Toney, Alabama | Member Since 2009
This is the second in the Elm Creek Quilts series, and I finished it in a day and a half. The women in the quilting circle with their real life problems, as well as the aging Sylvia, accept and love one another in spite of all their short comings, and sometimes, I think BECAUSE of them. The women and the quilt camp guests who come to Elm Creek aren't exempt from any of life's pain, and hearing their stories will bring you comfort. They will become your friends, too. You won't always understand why a person behaves the way she does . . . just like in real life . . . but you learn that you don't always have to know everything to accept . . . and eventually just love them.
I wasn't expecting to like this book quite so much . . . and I'm puzzled at the reviews who protest so that they can't stand Olive . . . I have finally decided they must all be under the age of 50 and have not come face to face with the mistakes they have made themselves, when the girl inside comes barreling right into the grown woman and there's hell to pay. When we are young, we are always sure we are right, and being right takes a high toll . . . on ourselves, our kids, and most of all those we love . . . having to be right, well, that's just another ploy to cover up the fact that we're afraid . . . afraid we may NOT be right, afraid to let too much of ourselves go to those we love, afraid to be too needy . . . This is a very good audio book, but if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
This is my fifth Bryce Courtenay book, and I haven't been disappointed yet. I've listened to The Power of One, The Potato Factory Trilogy (which I also highly recommend), and now Tandia. Humphrey Bower narrates them all . . . flawlessly. I have learned so much about the history of Africa in listening to The Power of One and Tandia. Sadly, evil is so prevalent in the political and the powerful. And it has been so since the beginning of time. The beautiful story of Peekay, as a child and now as an adult, who chooses to fight for right is a rare jewel. To reject corruption and embrace truth in the face of even death . . . awe, this is the magic of the tadpole angel.
I thoroughly enjoyed Some Sing, Some Cry, but agree with another reviewer that it was a bit too long, AND that the first half was by far the best. The human stories, of Ma Bett, her daughters and grandchildren were my favorite, and the love and wisdom that she passed down to her family blessed my soul. The history of the jazz movement, with the very personal stories were incredible. Though important for the people and our country, the political actions, did not interest me nearly as much. I love stories of the south, and this one is very good. It doesn't come close to The Help or The Kitchen House, however. But perhaps one shouldn't compare them, as they are different in that this one spans a much longer time period, and follows several generations.
First of all, I'm a coffee lover . . . and unlike many of the other reviewers, I LIKE series with a theme . . . quilting, knitting, cooking . . . I'm very family oriented. The ex-husband's involvement didn't bother me at all, as he was a part owner in the coffee house, and father to their sweet grown daughter, Joy. True, it's a light listen, but interesting and it kept me engaged until the very end.
The third book in the Big Stone Gap Trilogy finds Ava Maria and Jack Mac raising Etta and growing older. The love between them grows sweeter (and wiser), and the stories of the town's folk are some of the best parts of the book. Pearl has expanded the drug store to three now. Jack Mac's construction company, which he and two friends opened after the coal mines closed, is thriving. Etta's teenage antics throw Ava Maria for a loop . . . and Ava Maria finds herself being the OPP (overprotective parent), while Jack Mac is the laid back nice one . . . isn't that typical??? But as time goes on, Etta does survive being raised by imperfect parents . . . and both parents finally learn to value the qualities the other bring to the table. This series has a great southern, down home feel . . . you'll laugh, cry, and come to love all these people, just like they are your own neighbors.
This is the second of the Big Stone Gap stories. Ava Maria and Jack have been married about ten years and have the sweetest little girl, Etta. Their marriage is facing "growing pains" . . . they've lost their precious four year old son, Joe to leukemia three years earlier, and grief does horrible things to people. When the coal mines close, Jack loses his sense of identity and Ava Maria doesn't help things by having no clue as to how men tick. In my opinion, neither Jack nor Ava Maria help the situation much . . . both retreating to their own corners and flirting with disaster . . . as humans sometimes do . . . I could have done with a little more depth and wisdom at that point . . . but all and all, I love the characters in this series. The narration is perfect, and by the author. I'm listening to next book already, Milk Glass Moon.
There's nothing more country than mountain folk, and Big Stone Gap is all that and more. When thirty-five year old, Ava Maria, the town pharmacist, who's considered an old maid by mountain folk standards, loses her mother, her world goes into a tail spin. Everything she thought she knew changes. She's always known her mother was Italian, but when she finds a picture and letters in her mother's room, she's in shock. She doesn't even know herself anymore. I absolutely love this story . . . being a hillbilly myself and having married very young (still married 42 years later), I can easily relate to all the "goings on". The narration is spot on. I've already downloaded the next two books in the series.Can't wait to start the next one . . .
Of all the stories written about the ending of America as we know it, this one is my favorite. The financial downfall is not at all far fetched, as the economy has long been "propped up" falsely . . . and it's indeed a frightening thought what ordinary people might do when faced without food and necessities. What makes this book different than others is the human story of THE MAN and the boy, Joshua. It is captivating. I couldn't stop listening, as they encountered the worst and the best in others. And though in small pockets across America, there was GOOD . . . there was faith . . . and there was hope.
I've had this one in my library for a year . . . waiting for just the right time to listen . . . the narration was PERFECT . . . and of course, I loved Pi from the first . . . the boy from India who kept going back to the Catholic priest asking so many questions . . . why would Jesus allow himself to be disgraced . . . to be crucified . . . and the priest answered, it is simple . . . it was for love . . . the stories about the zoo in India and his family life before his journey on the ocean were very interesting to me, too . . . the grueling, almost unending sea voyage on the life raft, with the tiger (after the ship sank), was at times, almost too drawn out . . . I longed for more of the story once he came ashore in Mexico . . . but all in all this is an audio listen that I won't long forget.
Kept me guessing . . . this is the kind of book that keeps you listening until the very end . . . government spies . . . KGB . . . CIA . . . who can you trust??? Stephen Coonts is an excellent writer, the narration is great . . . and you thought the cold war was over??? Think again . . .
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