Tuesday, April 16, 2024

REVIEW: The Women by Kristin Hannah


I admit, I'm partial to Kristin Hannah. I find her books entertaining (sometimes not so life changing), but definitely worth reading.  This book though - wow.

The protagonist is Francis "Frankie" McGrath, who hails from a wealthy family in California. She decides to enlist in the armed services as a nurse during Vietnam, following her brother, and, in so doing, leaves a very sheltered life to served in a war ravaged country. After serving multiple deployments, Frankie is sent home where she finds different kinds of battles that she must face. Many arrived home wounded, both mentally and physically, and sometimes faced derision by civilians. Frankie herself is spit at upon setting foot on American soil. Many turned to alcohol and drugs or both to cope.  

Frankie experienced that, but with an additional layer - she had to deal with the prevailing belief at the time that there were no women in Vietnam. In spite of the horrific experiences she had, Frankie was told that her experiences and observations were not real or valid as a result of that prevailing and mistaken belief. 

I loved this book and couldn't put it down.  While it was very difficult to read,  I got lost in Frankie's story.  It was one of the few books that has made me cry.  It was so easy to become immersed in the narrative. Definitely worth the read. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Links I love


This eek was a big one weather wise with the eclipse and New England recovering from an April Nor'Easter.  Here are the stories!

  1. The SC Women's team upsets Iowa to win the NCAA Basketball title.
  2. 20 period dramas to see this month on Amazon.
  3. 5 Memoirs by women.
  4. One of the best male friendships on TV.
  5. What happens if you're late for a virtual queue at Disney.
  6. Most targeted books of 2023.
  7. 47 Unforgettable Modern Classics
  8. A guide to Stephen King.
  9. Interactive Dr. Who Map
  10. Top 25 bookish mother's day gifts.
  11. 12 best donut and  coffee pairings.
  12. In Memory of Nicole Brown Simpson

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Links I love~


Happy Sunday!  Tomorrow is the eclipse - the kids have an excused absence to go watch. Will you be watching?

  1. The Tropicana is being demolished to make way for a ball park.
  2. Why Biblical women?
  3. Disney adults share what gets them icky about each other.
  4. Weird and wonderful sensations of viewing an eclipse.
  5. Revisiting the movies of 1999.
  6. 11 period dramas on Amazon.
  7. 7 reasons to not date a reader.
  8. 15 books about the Pacific NW.
  9. bizarre things found in luggage.
  10. What you need to know about the eclipse.
  11. Pen/Faulkner award announced.
  12. Mysteries about translators.
  13. What it feels like to be a sociopath.
  14. Origin of several dog breeds.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Links I love


I hope everyone is having a good week!

  1. The top Kristen Hannah books.
  2. Dead butt (yes you read that correctly) syndrome is a thing.
  3. How to break phone dependence.
  4. How did jelly beans become Easter candy.
  5. Babar author has passed away.
  6. Lambda awards shortlist is here.
  7. For book recommendations, people are better than algorithms.
  8. The Great American Novels.
  9. Books about camping and hiking.

Friday, March 29, 2024

REVIEW: Tracy Flick Can't Win by Tom Perrotta


I loved Election - both the book and the movie (starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick) - and Tom Perrotta in general.  Tracy Flick is such a great character - so when I saw that there was a new book - a sequel - about Tracy, I was all over it! 

This novel takes place approximately 20 years after the events of Election and Tracy is dealing with a life that she never anticipated having. After high school, Tracy went to Georgetown as an undergrad and was just beginning law school, also at Georgetown, when her mother gets very ill, causing Tracy to have to return to care for her. She's now the Assistant Principal at Green Meadow HS in NJ, and she doesn't care for it. She's still very ambitious, but the job isn't what she wants. Tracy's hopes are raised when the current principal, Jack Weede, announces his retirement (finally!) in order to travel the country with his wife, a cancer survivor. Tracy has to interact with members of the school board, including Kyle Dorfman, a parent and computer person who has made his fame by creating a popular application.  She also has to support a hall of fame related to the school, even though it may mean she has to support a former professional football player - and a sport that she abhors.

I really enjoyed this book and the characters.  They are still very well developed and credible in their narration. The chapters themselves are short and told in chronological order, with flashbacks, making the story easy to follow and quick - I read the book in about 2 days. Even though there were a lot of voices, everything was done precisely and I had no issues following what was going on. I don't want to say much more because the end has a bit of a twist, but let's just say that I wish that I had purchased this book instead of merely taking it out of the library. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

REVIEW Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope


Clara Johnson is a Black Woman living in DC during the time of Langston Hughes. She is something else - she was born with a caul and screaming and her ability to commune with spirits is attributed to her caul. In this novel, Penelope tells the story of Clara and her team as they attempt to save the Black community from spirits stealing their destinies. When we meet Clara, she has been brokering deals between people for six years already and is working as a typist at a local journal. She is offered a deal by a spirit that she calls the Empress - if she can get a hold of a special ring, and provide it to the empress, Clara will be released from her deal with the Empress. The same deal will be extended to anyone else helping her. She enlists the help of her roommate, Zelda, Jesi Lee (a porter), musician Israel Lee and Aristotle. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The period - 1920's DC Black community - was amazing rich, as were the characters and Clara's story. The characters remained warm and empathetic, even where they could easily become cold and cynical. The story was fun and not just a run of the mill treasure hunt - more noir combined with historical fiction (Clara Johnson was an actual person!) - so it was fun. The pacing was good too - it moved quickly. It also kept me on my toes - the "bad guy" and the plot kept changing, so I was constantly reading, hoping to learn more. 

The theme of freedom is important here - there is a group of people that are seemingly held captive and forced to work, much like the sharecroppers were forced to work in the wake of slavery. The debts held by the spirits also reflect that.  The book begs the question of what can actually be done with freedom. If freedom is so hard won, then what can and should be done by those who have actually won that freedom? 

Really enjoyed this book. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Links I love


I hope that everyone had a good week, including St. Patrick's!!

  1. Is the most expensive hotel at WDW worth it?
  2. Patrick Warburton surprises people at Soarin. Would have loved it if this happened when we were there!
  3. Chris Bohjalian and lots of things, including his new book.
  4. Star Wars blue milk is coming

REVIEW: The Women by Kristin Hannah

  I admit, I'm partial to Kristin Hannah . I find her books entertaining (sometimes not so life changing), but definitely worth reading....