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Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

    Reading Wednesday

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    Go read this book.

    Gates, co-founder of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a talented writer and her eloquently told stories of people she has met through her work around the globe is an inspiring read.

    As a world traveler myself, I have witnessed stark poverty, extreme sexism, lack of education and powerful caste systems. I look upon these things and feel helpless at what I can do.

    Gates looks upon them and develops data and brings the issues to our attention, in her determined and candid narrative.

    Through the inspiring stories she tells, including many personal stories of her own background and marriage, the overall message is clear – if you want to lift up a society you must start by supporting and lifting the women and girls.

    Go read this book.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five stars for The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. Read last week’s review of Girl Woman Other.

    My current read – Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo

    Reading Wednesday

    This was my first book by author Evaristo, her eighth novel. This highly rated Booker Prize novel kept showing up on “must read” lists and so, I added it to my must read list. Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo was an enjoyable find.

    Unike most novels, the story has no overarching plot, although there is a connecting and wrapping up at the end. Instead the book has 12 chapters, each chapter focusing on an individual woman. Though many of the characters don’t know each other, their lives interconnect over the decades in a unique and well written storyline.

    Throughout the book Evaristo explores cultural and timely issues such as feminism, politics, sexuality, patriarchy, parenting, art, infidelity, relationships, career, abuse and race.

    I enjoyed the tone of this book and it’s unique structure, as well as each of the distinctive characters who span a teenage girl to a 90 year-old woman. Beautifully written.

    Four Stars for Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Read last week’s review of The Dutch House.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

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    Ann Patchett is definitely one of my favorite authors. I have loved several of her books; State of Wonder, Bel Canto, Commonwealth and now The Dutch House.

    I really love how the story is told by Danny, and his point of view of his sister Maeve and how their lives unfolds. The tight bond of the siblings and their exile from their childhood home defines everything about their lives and is the premise of the book.

    Maeve, the older and protective sister lacks initiative although she is brilliant. She deals constantly with poor health. Danny, the younger looks to Maeve throughout his life, and has difficulty finding his own peace from the events of their past.

    The story unfolds over five decades, wrapping around one house, and how that house and decisions made by people associated with it define the lives of Maeve and Danny – for better and for worse.

    A central character, the evil step-mother, I found downright chilling. Patchett’s development of that women reminding of someone I used to know. Frightening. Another character, the real mother, I found less believable and not as plausible.

    Patchett is a wonderful storyteller and I enjoyed this book as much as all her other novels I have read.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five stars for The Dutch House. Read last week’s review of The Testaments.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

    Reading Wednesday

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    I keep track of all the books I read and try to read more books each year than the previous year. Unlike most poeple who track their books from January to January, I track from July to July. Not sure why but I think because that is when I began keeping track.

    So, as of right now I’m way ahead of my goal of reaching 75 books for the year at 41 books. And The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is right at the top of my favorites so far this year. A fabulous story.

    I’ve read a lot of Margaret Atwood and she really hits the mark on some stories, while other novels of hers leave me perplexed. My favorite Atwood book is the 35 year old The Handmaid’s Tale – truly one of the best and most unique books I’ve ever read.

    And so it was with both excitement and trepidation that I set out to read the sequel to The Handmaids Tale, The Testaments. I waited months on the library list for this book, and without a doubt it was worth the wait.

    If you enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale you will love The Testaments. But you don’t need to have read The Handmaid’s Tale to understand The Testaments. I can’t imagine how difficult it must of been to write a sequel to a best seller like Handmaids, and to do so 35 years later. But it’s a brilliant piece of literature.

    Atwood develops the characters and the dystopian society of the Republic of Gilead (the former USA) that oppresses women in a chilling and male authoritarian society. Throughout the book, told in the voice of three women (one old and cunning, two young and naive) you are kept on the edge of your seat as Atwood weaves the elaborate and complex story. I couldn’t put it down.

    The book, like all books, has its critiques but I found it astonishingly believable and frightening as well as artfully crafted by a gifted storyteller.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five Stars for The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Read last week’s review of Bear Town.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

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    I wanted to love this book.

    I wanted to love it because EVERYONE else seems to love it.

    I wanted to love it because I LOVED A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry also by Fredrik Backman.

    But, I just didn’t love it and I can’t really put my finger on why.

    Bear Town is the story of a small town, a dying small town like so many small towns. But a small town with a big dream.

    Bear Town is also a story of how athletes are often given a free pass in situations where the rest of us are not. How the goal of winning can create tunnel-vision and for some people lose sight of morality and truth.

    Bear Town is a story of different families and how raising our children to be honest and good is the most important thing in the world.

    Bear Town is depressing but also courageous – taking the reader through a violent event that tears a town apart but ultimately shows who has the courage to tell the truth.

    Perhaps it was just too real for me. I’ve seen behavior like this first hand. Perhaps your experience reading Bear Town will be less visceral.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️Three stars for Bear Town by Fredrik Backman. Read last week’s review of The Lowland

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

    Reading Wednesday

    This book was written six years ago. My husband said he was sure I had read it, but I started it anyway after finding a paperback in a hotel in Yangon.

    I had not read it, but I am sure glad I did. It’s a remarkable story and I enjoyed it very much.

    The Lowland is a sad but fascinating story of an Indian family that takes the reader over four decades and three generations from The Lowland of Calcutta to Rhode Island.

    Lahiri is a beautiful storyteller with a instinctive ability to portray both the intimate and far-reaching implications of decisions made, customs and beliefs held dear, and family ties.

    Bengali brothers Sabhash and his brother Udayan are so close in age growing up they are nearly inseperable despite their very different personalities. Sabhash the eldest is more conventional with a scientific mind. He wants to be a scientist and heads to America for his college studies. Udayan, always the braver of the two, is distracted, dissatisfied and a rebel.

    Udayan’s ideologies find him involved in the Indian Naxalite insurgency and he is executed in front of his parents and wife.

    Subhash returns to India to find his parents beyond consoling. Subhash takes Udayan’s wife and the unborn daughter she carries and returns to the USA to raise the child as his own.

    The scope of this story is fascinating as it explores family and tradition, parental expectation and truth, martyrdom and secrets and the immigrant experience in the United States. It’s also educational and eye-popping if you are unfamiliar with the brutality and suppression of peasants in India.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four stars for The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. Read last week’s review of I Am, I Am, I Am.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

    Reading Wednesday

    From time to time I have moments that catch my breath when I think of a few near death experiences I have had in my life. The four moments that occasionally remind me of how lucky I am to still be kicking around. Three of these occurred in a car and one on a horse – inches and seconds from disaster.

    In her memoir I Am, I Am, I Am, O’Farrell looks back on her own life where she can count 17 separate incidents of stepping too close to her own death. Several instances the reader can easily relate to, while others seem unfathomable to most of us.

    But the part of the book that caught me somewhat off guard was the story of O’Farrell’s adult life struggle to keep her own daughter alive. A day to day process that involves constant monitoring of every item her daughter eats, breaths, touches…as O’Farrell and her family deal with a child with severe immune-system disorder.

    This is the first time I have read O’Farrell’s work although she has numerous memoirs and novels. I enjoyed this story dispite it’s sometimes gut-wrenching detail.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four stars for I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell. Read last week’s review of Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.