Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, by Jennifer Ryan

Amazon book cover

An excellently written novel of women in a war-torn English village bravely carrying on, uniting as part of the Home Front. The plot was driven by a series of journals and letters, as the main characters each wrote of her own personal challenges, triumphs, and setbacks, and gave her own unique perspective on the events they all experienced. The Ladies' Choir was begun as a response to the absence of most of the men of the village, due to World War II. They did surprisingly well - even surprising themselves when they won a regional contest. Other complications to the plot included two infants born on the same day; one to the schoolteacher whose husband was in the military, and the other to the wealthy family whose only son had recently been shot down and killed in battle. It was very necessary that they have a son to carry on the family name and fortune. A newcomer to town raised suspicions. An artist, he had no visible means of supporting himself, and engaged in some very dubious dealings with shady characters. Two young girls, sisters, come of age in these perilous times, and learn about love and loss. A middle-aged widow, whose only son has just gone off to war, agrees to host one of the Senior Staff of the nearby War Center. A Jewish child refugee is housed with the Winthrops.

This is one of my favorite books, and I plan to keep it awhile and reread it. I highly recommend it, and I will look for more books by this author. This book was sent to me as part of the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing. I was asked to provide an honest review in exchange.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Pearl, by John Steinbeck

This is a small book, easily carried in my purse. I've had it for over a year, and finally got around to reading it this afternoon while waiting for my car to be serviced (oil change, tune-up, several belts and various fluids changed).

A classic story about rich and poor, good and evil, and how unimaginable fortune can change a family's life forever, for better or for worse.
Kino, the pearl fisherman, has found the Pearl of the World - the marvelous, beautiful, great pearl that pearl fishers search for all their lives! He has magnificent dreams for this fortune; he will sell it and marry Juana, his common-law wife and educate his little son Coyotito.
However, there is danger in the pearl. It is both a symbol of evil and of great fortune. Bad men want to steal it from Kino and his family. Evil men scheme to cheat him of the wealth it will bring.
Near the beginning of the short novel, the sting of the scorpion presages disaster for this family.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

My goodness!

I didn't realize it had been more than two months since I've posted here! Of course, I have been reading, but I must confess it's been mostly Facebook and internet news articles. (Slap my hand, bad me!)

I have started a few books, but haven't gotten very far in any of them.

Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World is a bit more technical than I had expected, but the historical and personal part is interesting to me, so I'll plug on.

Pride and Prejudice (ebook) is on my phone, downloaded to my Kindle app. I have read it before, about 40 years ago or so, and am reading it when I'm stuck in a waiting room or somewhere without a "real" book.

Heart-Stirring Stories of Love compiled by Linda Evans Shepherd, is a collection of inspiring short stories, mostly only a page or two in length. A friend loaned it to me, and I'm reading a story or two almost every day.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan is an Advanced Reader's Copy I received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's program. It is enjoyable, about a group of ladies in an English village who are determined to continue the church choir after most of the able bodied men of the village have gone to war (World War II). A major obstacle to their efforts is the decision of the church vicar to discontinue the choir for the duration.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lighthouse: A Novel, by Eugenia Price

Lighthouse, Saint Simons Island, GA

I thought I had read all of Eugenia Price's novels years ago, at least 30 or 40 years, but I did not remember this one as I was reading it. It is one of a trilogy of novels from colonial and Revolutionary American times through the American Civil War, mostly in St. Simon's Island, Georgia (near Savannah). My friend Carol loaned it to me, as we traveled with a group from our church to Savannah, St. Simon's Island, and Jekyll Island, and saw the lighthouse up close. It was not the one Mr. Gould built, though. That one was destroyed by Confederate troops as they retreated from the island, to prevent it aiding the Union Navy.
St. Simons Light

Lighthouse is about an historical figure, James Gould, who built the St. Simon's Island lighthouse and was its first lightkeeper. Copied and pasted from Wikipedia: "Lighthouse is a 1972 novel by Eugenia Price, the third and last of St Simons Trilogy. Previous two were- The Beloved Invader (1965) and New Moon Rising (1969).[1][2] The story centers on a man James Gould- founder of the Southern dynasty. He dreams to leave the cold New England hills where he was born and want to make better life for himself in the magnificent, untamed, post-Revolutionary south. How Gould pursues his strange ambition, the exotic people and places he encounters along the way, and especially the beautiful and strong willed young girl who comes to share the dream and the life he has chosen, make up the core of this novel."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This is an ebook that I received from Amazon for my Kindle app on my iPhone. It is the Anne of Green Gables Collection, including most of the books in the series, from Doma Publishing.

I finished the first book of the series, Anne of Green Gables, today, Aug. 3, 2016. An old-fashioned children's book, but this 70 year old grandmother found it absolutely delightful!

Eleven year old Anne Shirley came to the home of Matthew and Matilda Cuthbert, a middle aged brother and sister, a bachelor and a spinster inexperienced in the care of children. They had intended to adopt a boy from the orphanage, to help Matthew with the farm chores. A mistake was made, and they ended up with a precocious, imaginative, chatterbox girl instead.
Neither has the heart to send her away, and soon come to love her as their own. Anne grows up to be a kind and thoughtful and very smart young lady. As the book ends, she has finished school plus one year of teacher's training, with a scholarship to a four year college.

Finished the second book, Anne of Avonlea, today, Aug. 10, 2016. A continuation of Anne's life in Avonlea, as a school teacher, still living at Green Gables with Marilla (Matthew has passed away). They take in a distant relative's orphaned children, six-year-old twins who prove quite a handful! Anne succeeds in teaching the one room school and is involved in the village improvement society.

Third book: Anne of the Island, August 20, 2016
This one is about Anne's four years in college, Redmond College in Nova Scotia. Some of her school friends from Avonlea join her, and the girls decide to rent a house together beginning in their second year. The aunt of one of the girls serves as housekeeper/chaperone/confidante, and a new friend joins them as well. The years pass quickly and for the most part happily. Several of Anne's friends are getting married, but Anne has not yet made a commitment, though not for lack of offers.

I had to buy another series of Anne Shirley books, an 8-book series, as the first 12-book series did not include Anne of Windy Poplars nor Anne of Ingleside.

Fourth book: Anne of Windy Poplars continues the story of Anne. She is engaged, and has accepted the position of Principal of the school at Summerside while she waits for her fiancé to finish medical school so they can be married. Anne's sweet disposition and usual cheerful nature assure her happiness wherever she finds herself. Although she is a little homesick for Avonlea and Green Gables, she makes the most of her time in Summerside, making new friends and winning over potential enemies.

Fifth book: Anne's House of Dreams
Anne marries Gilbert Blythe, her old school "friendly enemy" who became more than in a friend in college and after graduation. They settle in a cute and beloved little cottage by the sea near Glen St. Mary, where Gilbert begins medical practice with his uncle. They meet several new friends: Captain Jim, Miss Cornelia, and Leslie among them, and their first child is born, a little girl they name Joyce, called Joy. Sadly, little Joy fails to thrive, and dies days after her birth.
Leslie's story is mysterious and intriguing, with a surprising development that leads to happiness for her after all. Captain Jim's memoirs of seafaring life are made into a best selling book, and their housekeeper Susan become a beloved part of the family and a confidant.

Sixth book: Anne of Ingleside

Anne and Gilbert had to leave their dear little honeymoon cottage, their "House of Dreams" for a larger house, called "Ingleside", as their growing family needs more room. There are six living children: Jem (James Matthew), Walter, twins Nan and Di (Anne and Diana), Shirley (a boy), and baby Rilla (Marilla). Gilbert's relative, Aunt Mary Maria has joined the household as well. Anne experiences some stresses and challenges, but of course manages to overcome them, eventually.

Seventh book: Rainbow Valley

After a period of insecurity on Anne's part leading to physical illness, and after her recovery, the Blythes take a sort of "second honeymoon" trip to London. This book begins upon their return home. The Presbyterian church has a new pastor, John Meredith, a widowed father of four. He loves his children, but distracted by his grief and immersed in theology and study of Scripture, he fails to notice their problems. His elderly Aunt Martha is housekeeper and "nanny" but is not very efficient at either. The children's behavior and the state of the manse (parsonage) become a topic of gossip in the village, but the Blythes see the goodness in them. They are smart, clever, and good-natured children. The Blythe children and the Meredith children spend many happy hours playing in "Rainbow Valley" between their homes. During one of their escapades, the children discover a runaway orphan girl, cold and hungry in a neighbor's barn. They take her in and eventually find her a good home with Miss Cornelia (now Mrs. Elliott).

Eighth book: Rilla of Ingleside

This is the last of the Anne of Green Gables series. I finished it September 17, 2016. As the title suggests, this book focuses mainly on the youngest of Anne and Gilbert's children, Bertha Marilla, called Rilla. At the beginning, Rilla is not a very likable character. She has been petted and spoiled all her life, and it shows. She refuses to continue school after high school, and doesn't want to do anything useful. She only wants to socialize and go to parties.
However, at the end of a party in August, 1914, someone runs in shouting the announcement "England has declared war!" As a British dominion, Canada was brought into the war at that point. As the older sons of the Blythe and Meredith families enlist, everything changes. Anne and Rilla become active in the Canadian Red Cross, and Rilla starts a junior Red Cross chapter. Rilla begins to grow up, accepting her duties responsibly. A surprising addition to the family is an underweight newborn "war orphan." Rilla finds him while she goes house-to-house soliciting donations for the war effort. The two-week old infant's mother has just died, and his only caretaker is an alcoholic woman who is paying no attention to his screams. The child's father is off to war. Rilla doesn't like babies at all, but she realizes that she cannot leave the child there. She brings him home in a large soup tureen, the only container she can find in the house that the baby can fit in for the ride in a horse-drawn wagon. Responsibility for the baby is all Rilla's, as her mother and Susan are busy with the household and Red Cross. With the help of a book on child care, she succeeds in keeping little "Jims" healthy and thriving.
Another heart-breaking episode is the saga of Jem's dog, Dog Monday. When Jem and his brothers and friends go off to war, Dog Monday accompanies them to the railway station, but adamantly refuses to come home with the family who has gone to see them off. When they bring him anyway, he is loudly miserable and they let him return. Dog Monday stays at the railway station in a box made for him, enthusiastically greeting each train, then sadly returning to his box for the duration of the war, until Jem returns home.
Unlike the others in the series, this book was of a darker tone. After all, the world was at war, and it was a very serious and dreary time for everyone who lived through it.

I learned this from the Wikipedia article: "Rilla of Ingleside is the only Canadian novel written from a woman's perspective about the First World War by a contemporary.[1] The novel is also groundbreaking as it is one of the first non-Australian texts to mention the Gallipoli campaign and the sacrifice made by the ANZACs." (Rubio, Jen (2015). Introduction to Rilla of Ingleside, annotated edition. Oakville, ON: Rock's Mills Press. pp. vii – x. ISBN 9780988129382)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Railway Children, by E. Nesbit

An ebook, free from Amazon for my Kindle app. An old book, now in public domain. A sweet, old-fashioned children's book. It features three upper middle class British children, Roberta ("Bobbie"), Peter, and Phyllis ("Phil"), who live comfortably in a London suburb with their mother, father, a cook, and one or two maids. Life is good until one evening when Father is suddenly called away. He does not return, and some time later the children and their mother move to a small house in the country, with no servants. They no longer go to school, and their mother no longer has the time to play with them, nor tell them stories or make up sweet and silly poems for them. At first she tells them they must play at being poor, and as time goes on, she tells them they are poor. They all miss their father, but no one mentions him and the children are in the dark as to why he disappeared. They entertain themselves by waving at the trains as they pass by near their home, and visiting the kind porter at the railway station. One adventure leads to another; they save lives; they prevent a train wreck; they rescue a boy who has broken his leg in the tunnel. They are polite and respectful and kind to everyone they meet, and everyone is charmed by them. As one might expect from a children's book, it ends happily; Father is reunited with his family, but they have grown stronger, braver, and wiser in his absence.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

As Good As Gone, by Larry Watson

For book review
(my photo)

This is an Early Reviewers book, which I received from Algonquin Books, asking nothing but an honest review.

I enjoyed the storyline and the characters, got really involved in it, and kept reading to see what would happen. I did not much care for the strong language and sexuality, but the language was in keeping with the nature of the characters.

A tough, rangy old cowboy, now living almost as a hermit, is asked by his son to come stay with his grandchildren, who are strangers to him, for a few days while the son takes his wife to another city for surgery. The town, which as a former real estate agent, he helped build has also become strange to him, but the widow next door remembers him well.
His son and daughter-in-law have left some situations unresolved, and as attention is needed to sort them out, "Grandpa" delves in with knife and pistol and fists and tries to settle them the old-fashioned cowboy way.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History

This is a book that I requested and received from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I requested it, thinking it was simply a biography of a U.S. president I had admired, but knew little about. I found his life story interesting, his poor health as a young child and his hard work to make himself fit and well, and his early fascination with the study of animals. I admire him for his work to promote conservation of natural resources and of wildlife, but the unending accounts of killing grizzlies, bison, elephants, hippos and rhinos were distressing to me. I note one quote from the book in particular, a narrative on hunting hippos: "As Roosevelt later pointed out, the cow's (female hippo) object may have been as benign as an escape to deeper water, but its wide-open jaws seemed to indicate that it was 'bent on mischief.' " Seemed like Roosevelt was the one bent on mischief; the hippos were minding their own business. I confess, I am one of the "mushy sentimentalists" like those deplored by Mr. Roosevelt. That said, his legacy cannot be denied, that of natural history and of conservation.

Since writing this review, last night (June 7) I enjoyed watching a Nova episode on PBS (American public television) titled "Wild Ways". It was about modern methods of studying and conserving wildlife: tracking animals with GPS enabled collars, and trying to open up corridors for migration. Very interesting and encouraging!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
(my photo)

I had this book a year before I started reading it, and once I started, it was not easy going. It took me several weeks growing into a couple of months to finish, and several pages of notes, just to keep characters and plot turns straight.

Not my usual genre, but a very intriguing book; in fact, a sort of collection of six books, about six different sets of characters in six different places and periods of time, loosely connected by a strange comet shaped birthmark and by various references to one another.

Beginning as a 17th century travel journal of trading and missionary endeavors in the south Pacific, then a collection of letters from a British exile in 1931 Belgium, to an account of investigative journalism involving trade secrets and death threats surrounding a nuclear energy plant in California, to the tragi-comic events that befall a London book publisher, to a far-off future interview of a servant class clone in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic Korea, to an even more distant post-apocalyptic future setting in Hawaii, then back down through the other settings in reverse order.

The themes of greed, world domination, slavery, belief in reincarnation, and hope predominate. Speaking of ancient civilizations, Meronym of the Prescients teaches Zachry (in Hawaii), "Old'Uns tripped their own fall." Hae-Joo Im declares, "Neo So Copros (future Korea) is poisoning itself." In Belgium, M. Dhondt philophosizes, "Another war is always coming...What sparks wars? The will to power..the threat of violence, the fear of violence or actual violence is the instrument of this dreadful will...The nation-state is merely human nature inflated to monstrous proportions. QED, nations are entities whose laws are written by violence." Near the end of his Pacific Journal, Adam Ewing writes, " fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself. Yes, the Devil shall take the hindmost until the foremost is the hindmost. In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul, for the human species, selfishness is extinction." But hope endures; Adam also writes, "If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, ...divers races & creeds can share this world..., if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass."

Monday, March 21, 2016

North of Boston, by Elisabeth Elo

This was an early reviewer book that I found in a Little Free Library almost a year ago. I have no idea who left it there, or whether it was a fellow LibraryThing reader or not. A paperback in good condition.

It was an exciting book, and I enjoyed it, but I would have enjoyed it more without the strong language and occasional "adult" situations.
It begins a few days after the seemingly miraculous and medically unexplainable survival of the protagonist, Pirio Kasparov, in near freezing ocean water for hours after a shipwreck. Pirio sets about sleuthing the circumstances of the wreck, interrupted by her duty to her country in allowing herself to be tested at the Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, Florida.
One of the challenges to her detective work is determining who is friend and who is foe. Is a former boyfriend, an old flame, on her side or against her? What about the shady stranger who can't tell the truth about why he attended the funeral and wake for Pirio's partner at sea who died in the collision?
Suspense builds as Pirio is kidnapped, and it looks like the end is near.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fire and the Hammer, by Shirley Barker

Pic for book review
(my photo)

A romantic love story set in the uncertain and violent days of the American Revolutionary War.
Lass Marvayne of Newburyport, Massachusetts, daughter of a merchant captain, is expected to marry Crispen Corey, her father's right-hand man and former apprentice. A visit to her married sister in Pennsylvania changed her life completely when she met and fell in love with Mahlon Doan, the youngest of five Doan brothers.(The Doan brothers were hsitorical figures: Doan Outlaws ) Of a Quaker family, the brothers felt called to reject their tradition of peace, to fight against the American pull toward freedom from England. They stole horses for the British, and as time went on, they became more and more violent.

More information about the historical Doans: The Doan Outlaws of Bucks County

Friday, February 19, 2016

Oscar winning movies adapted from literature

Abe Books' website currently has a link to The Oscars Library on their homepage.

"More than two thirds of Hollywood's Best Picture winners were inspired by literature, whether it be a novel, biography, play, or short story. In fact, since the inaugural Academy Awards in 1928, exactly 62 Best Picture winners derive from literature" that is, up to 2015. "Of the 2016 nominees, six of the eight films nominated for Best Picture are based on books."

I have read many of the books on the list, and seen many of the movies. The instances in which I've seen and read the book/movie combination are few. There are many more that I want to see/read.

Here are my lists:

First, the books and movies of 2016 that I want to read and/or see:

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Room by Emma Donoghue (not sure about this one; it sounds creepy)
Bridge of Spies by Giles Whittell
This one was nominated for Best Actor/Actress:
Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Second, award winning movies based on books that I want to see: (you might be amazed at ones I haven't already seen; I am not much of a movie-goer)

Slumdog Millionaire, 2008
A Beautiful Mind, 2001 (I liked Russel Crowe in Les Miserables.)
Shakespeare in Love, 1998
The English Patient, 1996
Forrest Gump, 1994
Schindler's List, 1993
Out of Africa, 1985
Amadeus, 1984
Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1975
Ben-Hur, 1959 (again - I saw it once, when I was a teenager. I didn't understand it; it was confusing to me. I want to read the book, then see the movie again.)
From Here to Eternity, 1953
All About Eve, 1950
Gentleman's Agreement, 1947
The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946
Going My Way, 1944
*Mrs. Miniver, 1942
How Green Was My Valley, 1941
*Rebecca, 1940
You Can't Take it With You, 1938 (James Stewart was in this one; another major reason to see it!)
Cavalcade, 1932/33
Grand Hotel, 1931/32
Cimarron, 1930/31

* indicates that I have read the book

Third, books made into movies that I want to read:

12 Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup in 1853 (movie made in 2013)
Q & A, by Vikas Swarup in 2005 (movie Slumdog Millionaire made in 2008)
A Beautiful Mind, by Sylvia Nasar in 1998 (movie made in 2001) ( I want to also read The Essential John Nash written by John Nash.)
The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje in 1992 (movie in 1996)
Forrest Gump, by Winston Groom in 1986 (movie in 1994. Winston Groom's mother was an English teacher in my high school!)
Schindler's Ark, by Thomas Keneally in 1982 (movie, Schindler's List in 1993)
Out of Africa, by Karen Blixen in 1937 (movie in 1985)
Kramer vs. Kramer, by Avery Corman in 1977 (movie in 1979)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey in 1962 (movie in 1975)
*In the Heat of the Night, by John Ball in 1965 (movie in 1967 - I have seen the movie, but wouldn't mind seeing it again.)
*Gigi, by Colette in 1944 (movie in 1958)
A Gentleman's Agreement, by Laura Z. Hobson in 1947 (movie, Gentlemen's Agreement, also in 1947)
How Green Was My Valley, by Richard Llewellyn in 1939 (movie in 1941) I read the book, or started it, when I was a teenager. I couldn't get into it; I'd like to try again.
Cimarron, by Edna Ferber in 1930 (movie in 1930/31) I have read other books by Edna Ferber and enjoyed them all.

* indicates that I have seen the movie

Fourth, Award-winning movies based on books that I have seen:

Dances With Wolves
Driving Miss Daisy
Rain Man
In the Heat of the Night
The Sound of Music
My Fair Lady
West Side Story
Ben-Hur (As I said, it was confusing; I should see it again.)
Gigi (I should see it again; all I remember is Maurice Chevalier singing "Gigi". The tune is in my head, but I can't remember the words.)
Around the World in 80 Days
Gone With the Wind
It Happened One Night

Fifth, books I have read that inspired award-winning movies:

Romeo and Juliet, play by William Shakespeare circa 1595. Both "West Side Story" and "Shakespeare in Love" were based on it.
Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens in 1839, inspired the musical Oliver!
A Man for All Seasons, a play by Robert Bolt in 1960, on the life of Sir Thomas More, who was executed for refusing to allow King Henry VIII's divorce.
Hamlet, play by William Shakespeare, circa 1602
Mrs. Miniver, by Jan Struther in 1939
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier in 1938
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell in 1936

Clearly, I have some more reading and watching ahead of me!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

And After Many Days, by Jowhor Ile

This book was sent to me as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. In return, I was asked to write an honest review of my own opinion of the book.

This was a very absorbing book, a slow, descriptive narrative in parts, but at the same time, a thrilling plot that kept me reading, anxious to learn what happened to the 17 year old brother, the good-humored, peace-keeping elder brother who suddenly disappeared one summer afternoon.
The author, a native of Nigeria, took us back to the early childhood of the three children of the Utu family, familiarizing us with the thriving city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria's capital city, as well as the family's ancestral village of Ogibah.

"One rarely finds ‘page-turner’ and ‘poetry’ in the same sentence, but And After Many Days is a rarity indeed…An achingly tender portrait of family life, a brilliantly executed whodunnit, a searing critique of Nigerian politics, a meditation on love. The Utu family will stay with me always."
—Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

Pic for book review

What a book! Wow! I didn't think I would be interested in it (I had put it off for nearly a year), but I couldn't be more mistaken.
A wonderful book, a family saga of a missionary venture in darkest Africa gone wrong, told through the voices of the missionary's wife and each of his four daughters.
In 1959, a wild-eyed, fiercely evangelistic Baptist preacher and his family set up housekeeping in a village of the Belgian Congo, bent on converting the people, baptizing them in the Kwilu River. Rev. Price was the kind of missionary who gives Christians a bad name. Neither teaching nor demonstrating the love of Christ, he butchers the native tongue, saying "poisonwood" when he means "precious" for example, and insists on baptizing the children in the crocodile-infested river, in which no one even dares to wade.
Many disasters occur, most of them natural: floods, famine, and invasion of army ants. The village peacefully revolts against the foreign religion of the American, and, due to violent political revolution elsewhere in Belgian Congo as well as in other African nations, the Prices are urged by the missionary society to return to America, and their funding disappears. Nevertheless, Rev. Price stubbornly remains, holding church, but no one comes except his family. If it weren't for a few friends in the village who supported the wife and daughters, the family wouldn't make it.
It takes a devastatingly tragic event to cause the wife and daughters to leave Rev. Price. The rest of the novel follows their lives as they grow to adulthood and go their separate ways. The last chapter is surprisingly touching and bittersweet.

Favorite characters: Adah, Anatole, Mama Mwanza, Brother Fowles
Least favorite: Rev. Price, Rachel as an adult, Mr. Axelroot

Memorable quotes: from Adah, the handicapped daughter, "The arrogance of the able-bodied is staggering. Yes, maybe we'd like to be able to get places quickly, and carry things in both hands. ... We would rather be just like us, and have that be all right." page 559

Leah, speaking of the effects of war on a society, "In our village there are very few boys of an age to climb trees for birds' nests, or girls stomping down the road with a sibling clutched sideways like an oversized rag doll. I notice their absence everywhere. The war cost most of its lives among children under ten. That great quiet void is moving slowly upward through us. A war leaves holes in so much more than the dams and roads that can be rebuilt." page 592

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Disappointed in Random House/UPS

Today, Sunday, I found my latest Early Reviewer book from LibraryThing in my yard, damp. Here is the "review" I wrote for LibraryThing:

This book was in my yard, damp after having been in the rain as it was thrown over the fence by the carrier, UPS. It was in cardboard-reinforced manila envelope - no plastic liner, no bubble wrap, which would have protected it from the rain. We do have a gate, which was locked, and the carrier could not have come to the door nor rung the doorbell. He/she could have taken it back to the local distribution center and called me later, or sent a message through the mail to call UPS.
Right now, the book is on my drying rack in our garage. I am almost finished with the book I am currently reading, and hope this one will dry soon so I can start reading it.

I am looking forward to it, after it is dry. It will be my second book in a row about a country in Africa, as I am almost finished The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, set in Congo. I have previously read and enjoyed a few of the Ladies Detective books by Alexander McCall Smith about Mma Ramotswe of Botswana, and Manor House by Johannes Meintjes, set in South Africa. Oh, and I almost forgot that A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve was set in Kenya. So that's half a dozen books about, or set in Africa.

This will be the second one written by a native of the continent; Jowhor Ile is Nigerian, and Johannes Meintjes was South African.