I now realize that I am quite possibly the only girl in the world who grew up with a mom who played Chopin just as easy as she tossed a salad. I now realize what an incredible gift that was. I think I realized it at the time, I just didn't realize that we were the very few blessed with that gift. This book is the ultimate listening experience on the master, with life details mixed in with piano pieces. I absolutely loved it.
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.
Best fitness book ever - and the audio gives extras. This is the beauty of self-publishing. Also, I like the fact that the "ghost" writer gets credit up front and center. That is as it should be. (The publishers wanted cuts or changes. True to self, Vin said "No thanks, I'll do it my way" - well he actually probably through a cuss word or two in there, but you get the ist.)
No holding back honesty. I needed this kick in the but and hope I remember to plug in to the podcast.
Warning: you are going to want to read this from cover to cover. What a profound young love story, which raises so many great questions. Why do we read Romeo and Juliet? Is young love, against all the odds, always doomed? Who / what are the Montagues and Capalets of today (or even if the 80s in this book)? Why do opposites attract? Do you have to conform to society's rules? What would you do for love? What would you do for survival?
Eleanor is chubby and has red hair. Lots of red hair. Enough so that she is quickly dubbed Big Red at her new highschool. Eleanor's dad is selfish and absentee. Her mom's husband is scary and abusive, and so mom can't / doesn't help Eleanor, even with such simple needs as clothing or toothbrushes. Eleanor isn't "nice" -life hasn't given her that chance- but there is something about her - like the way she was able to read that poem in English her first day. She is smart and unique, and beautiful just as she is.
Park couldn't be more opposite. His parents are actually still in love, and though they have their moments, they love him and are supportive and somehow pretty wise. Park is cool and even exotic looking, taking after his Korean mother. Park is into music and constantly makes tapes of his favorite songs to listen to, while reading his comic magazines.
Park has a whole seat on the bus and, not without regret, is the only one who allows Eleanor to sit. Soon he realizes that she is reading his comics with him.
Now, see, you do want to know what happens next.
Ok, I know, this is the pivotal Maya Angelou, but I honestly love Mom and Me and Mom so much more.
I think I'll stick with my first assessment: Fascinatingly Weird. Or the Strange Plot Twist Road to the Rainbow at the End of the Road to Perdition.
Every time you think you have the story figured out, you get slammed with a Plot Twist from out of nowhere. Any less of a writer couldn't have dished it up and served it so well. Who won't like it? Practical readers without fortitude or patience, or maybe just with much bettet sense than me, or maybe with less of a sense of humor. I'm not even really sure why I liked it, other than that I love the ability to look (through great writing) at a wide variant of American life in the forties. I love how the tone is so light and matter of fact despite all the heavy subjects. And I truly deeply wanted things to work out for little Evie in the end. She is special and steadfast in her own way, so the only comparison I have is that she gives us a look at life and love and death in the 40s via a sort of Forrestina Gump voice who does Strange Childhood, Peas and Carrots Half Sister, Hollywood, and Jersey, with Jazz, Jewish, and Germanic undertones.
Warning: Probably not for the Super Southern Conservative? But hey, if you read Fifty Shades- and based on sales numbers I think everyone in the world did- then I don't really see the difference. Just take it with a grain of salt.
Makes a great case for Beethoven. I didn't realize there were so many of his works I don't know in addition to the ones I do. Chopin is still my favorite, but I have new music to explore now and I do recognize the genius.
Not earth shattering but enjoyable and well done. If you like P&P and if you like Downton Abby, you'll probably like this. It is like the servants are doing their own dance, which causes them to occasionally run into the P&P story on the dance floor, but otherwise they have their own steps, their own cares and concerns.
Enjoyable political historical fiction filled with intrigue from Elizabeth's point of view. I understand the author's reasoning on the twist at the end but have a hard time buying it, so that jolted me or if the world. Still, it is a great Escape and good book. This woman sacrificed almost everything! I'll be reading the other books on the series.
Interesting book, especially for the fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Who is the Miniaturist? Why did Petronella stay and help this family? How do we ever learn compassion as a human race? Have we really gotten anywhere? [Based on the bullying that I've personally encountered this week along the same lines as one of the conflicts in this book, it sure doesn't seem like it.] Why was this book written? Why did I read it at this particular moment? Can I make any sense of it? What is this book telling me?
In order to tell you about the book, I guess I have to give a spoiler, though I'm not sure why this was hidden as it wasn't a surprise once the book got going.
Set in Amsterdam in 1686, this historical fiction novel, according to the author: "focuses on two women’s very different journeys to find a slice of freedom in a repressive, judgmental society. There’s a trial, a hidden love, a miniaturist who predicts the fate of her customers, a parakeet called Peebo and a plan to escape to the sea."
The kicker is that young Nella's husband is homosexual, which at that time and place was a crime worthy of the death penalty. Nella's home and country are full of contradictions. I think that is quite true of life. What I'm not sure of is how Nella was so worthy to navigate them with such grace, when everyone else around her was much more naturally humanly flawed. Also, unanswered is really who or how is the Miniaturist? Why name the book after her?
I just happen to like books that don't answer the questions for me. I also love the chase of the human contradiction. So even though for the life of me I can't figure this book out, I'm glad I read it, at this particular time. I'm glad the book showed me that, yes, we have made some progress
I hate short stories. I'm just a long story person. I want to be given a chance to care about every aspect of the story. I want something to think about. I want a chance to laugh, cry, be curious, be surprised, and be swept away. I want something profound.
How does she do it? I was completely swept up in these stories in all of the above ways. I want to study them and figured out their myriad meanings. I want to study Mantel's writing techniques. I want a bit of her brilliant zanyness. I'm a true fan.
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