Reading this novel for the third time, I enjoyed it even more that my first two readings. Yet when I try to explain why I like this novel so much to f...moreReading this novel for the third time, I enjoyed it even more that my first two readings. Yet when I try to explain why I like this novel so much to friends, the novel sounds boring and mundane.
I think like everyone in the novel I am attracted to the character of Edward Ashburnham. I can forgive his faults.
You need to be an attentive reader because the narrator is not reliable and there are lots of time shifts in the narrative.
Basically, it is the story of two couples. Edward and Florence, not married to each other, who become involved with each other. Edward's wife is aware of the affair, but our narrator, Florence's spouse is not. Both Florence and Edward have been unfaithful to their respective spouses before.
Florence pretends to have a bad heart so she does not have to suffer her husband's physical affection. Edward also has a bad heart. He is in a loveless marriage where his wife wants to control and mold him into the perfect English landlord. Edward has his own ideas about what it is to be a good English landlord but his need for love causes him to act in ways that violate the moral code. Then there is Nancy, Masie Maiden, and etc.
How does this all unwind? Read this classic and find out!(less)
Washington Square is not my favorite Henry James novel. It seems dry and dusty to me. While I was reading it, I kept having ideas about plot twists th...moreWashington Square is not my favorite Henry James novel. It seems dry and dusty to me. While I was reading it, I kept having ideas about plot twists that could make it more entertaining. But what the heck! I am not a celebrated author like James. I read this because my nephew is using it in his thesis, and I will be proof reading.
The plot is this doctor's daughter stands to inherit mucho dollars when her dad dies. Her mom is already dead, and she will inherit enough cash to live well just from her mom even without her dad's money.
The doctor believes that his daughter is plain looking and intellectually dull.
A handsome charming young man with no visible means of support except a widowed sister with 5 kids wants to marry the doctor's daughter.
The doctor smells fortune hunter and tells his daughter he will disinherit her if she marries the fortune hunter drama ensues. (less)
I chose A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra for my book club to read. I had read some good reviews of the book.
When I started the book...moreI chose A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra for my book club to read. I had read some good reviews of the book.
When I started the book, I didn't really know anything about the two wars that occurred in Chechnya. So I looked at the Wikapedia entry and got some information.
The novel met my expectations about life in Russia--poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Basically, it's the story of people struggling to survive not only deprivations of food and fuel shortages but also the being tortured and/or killed by the rival factions fighting over Chechnya.
Sonja is a heroic character. She is not a flawless heroine. She is a person so damaged by war that she closes herself off to all types of relationships. She is a gifted surgeon running what remains of the hospital in a small town. With very little support and a black market connection for vital supplies, she keeps providing medical assistance to those in need. Her sister Natasha is missing somewhere in all the chaos of war. Sonja feels responsible for her and hopes to find her.
Akhmed is a failed doctor who really wanted to be an artist. He lives outside the small town with his wife who is lost to her faded memories and physical decay. Akhmed is also heroic. He rescues his neighbor's 8 year old daughter from the forest after Russian soldiers have taken her father away. Her mother is already dead. Akhmed is also resourceful. He takes Havaa to Sonja's hospital and offers to work there if Havaa can stay. Soon he learns that Russian soldiers are searching for Havaa too. What can they want with an 8 year old?
A well-written novel that deserves its readers.(less)
You have to love Roberta! She is a survivor and a wonderful narrator. It is sad that some children really have shitty parents like Roberta. Her non-ca...moreYou have to love Roberta! She is a survivor and a wonderful narrator. It is sad that some children really have shitty parents like Roberta. Her non-caring self-centered mother makes me sick. Her father with his skewed selfish view of the world makes me sicker!
What makes Cruddy such a good read is Roberta's voice. Her need for love and acceptance just like all teenagers is overwhelming but her circumstances are so much worse than most kids.
The ending does not really fit for me. Without giving away too many spoilers, I don't understand why a smart, resourceful, girl who has been through so much would make that choice. (less)
"Hellfire" Thomas Covenant says this about 10,000 times. I was looking for another fantasy series to dive into like Game of Thrones. Lord Foul's Bane...more"Hellfire" Thomas Covenant says this about 10,000 times. I was looking for another fantasy series to dive into like Game of Thrones. Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson more like Fun with Dick and Jane than Game of Thrones.
Thomas Covenant is jerked from his 20th Century or 21 Century Life and maybe thrown into a different world with different values or is he in a coma? In his real life, he is a leper fearful of rotting away. In the new world, he resembles a hero of the people and is treated as such. He becomes involved in a quest to save their world.
While there is plot and action, there is absolutely no character development. As a reader you move with the Questers and different things thwart your quest. Success or not?
I would say read and find out, but I am not going to be reading the next one.
The poet in our book club selected this book for us to read. Banville's writing is beautiful and occasionally caused me to pick up my dictionary.
It w...moreThe poet in our book club selected this book for us to read. Banville's writing is beautiful and occasionally caused me to pick up my dictionary.
It was the subject matter that caused me to give it a two star rating. Readers spend their time inside the mind of a murderer. Not a calculating serial killer. who might be interesting, but a slob who is a disorganized failure in life. Frederick does not value things as most people do. His wife and son seem of very little importance to him. In fact, he never reports to readers that he misses them even though he spends most of the novel away.like he does a drink of gin.
Despite Banville's elegant writing, I found the book hard to pick up because the story line was so boring. Frederick is a man who needs money to pay a debt. The novel is his quest to find a way to get the money. Banville keeps readers in suspense for a good part of the novel as to the identity of Frederick's victim but that did not peak my interest much. His choice of victim reflects his skewed sense of values.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is very interesting both in terms of what her cells have allowed scientists to accomplish and race relations in t...moreThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is very interesting both in terms of what her cells have allowed scientists to accomplish and race relations in this country.
If you are interested in either of these topics, this book will not disappoint you. I also found very interesting the courage of Rebecca Skloot and her journey in writing this book. She put herself in some scary situations to gain the information and insight necessary to write this book. And we are better off for her effort.
Steve Wolf's story about being forced to retire from his law firm, and the new life he made is inspirational. At retirement most people want to believ...moreSteve Wolf's story about being forced to retire from his law firm, and the new life he made is inspirational. At retirement most people want to believe that they will be missed and have made a contribution. Being forced out before you are ready to go would be very painful. Yet Wolf's law partners doubt he has the physical capacity to keep up the rugged pace of a trial attorney's life because of his degenerative spine problems. Bastards--maybe it is always about money!!!
Wolf leaves and nurses his back in the beautiful and temperate winter climate of Sedona, Arizona. A dog person, Steve decides to adopt a retired racing greyhound. Actually as you learn, the dog, Comet, picks him.
Without giving away any spoilers, Comet does save his life. You follow Steve, Frankie (Steve's wife), and Comet through crisis, changes, and new beginnings. Comet is a remarkable dog in many ways, but in most ways, she is what all dog people love in their pets--faithful to a fault, smart, and always loving.
An old friend recommended this book to me. I usually don't read books about animals. No I haven't read Marley and Me or Racing in the Rain. Old Yeller soured me on animal books because as Ernest Hemmingway says "every true story ends in death." I hate it when the dog dies. As a kid, I could not watch Lassie because I would worry about Lassie too much. So the fact that I picked this up and kept reading says a lot about what a fine book it is. (less)
Suci, a Sumatran Rhino, is one of the animals you will meet in this book. Sumatran Rhinos are almost extinct. Suci was one of these rhinos who was bor...moreSuci, a Sumatran Rhino, is one of the animals you will meet in this book. Sumatran Rhinos are almost extinct. Suci was one of these rhinos who was born in a zoo and was part of a breeding program to try to rebuild the species. Suci died last week.
The point of Kolberts' book the Sixth Extinction is to draw attention to what is happening now all over the world. We are in the period of the Sixth Extinction only we are too preoccupied with putting gas in our cars and tossing Styrofoam in the trash to keep it on our minds.
Kolbert describes the five previous extinctions that have gone before. You know the one that killed the dinosaurs. She tells readers how the changes we--mankind--have made to the environment not some comet blasting into the earth or weather change is causing this one. Global warming is only part of the story. Mankind building in formerly remote areas destroying habitat, producing pollutants, and dumping trash in the ocean are all parts of it too.
One of the really interesting studies she writes about is a scientist who is researching what the rise in the acid contest of the ocean does to the flora, fauna, and wildlife who live there. It's not good.
Something everyone should read to raise their awareness. (less)
"How many forgotten heroes sleep in history's great cemetery? Thousands, millions of Fafeks and Moravecs, of Novaks and Zelenkas . . . The dead are de...more"How many forgotten heroes sleep in history's great cemetery? Thousands, millions of Fafeks and Moravecs, of Novaks and Zelenkas . . . The dead are dead, and it makes no difference to them whether I pay homage to their deeds. But for us the living, it does mean something. Memory is of no use to the remembered, only to those who remember. We build ourselves with memory and console ourselves with memory." Page 179.
Last year I read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich where the assassination of Heydrich is a small event in the context of all the events. Reading this author's description of the plot to assassinate Reinhart Heydrich touches the heart because reader become aware of the evil, pain, and murder perpetrated by the Nazis, and the sacrifice and courage of those who opposed them.
Binet is so concerned about not turning these historical personages into characters and about writing the truth of the events. This authorial technique works to add an element of genuineness to his novel. Just like the author who tells readers, "this isn't something I am making up, it comes from an old manuscript I found," Binet brings this historical event to life and makes it hard to forget.
Whew! Limit is a long read about 1400 pages, and as many characters as a 19th Century Russian novel.
Lots of action. Really part thriller and part sci...moreWhew! Limit is a long read about 1400 pages, and as many characters as a 19th Century Russian novel.
Lots of action. Really part thriller and part science fiction. Without giving away too many spoilers, here's the plot. Julian Orley, in the Warren Buffet Really, Really, Rich Club, has invented a space elevator that makes it economical to move Hydrogen-3 (a mineral/oil/gas replacement source found on the moon)to earth. He and his daughter Lynn design a hotel for the rich and famous on the moon.
The hotel is very cool and so is the moon. However, not everyone is happy with his success. There is this group called Hydra that wants stop Orley's success.
The Chinese are competing with Orley to farm Hydrogen-3, but they haven't figured out how to build an elevator yet.
On page 853, I figured out who the head of Hydra was but of course kept reading to see if I was right.
Science fiction fans, Detective fiction fans--you will enjoy this!(less)