Such a fun story. A quick and easy read, and for anyone who grew up in the sixties and the seventies rock and roll period, a must read. Here is my book review Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Reid creates a fictional tale (but loosely based on real characters) of the whirlwind rise of an iconic rock band, thier gorgeous, carefree and talented lead singer, and the “handlers” and promoters who make it all happen.
Raucous and heedless Daisy Jones is young teen without parental supervision who, though underage, frequents the LA club scene fraught with drugs and alcohol and rock and roll in the early 1970’s. Eventually she will connect with the up and coming rock band known as The Six and they all will skyrocket to fame and success.
But it all comes crashing down when success takes it toll, mixed with an abundance of drugs and alcohol leading to addiction. But underlying it all is a simmering love story and a sad fate for young kids thrust into a world out of their control.
*****I really enjoyed Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Five Stars.
I loved this book. It was a page turner for me. Without planning to, I have read several books recently based in Korea or Japan. See my review of Fifty Words for Rain, and one of my favorite books this year Pachinko. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See is also one of my favorite reads this year. Here is my book review of The Island of Sea Women.
Lisa See is also the author of Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (as well as others) a book I really enjoyed last year. In the Island of Sea Women, See takes us to Korea, and the tiny island of Jeju just off the south tip of the Korean Peninsula.
Here we meet two young girls from very different backgrounds whose destinies will be entwined for all of their days; from Japanese colonialism, through WWII, the Korean War and into the modern era. These young girls, their ancestors and neighbors are the Sea Women, a remarkable group of women who dive the icy cold waters for food to sustain them, their families and thier futures.
In a changing world, this ancient culture will face so many challenges in the modern era, many challenges that will break friendships and families and hearts. I hope you enjoyed my book review The Island of Sea Women. It’s one of my favorite reads in the past several months.
Five generations of women bring this story to life in the olive orchards of northern California. But secrets and genetics come together in this beautifully told story of family ties and a life well lived. Here is my book review of The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo.
Santo introduces us to the matriarch of the family, 112 year old great-grandmother who is a spry as anyone half her age. Four generations of women below her struggle with life in each her own way, as the story unfolds and we learn about love, longevity and the tricks our minds can play on us with memories.
In an effort to be in the Guiness Book of World Records, the incredible genetic story of our matriarch opens a dark secret of the past, bringing to light what does it really mean to be family, and how does our genetic makeup define our health and happiness throughout our lives?
I really enjoyed this story and hope to read more by Courtney Miller Santo.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four Stars for The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo.
A year end review of reading. I did it. I set a goal last July to read 75 books in a year. And I did it, I read 83 books. Nearly all these books I read on Kindle while we were traveling. A couple were on Audible and a few were good old fashioned paperbacks. I enjoy books in all three applications.
Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve found it a bit difficult to stay focused on a book. My mind wanders a lot. But I still was able to meet my goal, and I also wrote one book review blog a week over the past year.
I don’t think I’ll set a goal for next year. I’m just gonna read for the love of reading. We can see a year from now how that turned out.
I love that our Reading Wednesday feature on this blog is one of the most popular things about My Fab Fifties Life. If I can inspire you to get lost in a book, my job is done here. And hopefully a year end review of reading can do just that.
Although I gave five stars to many of the books I read, below is a list of my most favorite of the 83. In fact in the list below are five that I can say are some of the best books I have ever read…and that is saying a lot.
For a year end review of reading I’ve put those five at the top, and then below that the rest are listed randomly. I hope you can find a favorite of your own amongst this list and I thank you for your continuing support of Reading Wednesday and My Fab Fifties Life.
The Immoralists by Chloe Benjamen – if you were told when you were a child the exact day you would die, how might it affect everything about your life? So is the question Benjamen explores in the brilliant and unique novel The Immoralists. I loved this story.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn – Just after the end of WWII a young, unmarried and pregnant Charlie goes in search of her missing cousin in Europe. Her search will lead her to horror stories of the war and eventually to her true family and friends. I loved this book.
11/22/63 by Stephen King – I never read Stephen King so I was shocked to find that this story became one of my favorite reads ever. Not just about the assassination of JFK on 11/22/63, but an unequaled time travel book about the choices we might consider if we could go back and change history – would we do it and what would the consequences be. I loved this book.
The Testaments – by Margaret Atwood – Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale continues to rank as one of my favorite books of all time, even after 30 years. So it was with both excitement and trepidation that I waited for the release of the sequel (finally). It was worth the wait. Every bit as compelling and incomparable, even pulling in some subtle nods to the politics of the USA in 2020. I loved this book.
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd – Kidd’s bold re-telling of the story of Jesus once again shows her chutzpa as a writer, her creative ability and incomparable talent to take the reader on a well-worn journey with an absolutely fascinating new twist. I love Kidd’s work and The Book of Longings did not dissapoint. I loved this book.
It was hard for me to only choose five for the list above. Because there were so many good ones this year. Here are 14 more of the very best from the 83 books I finished this year.
Mbue, an immigrant from Limbe Cameroon, weaves a fictional tale of immigrants like herself, who make their way from Cameroon in search of the American Dream in New York. My book review Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue is fiction but a near to true story of the hardship of immigrants in the USA.
Both a love story and an American tragedy, Behold the Dreamers brings to life the incredible characters of Jenda Jonga and his wife Neni and their sweet and small children. The Jonga family has worked for years to make their way to New York City, land of dreams and opportunity.
We are introduced to the Edward’s family. Husband Clark and wife Cindy with children Vince and Mighty. Clark is a high powered financial investor with the ill-fated Lehman Brothers. Cindy a New York socialite hiding and running from her past.
These two families will collide in a sad but believable look at how two very different families navigate the financial collapse of 2008, the nearly impossible American immigration system as well as the challenges of race, class, substance abuse and marriage in America.
A remarkable debut novel for Imbolo Mbue. Five stars for Behold the Dreamers.
I found this true story very similar to Tara Westover’s “Educated”. A deep and disturbing look at how children survive growing up in dysfunctional, often violent, and deeply impoverished family.
Tracing Jeannette Walls climb out of poverty and neglect to her life today as a successful writer and contributor for the likes of Esquire and MSNBC. The Glass Castle is an astonishing look at an all to common and oft ignored American tragedy of childhood neglect.
Jeannette Walls and her three siblings are raised by a brilliant father who is also a raging alcoholic. Her free-spirited mother has little interest in domestic life, leaves her children to fend for themselves, even when she has the financial opportunity to provide and pull them out of despair and poverty.
The Walls children are forced to learn to take care of themselves and each other, nearly starving or freezing to death in the cold winters.
Eventually making her way to New York, getting an education and a good job, Jeannette finds it impossible to talk about her upbringing or the fact that her parents are living homeless on the streets of New York. She is ashamed of them and the way they live. Until she is encouraged by those closest to her, to tell this real life story of surviving neglect and despair, even while still loving her parents.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four stars for The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Read last week’s review of My Sister’s Keeper.
I had never read anything by Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo, but when I saw this book in our darling little neighborhood lending library it sounded like a winner. And yes it was. Here is my book review of Elsewhere by Richard Russo.
First of all this is a memoir. And a beautifully done one at that. I’ve thought a lot about memoir writing myself…perhaps I have a memoir in my own future. But not all memoirs are done as well as this one…a wonderful tale of Russo’s lifelong relationship with his mentally disturbed mother.
The story begins at the beginning. Russo’s childhood spent living with his grandparents and mother, with very rare appearances by his father. His very needy mother is certainly a loving mother, but also very focused on her own personal image no matter the cost. Her insatiable need to “appear” independent plagues Russo throughout his entire life. Because the reality is, she is not.
She tags along to Arizona when Russo goes to college. That’s right. What 18-year-old wants their mother at college with them? This is a great example of the relationship Russo and his mother have through out his life.
Only at the very end of her life and after her death is Russo able to really reconcile the fact that his mother had mental illness – having spent decades trying to make her happy, feeling much of her unhappiness was his fault.
This is a wonderful memoir of a life of mental illness, something in the 1950’s that was never spoken about. His mother was always said to just be “nervous”. Through this work it’s clear her problems were much deeper. Hopefully the book can open the discussion further about mental illness in the people we love.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four stars for Elsewhere by Richard Russo. Read last week’s review of Maid.
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