Category: Good Books

Book 14: The Invention of Wings

A Great Book

A Great Book

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Wow. I just grabbed this one because of its ratings, and it did not disappoint. Since I finished this, I’ve been thinking, even having vivid dreams, about it. Slavery, a terrible blight on our National History, was brutal and to me, unthinkable. I often imagine what it would have been like to have been alive and a part of it — on either side. Of course, one side is obviously worse than the other, but is it? What if you were born into a family of slave holders? What if you knew, even as a small child, that it was absolutely wrong, but could do nothing to change it then? In this tale, we see two sides of one coin. I love the characters, bold and strong, even the ones I despised. I loved listening to the author’s note at the end about how she came to write about these people, and which parts were fictionalized and which were told as close to the history as possible. Fascinating and well worth a read or listen. No wonder it was an Oprah’s book club pick.

Book 13: Breaking Point

♦ ♦ ♦ Raise your hand if you know what a game warden is? Raise your hand if you’ve ever met one. This book took me back to my days living on a ranch in Texas. Although this story takes place in Wyoming, I’ve met a game warden or two, and in fact, I feel like I’ve met most of the characters in the story. I enjoyed the “outside” elements of the tale, and of the attachment folks have to the land, family and the responsibility we have for our wildlife and natural resources. I loved how, though I’ve not been to Wyoming, I could see the whole thing; the beautiful mountains, the ranch, the horses and the river. I really grew attached to the characters and felt like the plot moved quickly enough with the right amount of detail. Really enjoyed this one! Pick it up and take a break to the wilds of a small Wyoming community, where you’ll find all the same quandaries of big city life: jealousy, injustice, murder, indifference, love, loyalty and mystery.

Book 12: I Am Malala

Book Worth Reading

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ These are high ratings for a book that did not wow with me with literary prowess. Truth. It wowed me with insight into the life of an extraordinary young woman who was blessed with an even more enlightened and extraordinary father who, despite her being a girl in a country where girls don’t count, told her that she deserved an education. It’s definitely unlikely that I will ever travel to Pakistan to experience the magical beauty of the Swat valley Malala’s family called home, but by her words, I saw it through the loving lens of a child. Read this book. The autobiographical account of the struggle to educate girls is well worth your time and brain cells. I’m thankful for activists like Malala and her father who know that knowledge is power. I hope that one day, she can travel back to her homeland and be welcomed and revered as the gift she is.

Book 11: The Rosie Project

A Really Good Read

♦♦♦♦ My friend Lisa recommended this one. It’s been in my wishlist for awhile, but with her encouragement, I downloaded and jumped right in. At first I thought, “eh, it’s interesting, but why all the rave reviews?” As I got further into the story, I realized that I really, really liked the characters. I was quietly engaged and invested in their stories.

That’s what makes me give it a four rating, rather than a three. It’s not action packed, but it’s lovely in an every-day-sort-of-real sense. Asberger’s Syndrome and Autism seem to be on the rise not only in our population, but, rightly so, in our literature. There are some eye-opening statistics about the Autism spectrum, like 1 in 42 boys are affected by some form of Autism and are 5 times as likely as girls to be affected. With these numbers, I’m happy to see books like this one, with characters depicted as real and lovable, quirks, differences and all, who fall into the category. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up! I always find nuggets of insight to hold onto that are so relevant in my life.

I’ve read two other books with great characters who seem to fall under the Autism spectrum: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie,  and the Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime.

Book 10: The Wise Man’s Fear

Beautiful Language, Interesting Read

Beautiful Language, Interesting Read

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ This book was 43 hours of audio delight. Needless to say that it took my hubby and I a few weeks to complete this one. When we’re co-listening it takes much longer because our listening happens mostly when we’re in the car together or sitting on the porch swing. I loved it and we were more than halfway through when I realized that this is actually a series, and this is the second book! I hate it when I do that.

To me, Patrick Rothfuss’ book is beautifully written, imaginative, thoughtful and was well narrated. My husband thought there wasn’t quite enough action and I don’t think he’d give it a 4 rating. Definitely nothing under 3, but he’s not all in it for the language and the philosophy. I found it fascinating. I am constantly reminded, while reading fantasy, that the human imagination is a beautiful thing. So many of the things I read delight, amuse and interest me, yet, as creative as I think I am, I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t come up with such interesting concepts, worlds, societies, and gods. So happy for books! If you want a big long story, try this one!

Book 9: Ruby Red

The Vodka’s good, but the book… Meh

♦♦ 1/2 I’ll admit that the first thing that popped into my head when I read the title was a very delicious (my all time favorite) vodka called, Deep Eddy Ruby Red. She’s a cruel mistress, this ruby. Alas, though, it might have had a bearing on me deciding to start this trilogy.

While I was gathering my thoughts on this one, I began to wonder if it was a “young adult” type book because the whole thing was a bit unsophisticated and the characters clearly innocent. Mind you, if the story’s good enough you don’t always care, but upon further investigation, I realized that I nailed it. Interesting concept about a family who has the time travel gene, but frankly, it’s just not that great. The end is a big cliff hanging screamer, “you’ll find out in the next book!” This one made me shrug and say, “Meh” I’m not sure I care enough to read the next one, “Emerald Green.” Though, well, I love the color green. Maybe picking books based on Vodka and colors isn’t the best choice?

Book 8: The Likeness

Another Good One in the Dublin Murder Series

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ They say that everybody has a double, but how often do people ever see their spittin’ image? How often do people investigate the murder of their unrelated twin? Better yet, how bout go under cover as that person? Well, of course, this whole scenario is completely ridiculous when it comes to real possibility, but this is fiction! So, with that out of the way, what if?

I’ve so enjoyed the Dublin Murder Series of books, and this was no exception. I enjoy Tana French’s writing wholeheartedly, and Heather O’Neill’s narration on this audio book was great. Her Irish accent makes me happy, and makes it feel authentic. I’ve read the first 4 in this series, and I’ve loved all of them. I keep trying to convince my friends to read them, but so far as I know, nobody has.

Anyone out there in the blog-sphere read Tana French? Am I all alone?

Book 7: Twelve Years A Slave

A Book I Wish Was Fiction

A Book I Wish Was Fiction

♦ ♦ ♦ + Another book gone Hollywood. At this point, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I guarantee, the book says so much more. This powerful autobiographical look at slavery from the inside out, and considered to be the best insight into that life, by many, was a difficult read/listen. The most obvious reason for my difficulty was the subject matter and the frank depiction of real people, real places and real occurrences. Horrific. Brutal. Inhumane. Unthinkable. My list could go on and on. Like the Holocaust, I just can’t wrap my head around slavery. And, knowing it still exists on this planet sickens me. First published in 1853, this book, written by the Solomon Northup, was obviously written in the language of its time. The sentences were quite formal, making the listening a bit more challenging. However, the story will grab you by the throat and squeeze. Difficult, but well worth a listen.

Book 5: Gregor The Overlander

A Good One for the Whole Family

A Good One for the Whole Family

♦ ♦ ♦ Happily surprised by this one. What does that say about me? Not sure because according to Amazon, the age level for this series is 8-12. That actually makes me pretty happy because that means there’s some decent fiction out there for young readers. No better way to get them hooked on reading than by giving them decent books! My son liked it, and since it was in my Audible library from him, I thought I’d give it a listen.

Of course, some parts of my adult brain noted when the writing was a bit simple, but quite honestly, it was an imaginative  journey down the vent shaft in the laundry room to the underworld. Gregor gets the surprise of his life, and protects his baby sister quite gallantly. Good boy… and well, sometimes you just have to save the world, underworld or not! This would be a good one for the whole family to listen to together! Road trip!