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Book Club Recommended
Fun, Informative, Interesting
The All Girl Filling Station\'s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

Good forum for discussion of Nature vs. Nurture for
people with adoption issues; also very interesting historically for bringing to light how women pilots, WASPS, helped during WWII. Unfortunate that they got
no credit & needs to be rectified.

Prodigal Summer: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Insightful
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

I read it twice: first as written. Secondly, all of Predators, then all of Moth Love, & lastly all of Old Chestnuts in order. It was difficult to become engaged in the beginning, however stick with it because you will get hooked. I was able to follow the stories of the 3 sets of main characters & pick up clues which tied them all together so much more easily & enjoyably on the second reading.
It is brilliantly written; Kingsolver\\\'s descriptions & character development are beautiful, eloquent, engaging & memorable.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Adventurous
Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler

I liked her terse style of writing- being able to capture the whole atmosphere of the location &/or events, which ranged from delightful to horrific in just a few, well-chosen words. It was a much truer way to learn the history of WWII from a survivor's point of view than from a dry, college textbook... It made me appreciate & understand to a much greater degree what the European people suffered at Hitler's hand. We have such a great life compared to what the people in the book had to endure or die for. I loved her descriptions of Paris & London, because I've traveled & spent time there. One of the other ladies in our book club lived in Vienna for several years & offered very insightful commentary to understand how the Austrians thought & reacted or didn't react to the Nazi threat. I wish there could be a sequel or more will be discovered about the author/heroine of the story, Trudi Kanter, who is now dead, unfortunately. What a strong woman way ahead of her time by decades! Her writing style would lend itself excellently to be transcribed into a play or film script. This book could be read very quickly on a surface level, or you could go into it historically much deeper.

Bel Canto (P.S.) by Ann Patchett
 
Interesting, Romantic, Slow
Bel Canto

I was unable to get the book from the library in time to read it, so have no input. I was on the wait list for over 2 months. I had to give it a thumbs down review in order to post this. Since it was described as a long, slow read by one of the other members, I may not have enjoyed it, & was frustrated by not being able to get it in time. I don\'t have & don\'t want a Kindle.

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

Sensitively, scholarly & brilliantly written through thorough, exhaustive research over >2 years. This is NOT an easy book to read, especially Part II, which left me emotionally & physically exhausted, & crying in a state of disbelief that human beings could use each other & treat each other so horribly ...but it will give you so much to examine in your own life & regarding a perspective of history. Having a degree in art history & interior design, I found de Waal\\\\\\\'s visual & psychological descriptions full of beauty & accuracy, & believe he very possibly has synesthesia because of the way he is able to entwine the sensory crossovers of his perceptive writing style with sight, sound, colour, smell, taste, rhythm, feelings, etc. Brilliantly written but keep a dictionary (French, German, Italian & English) at hand & takes notes & refer to the family tree often! It is not easy reading, but definitely worth finishing, important, memorable & you will be a more appreciative, enlightened person... I learned more about European history from this book than in any high school or university classes I ever took.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
The Husband\'s Secret

Almost every character in the novel had a secret, not just the husband. Interesting psychological character developments about how people with real or perceived shortcomings/sins create their own story & build their own \"Berlin Wall\" to hide behind.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen

Provides thoughtful insight into the culture, life-style, history, politics, poverty & difficulties the people in Afghanistan & Pakistan face. Mortensen's intentions, tenaciousness (perhaps addictive?) & motives to help the middle Eastern people who live in the Himalyas were honorable in the beginning, but the story is too long & began to wear thin about 2/3 of the way through. I'm sure he truly did help 100s of children who otherwise would not have a way out of centuries of poverty via education. He, like a salmon swimming upstream, chose an almost insurmountable task & should have had more help & better organizing & business skills.

 
Beautiful, Informative, Interesting
The Bonesetter's Daughter

Difficult to get into & finish; I found the characters to be uninspiring, confused, mean, spiteful victims who blamed their misfortunes on ghosts & imaginary negative "luck." I didn't like any of the female characters. I know several Chinese women who have emigrated to the U.S. who speak broken English, are angry, bossy & just plain mean & spiteful. I hope the Joy Luck Club is more interesting & the characters are better & more well-developed, but have no interest in reading it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Informative, Adventurous
The Heist

Daniel Silva has a great command of the English language & I enjoyed the first half of the story that was set in European countries/cities that I have lived in or visited. The 2nd half set in Israel & Syria was more difficult to follow; foreign names/aliases & unfamiliar territory made it less appealing to me. I think his ability to describe people, places, situations & atmosphere is exceptional. This would make an extremely great spy thriller movie & easily turn into a great film script.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Dramatic
The Boys in the Boat

In a nutshell this book is about character building. Every high school & college should assign this as required reading at the beginning of every freshman year. Eloquently, thoughtfully, & insightfully written.
George Pocock should be thought of as the "Oarsman Whisperer..."

 
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
Girl on the Train

Can\\\'t begin to compare with The Boys On The Boat, our previous read.
None of the characters are likeable, every character is in an untrue relationship based on lies, omissions, character flaws, etc; and the main character, Rachel suffers from alcoholism, insecurities, doubt, lack of self worth, delusions, illusions, deep depression & refuses to get professional psychological help or attend AA Meetings, which she desperately needs. It was an interesting format for writing a story, but was glad when it ended & have no desire to read it again.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
All The Light You Cannot See

beautifully crafted story using lavish multi-sensory descriptions that captured the challenges of Europeans who had to live through Hitler's insanity. I am tired of yet another book about WWII, but the personal point of view from mostly children who had to suffer through it & try to survive was OK.

Beautiful Day: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand
 
Confusing, Interesting, Romantic
Beautiful Day

Waste of my time. Characters are too numerous, with ridiculous names like Edge,Finn, Chance, etc that are difficult to remember who is who. It's an airhead book for dumb blondes about a bunch of dysfunctional family members who are either pathetic, wealthy, mean or entitled. I could not relate to any of them; only liked the wedding planner, Roger, & the token gay, black boy friend of the groom's brother, Jethro. I read 3/4 of book before book club discussion & had no desire to finish reading it. Would NOT read anything else by same author either.

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Insightful, Beautiful
A MAN CALLED OVE

IT'S CHARACTER DRIVEN & EVERY CHARACTER IS WELL CONSTRUCTED. UNIQUE, EXCELLENTLY & THOUGHTFULLY WRITTEN & DIFFICULT TO PUT IN A CATEGORY, BUT I WOULD READ IT AGAIN BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU THINK, LAUGH, CRY & BE GRATEFUL FOR EVERYONE YOU'VE EVER KNOWN WHO MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT LIKE OVE OR PARNAVEH...

 
Informative, Boring, Slow
LIFE & OPINIONS OF JANE FRANKLIN

WELL-RESEARCHED BUT I HAD TO FORCE MYSELF TO READ IT & FINISH IT. LIKE A DOSE OF BITTER MEDICINE. MOSTLY GUESSING, CONJECTURE & WONDERING ABOUT JANE FRANKLIN; DIDN'T REALLY LEARN MUCH ABOUT HER BECAUSE HER POORLY WRITTEN LETTERS WERE NOT PRESERVED & LOST. MADE ME MORE AWARE OF WOMENS' DESPERATE PLIGHT BUT I WAS NOT INSPIRED TO READ ANY OF THE FOOTNOTES OR ANNOTATIONS AS I USUALLY DO. I WAS SO GLAD TO BE DONE READING THIS.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Slow
Rise of the Rocket Girls

I am NOT a natural math or science female, but was certainly inspired by the lives of all the women behind the male engineers who put JPL & USA on the map for the exploration of space. The author was able to successfully entertwine the little known stories of these admirable, glass-ceiling breaking, risk-taking, brave women women with a very readable & comprehensive history of America's race to space. She explains all the scientific terms like trajectory, thrust, slide-rules, trigonometry, etc. very successfully for someone like me who needs the Engineering & Mathematical terminology for Dummies, 101 version. I was born & grew up in Glendale/Pasadena/Eagle Rock/Arroyo Seco neighborhoods of So. CAL in the 1950s to 1980s & gained a lot of insight into this little known group of brilliant women who are a good parallel to the current Academy Award winning film Hidden Figures to what all the brilliant-minded Black American accomplished for American men @ Langley AF Base.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dark
STATION ELEVEN

MAKES YOU SEARCH YOUR SOUL TO DETERMINE IF YOU WOULD HAVE THE CREATIVE STAMINA, STRENGTH & COURAGE TO BE A SURVIVOR SHOULD THERE BE A PANDEMIC APOCALYPSE AS PORTRAYED IN THIS STORY

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