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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I started reading Kristin Hannah ALONG time ago, when she was doing romance novels.  She, like her writing, has matured into an excellent storyteller.  I prefer her recent works much more than her early books.

    However, I struggled with the first few chapter of The Great Alone.  But I am glad I stuck with it, because it is a beautifully written and compassionate tale of love and turmoil within ourselves, within our families and within the unpredictable wilderness of Alaska.

    One of the reasons Hannah is able to so accurately describe life in Alaska is revealed in the acknowledgments chapter at the end of the book.  Here Hannah talks about her own upbringing with pioneering and adventuresome parents, who eventually settled in Alaska to open an adventure lodge.

    So perhaps there is a little of Hannah in The Great Alone’s main character, 13 year-old Leni.  Leni, an only child, struggles to understand her parents passionate but often violent relationship, and her fathers PTSD from his time as a POW during the Vietnam War.

    When Leni’s father Ernt decides to move the family to a remote and off-the-grid cabin in Alaska, the  family unravels and the story begins.  Wholly unprepared for Alaska and its long, dark, fierce winters, Leni, Ernt and Cora Albright begin a life of subsistence, barely surviving if it weren’t for the help of neighbors and the folks of the small town of Kaneq.

    The long dark winters take a toll on the already fragile psyche of Ernt Albright, and one extreme violent night will change the direction of Leni and Cora’s life forever.

    Does love conquer all?  Sometimes yes, and sometimes absolutely not.  In the end The Great Alone is one thing – a story of survival.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five Stars for The Great Alone.

    Read last week’s review of The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    This blog contains affiliate links and we may be compensated if you purchase this book.  Any money earned goes directly to offset the costs of the maintenance of this blog.  Thank you.

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    This fascinating saga that earned Buck a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 is another novel I found amongst the hundreds of books in the library of the house we have lived this past month.  What a treat to stumble upon this classic and carefully created tale of life in China in the late 1800’s.

    Buck herself spent most of her life in China, as a child of missionaries her writing talent bloomed amongst the fascinating culture and history that surrounded her.  Buck’s many books on China were not her only accomplishments as she was an activist and human rights leader.  She was the first female  awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

    The Good Earth is a sweeping story of the life of Wang Lung.  The story is told in the third person but always from the point of view of Wang Lung as he navigates the life of a farmer in rural 19th century China.

    Throughout the story it is the connection to the land that is the overriding theme; always the land brings wealth, food, riches, happiness even to a humble farmer as Wang Lung.

    Throughout his life he battles prejudice, injustice, draught, famine, war, floods, infidelity, and death.  In the end only trying to keep his land for his sons.  In fact, at the end of The Good Earth I kept thinking about the book Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison ( movie “Legends of the Fall” 1994 starring Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, Aiden Quinn and Henry Thomas) where a similar theme of family ties to a father and land, as well as greed, war and love creates a spectacular family saga.

    Even though Buck’s novel The Good Earth is 86 years old, it is a classic that  everyone should read, perhaps more than once.

    Five Stars for The Good Earth.

    Learn more about Pearl S. Buck’s amazing life here.

    Read last week’s review of Black Beauty here.

    This blog contains affiliate links and we may be compensated if you purchase this book.  Any money earned goes directly to offset the costs of the maintenance of this blog.  Thank you.


    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Black Beauty Anna Sewell

    Big swing for me this week.  Going from reading last week The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k to one of my FAVORITE books I read as a child, the beautiful children’s book Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

    The house we are staying in comes with a tremendous library of books – a wide range of genre’s, including historic children’s novels like Black Beauty written in 1877.  I read this book when I was ten years old and it had a powerful impact on me.  So when I saw the book here in this house I picked it up and began to read.  I enjoyed it just as much 48 years later.

    As a child I had never read a book like Black Beauty, a story of compassion and cruelty and horses, told uniquely from the point of view of the horse.  Based in England in the late 19th century when horses served in so many working capacities, Black Beauty tells the reader about the life of a horse, birth to death and all that it encompasses.

    While researching to write this review I stumbled upon an NPR story that vividly mirrors my feelings about how Black Beauty changed the way I look at horses, and frankly other animals as well.

    I am so glad I chose to read this book again.  As an adult I could take away some new lessons from Black Beauty that I may have missed as a child. But the story still held me, the characters both human and animal captivated me and Black Beauty clearly remains a classic for all time.

    Read it again or for the first time.  Fabulous.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five Stars for Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

    This blog contains affiliate links and we may be compensated if you purchase this book.  Any money earned goes directly to offset the costs of the maintenance of this blog.  Thank you.

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday is Back

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#%& by Mark Manson

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson

    This book will offend some people.  And frankly I thought the title was more about marketing than about the content of the book.  And seriously in the first few introductory chapters of this book Manson finds every possibility, and I mean EVERY, to use the F word.  He is rather obsessed with the word.  And although I get that he is trying to make a point about living a life of not giving a F*** to obtain happiness, but frankly too many F*** made me really give a F*** about getting to the point already!

    All that said I stuck with the book, and his tone and vocabulary settled down a bit.  Manson, a very successful blogger, writes the book in an effort to help people realize his view that positive thinking is not the goal to true happiness – not giving a F*** is the key.  His argument in a nutshell is improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach the lemons better.

    A message I agree with and live by and believe makes me a much happier person than some people I know.

    Since the book is a self-help book I’ll share a couple of passages I particularly enjoyed.  Manson says;

    “…pain and loss are inevitable and we should let go of trying to resist them.”

    ” It’s strange that in an age when we are more connected than ever, entitlement seems to be at an all time high…The more freedom we’re given to express ourselves, the more we want to be free of having to deal with anyone who may disagree with us.”

    “Even Oprah says each and everyone of us can be extraordinary.  The fact that this statement is inherently contradictory – after all, if everyone were extraordinary, then by definition no one would be extraordinary.”

    “We don’t always control what happens to us.  But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”

    “If it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are its really just you versus yourself.”

    “Without conflict, there can be no trust.  Conflict exists to show us who is there for us unconditionally and who is just there for the benefits.”


    So there you have it, some of my favorite passages from the book.  And as you can see not an F word in sight.

    I enjoyed the message, the positive outlook that is very similar to mine. Being happy is a choice.  So stop the pity-party. Just make the right choice. Go. Be. Happy.

    Three stars for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson

    This blog contains affiliate links.  If you purchase the book we may receive compensation.  Any money earned goes back to supporting the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thank you.



    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    What I Have Read Over the 18 Months Abroad

    Note – I am sharing this blog again at the request of one of my book club friends.  Also, my reading time since arriving in the USA has been very limited, so I’m not sure when I will have a “new” Reading Wednesday to share.  I’m currently half way through the epic novel “Ahab’s Wife” by Sena Jeter Naslund, a brilliant but very long book.  So watch for a new Reading Wednesday as soon as I get through that masterpiece. Meanwhile, enjoy this blog once again.

    I’ve had a great deal of time to read over the past year and a half.  I enjoy reading very much and the Grand Adventure has offered me a wonderful opportunity to read more than ever before.  I started a list of the books I read and after nearly a year set my sights on finishing 100 books before we returned to the United States.

    I almost made it.  I read 93 books in 18 months.  Almost all (not all but almost) of these books I reviewed in the Reading Wednesday series on this blog.  I didn’t start Reading Wednesday until after we had been traveling for a few months, and since then it has become one of the most popular features on My Fab Fifties Life blog.  That makes me happy.

    I doubt I will be reading as much during my two and half months in the USA because I will be busy with family matters.  But I still have some books I haven’t reviewed so hopefully I can continue to review one book per week and you can continue to enjoy the weekly reviews.  Meanwhile, if you are interested, I have listed below all 93 books and the ones that have been reviewed are highlighted in green if you would like to go to that review on the blog just click on the link.  I’ve also put a gold star by some of my all time favorites!!

    Happy Reading everyone!  Reading is Fabulous!

    1. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

    2. Bangkok Secret by Anthony Gray

    3. Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

    4. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

    5. Today will be Different by Maria Simple

    6. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

    7. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

    8. I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb

    9. ⭐These is My Words by Nancy Turner

    10.⭐ 97 Orchard Street by Jane Ziegelman

    11. Lady Susan by Jane Austin

    12. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    13. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

    14. The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

    15. Tulip Fever by Deborah Muggach

    16. ⭐Michlings by Affinity Konar

    17. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

    18. Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

    19. War of the Worlds by HG Wells

    20. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

    21. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

    22. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

    23. The Girls by Emma Cline

    24. Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie

    25. Swingtime by Zadie Smith

    26. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

    27. ⭐Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

    28. Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

    29. The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

    30. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

    31. Thank you for Being Late by Thomas Friedman

    32. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

    33. ⭐Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

    34. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

    35. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

    36. Dirty Chicks by Antonia Murphy

    37. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman

    38.⭐ Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

    39. News of the World by Paulette Giles

    40. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

    41. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

    42. A 1000 Acres by Jane Smiley

    43. H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald

    44. A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterson

    45. The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

    46. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

    47. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

    48. The Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Allameddine

    49. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

    50. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

    51. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

    52.⭐ The Paris Wife by Paula McLean

    53. The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway

    54. Al Franken Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

    55. The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

    56. Human Acts by Han Kang

    57. The Zookeepers Wife by Angela Workman

    58. After the Fall by Charity Normal

    59. A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway

    60. Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

    61. ⭐The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

    62. ⭐The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

    63. The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

    64. Circling the Sun by Paula McLean

    65. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

    66. A Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

    67. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

    68. The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

    69.⭐ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows

    70. Star Dust by Neil Gaiman

    71. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

    72. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

    73. Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    74. ⭐My Antonia by Willa Cather

    75.⭐ Elinor Oiliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    76. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

    77. A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    78. Sing Unburried Sing by Jesmyn Ward

    79. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

    80. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    81. ⭐Station Eleven by Emily Saint John Mandel

    82. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

    83. The Girl Before by JP Delaney

    84. The Maze Runner by

    85. Still Water by Viveca Sten

    86. The Light of the Firefly by Paul Pen

    87. A River in the Darkness

    88. The Question of Red

    89. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

    90. The Rapture of Canaan by Sherri Reynolds

    91. Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

    92. Neverhome by Laird Hunter

    93. Delicious Food  by James Hannaham

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review – A Wrinkle in Time

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book review A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

    I’m not keeping up with my “book a week” reading schedule.  Since arriving in the USA there has been a lot less reading.  No Scrabble games. And fewer relaxing moments.

    But it’s just as we expected it to be, and I am reading when I can.  This week I finished Madeleine L’Engle’s classic children’s novel A Wrinkle in Time.

    On Father’s Day both my boys saw me reading this book.  I told them I had never read it before and they were both surprised.  They remember the book from their childhood, but I’m sure we did not have it in our collection so they must have read it in school.

    This classic novel written in 1962 wear’s its age well.  The recently released Disney film A Wrinkle in Time brings the tale more into modern-day.  I’d be curious to see how they changed the story to make that work…iphone’s perhaps?

    A Wrinkle in Time is the fantastical story that combines childhood fantasy with science fiction.  It’s a tale like many other beloved children’s works that includes an evil and magical side that is overcome, in the end, with the greatest force in the world – love.

    A precursor to Harry Potter (and not nearly as involved) the story of Meg and her incredible family also reminded me of many other of my favorite childhood books such as the Narnia series, The Giver and even Bedknobs and Broomsticks.  Each of these have the similar theme; overcoming the darkness in our lives and pursuing honor and love.

    A beautiful, easy to read classic for any age.  Four stars for A Wrinkle in Time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Check out last week’s review of Jodi Picoult’s Vanishing Acts.

    This blog contains affiliate links and we may receive compensation if you purchase this book.  Any money earned goes back to support the maintenance of this blog.  Thank you.


    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

    I snatched this book from the cruise ship recently, where you could take a book and leave a book.  I left several, and took this one and a couple of others.

    I’ve read Jodi Picoult before, and liked but didn’t love her books.  This one was similar for my reaction, but I did enjoy the story that addresses not only family, but alcohol addiction and memory loss.

    What would you do if thought your child was in danger? In danger by someone they loved?  What if that someone was your estranged spouse?  Would you take the child and run?  I don’t think we ever know what we would do until we find ourselves in a situation like that.  And this is the basis of the story of Vanishing Acts.

    Delia Hopkins loves her father. She has a beautiful daughter and is engaged to be married to her best friend. She has a career as a highly successful dog search and rescue leader.  Life is good.  Until the bottom of her world falls away.

    Out of the blue Delia’s mild-mannered father is arrested. Delia’s father has been leading a life of lie, ever since he took Delia and left Arizona when she was only four.  Delia remembers nothing of this and as the story unfolds she learns so much about herself that she never knew.  And along the way she also learns who the important people in her life are – and what ends those who love us will go, to keep us protected.

    As the story of Delia life unfolds, Picoult takes the reader from rural New Hampshire to Arizona as Delia fights to learn the truth about her own life, her father’s life and to rationalize and come to terms with a new reality of who she really is.

    ⭐⭐⭐Three stars for Vanishing Acts.

    Read last week’s review of Never Home

    This blog contains affiliate links.  If you purchase a book I will receive compensation.  Any money earned goes back into the maintenance of this blog.  Thank you.