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Showing posts from October, 2016

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini


                Mariam was born in Herat. A harami or bastard child born to maid and a rich businessman. Her mother warned her of the type of man her father really was. A man who could send his child and her mother to live in a shack miles away from the city to hide his shame. Laila was born in Kabul to a loving mother and father. Her two older brothers would fight for the Taliban to defeat the Russians. Her brothers wanted a free Afghanistan. Death would surround both Mariam and Laila. Their stories would intertwine as the bombs fall around them and as Sharia Law begins to take over their land.                 Mariam and Laila’s story is told in four parts. Every single part is amazingly done and so well written. Hossieni dedicated the first part to Mariam and the second part to Laila and that ended up being a great decision. He really focused on building each characters lives and circumstances. Mariam and Laila were both extremely well roun…

The Thirteenth Tale By Diane Setterfield (2006)

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield



                “I am going to tell you a story- a marvelous story!... Once upon a time there was a haunted house… Once upon a time there was a library… Once upon a time there were twins.” And so the writing began. The story of Vida Winters and Angelfield was finally told. After so many false narratives handed to journalist on a silver platter as if they were the real things. After each new novel, Vida Winters told a new tale, a new truth, a new life. But now finally after her last novel has been written she is ready to tell the true story of her life, her home, her family and her ghost. The person chosen to hear that story is the introvert and amateur biographer Margaret Lea. Always more comfortable in the antiquarian bookshop her family owns, Margaret is initially shocked to find herself invited by such a prestigious author to write her biography. But with each passing day as the story continues to unfold, Margaret examines her own story, her …

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2005)

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

                I’m going to be completely honest and upfront, this book is extremely awkward. It’s the story of Oskar Shell and how he heals after his father dies in the September 11th terrorist attacks. His father had called the apartment more than once during the attack and Oskar heard the last message but was unable to answer the phone. Over a year after his father’s death he finds a key in an envelope in a blue vase and goes on a quest across New York trying to find the lock the key opens. His only clue is the word Black written on the envelope in red ink.                 The narrative is what got me with this novel. The author had three different narrators speaking throughout the book: Oskar, his grandmother and his grandfather who left his grandmother before his father was born. This story encompasses all three of them and the events that happened throughout their lives. The only narrator I ever liked throughout the sto…
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Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz


                If I could recommend any book to women that would introduce them to wide variety of different women who impacted the world it would be Rad Women Worldwide. I think this book is absolutely incredible. From the very beginning of this book, readers are introduced to the many different, inspiring stories of women from all around the world who have strived to make a difference in themselves and the world. Many of these women I recognized but there were some, that after being on this Earth for thirty years, I had never heard of. The biographies were short and to the point, providing just enough information to describe the type of person they were and impact the women had on society. This leaves the door open for anyone to research more into the lives of these women if they find their interest sincerely piqued. If you choose not to delve further into the li…

You Can’t Touch My Hair: and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

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You Can’t Touch My Hair: and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson


                Honestly, Phoebe had me at the title and the cover photo. I knew a kindred spirit when I saw her and I wanted to know if me and Phoebe would be bosom buddies in real life. I like her. Why? Because the fact that she could throw in so much humor, while being honest and tackling really complicated issues concerning race made me happy. It’s hard talking to people about life as a black woman. Yet, Robinson did it very well, with some well-timed humor included. This book won’t be for everybody and that’s okay. She makes it very clear that there is no niche that you can contain her in. She is multidimensional, so whatever box you thought you were going to hold her in, you might as well completely disregard. That’s why I enjoyed this collection of essays. I felt like I was having a really honest conversation with one of my friends that included many glasses of wine, served chilled.             …

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (2004)

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The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

                Philip was a young boy but he still knew of the war against the Jews going on in Germany. He could constantly hear his parents discussing it. So when Lindbergh was elected president instead of Roosevelt in 1940, all Philip could feel was fear. His father knew Lindbergh was an anti-Semite. So did many of the other Jewish families in the neighborhood. All of whom were afraid of what Lindbergh’s pact with Hitler and the Japanese Emperor could mean for their future. America had now become allied with the Axis powers. While Europe was being slowly decimated by Hitler’s Army, the Japanese would begin conquering the different nations of the Pacific. The president of the United States, Charles A. Lindbergh, would do nothing but watch.                 I love alternate history historical fiction novels. I think it such an amazing genre with so many endless possibilities. We all know how World War II ended, how Roosevelt would end up servin…

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (2003)

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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

                In 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Fair. It was originally intended to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering the New World. But after the Exposition Universelle, an extremely successful world fair that was hosted in Paris, the World’s Fair turned into something more. Chicago wanted to put its name on the map and also build a structure that would rival the newly constructed Eiffel Tower. The architect Daniel Burnham would oversee the construction of what would be known as the White City and its success or failure would ride on his shoulders. While Burnham was building and planning the World’s fair, there was another man who had his sights on more sinister projects. He was known as H.H. Holmes but that was only one of the aliases he used. He would ultimately be responsible for the death of at least nine people with some estimates guessing up to two hun…

Irena's Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

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Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo


                I had never heard of Irena Sendler until I saw this book. As someone who reads quite a bit of World War II nonfiction books I found this to be quite disturbing. Who is this woman being crowned the “female Schindler?” I know his name. I’ve known his name since hearing of the famous movie that I wasn’t brave enough to watch until I reached adulthood. Now, after reading Irena’s Children¸ I am very well aware of the history of Irena Sendler and the courage it took to walk into the Warsaw Ghetto every day and walk out with a hidden Jewish child.
                This book is powerful in so many ways. One of the things that I admired most about Irena’s Children is that Mazzeo made it a point to emphasize that Irena was human. She was flawed, made mistakes but she wanted desperately to fight against what she found deplorable. Looking back at her history one can understand why Irena had such strong convictions. Her father, Stanislaw Kryzanowsk…

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

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The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis



                Elka looked at Trapper like a father for the last ten years. She never thought it would end with her throwing her knife in his shoulder and pinning him to a tree. A lot of things had changed in a year. The magistrate approached Elka when she went into town, where drawings of Trapper had been posted everywhere. He was wanted for the murder of a few different women and a child. Elka feared for her life and the things that she knew and ran. But Trapper was always near and so was the magistrate. Finding the parents Elka didn’t even remember were her only hope of starting over. But they went looking for gold when she was a young girl. Elka was seven when Trapper saved her and that was all she had ever known since. The Wolf Road starts off with a bang and continues to deliver. Within a few pages I knew I liked Elka. She was flawed, hard as nails and yet because of her isolation completely naïve when it came to social interactions. She was interesti…