Sharon N. (quiltgranny) - - Reviews

1 to 12 of 12
The Almost Moon
The Almost Moon
Author: Alice Sebold
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.6/5 Stars.
 467
Review Date: 10/27/2007
Helpful Score: 23


Other reviews of this book have given it a very poor rating. I think mine will be about the same. With that said, however, I finished it within 2 long nights of reading. There is something about the way Alice Siebold manages to almost disgust the reader, but draw them in at the same time. The title is probably the best part of the book, and I love to think about how this is portrayed in my own life (I won't spoil the one best part for you). The topic of daughters and mothers *could* have been a great one, even killing one's own mother from the despair of seeing them fail in their old age. BUT, having a mother and a father who are insane before senility arrives is a bit of a stretch and tiresome at the same time. AND, Helen, the protagonist, goes about the cover-up in a ludicrous and insane manner as well. Most of all, the acknowledgements at the back of the book were an insult, somehow, to me. Almost as if there is an inside circle, working at pulling our leg - buying and "Alice Siebold" book again just because of her first acclaimed novel, Lovely Bones. Something I won't be so quick to do on the next one.


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Review Date: 2/14/2008
Helpful Score: 1


This was an interesting and well researched story about the Chicago Exposition. It was also a very uneven tale of the true story of a serial killer who also used the fair to do his "business". It actually left me asking more questions about the fair, and even more about the killer, Holmes. I spent a great deal of time looking up pictures of the buildings at the Exposition, and reading more about the exhibits. I am going to leave Mr. Holmes to his dark secrets and move on. It's definitely worth reading, but be prepared for lots of questions that are not answered here.


The Double Bind
The Double Bind
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 286
Review Date: 10/1/2008
Helpful Score: 8


What a great novel! I can't say enough about how this book catches you up in the story line so you forget everything you ever knew about The Great Gatsby. I highly suggest you review the Great Gatsby before reading this book by Bohjalian, but it's not really necessary. And the twists and turns you'll follow makes you think you have experienced a double bind, too. Not to be missed if you are looking for great word crafting, mind bending, and/or light mystery.


Gilead
Gilead
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 219
Review Date: 10/22/2007
Helpful Score: 10


This book just washed over me with it's excellent word crafting and ideas. I so enjoyed not being hit over the head with the "spiritual" message of life as a special creation. Even though the main character is a preacher, there is no preaching to the reader, only soft guidance and pleasures of discovering relationships. I also liked how some small part of history was woven into the story and in the end, it was a circle within the story. No wonder it won the Pulitzer award in 2005 - it's a book not to be missed.


The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 12/2/2007


The author has chosen an interesting approach to this novel. There are many stories in the story, and to confuse us even more the author chose a flashback narrating style. We enter the story in the 1990'ies as the young woman named Rahel returns to her village (in a small town in Kerala, in India) to be reunited with her twin brother Esthahappen (shortened Estha), whom she hasn't seen in many years. (That being said, the story in "God of Small Things" is set for the most part during the 1960's.)

Two of the lead characters are the fraternal twins Estha and Rahel. They are bonded (unusually) close, so close that they think of themselves as "Me", and when separated as "We" or "Us", this to their family's great frustration. Told from the childrens point of view, the story centers on the story of the twins' childhood, the tragic death of their English cousin, why Estha stopped speaking, to mention something, but not too much.

There are many interesting characters in this book, and several of them has a great potential, such as Grandma Mammachi, Grandaunt Baby Kochamma, the handyman Velutha (another important character), Ammu etc. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, few of them are very well developed.

It is not often I almost put a book down, but I almost gave up with this one. Arundhati Roy's prose and writing style is unusual, and I enjoyed this novel for its prose more than for the story. I was never sure where the author was headed with the story. This left me confused. On top of that, I am sure that I missed some of the metaphors, as well.


In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
Author: Nathaniel Philbrick
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 253
Review Date: 1/22/2008
Helpful Score: 8


A most exciting story which inspired Moby Dick - all of it is true. There are pictures of the actual people who were involved as well as interesting information on Nantucket, whaling and the era in which it transpired. ONe of my favorite books of all time!


Jayber Crow
Jayber Crow
Author: Wendell Berry
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 1/9/2009
Helpful Score: 2


This is a book that I couldn't read slowly enough for fear that it would end.

Wendell Berry--novelist, poet, essayist--has written an unrequited love story and a love letter to the natural world. Jayber Crow revisits Berry's fictional Kentucky town of Port William and peers into the life of the town's barber, the book's namesake, Jayber.

Berry, a well-known environmentalist, has enough skill to render a page-turning story while advocating for the earth. He's one of our greatest living American writers. I highly recommend this book.


The Keepers of the House (Vintage)
The Keepers of the House (Vintage)
Author: Shirley Ann Grau
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 1/3/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1965, The Keepers of the House is Shirley Ann Graus masterwork, a many-layered indictment of racism and rage that is as terrifying as it is wise.

I had this book on my list to read merely because of the Pulitzer prize. I am so happy I read it! It is one of those books that develops character; builds the plot slowly and beautifully, then crashes with the crescendo of fear, anger, love and hope.

For people who do not remember the segregation issues of the past, this is a great example of how life was lived and felt in the past.


March
March
Author: Geraldine Brooks
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 519
Review Date: 1/4/2008
Helpful Score: 2


This is a wonderful read. I always wonder where authors get their inspiration, and Ms. Brooks explains who she based her interpretation of Mr. March in the acknowledgements at the back of the book. It's almost as if I picked up Little Women, then picked up March, and had a seamless experience of the family. Not to be missed!


The Power of One
The Power of One
Author: Bryce Courtenay
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 113
Review Date: 11/21/2007


This is one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. Courtenay's voice draws you into the geography and the time period as if you were side by side woth Peekay. I was surprised to have tears sliding unbeckoned as I read of the tragedies in Peekay's life, and smiled broadly with the triumphs. How have I missed reading such a grand story before now?


Suite Francaise
Suite Francaise
Author: Sandra Smith (Translator), Irene Nemirovsky
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 408
Review Date: 2/3/2008
Helpful Score: 2


On the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940 in Paris, a remarkable story of men and women trying to assimilate the meaning of how their lives will change. I found the story engaging, but disjointed. If Nemirovsky would have been able to finish the story, I am certain it would have been fuller and richer. I still enjoyed the different points of view that I had never thought of before - like still living a "normal" life with an occupying army in the middle of chaos.


The White Masai
The White Masai
Author: Corinne Hofmann
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 2/21/2008


I have to admit that I did not realize that this was a true story of Corinne Hoffman's adventure in Kenya, falling in love with a Masai warrior and having a child with him until I reached the middle of the book and saw photographs. The story is written simply, and it might be due to the German translation to English, but if the story was not so fascinating, the book probably would not have gotten acclaim. It's worth reading, but be prepared to want to know what happened after.....


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