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My Reviews

 
Fun, Interesting, Inspiring
Highly Entertaining Selection

I was surprised, but I thoroughly enjoyed this selection. I found myself comparing our book club to the "Angry Housewives" book club. I even picked up a few pointers to incorporate into our book club. I'm looking forward to discussing the book at our meeting this month.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
 
Romantic, Interesting, Beautiful
Timeless Love Story

"The Time Traveler's Wife" combines two of my favorite genres, fantasy and love. Audrey Niffenegger's story is well-told and absorbing without too many discrepancies to confuse the reader. There are numerous opportunities for lively discussions at book club meetings.

 
Brilliant, Dramatic, Epic
Amazing Writing and Author!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "East of Eden," even more than "The Grapes of Wrath" (which was exceptional). The descriptive imagery intertwined with the lives of the characters brought the story to life in ways other authors only dream of creating. In my book, John Steinbeck is the master of American storytelling.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
 
Romantic, Beautiful, Dramatic
Film better than the book

Familiarity with Jane Austen books is highly recommended but not necessary. Even though the book provides more detail, as is usual, our club enjoyed the film more than the book, which is very unusual.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Boring
Great Book for Discussion

While Tolstoy’s prose is dull and annoying at times, Anna Karenina is rich with characterizations. Influenced by socio-cultural ethos or Zeitgeist, relevant reminders between then and now are needed to distinguish the archaic mores conspiring to destroy even the slightest character.

In my opinion, Tolstoy’s ruminations into Levin’s agricultural philosophy tends to interrupt the flow of the novel. I, therefore, cannot agree with Fyodor Dostoevsky that Anna Karenina is "flawless as a work of art." Perhaps a second read would be appropriate to decipher intricacies that eluded me in this reading. Regardless, I recommend reading and discussing Anna Karenina for any book club.

 
Brilliant, Addictive, Beautiful
Corrupt Power Brings Bigger Fall

"All the King's Men" is a thought-provoking, fictional literary examination on corruption within government and the people inhabiting this venal political sphere. Loosely based on the real-life political figure of Huey P. Long, a Governor (1929-32)and Senator (1932-35) from Louisiana. The novel's themes generate insightful and lively discussions, particularly with the current political scene.

 
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
Rising Above Adversity

I truly love authors who wholly commit to their stories. There are no holds barred with Jeannette Walls's story of growing up in a dysfunctional family, and I might add a lot more dysfunctional than some and, unfortunately, a lot less than others. Some readers will be appalled, angry, horrified, sad, jubilant, the whole gamut of feelings, but I think all of us can empathize with the Walls family and applaud when some arise from the ashes.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Gloomy, Interesting
Interesting Account

Some truth, some fiction makes for a good story. Ties in well with "The Tudors" on Showtime.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Excellent Book Club Selection

Highly recommend Sarah's Key for lively, insightful discussion. A very quick read, but a lot packed into a small package. Very informative historical account mixed with fiction concerning the French Vélodrome d’hiver or Vél’ d’hiv’ Round-up on July 16 and 17, 1942 of 13,000, nearly a third of the 42,000, Jews deported to Poland's death camps. The book also includes a list of discussion questions.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Brilliant, Epic
Trying to Rise Above Adversity

Very few authors can commit to paper such graphic descriptions of the human condition and arouse such pathos in the reader as John Steinbeck. When you are finished with the novel, you think you have lived the travails of The Joads. This is definitely a book to be read and discussed at this point in our American history with so many families jobless and displaced.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Romantic, Addictive
Historical Fiction with Time-Travel

Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series is powerfull and addictive historical fiction with no small amount of time-travel thrown in for good measure. I don't see how any book club wouldn't have a cart full of material to discuss. Ms. Gabaldon's very prolific writing (most books in the series coming upon 800 or more brilliant pages each) has so much detail involving every aspect of each of our five senses, plus some added ones to boot, one would think s/he was part of the action. Be warned, though, each book is very addictive and long, but what better way to spend a cold, snowy winter indoors or hot, languid summer vacation?

Blessings by Anna Quindlen
 
Slow, Dramatic, Interesting
Not Very Good

Disappointing and unconvincing story. Not a lot to discuss at length. Characterizations were stereotypical and have been given better treatment by other authors in other books. I'm glad I checked it out from the library instead of buying it.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Great First Novel by Kathryn Stockett

Kathryn Stockett's "The Help" is very good at depicting a few of the more contemptible but subtle underpinnings of domestic help. Whether it is from the trials and tribulations of a Southern African-American maid or any of the numerous underclasses of any subservient peoples through the ages, it is still here among us--don't be naive and think that it isn't as some would like to think. The story may have taken place in the 60's, but there are many lessons to be learned in today's global society. A great book for discussion. I do think that the publisher's discussion questions could have been more in-depth, so be sure to look at readers' suggestions for discussion questions.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Informative
Reading Experience a Chore

I disagree with the reviewer that said it wasn't about matrimony. It was all pretty much about the whole processes of courtship, marriage, infidelity, surviving marriage and friendship, and family relationships and how they affect your views of marriage. It is a better book to discuss after reading than enjoying the reading experience of the story. I suppose I would recommend it for book club discussions (because there was more passion in members' discussions than in the whole book), but otherwise not for individual enjoyment or enlightenment.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing
Interesting Read

I am a very non-affiliated religious person. I think of God and pray daily, more than once a day. It was interesting to read someone else's thoughts on subjects such as Holy Trinity and forgiveness. Great discussion for book clubs, if you're comfortable enough with your members to discuss religious subject matter.

June Bug by Chris Fabry
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Optimistic
Engaging Heroine

June Bug the character is engaging, inquisitive and precocious. You will enjoy her journey to find her roots and maybe a little faith on the way. A very good, down-to-earth read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Graphic, Dramatic
Slow to Start,

but definitely worth your time and effort to finish. The middle, what I consider the non-financial sections, is gripping and graphic in spots and a real page-turner. The end has a lot of financial intricacies, but is informative and interesting enough to carry you through to the end.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Lovely Book

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. The story deals with very dark and disturbing subject matter. Ms. Sebold's characters are complex and multidimensional. She invites the reader to open up their beliefs and take a fantastic journey with the young heroine/protagonist. The film is not worth watching, in my opinion, which is too bad because the book was so good.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Insightful
Definitely Not Boring or Poorly Written!

Brady Udall's descriptive prose occasionally reminds me of John Steinbeck. This novel is very humorous, poignant, and bittersweet, and at times, has exasperating characters who make bad choices and do dumb things. Even so, you develop an empathy and affection for them. You will never forget Golden Richards, his son Rusty (among numerous offspring) or his wives.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Insightful, Inspiring
I never get tired of reading this book...

I first read "To Kill a Mockingbird" as a teenager and have read it many times since then. If I could write but one book, as Harper Lee did, it would be one as brilliant as this one. Everyone should be required to read "To Kill a Mockingbird." You will remember the characters and their story for the rest of your life, which will surely change your perspective from that time forward.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Optimistic, Insightful
Worthy Read

Good discussion book. Slow in parts, but always with purpose, spirituality & intuition. Every woman, young & old, should read this piece of historical fiction from the Transcendentalism/Civil War era (seems like an oxymoron).

Beach Music by Pat Conroy
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Fantastic, Insightful
Good Discussion Book

Pat Conroy as usual. Southern angst with Catholicism, the Vietnam War & the Holocaust thrown in for good measure.

Light in August by William Faulkner
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Brilliant, Beautiful
One of the Best Books Our Club has Read

Numerous discussion questions for Light in August by William Faulkner-- so many there was not time to finish them all. This was our clubs/members first time reading Faulkner, and it was so good. You can tell when you are reading great prose--great writers make it seem effortless. The characters were memorable and mesmerizing. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I consider it a must read on your bucket list.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Graphic, Inspiring
Gripping and Heroic

"Defiant..." tells the true story of the "Alcatraez 11" and other POWs detained for years in the "Hanoi Hilton" POW camp during the Viet Nam War. Gripping, graphic and inspiring, everyone should read about this unwanted war on all sides and how truly resilient the American human spirit can be when faced with so much adversity.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Beautiful
Deep and Disturbing Portrait

Deep, dark and disturbing portrait of insanity and criminally. Sucks you right in to the mind and journey of the criminal. Highly recommended.

 
Dramatic, Informative, Adventurous

Good Earth. by Pearl S. Buck
 

 
Dark, Brilliant, Slow

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
 

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
 

News of the World by Paulette Jiles
 
Adventurous, Interesting, Beautiful

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
 
Inspiring, Insightful, Optimistic

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
Difficult, Insightful, Dramatic

 
Boring, Difficult, Insightful

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
 
Interesting, Dramatic, Gloomy

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
 
Difficult, Epic, Dramatic

Macbeth: A Novel by A.J. Hartley, David Hewson
 

The Martian by Andy Weir
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
 
Boring, Confusing, Interesting

 
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic

The Son by Philipp Meyer
 
Epic, Graphic, Informative

Night (Night) by Elie Wiesel
 
Life Changing, Insightful, Dramatic

 
Informative, Brilliant, Beautiful

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
 
Adventurous, Interesting, Brilliant

 
Graphic, Gloomy, Beautiful

Beach Music: A Novel by Pat Conroy
 
Dramatic, Fantastic, Insightful

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Gloomy

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope by Don & Susie Van Ryn, Newell Colleen & Whitney Cerak
 
Inspiring, Beautiful

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
 
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting

 
Insightful, Beautiful, Inspiring

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
 
Epic, Informative, Interesting

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
 
Interesting, Beautiful, Insightful

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
 
Insightful, Gloomy, Brilliant

Cutting for Stone: A Novel by Abraham Verghese
 
Dramatic, Informative, Interesting

The Shack by William P. Young
 
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
 
Insightful, Interesting, Gloomy

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
 
Gloomy, Slow, Romantic

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
 
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
 
Brilliant, Addictive, Beautiful

 
Informative, Boring, Gloomy

 
Confusing, Interesting, Insightful

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
 
Insightful, Interesting, Beautiful

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
 
Romantic, Beautiful, Dramatic

Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper
 

 
Beautiful, Romantic, Insightful

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