Jeannette Walls has done it again, only this time in fiction. The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses (her memoir and that of her grandmother, respecti...moreJeannette Walls has done it again, only this time in fiction. The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses (her memoir and that of her grandmother, respectively) were brilliantly written and engaging with characters you couldn't help loving. This one takes several cues from her own history: the irresponsible parent, the family getting uprooted every time said parent runs into trouble, and a headstrong female protagonist. Yet this one has all the perfect fictional elements: a moral dilemma, a big bad wolf, and the inevitable resolution. I thoroughly enjoyed it!(less)
Holy. Crap. This book was probably the most horrific and fascinating book I've ever read. It moved me to tears and had me standing up and cheering. I...moreHoly. Crap. This book was probably the most horrific and fascinating book I've ever read. It moved me to tears and had me standing up and cheering. I admire this woman to no end and hope that she lives a long, happy and free life. In short, this book is Ayaan Ali's path from an accepting Muslim childhood in Ethiopia, to a an adult life as a rebel atheist in Holland. Her whole young adulthood was spent trying to become a good Muslim but she simply couldn't live with the dissonance between her beliefs of Allah as a peaceful God and the abuse and murder of women in her Muslim community. After being sent off to an arranged marriage with a man living in Canada, Ayaan gets on a train to Holland and never looks back. She becomes a member of Dutch parliament, makes a documentary about Muslim women, lives under armed guard, survives her co-creator of the documentary who is brutally murdered by an Islamic fundamentalist and eventually settles in the US.
As a devout Christian, it does make me sad that she has completely renounced a belief in any god, although I can't say that I blame her. She was true to what her heart and spirit told her, which was that the injustices she was witnessing were NOT of God. She made her life something she could be proud of, even though her family disowned her for it and her life is still threatened regularly. And now she works to right the wrongs she witnessed both in Africa and in the Islamic communities of western Europe. Three cheers for this heroic woman and her amazing book!(less)
Always looking for a more effective way to manage STUFF (especially wit 6 kids at my house), I started reading this expecting a typical organization h...moreAlways looking for a more effective way to manage STUFF (especially wit 6 kids at my house), I started reading this expecting a typical organization how-to. What I got instead was essentially a guide to re-prioritizing yourself emotionally. The author suggests that with our insane consumer-driven society, we focus SO much on earning, shopping for and managing possessions, we leave little room, time and money for the things of real significance (such as relationships and character development). Becker states that minimalism isn't about living without stuff necessarily, it's about living intentionally. When minimalists DO buy stuff, it's with purpose, because there's a sincere need or want not swayed by trends or emotions and it's an investment in time and money. I wrote more about it on my blog: whiskem.blogspot.com GREAT read and the principles are already transforming our life! (giant garage sale in the works :)
(FYI, I received this ebook free in exchange for my honest review.)
What a wonderful love story! This epic tale spans decades and follows the lives of two young Italians and their forced emigration to America. Their pa...moreWhat a wonderful love story! This epic tale spans decades and follows the lives of two young Italians and their forced emigration to America. Their paths weave in and out of each other's and eventually connect in a beautiful tale of star-crossed love. My only complaint was that the story's timing was odd. The last third of the book goes much faster than the rest and other moments are so drawn out that it broke the flow of the story. Other than that, it was definitely a winning book.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. I started hearing lots of great things about this author and so I picked up every one of his books that the library had. F...moreI really enjoyed this book. I started hearing lots of great things about this author and so I picked up every one of his books that the library had. First of all, his writing is right up my alley: rich and memorable, without being pretentious or overly flowery. The story itself was pretty magnificent too. A widowed attorney (state prosecutor) with a young daughter finds himself newly enamored with both the idea of homeopathy and the local homeopath. They have a brief romantic relationship and then she is suspected of malpractice when another of her patients falls into a serious coma. The legal and ethical ramifications of their relationship and the actions they take to protect her are astounding. Not to mention the toll the entire case takes on their fragile and budding romance. I was thoroughly engaged and concerned for the poor protagonist the whole way through - only instead of pitying him, I felt myself relating to him, if anything. Great story.
*There is one short sex scene that was a bit graphic for my taste, FYI.(less)
This book was so fun to read, I could hadly put it down! Part investigation into the lives of ultra runners, part running how-to book, it had me spell...moreThis book was so fun to read, I could hadly put it down! Part investigation into the lives of ultra runners, part running how-to book, it had me spell-bound. Even my running-hater of a husband wanted to go out and run barefoot across Death Valley after reading it. Motivational and hilarious.(less)
Wow. This book was AH-mazing. One of those that gets your heart pumping, your brain working and makes you want to jump on goodreads just moments after...moreWow. This book was AH-mazing. One of those that gets your heart pumping, your brain working and makes you want to jump on goodreads just moments after finishing to write a glowing review ;)
First of all, Pollen's writing is superb. Amazing metaphors and imagery along with prose that is just plain beautiful, all without trying too hard. I may not be able to duplicate it, but I know stellar writing when I find it. This one was right up my alley. The story itself uses mystery, tragedy and even a bit of romance to drag you in, and then her characters (oh, the characters!!) grab hold of you with a death grip. They are all so real and so alive; I loved every one of them. The climax throws in some danger and mystery all wrapped up tidily in a decent bit of closure. Best part: after the epilogue you learn that two of the most unbelievable aspects of the story were actually based on real events. I love that!
A FANTASTIC read!
**FYI there is one single sentence of a (somewhat explicit) sexual nature, just in case you're thinking of letting your kid read it.(less)
Wow, I enjoyed this book much more than The Law of Similars (the first book of Bohjalian's that I read). First of all, I adore a good historical ficti...moreWow, I enjoyed this book much more than The Law of Similars (the first book of Bohjalian's that I read). First of all, I adore a good historical fiction. Not only was it a heartbreaking story of love, loss and survival, but I learned a ton of history too. I pride myself on being aware of most of the major atrocities of world history but I had never even heard of the Armenian genocide during WWI. The Turks decided to rid themselves of their Armenian population and effectively killed 1.5 million people in the slaughter. First they attacked and killed the male civilians in their homes, and then, under the pretense of wartime hardship, deported most of the women and children and butchered hundreds of thousands of them along the way. The ones who weren't killed were raped, starved and many eventually died of exposure. Because most of the genocide occurred outside Turkey's borders (Syria and other parts of the desert), Turkey has yet to recognize their hand in the murders. To this day, mention of a genocide by a Turkish citizen can merit imprisonment or death.
This book follows the story of a young American woman who comes to Syria to help offer aid and even falls in love with an Armenian man who has survived the Turkish attack and the death of his wife and daughter.
Bohjalian does a fantastic job of detailing the carnage without becoming overly descriptive or morose. He allows us to see inside the minds of the American consul, the foreign aid workers, Armenian survivors, German soldiers and those who know death is upon them. Amazing and touchingly written, the story of the survivors' grandchild learning about their hardships was perhaps the most engrossing of all. How many of us know what our ancestors have endured to lead us to the life of luxury we enjoy now?(less)