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Change of Heart: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
 
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
Change of Heart - A Missed Opportunity

While the book had an interesting premise, I found it to be carelessly written and rather predictable. For example, one of the main characters is repeatedly described as being inarticulate, yet every time he speaks his words are clear and well-spoken. The author borrowed shamelessly from several Stephen King novels - The Green Mile in particular could be charitably cited as a major influence - but tried to cram too many elements into the story at once. The overall effect was of an ambitious work which was under-edited. Plot twists were signaled far in advance (honestly, did we ever really believe the crime happened as presented in Shay's original trial?) and characters who should have been central to the story were merely sketched in (June, in particular.) I was disappointed.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Adventurous
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

I loved this book because it surprised me at every turn. The premise was original, the characters were distinctive, and the plot was well thought out with a plausible and satisfying end. It celebrates the value of books and relationships in defining our lives, and the author's vision of the secret of immortality is completely supported by the story. Well worth a second read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful
Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes

I did not know the subject of the book before I started reading it. The author led the reader into the issue of quality of life and personal choice in a gradual way, much as one might encounter the same sort of choice in one\'s own life. The characters were very well drawn, the dialogue realistic, and the dilemmas of people facing the potential loss of a severely-injured and much-loved family member and friend were very realistic. An honest look at the issues faced by people whose bodies are saved but whose chosen lives are destroyed by accident or illness.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Slow, Interesting
The Goldfinch

I've read this book three times. Each time I've found more to love. Fascinating and sympathetic characters, hair-raising dilemmas, deep philosophical questions - a great book for the serious reader.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Dark, Insightful
The English Patient

I found this book to be a challenging read. It takes place at the end of World War II as the characters are trying to redefine their places in the world. All the characters are traumatized by war, and all are somewhat unreliable narrators. The timeline can be difficult to follow, but I found the writing to be poetic and evocative of the time. Worth your time to read carefully. Not a casual read.

The Round House: A Novel by Louise Erdrich
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The book shows us the reality of life on an Indian reservation, with its limitations, frustrations, injustices and indignities, but also the compensations of community, purpose and traditions. The characters are well-drawn, and many times surprising, in that people who live fairly simple lives display the ability to consider the complexity of the problems they face and reach for satisfying solutions. Very thought-provoking.

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