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My Reviews

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
Can\\\'t Wait to Get to Heaven.

This is a lovely counterpoint to many of the usual book club books used for discussions. It is humorous, warm, G-rated and entertaining. You might think that means nothing to talk about. You would be wrong. The story deals with family relationships, the right or wrong of secret keeping, views of the afterlife, anxiety and panic attacks, modern hospital life and life in general in a small midwestern town. The story follows the repercussions of the death of an elderly woman. She herself is a delight; however trying to be her caretaker in modern times can be trying to her loved ones. I wish I could be as optimistic as Elinor. She lives in the present moment - maybe that is what contributes to her longevity. The humor is delightful. I would recommend this to book clubs looking for a quick read and a breather between other, heavier, more somber topical books.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
Worth a read and good for discussion

Set in a small NC mountain town in the 80s, where social and community life often revolves around the church, this book watches how loss affects families, how a sinister and manipulative preacher can pray on under educated and insular church members and what the birth of a special needs child can do to a family.

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Dramatic, Addictive

While Beauty Slept is a back story telling of the fairy story (or is it the Disney story) of Sleeping Beauty. While it starts off a bit slowly establishing necessary linkage and character and history, it picks up speed as it goes. The dialogue is well written. The main characters follow the tale we all know. The alternative explanation for what happened in reality as opposed to the "magical" explanation is plausible. Topics for discussion for a book club could include how treatment of women has changed from perhaps middle ages to now, the role of love vs passion and its importance in a marriage, the role of duty in life whether to family or even job descriptions (being of the ruling family) are all appropriate arising out of this book. I liked it - it was fun and fairly speedy to read as it picked up tempo/speed. It was a different take on that tale and that was also novel.

Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Epic
Worth reading

I really enjoyed this book. Perhaps it is the perennial student in me, but I found the history and context set out here to be easy to follow and the story line amazing. Despite the inclusion of photos of the various referenced art works, I found it very helpful to look up the titles of the art on my computer and see the background info on them as well as better photos that were posted in color, often, or in a larger scale, as I was reading along. The beginning may be a little slower reading as the author fills in background for the main players and explains how this whole effort came to pass. But, stick with it as it definitely picks up speed. I am glad I read it before seeing the movie (which I still plan to do) since I hear that for plot and movie purposes many finer points had to be abandoned. If you like art or history or both, then this is a definite read for you!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Insightful, Addictive
Young Adult Fiction is pretty good

I don\'t usually pick up YA books. This was chosen by our bookclub or I probably would not read it. I was very pleasantly surprised by the level of writing and the ability of the story and characters to grab me. It read pretty quickly and led to interesting discussion in our group. Would recommend it to clubs, especially those who have some parents with teenagers in them.

The Dovekeepers: A Novel by Alice Hoffman
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Dramatic

Hoffman departs from her usual fare in this book - obviously a labor of love. It is based on a true event and yes, history says that there were people alive to tell of the events. The story follows four women's lives as they come to an intersection at Masada. One thing I found helpful was going to and clicking on this book. She provides a glossary of terms that give definitions or backgrounds for the many unfamiliar Hebrew words in the book. I also found it helpful to google pictures of the location. The location is almost a 5th main character in the book - the grueling summer months of heat and dryness figure prominantly into telling the story. Hoffman must take liberties with the narrative, since no one knows for sure what happened but the result is a captivating story with the lives of those holed up gleaming off the pages. A definitely good book club choice

A Long Way Home: A Memoir by Saroo Brierley
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Poorly Written, Insightful
A true story is always interesting.

I enjoyed this book. For a book club looking for a shorter and fairly quick read, I would recommend it. The topic was very interesting as it dealt with a lost little 5 yr old boy, who was separated from his family and home town by means of being accidentally locked into a railway car. Since this occurred in the later 80\\\'s, adoptions were easier to arrange. What he remembered, how he found his family again and what he experienced make for good reading. I didn\\\'t know much about poorer lives in India, and this was a fascinating account.

Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
So worth reading

Initially I thought: what-another book set in WW II? But the author's prose about two main characters: a German male orphan and a young Parisian girl who develops untreatable cataracts is so much more than that. Of course the war is the always-present third character, but the writing is so luminous that I forgave the topic. The characters finally cross paths late in the book but the build-up is the tale. Our club liked it very much and the discussion was lively.

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