Monday, January 30, 2017

"From Ashes Into Light" by Gudrun Mouw **

  • Early Reviewer book
  • German author
  • Review:  This book did not read well.  The concept of the plot was intriguing, but the flow was very choppy.  I recommend some serious polishing!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Prisoner B-3087" by Alan Gratz. ****

  • Audiobook
  • US author 
  • Originally published in 2013
  • Review:  10 concentration camps!   He survived!  And it is true.  The horror of the Holocaust never ceases to amaze and horrify.  Yet, the human spirit is resilient beyond belief!  Good book. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"33 Revolutions" by Caney Sanchez Guevara

  • Author is Che Guevara's grandson 
  • Originally published in 2015
  • Cuban author
  • Review:  This stark novella, written by the grandson of Che Guevara,  is almost an epic poem.  Just as a vinyl records revolves at 33 revolutions,  so does the life of a Cuban, according to the author.  Droning, proscribed,  and repetitive. Anything unusual is equated to a skip. Even the number of chapters is 33.  The protagonist, ironically enough, identifies his love of reading as the source of his demise.  Judge for yourself.  Again, beautifully written, stark, and troubling!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Fever Dream" by Samanta Schweblin **

●  Audiobook
●  Argentine author
●  Originally published in 2017
●  Review:  "Fever Dream" is an apt title for this story.  Frankly, it was an unpleasant experience to listen to this.  The rambling went on so long that I stopped caring about figuring what the heck was going on.

"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" by Haruki Murakami *****

  • Audiobook
  • Japanese author
  • Originally published in 2013
  • Review:  Once again, the eloquent Haruki Murakami, has crafted a dream-like tale about alienation, relationship, and the existential search for meaning.  Our traumatized protagonist works through an adolescent trauma which had shaped his life for many years.  It is through a new relationship that he finds the courage to confront the past.  Great narrator for this and many of Murakami's audio book as well.  I am consistently enamored with his writing!

"The Most Wonderful Tales of the Year: Holiday Memories" , Written and Performed by Our Favorite Narrators ***

  • Audiobook
  • Non-Fiction
  • Essays
  • Each story is a favorite holiday memory of Audible narrator, told by themselves.
  • Review:  A sweet little collection of personal holiday memories told by some of's narrators.  Perfectly enjoyable.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Rock,Paper, Scissors" by Naja Marie Aidt *****

  • Summer Read with Beth
  • Danish author
  • Open Letter Series, first translation into English
  • Originally published 2012 in Denmark
  • Review:  What comprises the key which unlocks the door to our darkest selves?  What is the trigger which can start a downward spiral into fear, shame, and despair?  Perhaps the key, the trigger are different for each person?  Perhaps, it is a unpredictable as a game of rock, paper, scissors. This debut novel explores the process in a profound and evocative manner.  I felt dread from early on in the story, and it mounted throughout the book, until the very last sentence.  Make no mistake, this is not a lighthearted novel in any way!  A random discovery leads the protagonist down a steep slope into suspicion, distrust, horror, shame, and loss.  The final scene leaves the reader with uncertainty, to say the least!  So, read this amazing piece of literature, but only if you can tolerate the emotions it evokes!

"Commonwealth" by Ann Patchett **

"Commonwealth" by Ann Patchett

  • Audiobook
  • US author
  • Originally published in 2016
  • REview:  Very disapppointing.

"A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara *****

"A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara *****

  • Summer Read with Beth
  • US author
  • Review:  Four friends, one with a stark, horrifying secret past, and beyond that I am somewhat at a loss for words.  This is a phenomenal novel about love, the enduring, unconditional kind of love.   It is about love that survives anger, betrayal, and completely unsolvable sorrow.  The characters are followed over their adult lives in a realistic trajectory over time. I could not put this book down, despite some horrifying scenes which were anything but gratuitous. The author needed the reader to come as close to despair as possible, in order for the reader to most fully understand the psychological dynamic in the group and in each character.  Brava!