I love the set up of Alice Hoffman's book The Red Garden.
It starts out with a story about the first settlers of a small town called Blackwell. I guess...more I love the set up of Alice Hoffman's book The Red Garden.
It starts out with a story about the first settlers of a small town called Blackwell. I guess the majority of these newbies did not have survival instincts...except one lady ( that I LOVED).. It's always the one person that the majority deem weird that saves their asses time and time again. Agreed?
Thereafter it tells the stories of the citizens in the future of this small but lovely town. Some of them have genealogical connections with the first settlers. Others were passing through and stayed. I found it an absolute delight to meet all these different personalities.
This book is hauntingly beautiful though it is an easy read (which I enjoyed that element too). It stuck with me, making me think of other towns and their histories, even my own. How are we all in nature connected? It is almost as if we live on a string of time that goes back and forth between the past, present and future? (Just some thoughts).
Anyway, it is a thought-provoking read that would be great for group discussions. Highly recommended.(less)
My grandma taught me to love books. She told me that the library was a magical place and I believed her.... because long before there were characters...more My grandma taught me to love books. She told me that the library was a magical place and I believed her.... because long before there were characters from Harry Potter, my grandmother existed...and she was magical. She liked to soften the world with make believe. She liked to dance down movie theater aisles, she could cuss with the best of them (when I was little I thought my grandma was Bette Davis), and she collected her old books and trinkets.
When I spent the night she would read lots of stories to me but among my favorites were all the short stories by Hans Christian Andersen. In particular I had a soft spot for The Snow Queen. I'm not sure why. Perhaps, it seemed real to me, since I was a girl brought up in Northern winters.
So, does this retelling hold up to the original Snow Queen in my heart? I would say, yes it does. If so, then did I love Breadcrumbs simply because it takes me back to some of my favorite memories? That is harder for me to answer...but maybe it is the storyline that I hold dear so it doesn't matter..
Breadcrumbs is written extremely well. It is hard to deny its philosophical brilliance (some may even say it is beyond its targeted audience). You can tell the author really cared about the characters in her story. I believe it is built to be read by every age...a book for the past, present and future. So I would recommend reading it, even the young or old. I suppose if anyone misses some meaning in it they will find it upon rereading it later. If they do not like it the first time...I think they'll find that they like it if they give it a second chance? I've heard anyway.
No worries, It's not all philosophical....There is plenty of adventure. A brave young girl enters a deep forest in the dead of winter to save her friend from The Snow Queen. It is a perfect read for a wintry day or someone that likes the days of Jack Frost. She meets a cast of Hans Christian Andersen's characters along the way ( I found this delightful). But what truly makes me love this story is that this girl chooses her friend despite difficult life changes and uncertainties...despite the big hurt that is sometimes life. I suppose that is what I love most about both stories. I love that it is more warm than cold. More than that, I love that the unlovable are still loved. (less)
Jack London died before he finished writing The Assasination Bureau . He had scribbled notes that were interesting and horrifying about how he'd like...more Jack London died before he finished writing The Assasination Bureau . He had scribbled notes that were interesting and horrifying about how he'd like it to end... like birds breaking their wings against boats, dead sharks beating hearts in the hands of fishermen, and an Irish Terrier that jumps off into shark infested seas, all the while the protagonist lays dying.....
All these images seem fitting for a London ending, especially an end about a story of a group of assassins that think they are still morally straight, even as they attempt to take the life of one of their friends. It doesn't end like that though. Instead, a man by the name of Fish ends the story completely different. Not to give Robert L. Fish a hard time but the ending was not befitting of a London novel. Matter of fact, my guess is that it is the very ending London tried to avoid--the easy one.
I remember reading the ending to The Call of The Wild and my mind was completely blown by the raw intensity of the last paragraph written. The ending of Call of the Wild is the reason it remains one of the only books I've read more than once.
The Assassination Bureau is about sheer madness, yet it ends in the most mundane predictable way possible. I found it extremely disappointing. I can't help but feel that London would have been unhappy about it too.(less)
Serena is a man killer. Literally. She eats babies and cute puppies for lunch....and has no redeeming qualities as a character. Normally, that would m...more Serena is a man killer. Literally. She eats babies and cute puppies for lunch....and has no redeeming qualities as a character. Normally, that would make me put down a book in a heartbeat because I don't like my characters to act without a conscience.
Instead I'm in love with anti-heroes-- the kind society may think are bad but underneath everything they are simply misunderstood, acting only by unpopular integrity. Serena is none of these things. She is to her very core....evil...she has the unblinking unfeeling kind of arrogance that seeks neither revenge, redemption, nor any other emotion..she just is stone cold. By the way, I'm giving nothing away...readers will know this in the first chapter.
Why did I love this book then if it contained so much of what I dread reading about?
Rash is just that good. Have you ever encountered someone so good at their job it made you believe in fate? You just knew the job they were doing was their calling. Well, that is how I felt when reading about this horrible woman. Rash is a storyteller... not the wannabee kind (like me) or the kind that is awesome because they've worked so hard to be great (like so many). He is simply... a storyteller. It didn't even matter to me that at times the book was predictable or about something that normally would turn me off...I just couldn't tear my eyes away.....(less)
In summary, Kathy, Tommy, Ruth attend a boarding school unlike most. Coming of age at this school may seem a bit normal with bullies, crushes, rules t...more In summary, Kathy, Tommy, Ruth attend a boarding school unlike most. Coming of age at this school may seem a bit normal with bullies, crushes, rules that make sense, and rules that don't but it's different because the children here are preparing for a special 'purpose'.
This story is SAD (in capitals). Ishiguro's writing style is not for everyone. I like the depressing and bleak--vague but obvious style that some might find dull. I like trying to see beyond it- like he wrote like that intentionally so readers could try to uncover the deeper meanings in his sentences. These characters seem very real this way. For instance, the characters do not say things they should say, they let great moments pass, even if saying something might change everything for the better. Real people hold back like this all the time! His writing is both mundane (because it is supposed to convey that--imo) and intense at the same time. I'm not sure how he pulls it off but it all works for me.
If you ever read his novel Remains of the Day or watched the movie and liked it--then you'll probably want to give this a chance.
All in all it made me feel deeply....it made me think about those missed moments all of us hold on to....it made me think about all the memories and personal potential people carry around inside that they never let go of...(less)
The summer after my grandma died, my aunt and I went to have a picnic at her grave because we had promised her we would have lunch with her after she...more The summer after my grandma died, my aunt and I went to have a picnic at her grave because we had promised her we would have lunch with her after she left the world. As we spread out our blanket, something caught our eye. A beautiful doe stood looking at us, in the middle of a city grave yard, almost close enough to touch. She stood there through most of lunch until we helped lead to her to an opening so she could run back to the woods (even though the wooded lots were so small we couldn't believe deer lived in them.) We couldn't help but wonder if grandma had sent her to let us know she knew we had kept our promise.
Animals are sometimes symbols or the embodiment of the people that have died for those left behind. And I think this is one the reasons I found myself drawn to this book. Jamie, an eight year old swears his dad will return to them in some fashion and he spends his time trying to find him. He looks for clues about what has happened to his father. Where is heaven? Is there an address? Is he on vacation? Will he come back maybe as a different person or maybe as a bird? How will he know where to find them now that they have moved to a remote Scottish island? How can he send him a message?
I love Jamie. He reminds me of one of my sons and a million little boys I have taught. Jamie has a hard time reading. Letters are a secret code he has a hard time cracking. He has a difficult time deciphering the meanings in language (I found his thoughts abstract and beautiful). He is often verbally attacked by others though (like his sister Alba who thinks her cruelty towards him will toughen him up) but his different learning style also makes him see the world as a place full of wonder and beauty. Jamie is a child whose innocence, wonder, and kindness brings people joy especially the skeptics. I loved looking at the world through Jamie's eyes and through his precious little open heart. Jamie is why I love this book.
Alba is cruel to her brother but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. Also, I could not help but understand what she was going through. After all, it's a difficult thing when people and places fall from their pedestals and break into a thousand pieces at your feet. Ignorance is bliss and logical Alba lost her ability to see the world through innocent eyes. She feels that the world is a cruel place she must be ready for.
Georgia is the eldest child. She is a mixture of the two, mature, trust-worthy but also trusting. She wants to know the reasons behind the death of her father, a British diplomat, yet she is scared to know. She is also at the start of spreading her wings, trying to balance responsibility and freedom.
All three children are brought to life. They seem like children I've met before. Their thoughts and actions are completely believable and familiar to me, maybe memories of what I felt like as a child or from recent memories of my sons. Their depictions are what kept me reading late into the night.
Of course, I also love the bear. What is there not to love about a cute lumbering bear that collects pretty and interesting items on the island he finds himself stranded on? This part of the story is true. There once was a tame bear that got lost on the island. During his ordeal, even though he found himself half starved he never hurt a single soul. Not even a sheep lost a hair due to his enormous claws. He simply waited for someone to find and rescue him.
I want to rescue the bear. I want to rescue these people. They do not seem fictional. They seem like family.
On a different note, this book can't be all good, right? Some reviews said that some parts were offensive because the author didn't do her research. That life in the British embassy is not like that and that the descriptions of Germany is not fair. I can respect that. It's probably true for those that live there and/ or live that life. The lack of authenticity probably is offensive and annoying. However, for those that do not know any better like me, these parts of the story are so understated that they do not feel like negatives against the places and careers mentioned.
To me, the power, the heartbeat of the story are the three children that look for their dad's presence everywhere, even in the most remote emotional places. There is so much heartache found in Jaime's sweet little voice as he calls out for his "Dada". This book broke my heart. I think all good stories do. It is a tender and touching book.
I had not heard the hype about this book in particular but had heard plenty about the author's books in general. Enough to feel like he had changed li...more I had not heard the hype about this book in particular but had heard plenty about the author's books in general. Enough to feel like he had changed lives with his words. Enough to make me feel that reading American Gods had the potential to work on me in simple ways (say a few magic words, bippity boppity boo, and away I'd go):
Instead the first 150 pages felt like this (and I'm not Belle):
This is not Disney. Gaiman means serious business and he'll call into question entire cultural and personal histories. I thought he wrote teen books (that this would read like one) = Wrong. I assumed this novel would reveal itself as a package of mere entertainment delivered in an interesting way = Wrong.
Oddly enough the entire novel is about the stories we may tell ourselves or are told by other people. What is real and what is fiction? What are facts and what are opinions? Does reality even exist? Do we create our own worlds by who we are? But best of all it confirms that no one has any answers about what life is about, even though many of us like to pretend we do. It's far easier on the nerves to believe we as individuals or groups have all the answers.
Initially, I was going to suggest the author make a guide of the characters but think it is better without one. The significance of this novel works better as a surprise. The timing is a little heroic that way.
If a reader likes mythology and folklore they will like this. It contains about every character one can imagine from various parts of the world. It's a book a reader is unsure of at first, but then by the end will love it. So stick to it!
Anyway, I'm rather speechless about it. My mind is blown.(less)
The writing is not that sophisticated, not bad, not the best, good enough to keep you turning the pages long into the night (for me this magic number...more The writing is not that sophisticated, not bad, not the best, good enough to keep you turning the pages long into the night (for me this magic number was 3 am). After the first chapter I couldn't stop reading this.
Christine loses her memories by morning every day. So every morning she is introduced to what has happened to her in her adult life. Most of her memories went missing after her accident . For something so repetitive the plot did not wear on me. So that is saying something. In fact, I found it suspenseful even when she is introduced to her husband over and over, every. single. morning. I had to find out what had happened to her and what her future held. I enjoyed it.
I don't think this will end up on anyone's favorite list, but it's not a book readers leave unfinished. (less)