"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November Books


We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter -- Whenever I read a book about how awful people were to the Jews during World War II, I'm saddened and angered at how terribly evil people can be. This book is based on true events of the author's family so that added an interesting twist knowing that this person and these events are likely true. She confirms some of that in the end. This book follows the Kurc Family, parents Sol and Nechuma, and their children Genek, Mila, Addy, Jakob, and Halina. Addy who later changed his name to Eddy was the author's grandfather.

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes -- It took me a few chapters to get into this book, a mystery concerning several teen or early adult suicides, but after I sorted out the names and story line, it got better. Detective Inspector Lorraine Fisher is on a holiday to visit her sister Jo and her son Freddie in the countryside where Lorraine and Jo grew up. Lorraine gets involved in investigating these suicides and also helps locate her nephew who seemingly left home after being bullied. A pretty good story after I got into it.

Three Sisters by Heather Morris -- I think this was my least favorite from this author (something about the writing this time??), but still it was a pretty good book about the true story of three sisters, Cibi, Magda, and Livia, from Slovakia who ended up imprisoned because of their religion. Thankfully they survive the Holocaust and the book follows their journies after the war ended.

She's Not There by Joy Fielding -- This story goes from present day back to Caroline and Hunter's ten-year anniversary week in Mexico when their 2 year old daughter goes missing. Pretty good story.

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman -- I enjoyed this story about the women in Hawaii who "brought the flyboys safely home."  It featured Daisy and ladies she met there - Fluff, Betty, Lei, and acquaintances from her home, Peg and Thelma. I enjoyed learning more about the impressive Women's Air Raid Defense (WARD).

Arms Wide Open by Patricia Harman -- I've read all of her other books, I believe, and this one tells some of her background as a hippie living in a commune, and later when she was working at the clinic her husband ran. Not my favorite of her books, but pretty good. She's an interesting person! For sure, the hippie lifestyle is not for me.

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen -- Rebecca Winter is an older lady who was famous for her photographs. Now she's feeling like a has-been, and money is tight so she rents a cabin in upstate New York so she can rent out her expensive apartment in the City in order to pay various expenses. Living in the forest, she contemplates life; goes into town occasionally and meets the locals. Decent story. I like the bits of humor and even the chapter titles.

Crashing Through by Robert Kurson -- "A true story of risk, adventure, and the man who dared to see." We had read the library books by this author about diving shipwrecks and going to space, but this one wasn't owned by our library system. I got it for Andrew for his birthday or Christmas, and he read it several months ago. This week when I was getting low on library books, I decided to read a couple of books that I'd been saving to read here. This is the story of Mike May who was blinded as a three-year-old child during a chemical explosion. Decades later, while at the eye doctor's office with his wife Jennifer, the optometrist asked to look at Mike's eyes and referred him to Dr. Dan Goodman who told Mike about a corneal transplant that could work for Mike. I enjoyed learning from Mike's experiences, and loved being reminded of how vision works hand in hand with our brain. Fascinating!

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin -- Grace and her best friend Viv are excited about finally getting to live in London after growing up in a rural area of England, only their reasons for going to London have to do with the war. The girls find jobs - Harrods for Viv who has a letter of recommendation, and Primrose Hill Book Store for Grace whose uncle didn't offer a letter of recommendation. Pretty good book about London during World War II.

The Clover Girls by Viola Shipman -- This book wasn't terrible by any means, but wasn't overly-exciting either. For me, the most exciting part was when I took a look at the author's picture on the flap jacket to see what ol' Viola looked like, and it was a man named Wade who uses his grandmother's name as his pen name! He actually did a decent job writing about four camp friends, Em, Veronica, Liz, and Rachel, three of whom return to camp Birchwood in Michigan in order to pay respects to their departed friend.

Until It's Over by Nicci French -- I realized I had not read the other books by this author that the library had so I ordered this one from one of the branches. It features Astrid Bell, a bike despatch messenger who lives in a big house with several housemates. When Astrid is hurt riding her bike into a neighbor's door, and then this lady winds up dead and later when others are found by Astrid, the police wonder what the connection is between Astrid and the victims.

Between Two Worlds by Suleika Jaouad -- An American woman born to a Tunisian father and a Swiss mother, the author tells about how her cancer diagnosis began with an itch and how she fought hard with chemo and all the rest of that stuff. Later, she traveled around the country to meet people she met through her blog. Pretty good memoir.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides -- I think this was a Staff Favorite at the library so I decided to read it. Theo is a psychotherapist approved for a job transfer to a hospital housing people who would have been in prison except for their diagnoses. He is especially interested in Alicia Berenson, the lady who killed her husband Gabriel and then slit her wrists. Ever since the murder, Alicia hasn't spoken, and Theo is determined to help Alicia find her voice and tell her side of the story. A pretty good book.

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin -- An interesting look at the friendship of Mary Pickford and Frances Marion told in alternating perspectives. Mary was the darling star of Hollywood when it was just becoming a big deal and Frances was a talented screenwriter. I am not super-interested in Hollywood-type stories, but if I'm going to read a book about such things, this author is a favorite!

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen -- This book was a bit hard to follow a couple of times, but mostly it was fine. Nellie describes life with her husband Richard, who is generous with his wealth and affection, but also controlling in ways. Later she seeks to reach out to Emma and Kate. Decent story.

All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss -- This book is told in the alternate voices of Nancy-Drew-loving, 13 year old Lucy Brown who lives in the eastern part of the state of North Carolina, and her friend Allie Bert Tucker (who likes to be called Bert) who arrives on a bus from the North Carolina mountains. Lucy's family has bee hives, and the government wants all the beeswax they can get for the war effort. The girls try to solve local mysteries when a few men go missing.  Cute story.

The Hare by Melanie Finn -- The book begins with Rosie hooking up with a much older man whom she meets at a local art gallery. Rosie is in school for Art, and this guy - Bennett - seemingly appreciates her views on what is hung at the gallery. Later, though, Rosie isn't quite sure of this man she's had a child with, especially when he orders her to pack and they leave for a wild place in Vermont where Rosie becomes friends with Billy. Billy being short for Wilhelmina who helps Rosie and her daughter Miranda survive since Bennett comes and goes. An OK story.