Friday, August 29, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

As I big fan of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books by Ann Brashares I was looking forward to reading The Here and Now. 

I have to say I enjoyed reading this book. I loved the story line, and the idea of time travelers has always been of interest to me. The first chapter sucked me in and the book held my attention until the very end.

Although I found the book enjoyable I did feel that it was a pretty simplistic storyline and that everything came together in the end awfully easily. Where I would've thought there would be questions and loose ends, Brashares pulled them all together and ended the novel with what seemed to me to be a very unrealistic ending.

That being said, I still think it's a fun read and one that many of you will enjoy. I'd encourage you to give it a try. I don't foresee incredible reviews, but it certainly is a nice way to spend a few hours.

Enjoy this interview with Ann Brashares:

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent follows the life of Dinah from the Old Testament. Through her story we are given a totally new look at the ancient people of the bible. I think this book made them become "real" for me.

Most of the stories in the bible are told from the male perspective. Few of them are told with this much detail and length. I was fascinated by the traditions already built up in the families, both sacred and nonreligious. This gave new light to many of the stories I'd heard in the bible throughout my life. As there were mentions to Abraham, to Isaac, I listened with new ears and found a fresh view of my favorite bible stories, told from a young woman surrounded by family.

I don't know where fact and fiction separate, but The Red Tent certainly has made me want to know more. I'd like to know what parts are substantiated by history and which ones were created by the author. However, either way I will always be grateful for this view into the early years into the bible and new perspective it has afforded me.

I found this interview with Anita Diamant and wanted to share it. However, this one is quite scholarly and not as much about the book as it is about the author.

So I will also share a book trailer that gives a few more hints at this remarkable story:

Friday, August 1, 2014

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Ask me what my favorite book is, and although I say that often about many books, the one I will probably mention first is The Kite Runner. That is why I was looking forward to reading Khaled Hosseini's newest novel And the Mountains Echoed.

Hosseini's first two books were all about family relationships, and the same is true of this book. It focuses on the special love Abdullah has for his younger sister, Pari, and the changes that take place in their lives when they are separated. It is the loss of those we love that really stays with us throughout our entire lives.

Hosseini begins this story with a father telling a bedtime story to his children. This story has a lot of parallels in the book. It begins with the heartbreaking story of the father making a decision to give his daughter away to a wealthy man in Kabul. His decision alters the lives of many people in the family, and especially lays a heavy burden on his son Abdullah.

Through much of the story I felt that sadness, and I teared up many times. I thought the book was beautifully written and the story wonderfully told. I look forward to reading anything that Khaled Hosseini writes in the future!

This is a wonderful interview with author Khaled Hosseini:

Frozen by Mary Casanova

Frozen, by Mary Casanova, contains everything I love in a novel. It was written by one of my favorite authors and set in one of the most beautiful places in the country, northern Minnesota. It carries all the truth of history, but tells a haunting tale that pulls the reader in from the very first page.

Several summers ago my husband and I joined two other couples and rented a houseboat on Rainy Lake. Everything about our trip was incredible! The weather that week was perfect: hot and still. We watched eagles steal our fish carcasses, heard loons calling late into the night, enjoyed sunsets that didn't seem real, ate fantastic fresh fish dinners, and swam in the clear lake water. While we were there we visited the historic Kettle Falls Hotel.

As I read Frozen I felt as if I were back on Rainy Lake once again. I could visualize it all so clearly, and this added a lot to my enjoyment of the book. Mary has a wonderful writing style. Her descriptions are beautiful and moving, and they are perfect for this type of tale.

I heard Mary Casanova telling the story of Frozen a few years ago at a conference. At the time I was struck by the story and wanted to read it immediately. It wasn't until just this past few weeks that I finally was reunited with the book and had the chance to read it. I'm so glad I did!