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Reading wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    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 The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    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 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.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Burmese Days by George Orwell

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    This book kept popping up at shops around Myanmar while I was visiting there last month. I had read Orwell in high school (1984 and Animal Farm) but never any more. But I picked up this paperback and decided to check it out.

    First of all it was clearly a pirated book. Although the cover looked like a Penguin Classic Book, the inside was printed poorly on cheap paper and within the first few chapters it began to fall apart. Oh well, I just kept trying to hold the book together.

    Written in 1934 the book is a fictional tale of the waning days of the British Colonial period in Burma (now Myanmar). This is a time when Burma was ruled by Britian from Delhi as part of British India.

    Orwell himself spent time in Burma, so the book (his first) is based on his first hand experience there.

    The book uses serious racist language that today is completely frowned upon, and reflects the true superior British societal approach to the people of Burma. The debasing effect the empire had on the native people of the time is frankly, disgusting.

    But I’m glad I read it. Even though Britian eventually revoked it’s colonial rights through out the region as well as in other regions, the deep scar Britian left is still today part of life in Myanmar and in other countries like India. Colonialism was and is a blight on people of the world and Burmese Days spells it out in a sad and honest tale of the people who were there.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️Three stars for Burmese Days. Read last week’s review of Remarkable Creatures.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Remarkable Creatures: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Oh I enjoyed this book so much. When I saw this book by Tracy Chevalier, author of The Girl With The Pearl Earring, I knew I would love it – I loved The Girl With The Pearl Earring.

    So I was kind of surprised I had never heard of this book. But I am glad to have found it. It’s just the kind of story I love; history, science and strong-willed women from an era of female suppression.

    Set in England in the early 1800’s a time where females had no rights, and without a husband, basically no life. Here Chevalier takes real people from the past and combines them with intriguing fictional characters to create a wonderful voyage of discovery in Remarkable Creatures.

    The name of this book refers both to our two herions and the discoveries they make.

    Mary Anning a real person from Lyme England is one of the early discoverers of fossils. Despite her lack of education or status, her work will lead to the scientific advances on dinosaurs and extinction. Mary will not however, get credit for most of her work since she is “just a female”.

    Chevalier creates fictional Elizabeth Philpot, a spinster with a broad mind and interest in fossils. Newly arrived to Lyme she befriends Mary Anning and they begin an unlikely relationship. Part envy, part loyalty, and part mutual appreciation the two women will use each others strengths to trail blaze the science, navigate the prickly issue of female rights, and help each other through love and loss.

    A fascinating book with just enough science as well as a beautiful love story and test of true friendship.

    Five Stars for Remarkable Creatures. Read last week’s review of About the Night.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review About the Night by Anat Talshir

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    This was a lovely and unexpected book. This is a book I have meaning to get to for months, one of the free books I received on International Book Day from Amazon. Written by a distinguished Israeli Journalist, the story is dazzling.

    I will be visiting Israel in March for the first time and this book helped me understand the turmoil and joy, tragedy and euphoria, ancient history and current events that the tiny country of Israel has endured.

    Told in the voice of Elias, a Christian Arab in the end of his life. He looks back on the greatest love, his love for Lia, a Jew. Their forbidden love brings great passion and deep sorrow as they maneuver the years between 1947 and 2006. Told with a deeply moving voice, the author is a talented story teller and character developer.

    This is both a beautiful love story and a history lesson. I enjoyed it very much.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five stars for About the Night by Anat Talshir.

    Read last week’s review of Behold the Dreamers.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    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.

    Read last week’s review of The Glass Castle

    Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue