Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jump at the Sun by Kim McLarin (6)

The main character of this book, Grace, is an African American career woman/ wife and mother who is very conflicted. She loves her family and at the same time yearns to be free and pursuing her career. The book includes flashbacks to her family history; her grandmother who suffered abuse and poor choices as a young person and her mother who struggled to provide for her family on her own. Grace would seem to have it all, a great education, an intelligent mind, a loving husband who provides, and bright loving children, but still wants more. The book goes full circle with Grace attempting to get out of her life and start anew, but her meeting with her dying grandmother causes her to rethink her life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Afterlife Experiments by Gary El Schwartz, Ph.D. (5)

We all have curiosity about what happens after death. This book examines the claims of mediums that they have an ability to talk to the dead and whether this can be proven scientifically. Various experiments are set up and checked for accuracy. This book left me unimpressed and skeptical.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cozy by Parnell Hall (4)

Every once in a while I like to read a good murder mystery. I have enjoyed this author before so I began to read Cozy with high expectations. I'm sorry to say that it was a disappointing read. The plot moved slowly, lacking suspense, and the ending was predictable. The story is set in a New England bread and breakfast where a group of people are assembled to enjoy hiking and dining. There is mildly entertaining dialogue between the main character, Stanley, and his wife and also the investigating policeman. I would have given up on the book about half way through, but I was hoping/ expecting it to improve. (It didn't!) Possibly someone else would enjoy this book but not me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (3)

This was a really enjoyable book. Olive Kitteridge is an old woman, very set in her ways and dogmatic, living in a small town in Maine. She has made lots of mistakes in her life and now, nearing the end of her life, often is filled with memories and regrets. She's disappointed in many things: her marriage, her child, her relationships with her neighbors, but remains hopeful in a dour way that there still is something to live for. This book is arranged differently from other books; it's composed of 13 short stories all tied together in some way with Olive and the small town. I found it a little confusing to figure out new characters at the beginning of each of the stories. By the end of each story, I wanted it to continue and see what happened next. It gave me something to think about and wonder what would happen next if this were real life and not fiction. Excellent read!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trauma by Patrick McGrath (2)

I like happy books. When I read a book (or watch a movie or TV program) I want it to be interesting and help me feel better. I want to maintain an optimistic view in spite of all the problems of the world. Trauma by Patrick McGrath is not a happy book. Charlie is a psychiatrist and has many issues dealing with his early family life, marriage, lovers, and other people. All the characters in this book are extremely troubled. The only reason that I finished this book is that it is quite short and I wanted to see if it had a happy ending. (It didn't!) I'm glad I finished it and now I'll read something that makes me feel better!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Someone Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage (1)

Excellent! A troubled young couple give up their new born baby; years pass when many people affected by this situation come together in a small eastern town and a private school. The plot has a lot of suspense leaving the reader wondering what will happen next and what would we do in that particular situation. Strong character development results in a widely divergent range of people featured in the book. This is very well written and highly recommended.