My Own Little Book Corner

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017 Books Read - February

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This is a book that has been on my TBR list for a while and I'm glad I finally got it.   The story started out a little slow for me, but picked up as I got to know the characters.   There are 2 parallel stories - one in France and one in Germany - during World War II.   One is the story of a family trying to survive the occupation and the other is a story of an orphan who is part of Hitler's Youth Movement.   Each story in itself is a good read and it's interesting how they intersect.  Marie-Laure is a smart French girl who has lost her sight.   Warner is a blonde headed German boy who is also very smart.   They both do what they can to help their side in the war - but Warner, unlike Marie-Laure, internally questions if what he is doing is right. The other characters in the story are interesting and add layers. It is a beautifully written story of love, morality, war, loss, friendship and life.   (Whew - that's a lot!)  I like reading historical fiction from WWII.  It is often sad, but a part of history that we can learn from.   A good book!

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

Another kidnapping story.  8 year old Ben disappears from the park after he runs ahead of his mom.  There are several people both primary and secondary characters that are in and out of the suspect category.   It is a well written story and interesting, except for one part that just didn't seem to fit or flow well for me.  That part involves a "secret" reveled by her sister.   It's not even so much the secret as it was the way it was written.   It just didn't seem to fit the characters.  Otherwise, I liked the story and the writing style.

The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

My first Greg Iles book.  This is a Penn Cage book set in Natchez.   The story revolves around a killing of a black man in the 60's.   Penn Cage sets out to solve the murder.  There are many reasons he gets pulled into this - all personal - some righteous and some revengeful. I found the story to be a little slow developing at first, but as I got into it, it flowed well.   Mr Iles story brought John Grisham to mind.   Not the same style, but the type story that Mr Grisham writes.   It was interesting and I plan on reading book 2 in the series.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simison

The 2nd story in the Don Tillman series.  I found it harder to get into this one for some reason, but once I did I enjoyed it.   Rosie is pregnant which presents all kind of issues for Don.   These stories, while are somewhat light reading, also make you think.  We all know a Don to some extent - some more "normal" and some less "normal" than him.   The thing that comes through these stories is that Don is a good person who really does want to do what is right. While appearing unemotional and devoid of empathy, he is really the opposite of that.   An entertaining book.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

I have this as a re-read, but I honestly can barely remember reading it before.   I don't hate this story, but I don't know why it is a classic.  I can understand why in the 1950's it was considered revolutionary, profane and different.   I just don't see how it translates to the same level now.  That being said, it is a little depressing book.  Holden is an immature, depressed character dealing with a sort of coming of age.   He is being kicked out of another school and decides he might as well leave early - but not let his parents know.   So he spends a couple of nights in NYC on his own.   I've read that this story is a metaphor for war - but I guess I'm too shallow to get it.   I didn't like the writing style and the story is nothing special.   Not one I plan on reading again - but I know some people love it.

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

I liked this book about twin sisters who have "the sense."   It is told by one of the sisters - Daisy aka Kate.   Kate is the more "normal" sister - married, 2 kids and no longer in tune with the sense.   Violet - aka Vi - is the hippier/dippier one - earns a living as a medium, afraid to drive, single, unkept.  They live in St Louis - which I admit was part of the appeal to me since we enjoy going up there and have been several times.  In 2009, a small eathquake hit St Louis.  Vi has a premonition that there is going to be another one hit and Kate gts the sense of the date in Oct.  It is an interesting story about family, growing up, adulthood, a type of fame, expectations, temptation, love and forgiveness.   Some of it is told in present tense, with flashbacks that give background to the story.   I thought it was well written and even thought I was not surprised with where the story went, I enjoyed the trip.

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