Goldie is an actual person who when faced with a mystery, can't just drop everything and solve it. She, like all of us, has to deal with work and family first. ...more
om Publishers Weekly In this penetrating coming-of-age debut from London-based Lalwani, 14-year-old Rumika Vasi struggles to fulfill her mathematicalom Publishers Weekly In this penetrating coming-of-age debut from London-based Lalwani, 14-year-old Rumika Vasi struggles to fulfill her mathematical gifts and her family's demands on them, while also finding friendship and romance. Rumi, labeled gifted in kindergarten, becomes subject to the grim home teaching of her father, Mahesh, a professor of mathematics at the University of Swansea in Wales. The goal: to be accepted to Oxford by age 14. Shreene, Rumi's mother, resentfully accepts the household dominance of Rumi's studies while worrying about how to raise her to be a proper young Indian woman. Rumi longs to be in India, where lots of girls are good at math and where she feels at home among her extended family. The pull of romance is also soon part of Rumi's equation. Lalwani does a nice job with the myriad cultural contradictions: a bewildered Shreene, for example, resorts to archaic scripts from her childhood, leading her to tell Rumi that [o]nly white people have sex and that Indian babies come from prayer. Well done, too, is Rumi's warm relationship with India. Lalwani doesn't have characterization fully down, but the pain and confusion she presents are deeply felt.
14.05.2012: =========== This novel is part of a burgeoning literature of the Indian diaspora in the West, ambitious bright intellectuals struggling with their ancient roots in a new and different world. It is not one of the better works.
I expected to like this book. I had read promising reviews and the premise sounded - and is - interesting. However, I felt it was let down by the writing, which I found muddled and long-winded. When I read, I like to be involved with at least one character in the book. I don't always have to like them or approve of what they do, but I do need to at least care what happens to them. I admired how Lalwani shows us Rumi's view of the world (everything is a math equation), but I didn't particularly care about any of these characters and I actively disliked the father. The book felt disjointed, as if Lalwani was trying to cover too many bases. Also, the writing alternated between the present and past tense, for reasons that I could not understand.
Carnegie Medal Winner, United KingdomLos Angeles Times Book Prize Winner Borders 2004 Original Voices Award Winner Named a Best Book of 2003 by PublisCarnegie Medal Winner, United KingdomLos Angeles Times Book Prize Winner Borders 2004 Original Voices Award Winner Named a Best Book of 2003 by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, The Irish Times, The Times (London), The Financial Times and The Albany Times-Union.Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder.Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly's astonishing debut novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.
07.03.2012: ========== This is one of those books where about a third of the way through, you anxiously thumb the remaining pages, knowing that despite your best efforts to savor it, the book will be over all too soon. When A NORTHERN LIGHT falls open, you,the reader, will fall in. While it has been classified as a Young Adult novel, as it does contain some language and situations, every word is absolutely true to the character who is speaking or being spoken of. I urge every teenage girl to read this, then pass it on to her mother, all of her girlfriends, aunts, a favorite teacher--in short, anyone who has a love of words, of learning, of mysteries, and a belief in the power of young women. Donnelly weaves a compelling plot while keeping the story and the characters together. She is truly a gifted writer. I love the historical placement too--this book provides a glimpse of what life was like in rural America in the early 1900's. Most of all, I love that this book is about the struggles and decisions that all women make in pursuit of their dreams. Mattie Gokey is like a kindred spirit! It weaves racism, discovering sexuality, the pains of growing up, and just discovering oneself, plus a historical mystery, all into an amazing novel. I went through excitement, anxiety, laughs, pain, and joy with the main character. Quote from Jennifer Donnelly: ============================ "Ever since I was a child, charachters in books have been as real as flesh and blood people. Open a book and suddenly you can hang out with Tom and Hunk and Jim, Holden Caulfield, or Heathcliff. What can possibly beat that?"That's what I felt with this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed Asha Miro's novel. Her journey and discoveries made for a page turning book that I was unable to put down! This is a book for allI thoroughly enjoyed Asha Miro's novel. Her journey and discoveries made for a page turning book that I was unable to put down! This is a book for all Adopted children, those who have adopted, and for those who one day would like to adopt, as well as for those just looking for a very interesting and well written story! This is a book about trying to find out about oneself, and Asha Miro is the young woman who is trying to piece together her fragmented past, from her life in India until she was six until the day she returned to India from Spain, in the hope of finding out more about her adoption, her birth family and why they had given her up. A wonderful book that is far from being sentimental, Asha has no illusions about her life, she is European and cannot give up the trappings of her westernised life but she promises herself she will not forget where she has come from and I would like to think that she keeps that promise, not just for herself but for the faily who lost her and then found her again after so many years.
The plot is still very exciting and the story grabs you. The plot of "2nd Chance" moves along rather quickly, rarely stopping for a breather. When LinThe plot is still very exciting and the story grabs you. The plot of "2nd Chance" moves along rather quickly, rarely stopping for a breather. When Lindsay isn't dealing with the stresses of her job, her personal life is there to stress over. Her father returns to get a second chance at being a good dad, she finds out one of her friends is pregnant, and she still is trying to cope with the fact that Chris Raleigh is dead. This was a great 2nd book, better than the first in the series. The characters were developed further, and so were their relationships to each other. And, all that was in the background of a fantastic mystery with tons of twists and turns. Patterson really leads the readers (and the characters) through mazes that seem to never end. And, when you finally do get to the end, you are led through one final twist that is sure to delight the reader. Great effort! ...more