The first 300 pages were just kinda there, then it picked up for about 130 pages and the last 20 pages were trying too hard. I enjoyed it, but it wasn...moreThe first 300 pages were just kinda there, then it picked up for about 130 pages and the last 20 pages were trying too hard. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't nearly as good as the first two Robert Langdon books.(less)
This book discusses the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who at 9 years old was kidnapped and raised by the Comanches from her white parents. As an a...moreThis book discusses the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who at 9 years old was kidnapped and raised by the Comanches from her white parents. As an adult, Cynthia Ann is returned to her blood family after the Comanches are raided by the Texas Rangers. This much is known. What happens in the intervening years and what happened afterward until Cythia Ann's death are up in the air. Not many historical records of her exist.
Carolyn Meyer has imagined a story of Cynthia Ann's return to her family, told in journal entries by a fictional cousin as well as in a narrative told from Cynthia Ann's point of view. The book deals with a struggle for identity--who we are, who we are raised to be, and other people's perceptions about us. Cynthia Ann came to see herselve as a Comanche. To her family, she was still a kidnapping victim of the savages. Their struggle to understand each other makes for compelling reading indeed.(less)
Despite my proclivities for England and those who call her home, I am not much on English history and the old kings and queens of England. I knew very...moreDespite my proclivities for England and those who call her home, I am not much on English history and the old kings and queens of England. I knew very little about Elizabeth I, although I did watch the movie starring Cate Blanchett (the first one) about 10 years ago. Sadly, it was a little too brutal for me, and I watched it once and never again.
However, I need audiobooks. And a friend recently loaned me this one so that I'd have a nice, long read while driving around for work. Driving is one of the few times I force myself to read something I'm not sure I'll enjoy, as I don't have anything else to do. So consequently, while I was not excited about the subject matter, I liked that there were 16 discs to fill my time.
Boy was I in for a surprise! This was a great book! The story was riveting. I would come home at night to read up on the Tudors and see how much of the book was factual and what happened to the various players on the fringes of Henry the Eighth's court.
It took me nearly 2 months of driving to finish it, but that was with the holidays breaking up much of my drive time. I will definitely read more by Alison Weir--several other titles have been recommended to me and if I can get them on audio again, so much the better!(less)
Having seen Capote and being a true crime buff, I thought I would be totally into In Cold Blood, but unfortunately, I was not.
The story revolved aroun...moreHaving seen Capote and being a true crime buff, I thought I would be totally into In Cold Blood, but unfortunately, I was not.
The story revolved around the murders of the Clutter family in Kansas. The family was murdered by two of society's biggest losers (and I'm not talking in a reality TV sense), Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. These two drifters had heard about the Clutters from a prison cellmate and they had gone to collect on a safe that had supposedly been hidden in the house. When they arrived, not only did they find a safe, they found 4 eye witnesses of whom they needed to dispose.
For a while the police had nothing to go on, no early leads in the case. By chance, the former cellmate heard about the murders on the radio and went to the warden, and the manhunt was on. Smith and Hickock were eventually captured, tried, convicted, and put to death.
The book follows the entire length of this experience, from the Clutters' last day on earth to the carrying out of the death sentences on the perpetrators. It was written in narrative form, like a novel.
Reviewer Tom Wolfe once wrote of the novel:
The book is neither a who-done-it nor a will-they-be-caught, since the answers to both questions are known from the outset...
While for him this was no problem, for me, it was not a compelling enough novel to keep me involved knowing the facts. I suppose that perhaps because the whole device was so new back in the 60's when the book was written, it captivated the reading audience. And I will say it was extremely well written and easy to read.
But it just didn't snag me. I was disappointed that it didn't, but in talking to a friend who also read it, she said the same thing. It just didn't snag her either.
This was my biggest disappointment of a book this year. I had been wanting to read this for a while and finally got a copy via PBS. The book descripti...moreThis was my biggest disappointment of a book this year. I had been wanting to read this for a while and finally got a copy via PBS. The book description tells of a group of women who defy the Iranian regime by holding weekly meetings in their beloved literature professor's home in Tehran. Having read Princess by Jean Sasson (and if you haven't yet read it, what the heck are you waiting for?!) and loved it, I thought I would enjoy Reading Lolita a whole lot more than I did.
In fact, the story does begin with the literature club, but devolves into Nafisi's overall memoir of teaching literature in Iran, living through the revolution, the war with Iraq and eventually meanders back to her women's literature club, just before she emigrates to the US.
By the time I realized how seriously I hated this book, I was 200 pages into it. With only 150 to go, it seemed stupid to quit, so I finished it. I did consult with Lesley, who I consider my reading guru, and she confirmed reading a whole 20 pages before giving up. So I don't feel alone in hating it, and that makes me happy. Yes, I know, I have zero self-esteem about my own opinions, but deal. (less)
Clinton recounts his life from his humble beginnings in Arkansas (where he not only shares his own memories, but those the family has passed down) to...moreClinton recounts his life from his humble beginnings in Arkansas (where he not only shares his own memories, but those the family has passed down) to his rise to power in the Oval Office to the scandal of the Monica Lewinsky mess and the hope that Hillary's senate run brought with it.
Frankly, I thought that this was all a little bit glossy and a little bit slick. While I personally think that Clinton was one of the finer presidents we've had, albeit that he disappointed us greatly, when I moved to Arkansas, I discovered that the people there had voted for him to get him the hell out of their state.
The book, as with any autobiography, is a bit self aggrandizing, glosses over the scandals that beset him throughout his political career, and gives way to bragging about his achievements as an attorney, attorney general, governor, and President.
I'm glad I read it, but at the end of the day, it was definitely a little too slick for me to say I LOVE IT. Still, if you're stuck in the car for prolonged periods of time and want something to listen to, it beats War and Peace -- or so I presume. (less)
Geraldine Brooks is fast rising on my favorite authors list. When you finish her books, you really feel like you've accomplished something. Now, fortu...moreGeraldine Brooks is fast rising on my favorite authors list. When you finish her books, you really feel like you've accomplished something. Now, fortunately, there were only 2 or 3 words I didn't know in this book, and in typical grown up fashion, I did just skip them, I must confess.
March is the story of the father from the Little Women story, the tale of his early life before meeting Marmee and his entry into the Civil War. Towards the end of the book, the perspective switches over to Marmee's point of view as Mister lies unconscious in a hospital in Washington DC (I'm sorry, I truly don't know if Papa March has a first name or even if Brooks invented one for him).
Brooks has a true gift for painting pictures with her words and you could nearly smell the decay and disease in the hospitals, you could see the plantations and slave masters, you could feel the heat and the fear. I did take slight umbrage with one particular part, that being that Papa March takes up with a slave woman. I've never read Little Women, although I have seen the Katharine Hepburn movie several times, and in it and according to the letters March pens to his family in this book, his family is his top priority and they have little doubt of his love for them. Yes, I know, we're all human, but still, that seemed out of character to me... Here's a man so enamored of his wife and children that he carries locks of their hair with him wherever he goes, but when he comes upon a former slave whom he got into trouble, he can scarcely keep away from her... Something doesn't really jive for me with that picture.
Overall, an amazing book. Definitely recommended! (less)