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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

    Reading Wednesday

    One of my favorite books I read over the past few years was a little known book called Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. I really enjoyed that book, as well as her most well-known book The Girl With the Pearl Earring. So when The Lady and the Unicorn popped up on my Kindle recommendations I thought I would give it a try. Here is my book review The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier.

    Chevalier consistently writes books about strong female characters who challenge the constraints women endured in the past. In The Lady and the Unicorn, Chevalier’s brilliant research about one of today’s greatest masterpieces, combines with her imagination to create The Lady and the Unicorn.

    We are transported to Paris and Belgium in 1490, where a French nobleman commissions tapestries to elevate himself in the eyes of the French Court. We meet artist Nicholas des Innocents who creates the paintings the tapestries will be based on. We meet Georges de la Chappelle whose family will risk everything to weave the tapestries. And throughout this story we meet women and young girls who, behind the scenes play a remarkable role in the story that unfolds in the tapestry…the story of the Lady and the Unicorn.

    I love well written novels about this time period and Chevalier never disappoints. I learned amazing information about what it took in that period to create such tapestries. And as in all Chevalier’s novels, the underlying story of the women captivated me.

    By the way, the medieval tapestries, now restored, can be seen in the Cluny Museum in Paris. My next visit to the City of Lights will include a visit to the The Lady and the Unicorn. I hope you enjoyed my book review The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier.

    *****Five Stars for The Lady and the Unicorn

    Read last week’s review Rabbits for Food

    My current read News of the World

    See this week’s top performing pin The Flora of the Desert here

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Rabbits for Food by Binny Kirshenbaum

    This is a book about mental illness. But don’t let that scare you away. Because honestly we all should make an effort to better understand what mental illness is. And thanks to the brilliant, and often comical writing of Binny Kirshenbaum, Rabbits for Food helps us learn. Here is my book review Rabbits for Food by Binny Kirshenbaum.

    Rabbits for Food follows the life of a clinicallly depressed, admittedly outcast, outspoken and witty New York writer Bunny. Bunny has known she was “different” and unloved throughout most of her life, raised in a family who didn’t understand and didn’t care about the demons she harbored.

    On New Years Eve at a dinner party with “friends”, Bunny becomes unhinged and lands in a prestigious New York mental institution. She refuses to take any treatment, and instead befriends a handful of other “loonies” who help her see she is not alone. As her own personal therapy she begins to write – pages and pages- about the facility and the variety of people living and dyeing there.

    It’s not a happy book in any way, despite some comic relief. But is it is a brutally honest look at one woman’s lifelong struggle, the institutionalized, and the revolving door of mental health services in America. I hope you enjoyed my book review of Rabbits for Food by Binny Kirshenbaum.

    ****Four stars for Rabbits for Food by Binny Kirshenbaum

    Read last week’s review of Olive Again

    My current read Simon the Fiddler

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Olive Again by Elizabeth Stout

    Reading Wednesday

    This book. This character. Holy Cow. There has never been a character like Olive Kitteridge in literature history. I enjoyed this book just as much as the first book Olive Kitteridge, and didn’t want it to end. Here is my book review Olive Again by Elizabeth Stout.

    It’s hard to describe the plot of this book…but there are so many adjectives to describe Olive herself. Cranky, cantankerous, outspoken, rude. But she is also empathetic, insightful, kind and sad. All of these things make up this astonishing character who you can’t help falling in love with.

    In Olive Again, we find Olive dealing with her aging body, and end of life issues with the same honest and sometimes bewildering approach she had in the first book. Alone and nearly friendless Olive searches for peace of mind while trying to understand all that has happened in her 80 plus year life.

    She is a character for the ages and this book will pull at your heartstrings and make you think of your own parents and your own life. Stout is a brilliant writer and Olive is my favorite of all time.

    The kind of book you won’t be able to stop thinking about when you close it for the last time.

    *****Five stars for Olive Again by Elizabeth Stout

    Read last week’s review of The Midnight Library

    My current read The Lady and the Unicorn

    See this week’s top performing pin My Favorite Coffee Around the World

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

    If you had the chance to live a different version of your life would it be better? This is the question explored and here is my book review The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

    Nora Seed thinks her life isn’t worth living. So she is considering ending it. But instead of dying she wakes up in The Midnight Library. Between life and death lies the Midnight Library. A place with an infinite number of books, each one representing Nora’s alternative lives. Each life based on Nora’s life choices and how those choices unfolded.

    All the limitless choices Nora has made in her life, have lead her to the life she is living. The life she no longer wants to live. But what if her choices had been different? Would we make different choices along the way if we knew how life would turn out? In the library Nora sees her alternative lives; married and running a pub, rock star Nora, glaciologist Nora. Would these lives be better in reality?

    This book was enchanting and fun to read, but also painful and sad. We can’t go back and change decisions we’ve made…we can only move forward and try to do the best with what we have. The Midnight Library offers this lesson in a beautifully written fantastical tale of fulfillment and redemption. I hope you enjoyed my book review The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

    *****Five stars for the Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

    Read last week’s review of Deacon King Kong.

    My current read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

    See this week’s top performing pin here Idle Away in Idyllwild.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Deacon King Kong by James McBride

    Reading Wednesday

    Deacon King Kong

    It’s been probably 7 or 8 years since I read McBride’s novel “The Good Lord Bird” and it remains a favorite read of mine. So when my husband suggested I read this latest novel by McBride I was anxious to. Here is my book review Deacon King Kong by James McBride.

    Deacon King Kong

    I had a lot of distractions going on in my personal life while I was reading this book. Some days I didn’t have time to even pick it up…other days it was a great little retreat for me at the end of a crazy day. McBride’s writing is superb, and in fact even better in Deacon King Kong than in The Good Lord Bird. One of the reasons this book has enjoyed so much acclaim and awards.

    The year is 1969 and the place is the “projects” in Brooklyn New York. A rundown neighborhood slowly becoming a drug capital. We are introduced to the men, women and children of the ‘hood, whose lives revolve mostly around each other and church. The majority are black from the South, some Puerto Rican and some Italian. The protagonist is Deacon King Kong who, we will learn, goes by many other names as well. A widower, a deacon, a gardener, an umpire, a coach, a janitor and a drunk. This is the story of Deacon King Kong and all the versions of his life, and all the people in his life and how the story is set in motion on the day he shoots a young drug dealer in the neighborhood.

    Three Things I Loved About This Book

    1. Multiple storylines, each one fully developed and engaging, culminate beautifully in the end of the book.
    2. Spectacular character development. There are numerous characters and McBride is brilliant in this area. You truly are rooting for all of these people to make it and to come out happy on the other side.
    3. And the narrative setting of Brooklyn in the tumultuous 1960’s plays out so well in the writing as the multiple storylines follow cops (both good and bad), race and racism, mobsters and drug dealers, poverty, community and faith.

    McBride shows us in this book how things may not always be what they appear, how lives can be entwined in ways we may not understand, and how compassion and gratitude can change lives beyond our own time on this earth. This book is about faith. I hope you enjoyed my book review Deacon King Kong by James McBride

    *****Five stars for Deacon King Kong

    Read last week’s book review of Oona Out of Order here.

    My current read Simon the Fiddler

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    Deacon King Kong
    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

    Reading Wednesday

    Oona Out of Order

    I was on the waitlist at my local library for this book for what seemed like forever. So I had high expectations. But it started kinda slow for me, and I was initially dissapointed. But I’m glad I stuck it out because I really began to enjoy it in time. Speaking of time…this book is about time. Here is my book review Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore.

    In hindsight I might have struggled in the beginning of this book due to the fact I had just finished The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (which I loved, see the review here) which is a little bit about time travel. And indeed so is Oona Out of Order, coincidentally. But the concept and plot is very different.

    On New Years Eve 1982 at midnight, which is also Oona’s 19th birthday everything changes. That is the day that Oona begins living her life out of order. Unlike most people on their birthdays who become a year older, Oona is transported at the end of each year to another time in her life. From 19 years old to 52 years old to 35 years old etc. It’s a jumbled up life full of questions and problems.

    There are only two constants in her life, each helping in their own way to keep Oona safe as she jumps around her life. The first one is her mother, who is always there until she isn’t. The second is a young man who is never there when she jumps to early years but is always there later in Oona’s life.

    Sounds crazy? Yep it is, but Montimore does a bang up job keeping the reading in line with the developing mixed up plot even while Oona often doesn’t know where she is or how old she is. Sometimes sad and frightening, but also funny, sweet and poignant, it’s a lovely story about family, love and perseverence.

    This is another book I expect to be a movie, it’s perfect for the big screen and special effects. I vote for Sandra Bullock as Oona. I hope you enjoyed my book review Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore.

    ****Four stars for Oona Out of Order

    Read last week’s review of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue here.

    My current read Rabbits for Food

    See this week’s top performing pin here- Book Review Ordinary Grace

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    Oona Out of Order
    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Cold Millions by Jess Walters

    It’s been about seven years since I read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters and it remains one of my all time favorite books. So when I saw he had a new book, I snatched it up not even knowing what it was about. Here is my Book Review The Cold Millions by Jess Walters.

    In the Cold Millions, Walters takes us to his own hometown of Spokane, here in the State of Washington where I live. But he takes us back to the early twentieth century, a time where Spokane was a hard-scrabble industrial town. It’s a changing time in America, a time where the rich are trying to keep their power over the poor as workers rights and women’s rights are coming to the forefront.

    Walters creates a magical collection of characters, including brothers Rye and Gig who are caught up in the unionization turmoil and the police brutality and corruption that accompanies it, as they try to make a better life for themselves. The story includes real life characters, like feminist activist Elizabeth Gurley-Flynn who is placed in this fictional story that also includes some true life historical events.

    If you liked This Tender Land or Peace Like a River you will like The Cold Millions. I enjoyed this book very much, especially learning some history about this era in Spokane that I was not familiar with, but more than anything enjoying Walters writing and character development.

    *****Five Stars for The Cold Millions by Jess Walters

    My current read Deacon King Kong

    Read last week’s review of The Rosie Project

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