PARIS, TX, United States | Member Since 2008
I am scratching my head over this one. I think it is more a misconception over what I thought I was getting, and the new paperback cover depicts that story better. This is really not a war / military book, it is a Dallas Cowboy Thanksgiving Day book which centers on the experience from the point of view of some US soldiers who are stateside for a short publicity tour. It is not a bad book, just not a good choice for me.
I had this for awhile before I read it. Why did I wait so long? Is it the cover or the start of the book? Well don't let it put you off. This is a sneaky little surprise.
I love Brit Lit. I love the humor and the peculiar but expressive slang. But what I love more are books that have alot to say about society without cramming it down your throat. Instead, they just present the facts and push them to the brink and let the numbers add up as they may.
Meet Jess, a hard working mom of a blended family of two kids whose husband is an absentee dead beat. Meet Ed who is a Geek-illionaire who made a snap decision out of desperation that he now can't bear to share with his ailing father. Throw into the mix a goth boy, a math girl, a rescue dog, and a number of desperate situations, and you get a page turner. It is predictable, but it is also so much more, so it can be encountered on different levels and that -- plus its heart -- is why I loved it.
At the heart of the story is the famous parable of the different degrees of forgiveness. I'm not spoiling anything by telling you this, it's obvious from the beginning. What's not obvious is how it will all unfold. What was not obvious to me was how often this book would tug at my heart, and not in the just typical romantic comedy way.
Take all of this and add in a writer who knows the craft, and you get a darn good book with staying power. So get past the title and the cover and get busy reading it. You won't regret it.
Another excellent surprise. This started out a little rough for me, but I'm so glad I stuck with it. It is a book with huge scope covering the lives of two women in Afghanistan, this will first make you curious and then begin tugging on your heart strings from a powerful new (old) perspective, that of the imprisoned and disenfranchised women. Shall we not guard or own freedoms with all of our being? In what ways do we need to break out of our shells?
Also, this book really brings home the very limited world view that so many trapped women have and why. It's so hard for me to fathom. I'm so thankful for my life, and I'll learn about the issues and exercise my right to vote every single time. I can't help but wonder -- if push came to shove, would we be as brave as these women?
Hate the cover, love the book. I get why this won the Goodreads award. Its real, it tugs at your heart, and yet it doesn't solve all the problems but leaves you with hope. Also, I can see why it would be popular with happily -- or even semi-happily -- married women (but do younger girls like it?) Interesting time twist that makes you think about your mate and why you fell and love and what you do to each other despite your best intentions, and why you stay married. Good stuff and hard to put down.
My only caveat is that I am not sure how teens will fill about this offering. It's a bit more about the marriage after a number of years, although it flashes back to the college dating years. It will probably resonate more with those who have been married a while.
2014 was a strange book year for me. Even in November, I hadn't loved loved loved any literary fiction. This was one of the books that finally did it for me.
It is more than just a dystopian look at the end of the world as we known it. It's highly creative, with a story buried within a story, buried within a story. I love that kind of thing, but if it bothers you, you should know you'll be jumping around a bit.
Station Eleven has something to say about our world, through the looking glass of hindsight, as the characters remember their lives, and as the author then pops you back into that world to give you the full story. It is something like Fahrenheit 457 or 1984 in its soft chiding to better appreciate what we have. It gives you Shakespeare's plague ridden world to consider, King Lear, and a traveling troupe comprised of a new species: artist - survivalists. It gives you Star Trek -survival is not enough - and makes you wonder which recent weather disaster was the one the author lived through. It gives you Hollywood and world commerce, at the same time that it takes them away. It's completely original.
I want to rate it only a 4.5 though, because of the lack of editing of one stylistic mannerism that drove me crazy. Don't read any further if you don't want to also be automatically jarred out of this lovely world every time it happens. Yes, I blame the editors for allowing the repetitive following: indescribable, inconceivable, unfathomable, incongruous, unimaginable, etc. etc. We get it. The world has been turned upside and can't be recognized, accepted or described. You don't have to find any more such synonyms. The writing is good enough without it. Next time, leave those words out and trust the readers to get the deep chaos of existence in Station Eleven and ponder as to its meaning.
I totally was not out to get sucked into another series or sail through them all in a very few short months. But this one grabbed me as something different. Yes, the history through a wife's eyes has been done and is growing in popularity, it's here to stay. That is how this series started out, but it's so much more, even from book one. It's the Tudors and Plantagnents. It's the Rivers. Its The Elizabeths you never heard of. And this one! It's a stand alone (but if you can take the time, read them all).
I've been fascinated with the king who divorced or beheaded 6 wives since I first heard of him as a young girl. (Please tell me you have been, too!) It took me a much longer time to understand the destruction of the Catholic Church in England. But this book, told from the POV of disregarded Margaret Pole, had me realizing a whole different facet. What Henry VIII did to his country, to his men, to his cousins, shows a whole other tyrant. A madman.
But what is more interesting to me is that people don't speak up. They think it will stop at each narcissistic act. Appease the monster and he'll leave us alone. But he doesn't, as is shown by history time and time and time again, and soon the narcissist turns into a tyrant, a fascist, a demigod whose tide swallows us whole, even on a whim.
I kept wondering how Gregory would write the (well documented historical) ending. Bravo to you! You wowed me and got it oh so right.
It was awesome the Audible gave this as a Christmas gift in 2014. Just know that Frozen isn't exactly recognizable in this. If you need a listen for your family, it was good. It just reminds me a bit of the craziness that Alice went through in Wonderland (just got through listening to that, so I guess I was comparing).
I wasn't expecting much from this book, especially not a trip down memory lane. I love that it helped remind me of stories from my past. It helped me remember why I have such a heart for immigrants. It humanized the current politics and taught me things I didn't know. It was interesting to me that the setting was not Texas. I kept being surprised that Delaware was the location but I think that was a good thing as it gives a fresh look.
It was hard for me to read, because I kept waiting for the axe to drop, but in the end I couldn't put it down. The sweetest story to me was that of Alma and Arturo, the couple that moves in order to help their daughter get better from a brain injury. Theirs is just an unadulterated pure love for each other and for their daughter. There are other stories mixed in, and I actually liked this, it gave me a break from the story that I knew was going to be difficult every step of the way. The name of the book comes from one of those stories and by the time it is delivered, you know how true it is.
First time I've actually wept at the end of a book in a long, long time. I love my country but we are so screwed up.
One favorite quote, from Arturo: "I'll tell them what I love about this country."
This is just weird! Weird!! But its much more fun after seeing it on stage. I listened to half before we went to a production and half after, and it was much better after. And now I want to read Alice, I am, so I can know the back story.
*There is a Spoiler Below!!*
Via Audio - This may be worthy of my 2014 Best Book I Hated, because that is how I felt 75% of the way through, but in the end I didn't hate it, I was just tortured by it. So I guess it gets the Great 2014 Pure Chinese Torture Award.
It's very well written, and just about gave me a heart attack. It typically doesn't take me but about 3 or 4 days to read a book like this, but this one, about a quarter in, I didn't want to read but couldn't stop. I almost quit reading about 30 times I'm sure, but in the end I kept having to return. Curiosity Killed the Cat indeed! I know it would have been less torture to read by book than by audio, because the narrator did a far superior job of telling the story that I every could have in my mind.
I can't tell you anymore without spoilers so stop here if you don't want anything revealed.
**** SPOLIER ALERT ****
I picked this up because it made it through several rounds of Goodreads Best Book awards, which is always a great indication for a common reading fanatic. It was in the general lit category, otherwise I wouldn't have read it. In a way, I feel betrayed by that and place the blame on the publisher label. Yes it is well written, so deserving of the lit title, but isn't it also a thriller? Close to an erotic thriller? Shouldn't the general public have been fairly warned? I thought I was getting a Downton Abbeyish, Atonement, Brideshead Revisited type book. Instead, I got a torrid love affair -not quite 50 Shades but still- and Crime and Punishment.
The set up is easy: Frances and her mother have fallen on hard times after the War, so they take on lodgers they call "Paying Guests" in order to soften the blow of their slide from the middle class. The lodgers, both of them, are clearly going to shake up Frances' life by some love interest or other. You know it could go any old way.
Here is the spoiler - Frances and Lillian fall into each other's arms with a passion that rivals the pain of Helen and Paris, and I say that because it ends up being devastating to all who surround them - and as with those two, you never know if they are truly in love, or just in blinding, selfish lust. There are several references to Anna Karrinina, and -this being a literary book- you know that no word is wasted so you keep that in the back of your mind the entire length of the book.
An earthquake of an event happens and that is where the book becomes Crime and Punishment. I won't tell you what happens, that is enough of a spoiler. It is an incredible rendition of a C&P twist - with its mental gymnastics and mind boggling questions and doubts. It was devastating and exhausting to me, I just hate that torment. I'm probably more sensitive to it than most. I know it is because of the life I have. I choose to not watch it on TV, I'm not numbed to it, I can never be. So it was torment. But such well written torment! So if you can stand all that, it's a real page turner. And if you haven't read C&P, this will be an excellent mod primer for you.
What is the moral of the story? Know what you are getting, because if you get vested in this you need to just prepare everyone in your life that you are reading this book that you are going to have to talk about and put down and pick up, ad nauseum, until you either finish it or get therapy over it.
BRAVO to the Narrator!!!
This is a departure for Sara that might put her in the literary hall of fame -- Sara is a writer for Texas Monthly and lives in Austin, ( I think?). Thank you Book People in Austin for putting this one on my horizon.
This book about Okinawa then and now is beautiful and haunting and wonderful, and I'd like to go hear Sara discuss how she wrote it. It somewhat reminds me of The Good Earth meets Memoirs of a Geisha meets Eleanor and Park. Fictional story that promotes the idea of Americans getting in touch with their history and beautifully shows the history of Okinawa even prior to its occupation by Japan and then America. What is family? What is love? How does a young girl know the path to take? How do we deal with loss? What place in our lives do our ancestors have? How does our country matter in our lives? These questions are all raised, as each character encounters life, family, love and country on a grand scale.
Note: it does start slowly with a dual time line of teen angst that is almost wearying. But then bam, it takes off so don't quit it. This is not just another YA pining offering.
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