"Someone" by Alice McDermott is a terrific story about someone who could be any of us. Nothing extraordinary in her life except that the details are fascinating somehow. How was her life changed by the young woman who died in her apartment building when she was young? How did her brother's decisions change her life? Her husband's? All of our lives are made by choices and small decisions here and there. It adds up. I was intrigued.
The one thing I didn't care for--if you're listening to the Audible version--is the sing-song voice the reader uses. I found that it made the story less interesting and finally finished by reading the book. It's not bad, just...odd and distracting.
I was reluctant to listen to this book at first. It sounded too sad to deal with. What I didn't take into account how beautifully and carefully drawn the characters are (even the peripheral characters) and how touching and deep the story is. The story involves a blind French girl and a young German boy. Though their paths seem like they won't cross, they do, and in a wonderful way. The book doesn't give you easy answers, though--I wouldn't have respected it if it did. But it is a compelling, lyrical and amazing book. I wish I could read it again without knowing what would happen--it's that good.
I'm not a big Discworld fan, but these Discworld Childrens books are a hoot. My husband urged me to read/listen to them, and I hesitated thinking that they were children's or YA books. I'm so glad I tried them--well written, funny, excellent adventure. I listen while I sew and I found myself laughing hysterically, all by myself and wanting more. I'll be sad when I run out of them--I need Nac Mac Feegles in my life.
My highest recommendation.
I thought that a lot of reviewers were just having a homophobic reaction to this book. I love time travel stories and I'm not put off by homosexuality in a book. Unfortunately, the problem with this book isn't the sexuality, but the fact that it's purely narcissistic. The main character discovers that the only person he likes being with is himself and it's endless iterations of him spending time with the person he loves--himself. The time travel is just a means of getting more time to spend...with himself. It was sort of boring once you saw where he was going. The sex is a very small part of the book and it's pretty campy depictions of sex. (A lot of "Oh baby", to the point where it made me start giggling, and not in a good way.)
If you want good, well-written time travel go to Connie Willis or Jack Finney. So much better than this.
I love Anita Shreve's books. She writes characters so well you feel their pain, experience their joys and want to know what happens to them. This book is good--not her best, but it's a good read. The character we meet as Stella Bain is complex, self-reflecting and deeply engaged by life. It's a good mystery and an excellent character portrayal. My one problem is that the ending seems "tacked on" a bit. You almost felt like Shreve was tired of the story and just decided to stick an "and then it ended this way" on. It's definitely worth the time, though.
Falling Angels is the story of two young girls who meet in a London cemetery where their families' graves are next to each other. The story follows them as they change, their friendship changes, their families change and history is made. The women's suffrage movement takes one of the girls' mothers from an education-but-bored mother to a leader in the movement, and the girls are carried along by her discontent with her life, and the comparison to the other girl's mother. It's a story of contrasts, of growth and of the power of change. I enjoyed it very much, a pleasant surprise.
A Vintage Affair is good "fluff". Phoebe Swift leaves her job at a high class auction house to open her own vintage clothing store. She's personable, has great taste in clothing and the business does well. In the process of opening the store, she meets a cast of characters who provide her with a little love, a little drama and a little mystery. I liked the mystery part the best--the romance and drama were somewhat predictable. Overall a good story.
The part that made me giggle was the narration. It's read, quite well, by a British reader who seems to think that people in California have a mix of a Brooklyn and Bostonian accents. It's only a very small part of the book, but every time she tried it, I erupted into giggles. (Don't let my immaturity stop you, though--it's a good, if light, story.)
I'll admit--I found the beginning of "The Burgess Boys" a little slow, but I stuck with it because I haven't read anything from Elizabeth Strout that I didn't like. I'm glad I kept going. The story was interesting, especially in these times, and the characters were all people that you hoped would grow and see what their issues were.
Artfully written story about two brothers and a sister from Maine. The brothers left Maine for New York City after college, while the sister stays behind. When her son has some problems with the law and the civil rights community, the brothers step in to help, each in their own way with their own particular gifts. The wives of the brothers provide interesting contrast with the siblings, as well.
Well-told and with characters you care about. Another terrific book from Strout.
I'm usually a big fan of Marian Keyes. Her stories are entertaining, have interesting characters who have interesting relationships. I was really disappointed in "The Mystery of Mercy Close". I went through half of the book and still didn't care about any of the characters. More than that, I didn't like them at all. If a character wasn't a jerk, they were just flat. I'm not off Marian Keyes altogether, but I don't recommend this one at all.
I didn't read this book when it first came out because it sounded sort of chick-lit-ish. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and for what outstanding characters Barry created. I wanted to know what had happened to them, was surprised by what did happen and was deeply drawn into the story. Excellent book.
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