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My Reviews

 
Informative, Interesting, Dark
This book discusses the small village of Dogtown in the 1800s. The village is filled with misfits and undesireables; their lives are sad and depressed.

The characters were memorable and interesting, but their lives and fates were so sad! I had to put this book down many times because I was overwhelmed by the feelings.
Not much discussion in our book club; we didn't know what to say!

The Reincarnationist by M. J. Rose
 
Interesting, Adventurous, Insightful
Josh Ryer, after an accident, begins having unsettling memories of two previous lifetimes. His current life falls apart, as he investigates the two previous lifetimes.

I wanted to like The Reincarnationist more than I did, especially with a bibliography that included Jung and Weiss.
This book kept my attention, but the writing was choppy and the characters not totally believable or developed.
I enjoyed the past lives having to do with Roman times and the Vestal Virgins, but many things were not resolved. And the ending was quite anti-climatic.
Our book club had an animated discussion despite the drawbacks.

The Blind Assassin: A Novel by Margaret Atwood
 
Brilliant, Difficult, Interesting
Two lonely sisters, Iris and Laura, are raised as princesses during the 1930s, but are never really taught to survive by their fragile mother and business-obsessed father.

One needs concentration and thought to delve into the multiple layers of The Blind Assassin. Iris as an older woman writes of the scandals of her childhood with her sensitive sister Laura. Interwoven in this narrative is the highly acclaimed novel of Laura's, newspaper accounts of the era, and Alex's (Iris' lover, perhaps Laura's too?) science fiction stories. Atwood is at her best weaving a tale around the themes of women and their roles in society, the effects of the wars and Depression on Canada, and the scandals and stories of difficult childhoods.

Missing Mom: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Brilliant, Insightful
Missing Mom

This novel has so many levels in characterization and emotions. This deals with a family, a murder, and all the secrets that emerge after the tragedy. Do we ever really know anyone?
Joyce Carol Oates again writes with flair and sophistication; she is a master.

 
Poorly Written, Dark, Confusing
Honor Lost

This was not a bad read, but once I did some research and found out that it was not true, it changed my feelings about this book. If a book is filled with lies, that is supposed to be nonfiction, it leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.
Check out the reviews on amazon.com from other Mideastern women.

Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors
 
Romantic, Dramatic, Beautiful
Beside a Burning Sea

Interesting story set during World War II. However, the purple prose detracted from the story. I did enjoy the haikus.
The story wasn't bad, but the ending was not realistic.

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

When reading, try to just read for the story and not keep track of the times. The chronology is very confusing. Our group had hard time seeing the purpose and theme of this book. Perhaps love never dies, but it is excruciating as you are waiting for your man to pop in and out. I didn't like the characters, and I wondered why Claire stayed.

False Memory by Dean Koontz
 
Dramatic, Interesting, Scary
Not a hit

I did not enjoy reading this book. It is just a bit too creepy for me; I do not like or believe people can be made to commit crimes against their natures. It reminds me of the "repressed memory" movement which accuses people of making up memories about sexual abuse.

The Lacuna: A Novel (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Informative
A Different Barbara

I love reading Barbara Kingsolver's books; I think Poisonwood Bible is a classic.
This book started so slowly! I started it when it first came out, and then I took it back to the library. I tried again when my book club picked it. It took me a long time to read, but the final fourth, where the protagonist deals with the McCarthy trials is certainly worth the read. I certainly connected with Shephard, the protagonist, which makes me recommend this book.

South of Broad by Pat Conroy
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
A Good Read

I enjoyed South of Broad, although I did not find it as monumental as Prince of Tides. The strength of the friendships was admirable; the tales of sexual abuse were difficult and realistic. My book club agrees we wanted to take a field trip to Charleston!!!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Strong Women in the South

I enjoyed this book; the women are incredible. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago during the 60s and feel very sheltered after having read this novel. Miss Skeeter was putting these Black women at such risk, as well as herself. It takes people with extreme courage to make systemic change!

 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Inspiring, Slow
Eat, Pray, Love

I loved this book! The first time I read it, I sent copies to my best friends to read. This was the second time I have read it for our book club.
Many in our club found Liz self-centered and too wordy. However, I think when one is on a spiritual journey, one has to be self-centered. I learned via her struggle and found much of myself in her. I saw her on Oprah (and Richard from Texas before he died) and found them both so real and interesting.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
A Lesson in Science

I found this book informative and inciteful. I had never heard of HeLa cells; what information! However, even more inciteful was the story of the Lacks family and what they suffered due to the illness and misunderstood information about their family member. My club had an interesting discussion about who had the rights to one's body and parts!

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

This book kept me reading; I could not put it down. The characters are so interesting and compelling, and I had no idea that France had such a part in sending Jews to the death camps. This was also interesting to compare to Sophie's Choice, which my club has recently read.

The Power of One: A Novel by Bryce Courtenay
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Informative
The Power of This Book

I have been meaning to read this book for 2-3 years, as a fellow teacher highly recommended it. I found it a powerful, spiritual journey about a young man, looking for his own Self, his own inner power. I loved the characters, especially Doc. This is a very introspective investigation of apartheid in South Africa.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Confusing
Intriguing Read

Wonderful novel. Woolf was certainly ahead of her time when dealing with psychological issues.

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