Monday, September 26, 2016

Isaac's Storm

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in HistoryIsaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think I have come to the conclusion that weather books are not my thing. I find myself irritated with the authors who imply that other decisions should have/could have been made, when really when dealing with Mother Nature, it's anyone's guess, especially without modern day equipment. Also, I felt that the personal stories were too disjointed...I had a hard time remembering which family was which as he visited and revisited several accounts through out the book. I first became aquatinted with the Galveston hurricane in poem "Cannabalism" in The Big Smoke and thought that poem was a better retelling.

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I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful PlaceI Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by Howard Norman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Norman never claims this memoir to be anything interesting. Just a collection of essays about places he found beautiful, took solace in when the vissitudes of life got to him, or discovered something about himself. Most of these places involve birds, just FYI. Regardless, turns out Norman's life is fraught with interesting and unforgettable people and events. He may have gone about being a writer in a more convoluted way than most, but he has created a style that is engaging, lyrical, and precise. It is inspires the reader to discover life and capture it, one place at a time.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading about the death of a teen and the effect on her family should be depressing. And it sort of was but I enjoyed the subtlety Ng used when explaining the dynamic as of a family, the pressures of what we think people think, and our desires to fit in, or stand out, sometimes simultaneously. Perhaps most affecting was the investigation of how our parents pushed their hopes and dreams on us, and then how we do the same to our children, sometimes without us knowing. Ng explores race relations very intimately here, and as a result allows those feelings to be universally understood. Beautiful, hopeful, enlightening.

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The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful storyline. A baby washes up with a dead man in a boat on the shore after Isabel's third miscarriage. What are the chances the real mother is still alive. And what do you do when you find out after 3 years that she is? If the symbolism of light and dark, ocean currents and lighthouses are a bit heavy handed at times, you forgive it because the characters are nuanced and the themes of love and forgiveness are so beautifully expressed. BTW, the movie does do the novel justice for once, using the best plot lines and quotes from the book.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Fourth of July Creek

Fourth of July CreekFourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great character novel. Pete is a social worker in a backwoods town in the early 80s, and though he tries to do right by his clients, it's not always easy to know what the right thing is. He tries hard, but he is flawed as well. Everyone is a little rough around the edges, so there are some difficult scenes...social work is not pretty. Henderson also plays with literature rules, (changing tenses in a sentence, suddenly omitting commas), that can be a little distracting, but overall works. There is such wonderful pacing throughout the book that the ending comes suddenly and not explained fully to my satisfaction. Wonderfully drawn themes of betrayal, God, family and forgiveness. Beautiful imagery.

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Such a pretty picture Rachel, Beth, and Pete made, as ideal as a water molecule, hydrogen, hydrogen, oxygen.