Books of Late #1

I think I've shared before that I'm a reader, but I haven't seemed to do much book posting around here.  So let's get to it!

I used to rely on our old friend Oprah for book suggestions.  I would also hit that front table at Barnes & Noble where you can "buy two & get the third free".  But more recently, I'm a big fan of my local library.  Yes, it takes longer to get the books, but I don't mind waiting while I read other stuff.  I also like that I'm re-using a book and not cluttering my house up.

Right now my sources for finding good books are Eat, Live Run, NPR and the librarians suggestion shelf.  I also won't lie.  Sometimes book covers catch my eye too....which results in good and bad experiences as the metaphor would indicate.

Here are some books that I've recently read....

Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok - When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings.

I enjoyed this story; things happened that I didn't expect and the ending really surprised me.  (If you read a lot like I do you can get pretty good at guessing endings).  I was also appalled by the living conditions of the characters when they first come to the U.S.  Yes, I know this is fiction, but the author immigrated from Hong Kong herself, so I'm assuming some of what is in this book came from her personal experiences.  Sadly, it's probably not a far stretch from what really goes on and made me realize my naivete to what immigrants may be going through.  Last word - her aunt, wowza!

The Paris wife by Paula McLain - A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

I saw this book on Eat, Live, Run, but admittedly, I didn't read her full post and I didn't really know what the book was about until I started reading it.  What a story!  Again, I know it's fiction, but I loved reading about Paris in the 1920's.  I have visited Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West (his cats have 5 toes) and it was fun for me to read this book and imagine him there...and as a real guy and not just the legend that he is.  Last word - it was pretty amazing how Hadley gains so much strength after the birth of her son, but shown in a very subtle way.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest HemingwayThe quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. 

OK, here's the deal.  I started reading this.  I was inspired to read an actual Hemingway novel after finishing The Paris Wife, so I picked this up at the library.  The language is much easier than I anticipated and the story is good.  But, The Paris Wife talks about a trip they took in which Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises, which is partially about the trip they were, I sort of felt like I already knew the story and I got a little bored.  Also, the next book on the list came available and so I grabbed it and read it quick before I had to return it.  Last word - I need to re-start and finish this at a later date.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV

No, I'm not a teenager.  Although I have read (and own. in hardback.) all of the books about a certain wizarding boy....and I also read (but don't own.  really.) all of the books about a certain girl, vampire and werewolf (which a friend cleverly coined as "Sweet Valley High meets The Lost Boys")....OK, so, yeah, I read those other books too, so it was sort of natural that I'd read this one....right?  Well, I was not disappointed.  Actually, I can't wait to get my hands on the next two of the series.  The writing in this book is much better than the Twilight series.  Like way better.  The story is violent, more than I expected, but that sort of thing doesn't totally bother me either.  There were so many things going on in this book, love, survival, politics.  I can see why everyone has been talking about the series and why they made a movie of it.  Last word - Katniss, helllooo?  How can you not tell this boy loves you?

These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner - A moving, exciting, and heartfelt American saga inspired by the author's own family memoirs, these words belong to Sarah Prine, a woman of spirit and fire who forges a full and remarkable existence in a harsh, unfamiliar frontier.

I just devoured this book on our trip to Chicago.  It reads like a diary (obviously) but I love this - I love reading because it's like peeping into another world or life....reading a diary is the ultimate version of that.  Sarah's story is an amazing and interesting one set in the wild west.  The author started this as a school paper based on a family member and it evolved into a novel.  I left this book feeling like I wish I could have known Ms. Sarah Agnes Prine.  Last word - the subtle improvement in the language and writing skills of the "author" throughout the book make it so realistic.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown - Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard's heroines. It's a lot to live up to.
What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents' frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them...

I found this book on NPR, I'm about half-way through now, and I'm enjoying it.  It took a bit to "get-going", but now I'm involved and I want to know what will happen next.  Word for now - it is narrated by all three sisters in a very creative way.

That's all for now!  Any suggestions for me??

Oh yeah - and today is the last day for the giveaway!

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  1. maybe i'll have to give the Hunger Games a try! great reviews! thanks!

    1. You should, I thought it really was good. The Cyclist is also suggesting The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, so I'm adding that to the list!

  2. I just finished "unbroken." Amazing! If you haven't read that yet, it's a must. I'll have to give some of these a shot. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Kendra, I heard about this story in an article or on a show. I'll have to check that out!


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