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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday – The Power Of One

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review – The Power Of One by Bryce Courtenay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I loved this book. This is not a new book  written in 1989, I’m surprised I’ve never read it before.  Recommended to me by my friend Kim while I was in South Africa, this is a beautifully written story of a young-boy growing up in South Africa in the 1940’s when the seeds of apartheid were taking hold.

    The book introduces us  to young Peekay when he is only a tyke of five years.  This is when his life’s adventures begin, and the people who will forever influence him begin passing through his life. An interesting mix of adults will mark Peekay’s life and future, as he endures abandonment, prejudice and humiliation.

    Peekay finds himself in situations that are often complex, racially charged and violent.  Through these lessons he begins to realize the power of one – how one person can make a difference.  He begins to understand how to work the system, support those in need, examine the world around him and build a lofty set of goals and dreams to achieve.

    And he does!  He builds his own character while befriending this diverse collection of adults who, one by one, lead him down a path towards a fulfilling life.

    The Power of One is a timeless and beautiful classic, perfect for these racially charged times we are living in today.

    Five Stars for The Power Of One

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Circling the Sun by Paula McLain ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I loved the novel The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s highly acclaimed work about the first wife of Ernest Hemingway. So I looked forward to her new work, Circling the Sun.

    Although not as captivating as The Paris Wife, McLain introduces a wonderful character in Beryl Markham, a fascinating British woman raised in Kenya in the 1920’s.

    McLain is brilliant in finding unknown real-life female heroines and engrossing the reader in hidden history of amazing women. Beryl’s life in Kenya, her non-traditional upbringing, her success as a horse trainer in an all male industry and her history making aviation feats early in the era are all amazing in their own right.

    But her love triangle between Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen is the most defining aspect of her personal life, the thing that makes her a woman and helps her find her heart and eventually her passion. Though Blixen leaves Beryl completely out of her story Out of Africa, Beryl’s real life romance with Hatton was a major story in itself in the British society of 1920’s Kenya where love, marriage and romance played by a very unique set of rules.

    I enjoyed Circling the Sun. Four Stars.

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly


    Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    First of all the name of this book is all wrong. But luckily that didn’t matter much. It’s a good, but not fantastic story based on real events, exceptional women and survival. I was on a long wait list for this book so I expected a bit more from it.

    Kelly takes the reader on a journey, following three women from distinctly different backgrounds during World War II.  Herta a young German doctor trying to prove herself as both a doctor and a woman.  Kasia a young Polish women and a member of the resistance in Nazi occupied Poland.  And Caroline Ferriday a real women whose bravery and work to right injustice is little known in the USA. Caroline is a wealthy American woman of French ancestry fighting the war from the states the only way she can- by volunteering, processing French immigrants, helping get children out of Europe and collecting money from her wealthy circle of “friends”.

    The separate paths of these women will collide, but before that happens each of these women will make decisions that lead to regret in ways none of them could have ever foreseen as happy young girls growing up.

    Lilac Girls, much like the book Mischling I read last year, will open your eyes to the horrors of Nazi Germany and the far reaching effects of racial cleansing and Arian supremacy.

    Although based on a real life woman (Ferriday) the other characters are a conglomeration of real and fictional women.  The story dragged a bit towards the end but I appreciated the ending and the photos from Ferriday’s personal collection. Only at the end of the book are lilacs even mentioned. I found the title completely ridiculous, and a better title I believe would create more interest in what is another interesting WWII novel.

    The Lilac Girls 4 stars

     

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

    Location: South Africa

    NOTE –  I’m still on a blog sabbatical and working on some website upgrades.  But as promised, still posting Reading Wednesday. Enjoy and we will be back with more fun blogs very soon.

    Born a Crime by Trevor Noah ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    I’m here in South Africa.  I am here.  It’s a pretty remarkable place, beautiful and sunny (and VERY WINDY) and friendly and very cosmopolitan.  But, everywhere a visible economic divide.  A big divide that I was struggling to understand.

    We took the “apartheid” tour in Cape Town, to learn some history and get a bit more insight about the apartheid period that defined this country.  It was on that tour that Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” was recommended.  Our guide having also grown up in the color-separated country praised the book to help understand more in-depth how South Africa got here and what it was like and is like, living as a person of color in South Africa.

    By all odds, Noah, the smart, funny, good-looking host of the Daily Show in the United States, shouldn’t be leading his successful career.  He was “Born a Crime” in apartheid era South Africa when his parents (black mother and white father) broke apartheid law by having an interracial relationship and eventually a mixed race child.

    During apartheid it was often illegal speak to someone from another race (let alone have sex with them), and the first years of Trevor’s life he was kept out of sight of the racially charged  government and the laws that separated every part of people’s lives.

    Noah was six when apartheid ended, but the end of apartheid did not mean the end to poverty, unemployment, violence.  Noah’s hard-working, no-nonsense and fervently religious mother dedicated her life to him, and eventually his two younger brothers to keep them on track and (for the most part) out of trouble.

    That’s not to say Noah was an angel of a child.  Surviving growing up in the townships and schools of the time Noah writes in detailed hilarious voice about the time he burnt down some white folks house, when he spent the night in jail, when he pooped on the floor of the kitchen rather than go out in the rain to the outhouse, and numerous other boy and teen antics.  All of which could have led him down the wrong path, but luckily for him, it built his character, his humor and eventually a career he now excels at.

    “Born a Crime” is an eye-opening, educating and funny read that everyone should take the time for, whether or not you plan to visit South Africa.  A little understanding of this country’s past and present, might have you recognizing familiar-sounding struggles of people and intolerance of color around the world, including in the USA.

    Five Stars for Born a Crime.

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

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

    Arthur Pepper is a lonely old widower stuck in his routine and unwilling to venture beyond his grief for the loss of his wife of 40 years.  Until one day when he finds a curious charm bracelet hidden inside a boot as he is cleaning out his wife’s closet on the first anniversary of her death.

    Arthur Pepper begins the most unlikely journey as he tries to discover more about the charms and learns many things about his beloved wife he never knew.  Arthur’s adventures take him from England to France to India and creates opportunities and experiences old crotchety Arthur would never have found himself in before finding the charm bracelet including being attacked by a tiger, posting nude for an art class and discovering he may actually know more about love and relationships than he ever realized.

    You can’t help but love Arthur Pepper and this story of family, love and life and how you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.  Life is not over at 69.  He may only just be beginning.  Five stars for The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    The Language of Flowers

    The Language of Flowers – A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    After a dry spell of good “page turners” I finally hit on some books that have pulled back into reading every day.  It helped a lot that I was sans internet for much of the time I was in Namibia.  When I can’t sit and stare at Facebook and Instagram then my Kindle gets a lot more use!  It’s a good thing.

    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh was a great read.  I loved the story line, and as a gardener and lover of plants I really like the unique use of flowers in the story.

    Diffenbaugh takes you on a journey of the life of a girl, eventually a women, and her personal trials and tragedies as an un-adoptable foster child.  Victoria Jones finds herself unable to love or care for anyone, or allow anyone to love or care for her.  Her mistrust and loathing for every human she meets drives her to only love one thing – the language of flowers.

    At 18 years old Victoria is no longer a ward of the state and she finds her self living in a forest next to a park and surrounding herself with flowers, the only thing she feels emotionally attached to.  She finds a job in a flower shop and the florist recognizes her potential and helps her get on her feet.  Working in the flower shop Victoria realizes her natural talent for using the Victorian language of flowers to communicate messages for brides and other customers and soon she is an indispensable part of the shop.

    But Victoria’s pattern of running away from people who care for her continues and she finds herself leaving behind again, everything and everyone who shows they love and need her.

    The Language of Flowers is both a sentimental and emotional story of love lost and found, life’s up and downs, and the human spirit’s ability to open up and let go of fear and imagine a new life for themselves.  Five stars.