I took a running start at Written in My Own Heart's Blood by re-reading An Echo in the Bone just before, so I'm now fresh off 2500 pages of Diana Gaba...moreI took a running start at Written in My Own Heart's Blood by re-reading An Echo in the Bone just before, so I'm now fresh off 2500 pages of Diana Gabaldon, and find myself wandering about the house, the garden, the grocery store, etc., with no real plan. Where do I go from here? Get it together, Sherry!
I thought I had heard that this one (WiMYHB - Diana calls it MOBY on her website - I like that better) would be the final one. #8 of 8. The grand finale. The Deathly Hallows. The Return of the King. The Last Crusade (don't talk to me about those stupid crystal skulls). I was prepared with a six-pack of Kleenex and instructions to my family not to speak to me until further notice.
With that in mind, I found the pacing of this one a bit odd. Some things seemed drawn out, others seemed rushed. I was distraught at some of the new stuff that got introduced in the last 100 pages, and at some other things that remained unresolved.
Still, when I read that last sentence, knowing this was the end, I dried my eyes and said a very fond farewell to these wonderful characters whom I have loved for so many years. I've given this a couple of days' thought, and here's my thought: it's perfect. Perfect ending to a lovely series.
Did it all get wrapped up neatly? No. Does it leave some questions about where some characters have gone, and how their problems will be resolved? Certainly. That didn't sit will with me in the beginning. But I decided I'm ok with all of it. The characters will live on (well, most of them) and do what they do. I can imagine it. And I like it. There's hope. I'm at peace. Nicely done, Diana. And a fond farewell to you, too. Congratulations on a wonderful series. Can't wait for the TV series!
Before writing this review, I double-checked on dianagabaldon.com and learned that this not the end of the series.
Now I have to re-assess how I feel about that. I may need to read it again.
This is a beautifully written account of life in France during the German occupation in the early part of WWII. It is, of course, incomplete, and more...moreThis is a beautifully written account of life in France during the German occupation in the early part of WWII. It is, of course, incomplete, and more poignant because the work was cut short when the author became a victim of that war's atrocities.(less)
Not my usual genre... but I heard a bit about this one from a friend and thought I'd go for it. My "wheat belly" and I aren't getting any younger, aft...moreNot my usual genre... but I heard a bit about this one from a friend and thought I'd go for it. My "wheat belly" and I aren't getting any younger, after all.
This is easy to read. Funny, even. And terrifying.
Key point: Wheat is bad.
Really, this author blames "modern" wheat (developed and now used worldwide since the 80s) for obesity, diabetes, Celiac disease (no surprise there), as well as acne, baldness, migraine headaches, mental illness, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and myriad other horrible conditions. And he does so convincingly. So much so that I declared that we (handsome hubby and I) would pursue a wheat-free, healthier, more beautiful future beginning immediately. Until I went grocery shopping and realized that I really - no - I'm - no.
I don't have the background to vouch for this doctor's facts. He presents a lot of the science behind his theories, and a lot of it is interesting. I have observed some of what he presents, and have friends suffering from some of these maladies. I would like to reduce my wheat intake and see if that changes things for me. I enjoyed reading this book. My husband wishes I had never heard of it. (less)
I picked this up several weeks ago - was it a "Nook Daily Find"?
I read 11 pages and stopped. I found those first 11 pages to be overwritten, and I di...moreI picked this up several weeks ago - was it a "Nook Daily Find"?
I read 11 pages and stopped. I found those first 11 pages to be overwritten, and I didn't think I could handle of whole book of 12 adjectives per sentence.
I came back around when I found the other book I'm reading not-so-engaging, and gave it another shot. I'm glad I did.
It's the story of two women, told in alternating chapters, a couple of decades apart. There's some mystery (although if that's what brings you here, this mystery is perhaps too easy to solve), some romance, some anti-romance (i.e., unromantic sex - although not too graphic), some rags-to-riches triumph, some travel and glamor, some tragedy. Characters are interesting but not necessarily lovable or deep. The plot is fairly interesting, not earth-shattering.
There's also this lovely backdrop of the making of perfume. It's about how scents come together to make something larger than the whole, about scents carrying memories, about the individuality of perfume, its simplicity and/or complexity. I enjoyed all of that immensely, and found the number of adjectives used to be appropriate. Actually, I found the writing on this to be beautiful.
I find the need to re-think my perfume choices. I look forward to changing my life in this small but important (and luxurious) way.(less)
I was ready to take on the War of the Roses again, and Sharon Kay Penman does it better than any other author.
I love that Penman's Richard III is a he...moreI was ready to take on the War of the Roses again, and Sharon Kay Penman does it better than any other author.
I love that Penman's Richard III is a hero. I would like to think this is the real story - that Richard was a good son, brother, husband, father, and for a short time, king. I like the Richard who is honorable and kind, who had nothing to do with the disappearances of his nephews, who approached battle with Henry Tudor just the way it was described in this book.
I thought I'd go back and pick it up again after a couple of weeks, but it's not looking like I will... unless I need some...moreLiked it and abandoned it.
I thought I'd go back and pick it up again after a couple of weeks, but it's not looking like I will... unless I need some historical perspective on MacBeth.
I don't think I'll ever find anything better on that topic. The writing here is good, the characters are interesting, and the history seems to be accurate (as far as historical fiction goes). It's just a little hard to dive this deeply into this particular era at this point in my life. (less)
I found this riveting. It grabbed my attention from the first chapter, and held on tight almost all the way to the end.
The main character in this nove...moreI found this riveting. It grabbed my attention from the first chapter, and held on tight almost all the way to the end.
The main character in this novel was not a particularly lovable man, but I did have great sympathy for him. As a boy, he was a bit of a juvenile delinquent, and the difficult circumstances he faced combined with his tendency toward bad behavior to produce an adult I don't think I'd like in person. But I liked him just fine on paper.
I also liked - loved - his bad boy best friend, Boris, whose delightful Russian accent I've been affecting in all my conversations for the past week. I really like it when an author can pull off that accent trick.
This is beautifully written. All of the above-noted "difficult circumstances" were so deeply felt. It's not a happy book, but oh, so satisfying.
I've ranted before about novels I've loved - about knowing they hold a deeper meaning, but it remains beyond my grasp. I love books like that. This one had a lot of those wonderful, unreachable elements for me - The Goldfinch painting itself, the sole piece of existing art from this important artist, the chain holding the finch to the branch, but beyond that, the sailboat tragedy, the furniture restoration, all the supporting characters, the dreams, and more - all had meaning, all together made a point that I could almost understand...
...and then the author went ahead in the last 30 pages with three major monologues, and explained all that deeper meaning. Huh.
It's not nearly as much fun, not nearly as satisfying, when it is handed to you, is it? I'd have preferred to say it's a five-star book and there's more to it than I can ever know; to be left thinking about it and wondering and awed by the author's superior intellect and secret insight. Instead I'll say it's a four-star book and I found the last 30 pages somewhat tedious and preachy.
It is beautifully written, though.
Thanks, Nancy, for the great recommendation!(less)
I'm a big fan of WWII fiction - I love learning the history, and more... when an author can describe love and beauty and selflessness in the face of t...moreI'm a big fan of WWII fiction - I love learning the history, and more... when an author can describe love and beauty and selflessness in the face of the atrocities of that war, I find a connection.
This one, which describes the deportation and subsequent treatment of Lithuanians by the Soviets, showed me an aspect of that war to which I hadn't previously been exposed. I'm continually astounded at the horrible treatment of human beings by other human beings. It is beautifully told here, and it's an important story that needs to be told.
But I'm missing something with this one. I fell short on the connection. There is a restraint, a surpression of emotion that left me wanting more.
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that this is the first book I've read by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
This was so - satisfying.
It's the story of an early-Vi...moreI'm a bit embarrassed to admit that this is the first book I've read by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
This was so - satisfying.
It's the story of an early-Victorian impoverished aristocrat who snares an American heiress for a bride. It's harsh - he's an evil character. The deterioration and desolation of his estate matches the gradual deterioration and desolation of his wife, until her younger sister comes of age and comes to her "rescue". She's a great character - beautiful, strong, smart, and, as it happens, a very wealthy, single American heiress.
It's clean, it's beautifully written (although if written today, an editor would probably cut a third of it), and it describes with great clarity a bit of the history of England and America that have bound us together.(less)