Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Plague of DovesThe Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you like nonlinear, disjointed, many layered, ambiguous sophisticated "modern" literature you will love this. I keep trying to love Erdrich's highly praised novels but with the conclusion of this book I am ceasing my efforts in this regard. I didn't care about the characters, felt the ending was unfinished, the entire work unpolished and found her prose was well, blahhhhh. It was a little edgy, but not entertaining, not evocative, lovely, nor inspiring, nonetheless it was a 2009 Pulitzer Nominee so perhaps the problem is with me, the unworthy reader, not the work. But to that argument My response is well stated in The Atlantic article An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness of American literary prose.

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I'll Watch the MoonI'll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a heart warming, beautifully written gem of a book with an uplifting and faith promoting message about the power of love and hope. The characters are varied, endearing, and unforgettable. I want to hug every one of them. The late 1940's story, told from a young girl's perspective, sometimes made me laugh out loud, at other times tugged at my heart strings, and constantly kept me wondering what would happen next. I will definitely be reading more of Tatlock's books. Audio version exceptionally well done. Highly recommend to all readers, all ages.
Favorite quotes:
“I decided that faith must be the strongest thing in the world, because an ounce of it can change the course of an entire life.” -Nova Tierney
“And if I curse God, Mrs. Tierney? What then? If I turn away from him, what do I turn toward? …No. Better to keep one’s face toward heaven, even if you are angry with God, than to turn away and find nothing at all.” -Josef Karski
“Funny how even a grain of hope can manage to eclipse a whole world of despair.” -Nova Tierney

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Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun, witty, light mystery with a little romance. Amelia Peabody is delightful, as are the other characters. Reminds me of Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

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The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Unimpressive, run-of-the-mill, mystery with a few red herrings and an over abundance of distracting, inflated descriptions and horrendous, foul language, the latter causing me to dock her 2 stars in this review. It was completely unnecessary profanity which contributed nothing. J.K. Rowling wrote this under a pseudonym and methinks she is tying too hard to prove she can entertain adult readers. One good thing: her characters are well developed, interesting, and have descriptive names, e.g. Cormoran Strike, a detective with a Hagrid type appearance and personality, Lula Landry, the shallow super model muder victim , her adaptive parents, Sir Alec and Lady Yvette Bristow, and Deebee Macc, an American rapper super star. Great names.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

FreemanFreeman by Leonard Pitts Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An engrossing, powerful read, to which I was riveted until its triumphant ending, this novel tells the stories of three individuals in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War.

Sam, a former runaway slave, now an educated successful man who is passionate about freedom, leaves his home & respectable position of employment in Philadelphia, on a desperate journey of 1,000 miles to find his wife whom he has not seen for 15 years.

Tilda, his wife, still considered as “property” by her brutal master who would kill her as he has his other slaves, has no concept of the word”freedom,” and cannot fathom where she would go or what she would do without her master.

Prudence, a wealthy white woman from Boston determined to start a school “for coloreds,” has newly arrived in Mississippi and faces obstacles never considered and an unrevealed past personal history that will shake her world

The realistic lives of these three are intertwined, along with lesser characters’ stories. Heartfelt, poignant, at times horrifying, the book clearly illustrates the inhumanity of antebellum slavery culture, along with an illustration of the most uplifting and praiseworthy nature of humans. Great character development, realistic, believable, some of the characters based on actual individuals and events. It is a book that will affect me for a long time.
Audio version. A masterful job done by Sean Crisden, the narrator.

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