Who Doesn't Love a Classic? discussion

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OTHER reviews (not classics) > OTHER reviews - July - September 2016

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message 1: by Lara (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
We LOVE the classics, but it's not all we read!

Please leave your reviews of books that are NOT classics here!

If you read a book that IS a classic (Originally Published BEFORE 1950), please put that review as a NEW topic in the CLASSICS reviews folder.


message 2: by Lara (last edited Jul 15, 2016 07:40AM) (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

★ ★ ★ 1/2

Attachments is a cute (and different) guy meets girl story. It’s 1999 and office e-mail is a semi-new development. Lincoln’s job is to monitor office workers’ e-mails and make sure they’re following the rules and whatnot. He feels kind of like a creep for doing so, but a job’s a job. While going through all the flagged e-mails, he comes across the witty banter of Jennifer and Beth, two friends that e-mail back and forth daily about everything under the sun, from relationships to silly little jokes. For some reason, Lincoln decides not to warn them about being flagged and falls into the habit of looking forward to reading their back and forth every day. He starts to feel like he knows these ladies, even though he’s never actually met them. Once he realizes he’s falling for Beth, he’s at a loss for how to proceed. He’s read all these intimate things about her life…and she doesn’t even know his name!

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read and just what I needed to help pull me out of this reading slump I’ve been in lately. The e-mails between Beth and Jennifer were always a pleasure to read and I could see why Lincoln was drawn to them. I could really relate to a lot of what Beth was going through with her boyfriend. And don’t get me started on Jennifer’s emotional roller coaster. My heartstrings were definitely pulled. Overall it was good, but the ending felt a bit forced to me. I won’t spoil anything but it kind of seemed like the author couldn’t figure out how to “fix” her problem and just kind of threw something together. Until the last 10 pages, this was 4 stars for me. I still enjoyed it though. I’m looking forward to reading more of hers.


message 3: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
A little too "new" to be considered a classic, but I feel certain it will endure.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff– 5*****
In October 1949 Helene Hanff, a single woman living and working in her small New York apartment, responded to an ad placed in the Saturday Review of Literature by Marks & Co, a bookshop in London that specialized in used books. Thus began a two-decade long correspondence and friendship between the reserved bookseller and the irrepressible Miss Hanff. What a delight it is to be allowed to watch this growing relationship, fueled by a shared love of books, and an ability to laugh at oneself and one’s follies. It’s the kind of book I’ll read over and over just for the sheer joy of it.
Full Review HERE


message 4: by Jerry-Book (last edited Jul 21, 2016 06:59PM) (new)

Jerry-Book | 22 comments Mod
The River of Doubt Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Candice Millard

I was interested in this having read a bio of TR. I guess I will give it four stars out of five stars.
The project reminded me of Scott 's attempt to find the South Pole.
It was not professionally done so TR was lucky he escaped with his life


message 5: by ilikeboox (last edited Jul 26, 2016 10:27PM) (new)

ilikeboox | 45 comments Recently I read Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva which I found interesting. I didn't know anything about her. It was written in an engaging style which kept me interested. 4 or 5 stars

I also enjoyed an interesting mystery read: Blue Asylum fictitiously and interestingly takes place on Sanibel Island. 4 or 5 stars

I'm not big on mysteries and crime fiction but there is so much of it at the library that I end up giving them a try far too often. This one was okay: Far From True

Now, I'm back to World War II:

I just finished The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution which critiques the ideas of other historians' theories and the author of course gives his own conclusion. Very long and dry sentences. 4 stars because it's so interesting.

and I'm currently reading: 1924: The Year That Made Hitler. stars to be determined!


message 6: by Lara (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
★★★★

Erik Larson’s latest book is the story of the last voyage of the Lusitania. It was in the middle of WWI (before the US had entered the war) and German u-boats were becoming a serious thing to be feared. The Lusitania was a British ocean liner (one of the world’s largest) that was traveling from New York to Liverpool with a total of 1,266 passengers and 696 crew. Despite warnings from Germany, many people thought nothing of traveling through the British Isles during wartime. Since it was a passenger ship and not technically involved in the war, surely it would be safe, right? Wrong. On May 7, 1915, at the tail end of its ocean crossing, the Lusitania was torpedoed by U-20. It sank incredibly quickly for such a large ship (it only took 18 minutes). 1,198 people died along with it. Many of them were Americans.

Larson does a fantastic job as always of setting the scene and explaining all of the different moving parts: the tensions between Germany and England, the battle for control of the sea. He goes into a massive amount of detail about the struggles of war and President Wilson’s uneasiness with it all. He also highlights several passengers’ lives and their specific stories of the sinking. As a history buff, I’m ashamed to say that I really did not know much when it came to WWI. Though the sinking of the Lusitania did not immediately cause America to enter the war (that would happen almost 2 years later), many see it as one of the deciding factors in that decision.

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Larson’s work. He never disappoints!


message 7: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
Lara wrote: "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
★★★★

Erik Larson’s latest book is the story of the last voyage of the Lusitania. It was in the middle of WWI (before th..."


I really liked this as well.


message 8: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
NOT a classic, but gripping Non-fiction/history ...

Ghost Soldiers The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission by Hampton Sides Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides – 4****
Sides crafts a story that is gripping, informative, horrifying and inspiring; the forgotten tale of an “impossible” mission to rescue hundreds of American and British POWs from a Japanese camp in the Philippines. I was captured from page one and mesmerized throughout. I felt that I really got to know the men involved – prisoners and rescuers. This is a history that will appeal to fans of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken or Doug Stanton’s In Harm’s Way.
Full Review HERE


message 9: by Lara (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
Book Concierge wrote: "NOT a classic, but gripping Non-fiction/history ...

Ghost Soldiers The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission by Hampton Sides Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides – 4****
Sides crafts a story that is gripping, informative, horrifying and ins..."


Adding this to my TBR. Sounds like it's right up my alley!


message 10: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
Again, a little too "new" (first published 1987) to be considered a classic, but I'm pretty sure this one will last ...

Beloved by Toni Morrison Beloved – Toni Morrison
– 4****
This is a challenging book to read (and to listen to) because Morrison uses multiple narrators, switches time frames without notice, and dribbles out clues to what really happened in a way that keeps the reader off balance and unsure where the story is headed. I did think the “atmospheric” writing sometimes got in the way of the storyline. Still, I loved Morrison’s use of language; I felt immersed in the story, the timeframe, the magic, the brutal reality.
Full Review HERE


message 11: by Lara (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

★★★★★

Eileen Tumulty was born in 1941 to Irish immigrant parents. They live in a small apartment in Queens and things aren’t easy. Her dad drinks too much and her mother never seems happy. Eileen’s goal is to create a better life for herself. Really it is the embodiment of the American Dream that she’s striving for. So when she marries Ed, she expects greatness. He’s a researcher and professor at a local college and Eileen is a nurse, but she pushes Ed to reach for more. However Ed’s aspirations are different than hers. He believes in working hard and doing good. She wants him to go for promotions, switch to a better school, make more money, etc., but Ed is content in being the best teacher he can be for the kids in the community. Their personalities could simply not be more different, and though they love each other, going through life and raising their son, Connell, together is a struggle. Ed wants Connell to have a great life. To live fully. Eileen wants Connell to have a full life too, but that means something different to her than it does to Ed: to become a lawyer or doctor or politician. She knows he has potential and pushes him to meet it.

As the daily struggles persist, things get even harder when Ed starts behaving erratically. He starts forgetting things. His students have started complaining that their grades are wrong. He finds something out of place and he snaps, completely losing control of his temper. He sees all the groceries Eileen has bought for the week and starts ranting about them eating too much and then starts throwing everything in the garbage. Eileen doesn’t know what is wrong with her husband but she has had enough. If a doctor can’t find anything wrong with him, she has no choice but to divorce him. Unfortunately, their worst fears are confirmed. He has early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Really, We Are Not Ourselves, is a simple story. One of a girl growing up in New York, finding love, marrying, and raising a family. But perhaps since it’s such a simple story, that’s why it resonates so deeply with me. I cannot think of another book I’ve read recently where each character feels so real and true. They all have their flaws and I could find myself empathizing with each of them in different ways. They are not caricatures by any means. I felt like I knew them and was rooting for each one of them. I found myself yelling at them in my head when they were making a mistake. How could Eileen not realize something was seriously wrong with her husband for so long?! Stop focusing on a new, fancy house and look at what’s really going on! Connell, stop being a brat and help your mother! But it was these instances that made it feel so real. The denial, the depression, the confusion, the anger, the love. Each character had deep thoughts and emotions that read so true. It was the story of a family, making their way through the difficulties in life and trying to make sense of it all. And it was beautiful.


message 12: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
Lara wrote: "We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

★★★★★
..."


This sounds really good. Great review.


message 13: by Lara (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
Book Concierge wrote: "Lara wrote: "We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

★★★★★
..."

This sounds really good. Great review."


It was excellent. I highly recommend it!


message 14: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
A nice, light, summer read ...

La's Orchestra Saves the World  by Alexander McCall Smith La’s Orchestra Saves the World – Alexander McCall Smith – 4****
Alexander McCall Smith has a gentle way of introducing the reader to his characters. La and the other residents of the town go about their business in this small Suffolk village during WW2; they worry, rejoice, are fearful, find love, relish friendships, enjoy simple pleasures and take action when they can. I applauded La’s resilience and her ability to maintain her faith in the basic goodness of others. Her scope of influence may have been small, but she was a treasure to those within that circle.
Full Review HERE


message 15: by Lara (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
The Girls by Emma Cline
★★★

Evie Boyd is 14 years old and living in a rural town in California. Her parents recently divorced and she is basically trying to find herself the summer before she’s sent away to boarding school. One day she meets Suzanne, a woman who lives with a bunch of other people on a ranch outside of town. Evie is completely taken with Suzanne. She wants to be near her. So she ends up hopping on their bus and heading out to the ranch with them. On the way to the ranch, the others tell Evie all about Russell. They way these women are talking, Evie can tell they think highly of him. That he’s something special. After meeting him Evie understands what the others were saying. Russell is magical in a sense. She can see how big his influence is on the others, even on Evie herself. But really, Evie only stays because of Suzanne. She’s drawn to her. She keeps coming back to the ranch and by the end of the summer, she can tell the mood has shifted. Something is not right. Something is coming.

This is basically about the Manson Family right before the murders. All the names are changed, along with some other details, but if you’re familiar with Charles Manson then the similarities are very easy to spot. Parts of it were definitely interesting, the way Cline tries to describe the feelings of a young woman coming of age in that time, with those people. How even though Evie wasn’t there for the murders, would she have actually done anything to stop them if she was? Would she have participated? But at some point it seems that all Evie cares about is sex. I get that she’s a teenage girl and is finding herself but it becomes a little over the top. I’m a true crime buff and have read Helter Skelter (which is excellent by the way) and so maybe that’s why this book wasn’t, in my opinion, all it was cracked up to be. I’ve read the real thing and it was so interesting on its own, I see no need for some kind of fictionalized portrayal of the events.

So overall this book was okay. Nothing great.


message 16: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell Once Upon a River – Bonnie Jo Campbell – 3***
I hardly know what to write about this novel. Very early on I was disturbed by Margo and the adults around her. I wanted to hug her and keep her safe and warm. And then I wanted to shake her till her teeth rattled. And yet … she is a compelling character and I couldn’t just turn away from her. Still, this is no Huckleberry Finn. Twain’s central character had a certain innocence about him, which Margo seems to lack.
Full Review HERE


message 17: by Terris (new)

Terris Lara wrote: "The Girls by Emma Cline
★★★

Evie Boyd is 14 years old and living in a rural town in California. Her parents recently divorced and she is basically trying to find herself the summer..."


Thank you for the review. I was trying to decide if I wanted to read this or not. I think I'll skip it.
I agree with you, since I have read Helter Skelter, I can't imagine this would hold a candle to that one :)


message 18: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein The Art of Racing In the Rain – Garth Stein – 5***** and a ❤
The story could be maudlin but it isn’t. Enzo is a philosophical narrator, and also a fair one. (Though he does have a thing for the zebra demon.) There are moments of laugh-out-loud humor, sing-out-loud joy, and sigh-out-loud sadness. I listened to the CD for this re-reading. The audio is performed perfectly by Christopher Evan Welch. Have a hankie ready for the last few chapters.
Full Review HERE


message 19: by Terris (new)

Terris Lara wrote: "We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

★★★★★

Eileen Tumulty was born in 1941 to Irish immigrant parents. They live in a small apartment in Queens and things aren’t easy. Her dad d..."


Adding it to the TRB list now! Thanks!


message 20: by Book Concierge (last edited Sep 25, 2016 01:10PM) (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 217 comments Mod
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom – 5***** and a ❤
The subtitle is the perfect synopsis: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. This little gem of a book is the result of Tuesdays the author spent discussing life, death, family, work, and love with his former professor and mentor, who was dying of ALS. It’s touching and inspiring.
Full Review HERE


message 21: by Lara (new)

Lara (llevinson) | 115 comments Mod
Terris wrote: "Lara wrote: "The Girls by Emma Cline
★★★

Evie Boyd is 14 years old and living in a rural town in California. Her parents recently divorced and she is basically trying to find herse..."


Yeah, I read it for my F2F book club and not a single member of our group liked it much either.


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