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My Reviews

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
LOVED IT, WANT TO GO TO MOLOKAI!

The Round House: A Novel by Louise Erdrich
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
Round House is an excellent book club choice

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Difficult, Dark
The God of Small Things

Brilliant and unique writing by first time author. Darkly dramatic coming of age story about twins in Indian family. Glad that I read it with book group.

Paris: A Love Story by Kati Marton
 
Book Club Recommended
Really enjoyed it

Although she may not be the most faithful wife in the world, who cares? I loved her memoir about falling in love in Paris. The 2 famous men she loved are revealed not to be as I expected.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Dramatic
The Yellow Birds

Darkly beautiful writing about Iraq war experience.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Boring, Difficult
Beautifully written but painful read

Reading about the existential crisis of Nora, who is approaching middle age without lover or children was painful but somewhat addictive. Glad I read to the dramatic ending, that was worth it!

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Informative, Adventurous
A Different Civil War Adventure Story

I really enjoyed this novel based on real characters: a very young union soldier and the freed slave he meets in Virginia. They become friendly during \"Sherman\'s March to t he Sea\" and the soldier invites the slave to go home with him. Very interesting description of the battles, the generals and how soldiers survived the hardships of war.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Informative, Interesting
The Hare with the Amber Eyes

A bit of a slow start since I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m not interested in ceramics much, but then I was hooked on the family story. Beautiful writing about real events and people in a different way, without footnotes.
I loved learning about the dramatic history of his family members over the tumultuous war years and previous pogroms in Eastern Europe. Descriptions and imagined conversations along with photos really added to the story.

The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
Dark and dramatic historical novel

A family story about refugees from WWII Hong Kong who go to Vietnam to escape the Japanese. The main character\\\'s father has already immigrated years earlier to support his family, but never returned. The advantages of being from the more sophisticated Chines culture become a liability during the Vietnam War once the Americans depart.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Great Biography and History

A page- turner covering one of the least known and most influential of our Founding Fathers. Also interesting history of New York and New Jersey and his impact on them.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Slow, Dramatic
Brilliant writing of a tawdry story with facinating characters

Just like her book "The Secret History" I found this dark story pushing everything else from my mind.
Sort of like watching "The Sopranos," you can't look away from this totally absorbing book. She may write the great American novel one day with such a gift.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Adventurous
Fascinating biography of Alexander Dumas\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' father

Great read for those interested in cultural and racial history. I had no idea that the author of The Three Musketeers was biracial himself. His father, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"The Black Count\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" was a real swashbuckler! All of the blacks living in France and her colonies were liberated after the revolution but then enslaved again by Napolean\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s order a few years later.

 
Book Club Recommended
Poorly Written, Boring, Slow
Intersting bio of an African-American celebrity who passed for white.

I read his reviews but was unaware that Anatole Broyard and his family lived 2 towns away from me in one of the whitest enclaves in the U.S. His daughter did not find out that her adored father grew up black in NYC until the funeral, where she met her grand parents and other relatives. The daughter becomes obsessed with meeting her father\\\\\\\'s relatives and learning the family history. This takes her to New Orleans where she traces her ancestors\\\\\\\' Creole past. Well written, makes for a good discussion of race in America.

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement
 
Book Club Recommended
Well written story with interesting quirky characters about the tragedy of modern life in Mexico

I enjoyed the quirky characters but what a tragic story about how Mexico has descended into a hell of sexual trafficking and poisoned environment due to the U.S. War on Drugs.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Interesting story about American womens' contribution to building the bomb and ending the war

I enjoyed this history of womens' role in building the bomb. Choosing some characters and detailing their personal lives was how the author made the story come alive. Many were young women who had never left home so it was quite and adventure for them.
If you liked the British shows "the Land Girls" and "Bletchley Circle" you'll enjoy reading about their American counterparts in WW2.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
Love story with drama, beautifully written

Dramatic story about different kinds of loving relationships told over several decades and in several countries. Loved the descriptions of Ethiopia and immigrant reactions to NYC. Fascinating information about identical twins and their unique relationship. Much fascinating information about medical procedures, maybe a little too much for me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
Beautifully written historical novel set in WWII Normandy

I enjoyed this novel about a blind girl who survives the war with her resourceful thinking. It is told through the eyes of 2 different characters, which I wasn\\\'t crazy about. I also didn\\\'t like the way the story \\\"telescoped\\\" towards the end and the author skipped ahead in time.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Adventurous
Interesting and Fun Read about young people in the new world of technology

This was really fun and different from the historical novels I tend to read. I enjoyed the writing, and how the author built suspense. Characters were kind of sketchy but maybe because they were so young and hip?

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Slow
Interest novel set in Haiti

This was an interesting story set in modern Haiti, about different classes of people interacting. Most were poor, and a few rich people they interacted with provided the drama. The storry was told through the eyes of a girl growing up, quite effectively. THe writing was disjointed, however, it appeared to be some short stories thrown together, with too many characters not flowing smoothly. Towards the end I felt a list of characters was needed to remember all of them.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Optimistic
Sweet srory about a couple\\\'s heartaches and how they overcame them

I enjoyed this novel about an English couple whose failing marriage slowly unfolds during the husband\\\'s \\\"pilgrimage\\\" to visit a long ago friend he had let down. It had lots of quirky characters, and touched on several key issues; FORGIVENESS, OVERCOMING FEAR and letting go of past hurts.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Difficult, Confusing
Brilliant and unique writing from the Master of Magical writing

I preferred his other masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude. This is also a magical novel and I did enjoy it.

Nora Webster: A Novel by Colm Toibin
 
Insightful, Interesting, Gloomy
Beautiful writing but boring story

I am a fan of Toibin\\\\\\\'s writing after reading The Master, which I enjoyed greatly. Nora Webster is also a well written and nuanced story of a woman\\\\\\\'s feelings of grief and dealing with life as a widow with young children. Toibin did an excellent job of getting under a woman\\\\\\\'s skin and telling her story.
I kept hoping something more interesting would happen with the plot. Others in the club really liked this novel.

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Fun, Interesting
Touching and Hilarious Memoir

Hodgman\\\'s description of his life growing up in Paris, MO, as an only child who knows he is different and finally realizes he is homosexual is touching, hilarious and a new topic to me. His description of living as a young gay writer in NYC, at the dawn of the AIDS outbreak, is heartbreaking. Most of the book, however, is about his time living with his beloved mother, Betty, as she sinks into dementia. This is also hilarious and touching, and unique. Wonderful writing and storytelling.

 
Slow, Boring, Interesting
My Brilliant Friend

No one in our book club especially liked this one. The writing was good and relationship between the two girls was interesting, but story was slow and uneventful

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Fantastic, Interesting
Loosely related adventurous stories about a Portuguese family

I enjoyed this novel, although nothing like Life of Pi. He is an original writer and the setting was unusual, in a tiny town in a hilly area. (There are no high mountains, title is something of a joke.)

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Adventure and Suspense in the Amazon

Well written story about two women scientists thrown together unwillingly in the jungle. Wonderful suspense and twists in the telling. Also enjoyed her novel Bel Canto greatly, but this author does not know how to write about romance and passion convincingly. The ending was disappointing.

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