Ah the book that bookish people love. High expectations about this one! Very high! And it was quite delightful, in that sipping a champagne while havi...moreAh the book that bookish people love. High expectations about this one! Very high! And it was quite delightful, in that sipping a champagne while having Sunday brunch kind of way. Despite the sad backgrounds (he’s a widower, she’s an abandoned child), a charming, effervescent book. Being bookish, I especially enjoyed the beginnings of the chapters where Fikry makes reading notes about books. He is a bookseller after all, and she – later in life – is a wannabe writer. Cute and sweet. If it had been an actual book instead of the library e-copy I was reading, I would have pat it fondly on its spine before putting it away.
I hesitated over this for so long. Despite it’s rather ‘light and breezy’ kind of cover, it’s a heavy read, set partly in prison in Iran after the revolution, where rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is held for being a spy for Israel (he is an Iranian Jew). His wife searches desperately for information about him. His son, studying in New York, struggles to find his own way through life while constantly worrying about his family in Iran. His young daughter tries in her own youthful reckless way to help him. Who can they trust? How can they leave their homeland? The sections written about Isaac and his daughter tend to be better reading than that of his wife and son. Bittersweet, semi-autobiographical, quite moving.(less)
this is a tough read. And I mean that in a gutwrenching, heartbreaking kind of read. To know that these are the actual lives of people, of children, l...morethis is a tough read. And I mean that in a gutwrenching, heartbreaking kind of read. To know that these are the actual lives of people, of children, living or rather trying desperately to survive in the slums. The corruption, the poverty, the deaths, they are all not something that were made up. Sure, we see those statistics in the newspapers every day. We know that there are very many men, women and children who live in poverty, who can barely make ends meet. But to read of their stories, to know that Katherine Boo spent years with them, talking to them, interviewing them, observing them, and writing this important book to let the rest of us know what it is really, truly, like out there. This is a book about hope and desperation. It is neverending sadness, a daily struggle to put food on the table, to ensure that their most basic of necessities can be afforded, whether it be via corruption or stealing or trading garbage. It is hard to stomach.
As with many of Streatfeild’s books (at least those I’ve read), the children are the victims of unfortunate circumstances. In the case of Anna, France...moreAs with many of Streatfeild’s books (at least those I’ve read), the children are the victims of unfortunate circumstances. In the case of Anna, Francesco and Gussie, an earthquake takes away their family, destroys their village. And they find themselves in England under the care of their uncle, a mean-spirited man who wants nothing to do with them and hates that he has to spend his money on them. His wife though is sweet and concerned but always puts the husband first. So the boys, with the help of a new friend, try to figure out how to get their Anna the proper ballet training she deserves, as well as the best ballet shoes (their uncle obviously considers dancing a frivolous activity). It’s a story about determination and courage, with Francesco as a great big brother character. Too bad Anna seems rather silly!
The Golem and the Jinni was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It was such a great story that I was so caught up in it. I would’ve stay...moreThe Golem and the Jinni was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It was such a great story that I was so caught up in it. I would’ve stayed up past my bedtime (all too easy as I sleep before 1030) but with two kids demanding all my energy I need my sleep. Still I managed to read and read this, while pushing the 1yo on his tricycle, while the kids napped in the afternoon, in between doing chores, and during my reading time after the kids went to sleep. I didn’t want this story to end.
It was a truly absorbing, enchanting story, set in New York in 1899. A jinni accidentally released by a tinsmith after centuries in a flask. A golem created a a wife for a man who dies at sea on their way from Poland. Their new lives, separately, are fascinating themselves. One a new being, learning to live on her own, being able to read the desires of the humans around her. The other, centuries old, having to readjust to life in this new world, unable to remember his previous life and how he was imprisoned in the flask.
Then these two mythical beings meet and an unlikely friendship begins. And what a ride it is, partly because there is an element of suspense with a villain tracking them down.
It is part historical fiction, part folklore, part fantasy. But all over a moving, exciting, lyrical and simply awesome magic carpet ride of a read.