This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Published by Harper on November 5th 2013
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This is OFFICIALLY my favorite Ann Patchett book!!!!! (I put “OFFICIALLY” in BIG print thus making my statement really official!)
I am actually surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. I am not a short story, essay, article type of gal. I like novels – novellas are fine but I’m not a short story or article reader. Having said that, Ann Patchett may have changed things for me because as I mentioned, I loved this book i.e. collection of articles/essays. I love how she blended the events of her life with literature.
This book consists of essays/articles that have been published elsewhere. The essays can be read in any order the reader chooses. Previous books I have read by Patchett have earned 3 to 4 star ratings from me. This book has eclipsed the other books I have previously read. I love that this book deals with the real person- with her life. This book feels more “real”evicting words such as “honest” and “raw”. We see her as a child, then at college, on a book tour, being married, her dog Rose, her bookstore, to name a few of the times she lets the reader into her life. Don’t let the word “Marriage” fool you in the title…this book is about her two marriages but it is also about so much more. This book also deals with friendship, writing, family, loss, working, having a pet, etc. The result of this look back on her life is moving, entertaining, enlightening, and insightful (who knew she tried out for the LAPD police academy?). We not only get to see and digest her words, we get a glimpse into her life through her perspective.
I really enjoyed getting to “know” this Author a little better. I wish I could thank her for allowing me to walk down her memory lane. Not only is it quite lovely to learn about her life, the reader gets to do so in such a wonderful way! Patchett has a gift. Her writing seems effortless. Her prose is beautifully, emotionally moving and actually puts the reader into the action. Her writing is succinct and thought provoking.
The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1) by Helene Wecker
Published by Harper on April 23rd 2013
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I listened the audio version of this book when it first came out and I was captivated. This book was like nothing I have ever read/heard before. I will pick up and read just about anything but fantasy would never be my first choice. I got the audio version form my local library to satisfy a requirement on a reading challenge I was taking part in. I never expected to like it as much as I did. I read the description and lets just say no fireworks went off for me. But then I kept reading reviews of people praising this book, so I gave it a go. It is always such a pure and utter pleasure to be surprised by something. When something so simple as a book, can captivate and catapult you into a mystical world where two such beings exist. This book is like a fairy tale for adults. Beautifully written, lyrical prose and engaging characters.
Chava is a golem, made out of clay to look like a real woman by a rabbi who dabbles in Kabbalistic magic. She is made to be bound by her master. But her master dies at Sea traveling from Poland to the New World in New York City.
Ahmad is a jinni born of fire in the Syrian dessert. He is trapped in a copper flask until one day he is accidentally set free.
Their stories are told separately as both navigate their new city/environment. Both forced to live as human although neither one is. Both hiding in plain sight until that one day that they meet and sense that the other might not be human. But what are they? I loved how their stories merged and they formed a kinship.
The city itself is a character in this book. The immigrants, their struggles are like the struggles of the two main characters in this book. Survival and fitting it are priorities for everyone in this book – well maybe not so much Ahmad. Listening to this book, I found myself creating their world in my mind, imagining these two characters as they made their way. This book is like a magical mythical dream.
I find myself recommending this book over and over again. It is like nothing I have read before. There is magic in this book but not the hocus pocus kind. There is magic in the words, in the characters, in their cultural backgrounds, in their friendship, in what it means to be human(or not to be human as in this case)
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Published by Harper on February 11th 2014
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Dear Richard Gere,
I just read a really great book about Bartholomew Neil who suddenly finds himself living alone after his Mother dies of Brain Cancer. But he does not stay alone for long. His eccentric ex-Priest moves in with him, he has a grief counselor named Wendy and meets Max who ironically is the Brother of the Girl-librarian named Wendy who he has a crush on. He suddenly finds that he is not alone and not only will he learn about his biological father, he will have a beer in a pub with his new #$#@ friend, travel to Canada, hey. Throw in Cat Parliament and a Martini with the Girl librarian (Wendy) and Bartholomew finds friends, himself, some feral cats and learns that he is not so alone in this world after all. Chalk it all up to the Good Luck of Right now.
This book was#$%#@^$^good! Seriously, I really enjoyed this quirky book. This was a fast easy read. I loved the concept that each chapter was a letter that he wrote to Richard Gere, his Mother’s favorite actor. Very clever book.
The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy
Published by Harper on June 11th 2013
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*Received from Goodreads first reads giveaway.
What a beautiful and moving book. The writing was often poetic and quite lovely. The book is about how one man’s act of mercy during World War II changed the lives of a group of strangers, and how they each eventually discover the astonishing truth of their connection. The book is about how our interactions and even minor interactions with others can have a profound effect on the lives of others The story is about various people and how they are connected either knowingly or unknowingly. This book really is quite beautiful and I highly recommend it.
Goat Mountain by David Vann
Published by Harper on September 10th 2013
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**Received from GoodReads first reads giveaway.
In the fall of 1978, on a 640-acre family ranch on Goat Mountain in Northern California, an eleven-year-old boy joins his grandfather, his father, and his father’s best friend on the family’s annual deer hunt. When they find a poacher on the land, the boy is handed his father’s rifle to view the man through the sight and tragedy ensues. One single moment, one single event that will change the course of their lives forever. This is a haunting book, a book that is not a page turner but a slow read into a horrific event and what occurs afterward. This book is wonderfully written, the landscape is describe in such detail that you feel you are there. This book is not for everyone, but it is a worthwhile read.
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
Published by Harper on March 3rd 2015
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This is a hard book to rate. Although the writing is good, I never felt connected to the characters. I felt bad for her son and how Jenny mistreated him but that is it. This book feels like The “Sliding Doors” movie. Throughout the book, I kept wondering is the Kitty storyline real or is the Katharyn story line real…or perhaps neither is real. My problem with this book is, I really didn’t care. I had a theory but that was it. I think we’re this book fails is that the main character is not that intriguing. I found Lars to be more interesting as the husband dealing with a wife who doesn’t. believe their world is real.