Interesting analysis from multiple standpoints. Includes personal life stories and author introspection. Philosophical. Doesn't exactly have a happy eInteresting analysis from multiple standpoints. Includes personal life stories and author introspection. Philosophical. Doesn't exactly have a happy ending. This shows that the meth problem is ongoing....more
I got this book as part of a First Reads giveaway. Thank-you!
This story is about Millie the Octopus learning different yoga positions. The illustratioI got this book as part of a First Reads giveaway. Thank-you!
This story is about Millie the Octopus learning different yoga positions. The illustrations are adorable and the text is very easy to understand. On each page is a question for children to respond to or an invitation to try the yoga pose described. It's very positive and sweet. I think this book would be great for introducing children to yoga. ...more
There are a lot of historical accounts of the experiences of prisoners in World War II. This one stands out. Denis Avey a British war veteran. He is aThere are a lot of historical accounts of the experiences of prisoners in World War II. This one stands out. Denis Avey a British war veteran. He is an eye witness to the war in north Africa against the Italians & Germans, saw both friends & foe die before his eyes and escaped from his captors several times when he was a P.O.W. The tales he tells are harrowing and the stuff of Hollywood movies - it is easy to see a young solider struggling to stay afloat in the Mediterranean sea or racing across Greece away from his enemies.
Eventually Avey is placed in a P.O.W. camp adjacent to the infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz. There, he does forced labor to help the German war effort. However, he and the other British soldiers sabotage the items they manufacture. (This reminded me of a similar story told to me by a friend's grandpa. He was a P.O.W. and was supposed to mix sand and concrete. The P.O.W.s purposefully mixed it wrong so the structures they built were unstable.) He meets some Jewish prisoners who are being slowly worked to death. According to Avey, he trades places with one Jewish prisoner twice during his stay in the camp to bear witness to the unspeakable conditions there.
The story telling is by turns poignant, captivating and heartbreaking. The experiences were traumatic, and living with the past was obviously difficult.
Things that may be confusing to readers are some of the British phrases or terms. There are also some military terms that may be unclear.
A Google search will give you access to several news articles about reported discrepancies in Avey's story - dates, locations, etc. (These are further discussed in the blogs of Holocaust deniers.) I don't know what the answers to the remaining questions are. Readers will have to do research and make decisions for themselves.
"The Country of the Pointed Firs" is a gentle, wandering story. It's like a quiet walk in the woods or a trip in a row boat across an inlet.
An unname"The Country of the Pointed Firs" is a gentle, wandering story. It's like a quiet walk in the woods or a trip in a row boat across an inlet.
An unnamed narrator describes her summer trip to the town of Dunnett Landing, Maine. She is staying at a guest house run by Mrs. Todd, a locally known apothecary / herbalist. The narrator explores the town. She meets some of the old sea captains, who talk about the days gone by - when ships came and went from the town harbor. The narrator and Mrs. Todd venture to Green Island to visit Mrs. Todd's mother and attend a family reunion.
The conversations that the narrator and the characters have, as well as the narrative, lead the reader to reflect upon the passing of time. An especially poignant section of the book is a visit with Elijah Tilly, a widower who thinks often of his late wife. We see the inside of his home - with the empty rocking chair, worn rugs and a broken tea cup hidden in the back of the cupboard.
The reader is invited to stop and enjoy - even savor - interactions with people that might otherwise be passed by. Things are changing in Dunnett Landing - the days of sea commerce have gone. Time moves forward. The narrator gives us an opportunity to see time frozen for a summer. The beauty of the narrative is in the details and the gentle descriptions of the denizens of a town. The story invites you to see the best in people, and hopefully notice the details that surround us today.
This book is meant to be enjoyed with a cup of tea while sitting outside, watching the clouds pass over on a summer day....more
I received a copy of this book as part of a First Reads giveaway.
This books is a screenplay written formatted into chapters. The first scene describeI received a copy of this book as part of a First Reads giveaway.
This books is a screenplay written formatted into chapters. The first scene describes children in a rural Michigan town getting on the bus to school, a very normal thing. Then we read a description of the bomb going off in the school basement. I was hooked and could barely put the book down after that! The book includes photos from the Toledo Blade newspaper and Monty Ellsworth.
We go back in time and learn about the life and personal history of Andrew Kehoe, who will eventually cause the blast that will kill over forty people. Darius gives us "snapshots" of events in Kehoe's childhood: his mother's death of TB, watching his stepmother burn to death in a kitchen accident and saving his nickels (early signs of his frugality). Time moves forward. We meet his wife, Ellen "Nellie" (Price) Kehoe. We see them moving into their farmhouse outside Bath, MI. Because the screenplay begins with the school bombing, the rest of the story has an overshadowing of foreboding. Each combined event offers clues to Kehoe's motivation.
The story is an interesting character study of Andrew Kehoe. He is frugal to a fault. He is good with his hands but worthless as a farmer. He's impulsive and inconsistent. He nurses a grudge against the school superintendent for years. He feels overburdened by the tax imposed to open the consolidated school in Bath. It could be a cautionary tale. (How suspicious should we be of our peculiar neighbors?) If Andrew Kehoe shows the darkness of humanity, then the people of Bath show the best. The townspeople pull together to rescue the children from the school, create a triage unit and support one another in the weeks after.
This novel is a screenplay and it's the responsibility of the reader to fill in details. To create a "movie" in their own minds. I found myself trying to choose actors for each character and creating a soundtrack in my mind! I believe this makes the story more powerful. It forces you to imagine scenes and details.
I feel that some of the dialogue is over simplified. Kehoe and his family state several times "I am frugal." and "I am thrifty." If this were a traditional novel I'd say the author is "telling" instead of "showing."
This is a compelling story that has relevance to the modern world. ...more
I received a copy of this book as part of First Reads. Thank-you!
I was very excited to receive this book because the description sounded quite compellI received a copy of this book as part of First Reads. Thank-you!
I was very excited to receive this book because the description sounded quite compelling! This is the story of an man from Afghanistan who was persecuted because of his beliefs. Regardless of your political views or religious ideologies, it is difficult to be in a situation where your life is endanger because of what you believe! It takes a lot of courage for a man like "The Poet" (his pseudonym - used to protect his identity) to share his story.
I thought this book publication was very timely because of the current situation in that country and the focus of the media because of U.S. military involvement.
The problems I'm having with this book are that the writing is very vague. There are events mentioned in this book that, if expounded upon, could be compelling and take the reader on an exciting journey fraught with danger, perilous escapes and survival. (Sneaking across Europe with smugglers? Please, tell me more!) "The Poet" talks about his politically charged poetry and the place of poetry in that culture. (You have my attention!) Can I read some? How was it published? The answers to these questions is a bland, "I have tried to express my feelings in poetry, but poetry loses its power when translated." (p. 59). There are many sections in this book where the author does much more "telling" then "showing." (Later in the book, we're given examples of a poem and two parables.) In these cases the points he wants to make would be much more powerful if his experiences were related as narrative instead of statements.
Another problem that I have with this book is are the preachy passages full of over-generalizations. Here's an example: "In fact, all Muslims are potential enemies of thinkers who publish their ideas, of educated people, of people they do not understand, and of Christians." (p. 53). This kind of blanket statement is extremely dangerous! The author isn't clear that he's writing about his experiences with an extremist government and religious fanatics.
As the story moves forward, we learn about the Poet's difficulties as he tries to find asylum in the U.K. He's attacked by radical Muslims in that country! The second half of the story really got me emotionally involved because "the Poet" is let down over and over by humanitarian organizations and governments in many countries! I was especially shocked to read about how the Poet's family was used against him!
The uneven prose is leaving a lot of questions in my mind about the purpose of the book. Is this book meant to be a political commentary? Is this book a biography/testimony of a man's religious journey? I'm not entirely sure. The introduction describes the language barrier between Jay Fluckiger and "the Poet." Even if this is the case, surely there are ways to make the story more readable?
I hope this story reaches the right hands and opens eyes to what's happening right now in Afghanistan! I hope "the Poet" and his family find justice and are able to share their story.
I'm from the Mid-Atlantic region and I moved to Mississippi two years ago. The title of the book caught my**spoiler alert** Review Contains Spoilers!
I'm from the Mid-Atlantic region and I moved to Mississippi two years ago. The title of the book caught my attention when I was in the library of the high school where I'm a teacher assistant. The "fish out of water" aspect appealed to me. I imagined a humorous story with culture clashes, Southern hospitality and healthy laughter. I got to page 44 of reading snide comments from the mouths of teens about other teens. (I hear this everyday). Nothing in the story was making me laugh - what's there to laugh at? I'd already encountered abusive/distant parents, 2 teen boys taking pity dates to prom, poverty, and inept teachers. All while ignoring the segregation "elephant in the room."
So, I started skimming and I'm glad I didn't invest more hours of my life reading this book. The events in the book turned to drinking, a hit and run, school shooting/murder and suicide. In my lifetime I've experienced several of these events myself. Another review commented that this "shared experience" drew her into the story. I don't feel that way at all. It was all too close to home - literally just outside my door. I live in a rural area where racism, abuse and poverty are real. I want to read books that focus on positive things, I don't want to read fiction about the pain in the world when I can pain in the real world quite clearly....more
I got a copy of this book through a First Reads giveaway. The author enclosed a personal note and signed the book. Thank-you!
This book reminds me of aI got a copy of this book through a First Reads giveaway. The author enclosed a personal note and signed the book. Thank-you!
This book reminds me of an "Indiana Jones" movie or "National Treasure". It's a combination of mystery and romances, touching on European history, myths and archaeology. There's some tense moments that involve PG-13 related material and language to give you a heads-up. The author has a definite flair for the dramatic. Like an "Indiana Jones" movie, each character is a bit on the ridiculous side. Especially the bad guys. The idiosyncrasies of the bad guys was one of my favorite things about the book!
The author creates an elaborate puzzle for the characters (and the reader) to solve involving the seven deadly sins, seven historical figures and seven European cities. We follow them on adventures throughout Europe. The descriptions of the landmarks creates a clear mental picture for the reader.
Renee, the heroine, has been diagnosed with leukemia - but we never know what kind. Her parents left her with a trust fund, so she's able to travel to different archeological digs around the world. She watched her father die from cancer and is haunted by the past. David is a retired helicopter pilot with some issues of his own. There relationship is a very important part of the story but doesn't take the focus from the action.
This is a story for pure enjoyment. Other reviewers have noted the unrealistic pieces of the story - i.e. Renee destroying an ancient Greek temple, stealing an artifact and climbing out using a cross-bow. Obviously, this requires the reader to take the story with the proverbial grain of salt.