This book was recommended to me by a work colleague. At first, I really liked it. It’s a nonfiction book about one family’s experience of Hurricane KaThis book was recommended to me by a work colleague. At first, I really liked it. It’s a nonfiction book about one family’s experience of Hurricane Katrina: before, during, and after. It had me right from the start with the description of the “before the storm” events, and even halfway through the “during the storm” part. Then the story kind of changed: it became about something other than what it had started out to be. I don’t want to be any more specific about it and give anything away in case you decide to read it, but I stopped liking it after that and couldn’t warm back up to it at all, right up to and including the ending. At first, I could relate to the married couple and the hard decisions they were forced to make, but when one of the people chooses to put themself in harms way, and then continues to make that same bad decision, over and over, it was hard to feel any sympathy for how things turned out. The proverbial bed had been made. The number of bad choices that were made, realized both in hindsight by them and in the aftermath, was staggering. It was hard to believe that it was a true story, actually; I had to refer to the book jacket to see if I was misremembering this. I wasn’t. So, if it’s important to you that you like your story’s characters, then skip this one. Otherwise, I’d be interested to hear what others think of this book. ...more
This story starts strong, catching me up from the first sentence. As little bits were revealed about Katie and about the town, I wanted to know more aThis story starts strong, catching me up from the first sentence. As little bits were revealed about Katie and about the town, I wanted to know more and more. The story is told with good rhythm and momentum, not too fast or slow. There are a lot of (improbable) coincidences that are needed to move the story along, but I’m willing to overlook these because even though they are very convenient, they also work. (The woman that moves in next door to the main character Katie is a counselor and woman about her own age. The main male character Alex worked in the army in the past in a capacity that helps him figure out some of Katie’s past life that she has been keeping private; he also has a little girl that is immediately taken with Katie…and so on). The book turns dark toward the last fourth or so, and as my mind raced ahead to all of the potentially bad things that might happen, the book went from being a nice, “safe haven” of a book to a stressful, angst-filled read. There is a secret revealed near the end of the book that also stresses your ability to suspend your disbelief, but for the most part, I enjoyed reading the book....more
I first checked this book out from the library as soon as I heard of it. I had read all of Linda’s other books (including the cookbook she cowrote witI first checked this book out from the library as soon as I heard of it. I had read all of Linda’s other books (including the cookbook she cowrote with her mother) and enjoyed them all. This one was kind of…not grabbing me. I got about halfway through it and then wasn’t very motivated to pick it up again. Feeling bad, I tried it on audiobook (as I often will do if it I’m not loving it in print) and was able to finish it. Linda narrates it, so I did enjoy that part. It was a slow moving book, and the drama built up in the beginning chapter wasn’t really carried forth into the story. It was a so-so story. If you love Linda Greenlaw and want to say, “I’ve read all of her books!” then try it on audio, otherwise, you might want to pass on this one....more
This book is really an ode to the author’s dad, thinly disguised as a memoir. It is also a “Tale of two cancers”, both hers and (all three of) his. ItThis book is really an ode to the author’s dad, thinly disguised as a memoir. It is also a “Tale of two cancers”, both hers and (all three of) his. It also is about family, marriage, “coming of age”...or not. I found the cover of this book to be confusing; a young girl sort of airborne, maybe jumping on a trampoline? I really didn’t know what it was about (maybe a story about being a middle child in the family?), but (being a first born) I wasn’t drawn to find out. I passed this book by many times before I finally was handed a copy by a work colleague who said “you have to read this!”…so I did. What is great about this book is the author’s honest description of her feelings surrounding her cancer, her childbirthing, her marriage. It became a book that I couldn’t wait to get back to reading every time I put it down, so that I could see what would happen next. By the end, I really liked Kelly Corrigan...and her book. :)...more
I knew nothing about this book prior to reading it, other than that it was a Newbery Award Winner (1995) and that my friend Susan chose it for our booI knew nothing about this book prior to reading it, other than that it was a Newbery Award Winner (1995) and that my friend Susan chose it for our book club this month. The setting is Zimbabwe. The characters in this book have, for the most part, odd (to me) sounding names: Knife, She-Elephant (however, there is a Rita, the required exception to prove the rule!). The title, in fact, refers to the names of three of the characters in the book: the detectives who are hired to find three missing children (Rita is the middle child)) who are kidnapped after they trick their parents with the help of a caregiver (the Mellower) and slip out of the protected enclosure where they live. The story takes place in the future…but not too far: the year is 2194. Their odyssey takes them to several different towns that have the feel of other cultures, all much different from their own. At first, the people in some of these places seem welcoming, but soon they realize that everything is not as it first appears. In each instance they must figure out a way to adapt and assimilate to their new environments where they are captive while watching for any chance of escape. There are mythical elements to this story that are very engaging (talk of witches and warrior hero spirits). This is a book that I was thinking about when I was not reading it, wanting to return to it, wanting to see what happens next, trying to figure out how it might end (well, or not-so-well). The unexpected surprise of humor planted here and there effectively worked to break up the plot’s heaviness. The Trashman is a fellow traveler that they meet along the way who becomes a protector to the youngest child, Kuda, and his story becomes entwined with theirs. Tendai, the oldest, must protect his siblings and get them all home safely. Along the way he (surprise!) figures out his life’s purpose. Without giving too much away, I will say that the story did get a bit frustrating at times because the detectives were forever one step behind the bad guys. Will that continue or will the detectives ultimately rescue the children? I do recommend that you read this book to find out. Also, all but one member of my book club (the one that hadn’t read it!) loved it. P.S. The audio version of the book was excellent. ...more
I am jointly reviewing this book with my 11 year old daughter Isabelle. We got it both in hardcover form and on audio CD. The book itself was very attI am jointly reviewing this book with my 11 year old daughter Isabelle. We got it both in hardcover form and on audio CD. The book itself was very attractive with black, off-white, and green illustrations. Some of them span two pages, allowing the reader a little break from the actual words as the images take over to forward the story. For some inexplicable reason, the pictures reminded me of the Beetlejuice movie with Michael Keaton (!). The drawings are soothing, not a distraction at all to the story but instead a seamless part of it. I also liked that Lulu's Mom was drawn as much taller than Dad in the picture…not something you see all the time. I liked the way some of the print was in bold, and some was in italics, and the pages have lots of white space. There was some ornate script that was a little tough to decipher at times. For example, at the beginning of one chapter (the first Chapter 13, as it happens!) Izzy and I had some discussion about what the first letter was. She thought it was an “H” and I thought it was an “A” but after using context and both of our brains we figured out that it was actually the word “It”. The author uses rhyming (“ She mainly wasn’t a pain“) and repetition to tell the story of Lulu and her quest for the brontosaurus that she wants but that her parents do not. The day before her birthday she leaves to hunt for one herself. Along the way, she meets a snake, a bear, a tiger. She eventually does in fact find a brontosaurus, who proceeds to teach her (among other things) some manners. There is a refrain that Lulu sings (like a Greek chorus of one) throughout the book that Izzy especially liked. It helped to have the audio book in this case because it gave a tune for the words that really brought it and Lulu to life. Isabelle liked the way the chapters were titled: “Maybe the end” and “Chapter 13 again”. She also liked that the chapters weren’t too long. We both really enjoyed this book. Izzy's final evaluation was this: “I don’t think she (Judith Viorst) could have added any more or taken any more out.” Really, what better praise could you have than this?...more
The first words that come to me as I'm reading this book are as follows: Boring. Gross. Stupid. Boring (okay, fine, so I‘m repeating myself. It‘s a fuThe first words that come to me as I'm reading this book are as follows: Boring. Gross. Stupid. Boring (okay, fine, so I‘m repeating myself. It‘s a function of the boredom). Occasionally there is a sentence (or even a whole paragraph) that I considered worth reading and I start to get my hopes up that this book might not be a complete waste of my time. Example: “These are things that only dogs and women understand…” because “we connect to the pain right at its source.” Okay, that sounds true to me and makes me pause to think--not to mention write it down. Enzo (the narrator) goes on to say that men filter and deflect the pain. I second that. Here’s another: “That which we manifest is before us.” Okay, so he’s an existential, philosopher-type of dog.
The bloody zebra thing? Stupid. Annoying. Foo on it.
But I had to admit it: some of the writing definitely resonated with me. There was a passage about conversations between people that likened it to a passenger in a car trying to reach over and grab the wheel from the driver, trying steer the car, effectively wrenching away the train of thought of the person trying to relay a story and turning it into something else entirely through their interruptions, and Enzo asks why people can’t just LISTEN to each other. Also, the statement about the Pharmaceutical companies… “those who profit from the misery of others”…it just rings so true, doesn’t it?
Many authors’s books require a suspension of disbelief and usually I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the events in this book were just so implausible that (despite those instances described above) I was mostly just waiting for it to be over already. Right at the end, though, a funny thing happened: I liked it. The ending was so great and such a pleasure to read that despite all of its flaws, I am recommending this book after all. No one is more surprised than I. ...more
I got this on audio book. Even though I am sort of liking King’s writing lately, I reserve the right to skip over the distressing (read: bloody, gory)I got this on audio book. Even though I am sort of liking King’s writing lately, I reserve the right to skip over the distressing (read: bloody, gory) tracks if I feel the need. And I did feel the need a few times. This book consists of four short (though the jacket calls them Stephen King’s “long story form”) stories: “1922”, “Big Driver”, “Fair Extension”, and the fourth story, “A Good Marriage”. The narrators were excellent, tremendously adding to my enjoyment of this book, I’m sure. Of the 4 stories, I liked the first and the last the best, although there were large passages that were quite awful to listen to. I liked the way the author resolves the conflicts in 3 of the 4. Only “Fair Extension” seemed unfinished to me, although perhaps that was the point: to leave me with lingering unanswered questions to make me think ponder the meaning of the story after I’d finished it. The underlying commonality among the stories is that they suggest that each of us has a darker side and if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it may be revealed and allowed to blossom (or maybe 'fester' is a better word). Even if you are not a horror story fan, you might enjoy this book....more
I just finished this book and I really enjoyed it. Lisa Scottoline,whom I'd never heard of, spoke right to me and many of my issues. Even though she'sI just finished this book and I really enjoyed it. Lisa Scottoline,whom I'd never heard of, spoke right to me and many of my issues. Even though she's twice divorced (nope, not me), she lives with 5 dogs (nope, I live with 3 humans...and chickens!) has 1 child (I have 2), has seen 50 come and go, (nope, I'm currently Staring Down 50), I could see myself in so many of her stories. This book is comprised of just that: many stories from her life. One of my favorites is the one about being a cookbook collector. I, myself, am a Closet Cookbook Collector-well, maybe not so closeted. I love to read them, buy them, share them, compare them. What I rarely do, however, is COOK from them. I have my favorite go-to recipes to which I gravitate toward by default. You know, the ones that I can make without having to think too much? Those. She does the same thing!! I felt so much better after that!! The only reason that I didn't give this book 5 stars is because I didn't feel the same way about the chapters that were written by her daughter, Francesca. They weren't bad; they just weren't me. ...more
This is an original, unusual story, and I was drawn in right from the start. The Night Circus has a cast of characters that are interesting and likeabThis is an original, unusual story, and I was drawn in right from the start. The Night Circus has a cast of characters that are interesting and likeable, even the bad guys. The author makes (almost)every one of them appealing in their own way, and even when they do something bad, you can understand the thinking that led up to it. Well, except for Hector, but he gets what he deserves. The story seems at first to be about a bet made between two magicians, who each choose a player to represent themselves and those players are engaged in a last man standing type of contest. What this story really is, though, is a love story. I was engaged every step of the way throughout this book, eager to see how it all turns out. You will be too....more
I chose this book because of the title. My son's name is Anthony, so of course the cover caught my eye. Like Lisa Genova's other two books, I loved itI chose this book because of the title. My son's name is Anthony, so of course the cover caught my eye. Like Lisa Genova's other two books, I loved it. I was telling a friend why I love this author: usually when I read a book, I enjoy the experience of reading it but don't ask me to tell you anything about it a month (or maybe even a week) later. As Nora Ephron so wisely put it, "I remember nothing." Not true with this author. I remember not only the titles of her prior books ("Still Alice" and "Left Neglected", but what the stories were as well. "Love Anthony" tells the story of two women, their lives and challenges, and also Anthony's story, a non verbal boy with autism. Anthony is the son of Olivia, one of the women. One of the things I was struck by as I read this book is how we are all, as women, experiencing so many of the same struggles. The String Theory strikes again. Thank you, Lisa, for writing this, and the others as well. I hope you are working on your next book right now!...more
This book was about overwhelming, all-consuming, unfathomable grief. It was honest and brutal and beautiful. I thought it would be difficult to read bThis book was about overwhelming, all-consuming, unfathomable grief. It was honest and brutal and beautiful. I thought it would be difficult to read but it was somehow not sad. I read it on audiobook and recommend reading it this way....more
I loved this book. What I loved most about it was the surprise element of the Italians. There aren't a lot of books out there that incorporate The FeaI loved this book. What I loved most about it was the surprise element of the Italians. There aren't a lot of books out there that incorporate The Feast of the Seven Fishes...they had me at Shrimp Scampi....more