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Showing posts from 2015

Girl at War by Sara Novic

The past is always with us. Most people even believe (correctly in my humble opinion) that the past is what makes us the people that we are today and will be in the future. It always seems that the more painful memories linger longer and are more deeply etched into our psyche than the happier ones. This is the case in this novel, Novic's first novel.

Ana is the protagonist and lives suspended in between the worlds of the living and dead. She witnessed numerous atrocities during the Croatian War of Independence. Violence quickly becomes the main staple of her life and consumes her along with her mom, dad and baby sister.  At the time that the war is occurring, she is the ripe old age of 10. At ten, she doesn't understand the magnitude of the dangers and violence that she faces so she and her best friend Luca ride bikes, go to school and try to otherwise be normal children. When it finally takes a personal toll, it's on a magnitude that can only be described as all or nothi…

Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman isn't your average joe. In fact, he's really quite odd, but that's what makes him a truly great author. He writes everything from comic books, to adolescent fiction, to more mature stories and novels/fiction for adults, making him, in my opinion, one of the better authors out there. His newest collection of short stories, "Trigger Warning," encapsulates everything from Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Who (I'm sorry, but if you don't like Dr. Who, we can't be friends or even associates!!).
As one might expect, however, in a book with this title, the stories usually don't end well for the protagonist. There is material in the book that will mess with your head - and he's up front about that in the introduction. If you can't handle that, this book isn't for you. For instance, there's a woman who wears a bone from her dead son as part of a necklace. Yeah, it's just that weird and haunting. There are ghost stories as well. For …

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

In this day and age, it's very unusual to go a month or a week even (sometimes days) without hearing about some sort of injustice in the criminal justice system. It just seems that there are so many exonerations and overcrowded jails. Our politicians are trying to figure out ways to reduce the prison population. Studies are constantly coming out that cast doubt on parts of cases that were once considered airtight. But most recently, in addition to the racial dynamics that exist between police and suspects, there has been much debate about capital punishment, particularly in light of botched executions.
I heard about this book on NPR and saw it being sold in Starbucks.  In a prior life, I did criminal defense work so I'm always interested in books that come out on this subject and this book in particular intrigued me because it was written as a memoir by a guy that actually practiced and did capital work.  Bryan Stevenson grew up poor and a minority in Delaware and his great-g…

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gray

It's no secret that I went to school at a women's college in Massachusetts. It's also no secret that while I was there, I took an interest in and took many classes in what was then called women's studies. I have a passion for that particular topic as much as I do for reading, so when I heard about this book on NPR (I know, a shocker), I immediately procured a copy because it seemed fascinating to me to read about the intersection of gender and race.
Roxanne Gay, herself, is a fantastic person. She was at Yale for a while studying but then literally, as a woman in her late teens or early twenties, fell of the face of the earth. She boarded a plane to San Francisco t meet a man that she had just met online. What no one knew about her at that time was that when we was a child, she had been the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a 44 year old man. So when the man in San Francisco proposed traveling she jumped on board. She then spent a year there, without her fami…

50 Shades of Grey by EL James

I read this book because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  The book that started out as fan fiction to the Twilight series.  The Mommy Porn of my generation. I wanted to read it before I watched or attempted to watch the movie - that's my M.O. I always read the book first.  And quite frankly, after I was about two chapters in, I was like "Why the HELL is this so popular?"
The story is told from Anastasia Steele's perspective - known affectionately to her friends as Ana. She's living in Seattle and a senior in college, just about to graduate and is a virgin (of course) who hasn't had any sexual interest in anyone whatsoever - that just doesn't seem right at ALL. Wasn't she a teenager at one point?  I'm pretty certain that teenagers, with their raging hormones, have sexual interest in anything that moves. So yeah, doesn't make sense. She meets Christian Grey, the sexy business owner right away because she has to interview him for th…

My book Meccas

So, I know I haven't posted in a while. Since my divorce, things have been hectic but I have lots of things that I want to blog about now and now that I have a great space to do it in, I'll find it more enjoyable to actually do it. See! Here's my new little "me" space:

The first topic that I want to come back to blogging with is what my book Mecca is. I attribute it to listening to an episode of Books on the Nightstand. I love wandering around in bookstores - my ultimate Mecca of a bookstore would be a place where I could just wander aimlessly for hours or days and not get bored ever. It's my Holy Land of books - wehre I can feel the books, pick them up and smell them and flip through the pages, where I can sit and read a few and/or have conversations about them and maybe meet an author or two.

I have a few that I have been to and one or two that I really want to visit. The ones that I've been to are below.

The Boston Public Library - what other place …

The Secret Place by Tana French

This is the latest in Tana French's murder squad books and in it, not only do we see a familiar face but we also see murder brought to a private, Catholic girl's school. Stephen Moran, who we met in Faithful Place, is revealed to be extremely ambitious. He's a part of the Cold Case Squad who wants to be a part of the Murder Squad. He sees his opportunity when Holly Mackey, the teenage daughter of another detective and a student at St. Kilda's, arrives and asks to speak with him. She brought a message with her that she spotted on a board in the school where girls may reveal their most private thoughts and feelings anonymously. A picture of the murder victim, a boy named Chris, has been placed on the board along with the words "I know who killed him" in the style of a ransom note.Moran then finds out who the detectives on the case were - one is retired and the other is Antoinette Conway - a tough detective who is still on the force. Moran is permitted to accom…

Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe

There is a lot about female American soldiers in today's news. Commanding officers and administrators are being called onto the carpet for sexual assaults that are occuring. Female soldiers have been kidnapped and then released and also participate in atrocities (think Abu Ghraib). Women's roles in the military are also subjected to much debate - will they be allowed into combat? But in the midst of all this discussion, the actual individual women and their motivations are forgotten - they are nameless, faceless and storyless. Who are they? Why are they there? In this book, Helen Thorpe seeks to answer that question by following the stories of three very different women as they serve in the national guard.All three women enlisted in the National Guard before September 11, 2001 and all seemed to hope that the enlistment would help them to improve their stations in life. Michelle Fischer, the youngest, was from a dysfunctional family and wanted to use the national guard to g…