Thursday, January 27, 2011

4. Mother Country

By:  Jeremy Harding
Rated 4.5 Stars
From Library

This is a beautifully written memoir.

Publisher Summary

When Jeremy Harding was a child, his mother, Maureen, told him he was adopted. She described his natural parents as a Scandinavian sailor and a“little Irish girl” who worked in a grocery. It was only later, as Harding setout to look for traces of his birth mother, that he began to understand whohis adoptive mother really was—and the benign make-believe world she built for herself and her little boy. Evoking a magical childhood spent intransit between west London and a decrepit houseboat on the banks of the River Thames.

Mother Country is both a detective quest, as Harding searches through the public records for clues about his natural mother, and a rich social history of a lost London from the 1950s.  Mother Country is a powerful true story about a man looking for the mother he had never known and finding out how little he understood the one he had grown up with.

6. King Hereafter

By Dorothy Dunnett
Rated 5 + Stars
Reading with On Line Group
I own this book

This is one of my favorite books ever.  I am so enjoying rereading this along with one of the on line Dunnett groups.  I love the ladies in this group. They combine insightful reading with a delicious sense of humor that is making one of my favorite reads even more enjoyable than it was before.  They are cool people who do not squeeze the joy out of books by taking either books, or themselves way too seriously.

Personally I don't really care if this historically correct or not but considering that written records from that period either do not exist or were written much later (sometimes hundreds of years) and rely oral histories passed down by generations of story tellers it's my opinion that any history of this period is mostly someone's best guess.  I am perfectly willing to go with Dorothy Dunnett's best guess.  It makes for a really great story.

Product Description

With the same meticulous scholarship and narrative legerdemain she brought to her hugely popular Lymond Chronicles, our foremost historical novelist travels further into the past. In King Hereafter, Dorothy Dunnett's stage is the wild, half-pagan country of eleventh-century Scotland. Her hero is an ungainly young earl with a lowering brow and a taste for intrigue. He calls himself Thorfinn but his Christian name is Macbeth.

Dunnett depicts Macbeth's transformation from an angry boy who refuses to accept his meager share of the Orkney Islands to a suavely accomplished warrior who seizes an empire with the help of a wife as shrewd and valiant as himself. She creates characters who are at once wholly creatures of another time yet always recognizable--and she does so with such realism and immediacy that she once more elevates historical fiction into high art.

5. Goodnight Tweetheart

By Teresa Medeiros
Rated 4.5 Stars
From:  Library
Recommended by Maudeen

This is another book that I am the wrong generation to be able to relate to the Twitter group but it was very cleverly written and was both humorous and very poignant at the same time.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It was a great change of pace from some of the more ponderous books I am reading at the moment.

Publisher Summary

New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros absolutely dazzles in this quick-witted, laugh-out-loud funny, and highly moving love story that will set readers’ hearts atwitter.

Abigail Donovan has a lot of stuff she should be doing. Namely writing her next novel. A bestselling author who is still recovering from a near Pulitzer Prize win and the heady success that follows Oprah’s stamp of approval, she is stuck at Chapter Five and losing confidence daily. But when her publicist signs her up for a Twitter account, she’s intrigued. What’s all the fuss?

Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, “MarkBaynard"—a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical—Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living?

Or is he?

3. Before I fall

By:  Lauren Oliver
Rated 3 Stars
From:  Library
Recommended by Maudeen

To begin, I am really not the target audience that this book was aimed at.  I have little to no empathy for todays teenagers.  They live on a different planet than the one I have always occupied.

Still, as much as I really didn't like this book I couldn't give up on it entirely because it is so very well written.  The author managed to drag me kicking and screaming all the way to the end.  The premiss was very interesting though and caused me to do a re-reread of Ken Grimwoods book Repay that is written around the same idea but with characters I had much more sympathy with and was able to relate to more easily.

Publishers description:

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.