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My Reviews

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Interesting
The Bonesetters Daughter

A book that gives family history value. It gives layers to your life, and solid ground to stand on. Amy Tan tells a tale not easily forgotten.

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

A lightweight book--easy to read in a few hours. A bit unbelievable.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Informative
Operation Mincemeat

This non-fiction novel is a page-turner. Well researched, and developing the characters so that you think you know them, this book relates the story of "The man who never was", a scheme developed by British spies, including Ian Fleming, a Jewish nobleman and others to hoodwink the Germans into believing that the Allies would not invade Europe at Sicily. Using a dead body, for which they had developed a life to the most minute detail, they led the Germans to believe their ruse, so that even Hitler approved a defense strategy that did not include Sicily. Thousands of Allied lives were saved.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Beautiful, Dramatic
Bloodroot

Unlike any epic family saga I have read. Beautifully written, it lets you in on the feelings of the characters without telling you what it was, such as "Mary felt sad, etc." The character development is excellent. Rather than a description of activities, you hear from each character's own mouth and perspective. A page turner.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
In the Garden of Beasts

This extensively researched book draws heavily from the profuse papers and diaries of the Ambassador to Germany appointed in 1933 and those of his interesting daughter, Martha. It gives insight into Hitler, and more importantly into the German people. The author explains how Hitler could rise to the power he attained. Very few people saw the evil coming mainly because it was inconceivable to them that any person could be as willing to do anything, no matter how shocking and perverted, to gain his ends. Hitler was like the intruder in your home--you are always at a disadvantage. The intruder knows what he is willing and capable of doing, but you do not. You hope that he is in the end a decent person who will not harm or kill you, so you act accordingly, and without violence. When he perpetrates violence on you, it is a shock. But not to him--he always knew what he would do.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Fun
Major Pettigrew's last Stand

The story of the relationship between Major Pettigrew and a Pakistani woman grocer. This book shows the desire to do right by the main characters. Much to discuss in your club.
By the way, we Skyped with the author and found her to be delightful. She seemed to really enjoy talking with her readers and she is quick witted and funny. I highly recommend that your club set up a Skype session with her.

The Nightingale: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Inspiring
The Nightingale

Not destined to be a classic, but a very good book, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction. This book leaves you with a real understanding and feeling for the horrific lives lived by ordinary people in France during the Nazi occupation.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Addictive
How the Light Gets In

This book made me a fan of Louise Penny. I\\\'m not usually a reader of mysteries, but I am now. The main character, Inspector Gamache, is human, flawed, smart and a man I would like to know. The ins and outs, twists and turns keep you turning the pages. Have fun!!

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
The Invention of Wings

This is a page turner. Lends itself to a great discussion. Historical fiction at its best. Gives insight into the actualities of slavery, without glossing over, but surprises the reader when one realizes that you are reading about the first women abolitionists, who came from a slave owning family and paid dearly for their beliefs.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

So beautifully written that I often had to stop and catch my breath and reread an extraordinary phrase. The author weaves a story about many people and brings them together in the end. How did he keep it all straight????

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Romantic
Henna House

A little slow getting started, this historical fiction turns into a page turner. The history of henna, the superstitions surrounding it and the meanings of the henna images make this book worth reading. Add to that the previously unknown life of Yeminite Jews at the turn of the last century. I can easily recommend this book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting, Insightful
The Rosie Project

Maybe the funniest and most fun book I can remember reading. I couldn't put it down. Lots to discuss. I highly recommend it for book clubs

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Inspiring
Ordinary Grace

A book about essentially very good people in small town Minnesota--people we all grew up with and know. Set after WWII, we see the effects the war had on some of the characters. Told through the eyes of one of the young sons, we are given a glimpse of human struggle and tragedy.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

On my list of best books I have ever read, tied at the top with a couple of others. I knew nothing about Garfield (except that my elementary school was named after him and that he had been shot), and had no idea of the impact he made on America. Important for everyone to read this book.

The Group by Mary Mccarthy
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
The Group

Half of your club will think this is an important book, and the other half will think it is worthless. Although I think this is a book with lots of flaws, I thought it was eye opening to me about what we women went through growing up in the 40s 50s and 60s when women were expected to stay home, raise a family, not show any intelligence and be arm candy for their husbands. During those years women went to college mainly to "catch" a husband. The only acceptable curriculums for women were teaching and nursing, plus maybe English lit., and homemaking. This book was published in 1963 when women were just starting to break out of the societal mold imposed upon them. I graduated from high school in 1964, college in 1967 and law school (1 of 7 women in a class of 300) in 1970. I was roundly condemned and mistrusted for stepping into a man's place. This book was published the same year as Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mistique". All women should read both of these books to understand what we have battled to get where we are now--still far behind the men, but not as far behind as we were.

Day After Night: A Novel by Anita Diamant
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Day after Night

Maybe we've read just too many WWII books this year, so we may be suffering from overload. The book dragged in places, and the characters were stereotypical. We did not know that Holocaust survivors were interned when they came to Israel by the British in camps very similar to those of the Nazis. This was shocking to us. Certainly a book worth reading.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Insightful
This is Your Life, Harriet Chance

"With her husband Bernard two years in the grave, seventy-eight-year-old Harriet Chance sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise only to discover through a series of revelations that she’s been living the past sixty years of her life under entirely false pretenses. There, amid the buffets and lounge singers, between the imagined appearance of her late husband and the very real arrival of her estranged daughter midway through the cruise, Harriet is forced to take a long look back, confronting the truth about pivotal events that changed the course of her life." This description is from Good Reads.

I found the book to be funny, poignant, sweet, and a story that will touch all women with grown children and/or a marriage where the she did a lot of the giving.A fast read and really worth the time.

Love in Lowercase: A Novel by Francesc Miralles
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Fun
love in lowercase by Francesc Miralles

Translated from the Spanish, this little book is reminiscent of The Rosie Project, but much different. The stray cat is the muse for an insular German lit professor who opens his life to new people and adventures. Funny and also poignant.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Orphan Train

This is a book many of us read in one sitting because we couldn't put it down. However, we noticed some significant flaws that didn't interfere with our reading, but were still flaws. For instance, the foster mother is consistently portrayed in the most negative manner. Not one positive word for this woman from the author. Many of the other characters are also one-dimensional. Some of the situations are not believable such as that Molly would be charged with a crime for taking a book from the library that was ratty and mildewed and where there were 2 other better copies is not believable. We found more situations that had problems with believability, but to discuss them would be spoilers. Still, worth reading. If you select this book, google "reviews of the Orphan train" and you'll find many reviews that add to your discussion.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

I read everything Erik Larson ; writes and I am never disappointed. No one can write historical Non fiction like Larson. He does the work to research, research, research and then tell a story in a book you can't put down. Even though you know generally what is going to happen, Larson deiveres one fascinating nugget after another. Enjoy!!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

When you finish the last page of this book, you will still be astonished at the unfolding of the factual story.. I read this some years ago and still find myself thinking about the story. Recommended to every reader who likes a good true story.

The Art Forger: A Novel by B. A. Shapiro
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Art Forger

Worth reading for the information on forgeries in the field of art and on how the forger does the forgery. The story itself is a little short on substance sometimes, and a bit unbelievable at others, but still worth the read and the discussion

Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Flight Behavior

Tough book to get into. 1st chapter goes on and on about the main character's decision to have an affair. Then the author spends a lot of time with the main character criticizing other women, mainly her mother-in-law and a woman named Chrystal. The book gets much better when it starts focusing on the butterflies and their predicament. I guess its sort of a coming of age novel for the protagonist. I would read it again, but would just skim or skip the first hundred pages.

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

The reader knows what it actually felt like to be alive during the Depression. The hardship these boys dealt with is shocking, yet they went on to win a gold medal in the Hitler Olympics of 1936. In spite of the fact that Hitler rigged everything against them. Enjoy!1

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