Sunday

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Main Characters:
Leo Gursky, an old man, living in NYC. He taps on the radiator each morning to let his upstairs neighbor know he is alive. Was once in love with a girl in Poland named Alma. He wrote a book, The History of Love, about their love before he barely escapes the Holocaust.

Alma Singer, a lonely teenager who was named after a character in a book by her father, who has recently dies. Her story is a coming-of-age one.

Bird: Alma's brother

Zvi Litvinoff, the published author of The History of Love

Plot:
Multiple, sometimes unreliable, narrators. Non-linear story.

Writing: Well-written, lyrical with well-defined characters. Sometimes too hard handed and some plot points could be inferred too soon.

Themes: Loss, Identity, Loneliness

Bottom Line Thoughts: Liked it more looking back than during. Love the idea that a book can hold such a forceful potency in so many lives.  At times had to force myself to pick it back up as the beauty and plan were a bit better than the execution. 


This blog has switched from a review site to more of a chronicle site. Please do not misconstrue anything here as resembling a quality review :-)        Read 2013. Ramblings & Reviews ©2007-2013


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Saturday

Last Night At Twisted River by John Irving - Book Review

John Irving has been, a long as I can remember, one of my two favorite living authors. With the death of his fellow Iowa Writer's Workshop buddy Kurt Vonnegut in 2007, he became my favorite living author. That is why this review is going to be so difficult to write.

Don’t get me wrong. I liked Last Night in Twisted River ! I really liked the larger-than-life characters Irving so perfectly crafts; I loved the nonlinear time-line, a brilliant effect when you begin a section and have to readjust to where you think you are, only to realize that you’ve landed elsewhere. Very Vonnegut, like his mentor. And I always forgive Irving’s lengthy, semi-coloned sentences; I am a bad girl there too. I adore Irving’s inimitable writing. He is a true master of the pen, able to take the most implausible premise and give it legs.

Wednesday

Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom - Book Review

Amy Bloom is a great writer and also a psychotherapist. You will see plenty of reviews speculating that her training in the latter has given her a magic pen. This is a fallacy. A great writer has a gift; there are many who can make clear the foibles of human nature as Ms. Bloom so keenly does. They do not need a psychology degree. Bloom is a talented writer who just happens to also be a psychotherapist.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out follows a line of Amy Bloom successes, being, once again, wonderfully well-written and filled with humans grappling with life (messy, messy life). In this collection of twelve short stories, some connected – some not, the theme is not only discernible from the title, but also from the characters that "love," though they love poorly.

Saturday

The Lacemaker's of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri - Book Review

I have two reasons for reading The Lace Makers of Glenmara, a chick lit novel that I would probably never choose. One, I long to visit Ireland. No ancestors, no stories, it is just one of my bucket list destinations. Two, I am addicted to all things crafty. Wait, I don’t actually complete any crafts, I just read tons of blogs about them and wish everyday that my Delicious bookmarked crafty folder was not mocking me. Chick lit has to be pretty meaty to hold my attention so it was a surprise that I managed to finish The Lace Makers of Glenmara in two evenings.

Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell - Book Review

Perhaps Shandi Mitchell best sums up the premise of her debut novel, Under This Unbroken Sky. In an interview she says it’s about, “two families consumed by the land that they yearned to possess.” Consumed is an understatement.

In 1938, Ukrainian immigrant Teodor Mykolayenko returns to the wife and five children he left behind when he was sent to prison. His sister has housed the family, though she has her own struggles with a nasty-piece-of-work husband and two children of her own. Teodor has survived far worse trials than managing the harsh Canadian prairie,

Sunday

Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett -young adult book review from Reading Rumpus

It’s so much better when you have low expectations for a novel. I didn’t really think I’d like the premise of Undiscovered Gyrl, thought it would be forced metafiction. The worst. But Undiscovered Gyrl hooked me quickly and didn’t let me go. Like a train wreck, or better yet - an accident waiting to happen, I stared, unblinking, until the last page.

Katie is 17 and (as the book jacket says) a modern-day Lolita. One minute she’s a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, struggling with growing up, boyfriends, sex and normal teen worries. The next minute she’s a seductress, cold and unapologetic in the recounting of her quests. Through her blog, we watch. We sign on each day to read her next post. We watch her unravel, sense a terrible climax coming. A train wreck. A car crash. Then, one day, she’s gone............ Continue reading the review, along with resources for teaching, on Reading Rumpus.


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Saturday

Evermore: The Immortals by Alyson Noel - Young adult book review from Reading Rumpus

Evermore: The Immortals, begins with seventeen-year-old Ever having just lost her entire family in a horrible car accident. Now she can see people’s auras and psychically know their life story at the slightest of touch. She used to be a popular, blonde, cheerleader type, now she’s the withdrawn sulky hooded figure trying to make her way in a new school. Then, of course, she meets the boy. Damen Auguste, immortal............. Continue reading the review, along with teaching resources, on Reading Rumpus.


© 2007-2009

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Monday

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran - Book Review

There are three ways of examining Cleopatra's Daughter. One might view the story as an overlooked appendage to the famous story of Marc Antony & Cleopatra. One might also marvel at the novel’s historically significant timeframe. Or finally, one can view Cleopatra's Daughter as an engrossing story of political intrigue and romance. Choose any direction; you will not be disappointed.

Friday

13 reasons to use Thirteen Reasons Why - Young adult book review from Reading Rumpus


There are 13 reasons to use Thirteen Reasons Why, 13 supporting resources links, 13 discussion starters, 13 story extending activities, 13 other books about teens struggles and 13 facts about the author on Reading Rumpus.


© 2007-2009

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Wednesday

The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips - Book Review

The Well and the Mine is the story of an Alabama depression-era family told in five alternating voices. Father Albert is a hard working miner and his wife Leta is a practical mother who puts the interest of her children above all else. The story begins as youngest daughter, Tess, observes someone throwing a baby into the family well. Teen daughter Virgie soon joins Tess is trying to find out who that woman might be, while the youngest child, Jack, goes about the business of being a young boy.

Aint Nothing But a Man by Scott Reynolds Nelson - Children's book review from Reading Rumpus

Ask a kid what he wants to be when he grows up. What will you hear? Race car driver? Ballerina? Doctor? Astronaut? Historian… Huh?

In Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry, Scott Reynolds Nelson has done for historians what Indiana Jones did for archeologists. While the book appears to explain whether a real John Henry, the steel driving man of folk legend, actually existed, it slyly tells a first person story of Scott Reynolds Nelson, historian.

Reynolds’ personal quest starts as a small kernel of wonder while researching the men who built the railroads. He looks up from his computer screen and a clue pops out at him. From there, Reynolds is off to find out if there was a real John Henry.......... Continue reading the review, along with teaching resources, on Reading Rumpus.


© 2009

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Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall - Book Review

book reviewIf the measure of a good story is the desire to turn each next page, then Sweeping Up Glass is a good story. Told in the first person by Olivia Harker, an authentic and relatable voice, and set in Southern Kentucky, in a time when segregation was a fact and civil rights had yet to be spoken of, Sweeping Up Glass is a genre straddling southern, historical, mystery that considers the wounds of hatred, the intricacies of family, and the complexity of pride, loss and redemption.

Tuesday

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan - Book Review

Assigning a genre to Of Bees and Mist is difficult. Part fable, part magical realism set in an imaginary world, Of Bees and Mist believes in fortune tellers, ghosts and mysterious occurrences while simply telling the chronicle of a family. And though basically a tale of family and marriage, Of Bees and Mist resides pleasingly close to the realm of the fantastical.

Monday

Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully by James Roy - Children's book review from Reading Rumpus

Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully is following a trend in children’s literature. Much like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (previously reviewed here), Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully follows the hand-scribbled diary format. Not that this is a bad thing. This trendy format is especially enticing to reluctant readers and preadolescenct males, two groups in need of reading incentives. Add the convincing voice of Max Quigley to the format and you’ve got an enticing look at bullying from the bully’s point of view.

Max is an unreliable, sarcastic narrator. He thinks that just because he doesn’t physically hit anyone, he’s not really a bully. Max’s idea of a good time is picking on Triffin Nordstrom, or Nerdstrom as Max’s renamed him. But Max’s teasing goes too far causing Triffin’s mother and Max’s parents to form an alliance. Their concocted plan is twofold: educate Triffin in social skills while Max gets help with his slumping math scores. And even though Triffin may be a loner, he’s none-too-thrilled to hang with Max. This comes as a great shock to the ever-popular Max.......Continue reading the review, along with teaching resources, on Reading Rumpus.

© 2009

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