Expertly, Godwin dropped hints that another story lay beneath the surface one. Similarly, the secrets in Old Lovegood Girls, revealed in enticing dribs and drabs, keep the reader intrigued. What actually transpired between Feron and the passenger on the bus when she ran away in 1958? Was it really seasonal depression that caused Merry’s mother to withdraw to her attic room in winter?
Reading Garstang’s The Shaman of Turtle Valley brought to mind two very different novels. Ill Will by Dan Chaon for the way it dissects American violence DNA. And The Border of Paradise by Esme Weijun Wang for exploring the cost of when a decent but oblivious American man brings back an Asian wife and settles down in a non-Urban environment. But Garstang’s net is cast wider with an eye to tie domestic issues with foreign policy.
Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 1989. I haven’t read The Remains of the Day, the book that won, but it doesn’t matter. Cat’s Eye was robbed. Every sentence in the novel’s 498 pages serves the whole beating heart of it. No word is superfluous. Each one is a mini portal, transporting us and the main character, Elaine, back into memories without warning, exactly as Atwood intended.
Rabinowitz, through his deeply lyrical prose, reminds us that not all things are destroyed during war time and that some can never be, like love between two people, like the desire to create something beyond our imagination, something more beautiful than our history, than our present.
Reading Becoming Lady Washington, one feels a little like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (published 1813) when she first sets eyes on Mr. Darcy’s palatial home and vast landholdings. Martha’s lifestyle on her first husband’s estate and then at Mount Vernon was similarly luxurious.
The development of Cassandra Clare’s characters, no matter what series or book is always exquisite. Emma and Julian both have unique qualities and Julian family, the Blackthorns, as a family are always enjoyable to read about and as a whole, the book presents the concept and sense of family fantastically.
The action moves at a pulse quickening pace, our hero’s journey peppered with witty asides and lively character driven observations. Frank has a special talent for describing rooms from a connoisseur contractor’s POV. It helps that Lutz did some carpentry in his younger days.
Pablo Neruda once wrote: “If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life.” In A Long Petal of the Sea, Isabel Allende’s characters are saved from despair by love, friendship and the satisfaction of helping others. Is she suggesting that history repeats itself and that a democracy with social justice and economic equality is an impossible dream? I think not.
Set in Nazi Germany during World War II, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas takes the reader on a journey through the eyes of a young, ignorant boy. This story filled me with sadness, but also made me laugh out loud. I would recommend this book for both boys and girls aged 12 to 15 years of age.
Gatza’s collection of short stories highlight important ideas such as connecting with family members, living the fullest life, challenging how to think beyond the obvious, and learning how to handle grief. Each of these lessons are truly important for both children and adults alike. What connects each of these stories, however, is the ability to experience each day with someone that readers care about whether that be a family member, a parent, a friend, or a sibling.