Member Since 2011
The Invention of Wings is written in two voices. The first - Sarah Grimke, daughter of a wealthy judge and plantation owner in Charleston, North Carolina. Sarah and her sister Angelina are directly from history, well known as early abolitionists and women's right activists... you can easily read about them on the internet, but don't until you finish the book.
The second voice - "Handful" or Hettie, the 9 year old slave girl who is given to Sarah for her 11th birthday present. The book follows both girls... for 35 years... as Hettie's mostly fictional life is stitched alongside Sarah's mostly factual life. The two voices compare and contrast in a patchwork I found beautiful.
The audio is really good, but I have to tell you after listening to "The Help" so many times Jenna's voice would occasionally break the spell and I would see "Skeeter" in my mind instead of Sarah.
At the end Sue Monk Kidd explains her research, what parts are historically accurate and where she has taken liberties... made it even more meaningful. A life quilt is pieced during the book by Hettie's mother, but I can picture the book itself as a quilted story... of reaching, losing, dreaming and becoming.
I really liked the setting and premise for this prepper book, the first I had read with a SHTF bunker left rom the 60's cold war and the complexities as a neighborhood builds a nicer one together. As it started I thought I'd found another "Jakarta Pandemic" or "77 Days" type book. The narrator was good and the characters were developing nicely...
...but about a 1/4th way in the writing started to get sloppy and I wasn't able to suspend my disbelief regarding the choices and events. Its almost like the author got excited with his plot and forgot the characters he had built. It turned into a Payton Place neighborhood... and although there isn't foul language and you don't see the sex, everyone is sleeping with everyone... fighting and making up. By 1/2 way in I didn't want to listen anymore and the ridiculous ending made me wish I hadn't.
This book is to be continued and if you want to know if Mark Sleepingbear and Tina make up and make a baby or if God really made the Russian and defenders bullets not fire... you will have to buy a second book. Not going to happen in my ear.
I'm on a Scottish tangent right now... I read "Outlander" which was written beautifully and I enjoyed the history... but it was way too heavy on the romance for me. Then came "Winter Sea" by Kearsley, it was perfect and I loved the history in it. I snatched up "Desperate Fortune" expecting more of the same.
Honestly, I think the story was well written, the parallel lives of two women are woven together with one in the present decoding the journal of the one in the past... both experiencing similar situations. I loved the accurate historical fiction of the past part of it, but didn't like being snatched away from my favored past story and back into the present.
My complaint is with the narration. Katherine Kellgren is perfect in "The Royal Spyness" series where I envision the characters fitting the voices she uses. In this book I found myself flat out angry with her for ruining the story with prissy, forced and overdone voices. True the many characters, languages and accents in this book had to be challenging and she did settle down towards the end... but this is a book I would prefer to read rather than listen to again. So glad to have her out of my ear and wishing it was Davina Porter instead.
This book doesn't leave you dangling at a precipice, although it is clear there will be another journal to decode with the rest of the story of both women. It is a romance, but like "Winter Sea" it is light... definately a "chick lit" type of book.
I was so slow purchasing this one... but 3700 other readers ranking it at a 5 aren't wrong. It is a gentle, plain but uplifting account of how 9 young Americans, the product of the great depression and dust bowl overcame all odds to win the 1936 Berlin Olympics. You know how it is going to end from the title... but clear to the win you aren't really sure it can possibly happen.
I love how it is nestled into history. My elderly family members don't want to read "Unbroken" or other WWII and depression era stories. "We lived it and don't want to hear about it anymore" they tell me. Although Brown, ties you into the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, the New Deal and start of WWII... this isn't a focus on what they endured, rather is there only to show how it made them stronger. I think they will love this one.
The narrator did great... you can tell he isn't from the Northwest, the place names, just didn't come from the mouth of a native. Still a 5 star narration.
I was looking for another "Demon Under the Microscope," or "The Ghost Map" and I initially thought I found it... lots of good information about early germ theory and the Koch versus Pasteur battles for discovery. Reader was good, flow of information was interesting right up until the story of TB is rudely interrupted by the birth of the Sherlock Holmes stories... the rubber band holding the two men's lives together was way overstretched. The end of the book finally gets back on point and eventually the work on TB resumes. It was worth my time to listen, but go for the above books or "Immortal Cells of Henrietta Lack' or "Emperor of all Maladies" first.
Take an obsessive, worried mother + everything she has read that reminds her of immunity + what her neighbors were saying + what her physician father said + every novel that she can metaphorically tie to immunity = a jumble that is 7 hours too long.
Aside from a paragraph in a high school history text, I knew nothing about the 1889 Johnstown Flood that killed over 2,000. David McCullough has distilled and organized a mountain of information into this very readable, heartbreaking but often humorous account.
It starts a bit slow with how the dam came to be built, abandoned, scavenged and restored... but before long I was holding my breath and then taking a slow motion ride with the wave down the mountain. At times on a floating roof, mattress or in a train car... though the small towns on the river and on into Johnstown. After reading I did an internet search of images and found I had formed very accurate pictures in my mind.
The book follows up nicely with the rush of aid (first response of the Red Cross), reporters and finishes with the resulting lawsuits. So interesting how everyone knew there was a high risk of the dam giving way, but no one prepared for it.
Missed this book when it first came out, so glad I found it. It's told in the voice of Frank Drum...an adult looking back at 1961, the summer he was 13... a small town preacher's son figuring out who he is and what he believes... as the town reels from multiple deaths.
This book has the feel of Enger's "Peace Like a River," Grisham's "A Painted House," Burns' "Cold Sassy Tree" and"Doig's "The Whistling Season" ... all books I loved. It's rich with people I have met, dealing with the imperfections of their own and others... of families falling apart and growing stronger.
There is real life and hard topics addressed as seen through Franks young mind. My kids wouldn't have been ready for this at 13 at all... more like 16 up... bit of sexual content, bit of swearing, lots of loss and complicated relationships... but so uplifting. I'll be back to listen again.
Most of the Nevil Shutes books, I have read, demonstrate the courage of an average person facing of overwhelming odds. "A Town Like Alice", "Pied Piper" and "Trustee from the Toolroom" have been favorites. He has a very laid back, slow way of telling a story that requires listening and patience but leaves me satisfied in the end. Without carefully reading reviews... I thought this book would combine my enjoyment of Nevil's writing with an end of the world scenario, it is supposed to be his best known work.
That said, I endured the slow buildup and waited patiently to know where the small group of survivors would go to outlast the radiation. I won't read it again as it is just too difficult of a listen... I persevered and heard what Nevil was trying to say to the world of the 50's. It is a classic in it own way, and I am left thinking... but not enjoying.
What an interesting and clear overview of aging and end of life issues. Gawande covers the process of aging and end of life, what fragile elderly means, history and trends of their care, how other cultures do it, case studies, his own choices with his father and... the best discussion of these issues I have ever read. My MD son enjoyed the information as well.
Rather than provide what he thinks is the "right" way to face EOL issues, Gawande gives us questions to ask the individual to help them determine their "right" way. He encourages us to have the hard conversations in advance so that an individual's wishes can be respected. Excellent book for healthcare personnel, families and aging adults.
I adored "One doctor" by Brendan Reilly and some of the content is similar... even if you have read Reilly, I still feel this book is well worth reading.
I agree with one reviewer, if you can get past the first over the top conspiracy part it does improve. The authors views and mine are way different, but I found some of his premises worth the listen. He uses quotes at the beginning of each chapter, often from the Bible or political leaders... some were actually quite good thoughts, but it did chop up the flow of the novel.
Like Glen Tate, Mark Goodwin is also a conservative, Christian prepper podcaster with a following. I am not really finding planted reviews here, except perhaps from the Glen Tate followers bad mouthing it. This book is much more readable (not literature but OK for prepper book). The purpose of this first book seems to parallel what the 1st book of 299 Days attempted to do. There is no actual crisis in this book... just the set up for it, introduction of the main characters situations and some gold/gun/food buying. Language is clean, no violence in this part...
There is enough potential here that I will purchase the next book when it comes out supposedly this spring and give it a chance, although it feels like this might be another ongoing segmented series like A. American's "Going Home."
I guess I am old fashioned, but I still love books like "Alas Babylon," "One Second After," "Jakarta Pandemic," "5 Days at Memorial," "77 Days," "Equipping Modern Patriots," "The Road,'" "The Postman," "Cyberstorm," and even "Swan Song" or "Disaster Diaries..." EOTWAWKI books that are complete in one reading.
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