Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Why do I read this author? He makes me cry every time. This is really about the relationship between a daughter and her father. It has a love story intertwined, but the bulk is about the father/daughter relationship. I cried and I cried and the end was good, if not a little unrealistic, but it is a love story. Sparks can weave a tale of love and lost and keep you coming back for more. I swear every time I read one of his I won't read another and yet I do. Dear John still kicks me in the chest when I think about the end, along with the Notebook and A Walk to Remember. The Lucky One was not one to cry over, but the rest are. If you need a good cry, read this or Dear John, both will leave you in tears.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Author: Ian McEwan
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I was looking for a self contained digital book to listen to as I worked on my house remodel. I have read Ian McEwan before, Atonement and Saturday, and enjoyed them. So I picked this up and got through it as I hung my drywall.
Where I Obtained the Book: At my local library.
Synopsis: Michael Beard is in his late fifties; bald, overweight, unprepossessing – a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. An inveterate philanderer, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. When Beard’s professional and personal worlds are entwined in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself, a chance for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster.
Review: After reading so many serious books Ian McEwan is giving humor a shot. One of the highlights is the protagonists attempt to relieve himself outside during the winter. As a Minnesota resident who finds himself enjoying a comparatively warm minus 20°F at times, I can relate to the fear expressed in the story. At one point I believe all men will wince in pain. The author also works in an old tried and true myth/story and I was left wondering why he would try to pass that off in the narrative, but then he brings it full circle and has another character ask the question I wanted to ask.
At its heart though, Solar is a story of human folly, the tendency of people to fix one bad decision by making two more bad ones. Like a gambler, Michael Beard one big win early on in life and thus felt comfortable make even riskier bets. Having worked through 5 wives he once again gets caught cheating and loses the love of his wife. Instead of cutting his losses he starts engaging in even riskier behaviors trying to win back his wife. When they fail he makes more. He slowly ups the ante until ultimately he goes all in.
If anything, this book should stand as a testament to all of us that you can’t fix a wrong with a wrong. As the great philosopher Kenny Rogers once said, “You got to know when to fold them.” If only we all had the presence of mind to remember that sage advice.
The only downside for me was the lead character himself; a totally unlikable hero. In some ways that is evidence of McEwan’s writing skill, that you can thoroughly dislike the character rather than just be ambivalent.
Author Biography: McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987) and the Prix Fémina Etranger (1993) for The Child in Time; and Germany's Shakespeare Prize in 1999. He has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction numerous times, winning the award for Amsterdam in 1998. His novel Atonement received the WH Smith Literary Award (2002), National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award (2003), Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction (2003), and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel (2004). He was awarded a CBE in 2000. In 2006, he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Saturday and his novel On Chesil Beach was named Galaxy Book of the Year at the 2008 British Book Awards where McEwan was also named Reader's Digest Author of the Year.
The New York Times
I loved this book, wow. I laughed, I cried, I sobbed, wow what a great story. Moving and haunting. I will remember this one for a long time. The stories included were wonderful and thought provoking. People can change.
We all have to find our own way in this life and yet help those who need us along the way. I recommend this to anyone, any religion and even the atheists out there. What a beautiful book. Read it, read it, read it!!!!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Author: Roopa Farooki
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Quick Review: 3 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I am always trying to increase the amount of books I read by both female authors and non-American authors. This, as they say on 30 Rock, is a two-fer. Plus I read one of her previous books, Corner Shop, and liked it well enough.
Where I Obtained the Book: Off the new shelf at my local library
Synopsis: On the morning that changes everything, Aruna Ahmed Jones walks out of her ground-floor Victorian apartment in London wearing only jeans and a t-shirt, carrying nothing more substantial than a handbag, and keeps on walking. Leaving behind the handsome Dr. Patrick Jones, her husband of less than a year, Aruna heads to Heathrow, where she boards a plane bound for Singapore and her old life. Educated and beautiful, Aruna has a desperate need to risk it all. But why? Waiting for her is a messy past and a perfect past lover she had once abandoned without even saying goodbye – a story left unfinished – until now.
Review: One little lie to perpetrate on small cover-up. All for the sake of what is “best.” Half Life looks at the consequences of this event years later, like the butterfly causing a hurricane, the repercussions wreck havoc in the lives of the three protagonists. Each chapter alternates between our three leads, Aruna the married woman, Jazz the former boyfriend, and Hassan, Jazz’s father.
All three are stuck, both physically and mentally, in the past. They are unable to experience life at its fullest extent – thus they are living a half life. Though they have all left each other behind physically, they have been unable to move on mentally. Finally it is the words of Hassan that break the proverbial camel’s back for Aruna, and she must find resolution.
In the end this is a story of closure. Problems in our live must be resolved to be truly left behind. And when we, and we all try, just walk away from our problems they will follow us, haunt us.
The downside for me is this book at 258 pages was a little short, I would like to have had a lot more depth of character. I sort of mourn the book this could have been if fully threshed out. The structure of the chapters sort of limited that.
Author Biography: Roopa Farooki was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and brought up in London. She graduated from New College, Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and worked in advertising before writing fiction full time. Roopa now lives in Southeast England and Southwest France with her husband and two young sons, and teaches creative writing at the Canterbury Christ Chuch University masters' program.
S. Krishna Book Reviews
Interviews with the Author
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Author: Kathryn Bertine
Publisher: ESPN Books
Quick Review: 5 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Someone doing endurance sports – what’s not to love?
Where I Obtained the Book: I saw this on the new section at my local library.
Synopsis: At the age of thirty, elite triathlete Kathryn Bertine had no job, no home of her own, no direction, a canceled wedding, and just over $200 in her checking account. Just as she was about to renounce her athletic dreams, the phone rang. ESPN The Magazine made her an offer she couldn't refuse: Bertine would have two years to make the 2008 Summer Olympic Games by any means necessary as long as she survived to tell the tale.
Review: Have you ever watched the Olympics, or any top level sporting event for that matter, and thought to yourself “I could totally do that.” The Editors at ESPN wondered the same thing and went to find a test subject. What makes this whole experience more humbling is Kathryn Bertine was no couch potato, she was a formidable athlete in her own right. National class ice skater in her youth, college rower in her early twenties, and an elite triathlete as an adult. Could she do it in 2 years?
What follows is her journey’s though a variety of Olympic Sports, both known and obscure, in an effort to make the team. She even gives a try at the luge, and while loving it manages to score a zero on the physical assessment test. This is a great look at what it takes to make the Olympic team, and in a sense any dream we might hold in our heart. Commitment, sacrifice, and handwork; they are all required. How many of us are giving the bare minimum to get by in our passions, our families, and our jobs?
A must read for anyone reaching for the stars and wanting some motivation in their life.
Author Biography: In 2000, I received my master of fine arts degree in nonfiction writing from the University of Arizona. My first book, All the Sundays Yet to Come: a skater’s journey was published by Little, Brown in 2003. My next book, As Good as Gold, will be published by ESPN Books in June 2009. Between books (and nearly every part time job known to mankind), my essays and articles have appeared in ESPN: The Magazine, ESPN.com, Details, Examiner.com, Triathlete, Inside Triathlon, and UsWeekly.
Cycle & Style Magazine
Pez Cycling News
Read the series of articles that inspired the book at ESPN online.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Julie grew up along the Minnesota-Iowa state line, fourth generation of a family who raised cattle and farmed corn for 130 years. Her favorite childhood days were spent waiting for the bookmobile to bring her another Phyllis A. Whitney novel. An avid reader, she tired of fictional TV reporters always being portrayed as obnoxious secondary characters who could be killed off whenever the plot started dragging. So her debut thriller, Stalking Susan, features a TV reporter as the heroine and takes readers inside the world of television news. She lives with her husband and sons in White Bear Lake, MN.
|Kramer's impressive debut, a thriller, introduces Riley Spartz, a Twin Cities investigative TV journalist. Riley's favorite source, a former Minneapolis homicide detective, suspects a serial killer is behind two cold murder cases of women named Susan strangled on November 19 one year apart. Still grieving for her late patrolman husband, Riley relishes the distraction of a possible hot story. After discovering that a raincoat links the two victims, one a 26-year-old waitress, the other a teen prostitute, Riley unearths other cases that may fit the pattern, including the apparently solved murder of a former Miss Duluth and the suspicious suicide of a terminally ill woman. Kramer, a freelance television producer, delivers more than another ho-hum remix of a 48 Hours episode thanks to a snappy subplot--Riley's exposure of a bad veterinarian doing scam pet cremations. Readers will look forward to seeing a lot more of the appealing Riley, who cares about justice as much as snagging at least a 40 audience share. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved|
|Drawing on her experience as a TV news producer, Kramer has crafted an engrossing and suspenseful debut thriller focusing on investigative reporter Riley Spartz and full of memorable characters and convincing insight into broadcast journalism. Bernadette Dunne, whose Audie Award-nominated reading of Elizabeth Cohen's The House on Beartown Road was a Best Audiobook of 2004 (LJ 6/1/04), skillfully captures the story's personalities and emotions while maintaining pace and tension. A compelling and addictive production; highly recommended for public libraries. [Audio clip available through library.booksontape.com; watch the book trailer at www.juliekramerbooks.com/trailer.php; the Doubleday hc was recommended "for all public libraries," LJ 7/08.--Ed.]--Melody A. Moxley, Rowan P.L., Salisbury, NC Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.|
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