Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Ten Fall/Winter Books I Can't Wait To Read... One At as Time
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Eileen Favorite The Heroines is a debut novel about a young teen and her mother whose B&B is host to a cast of literature’s finest (and most tragic) heroines from Ophelia to Hester Prynne and Scarlett O’Hara. The narrator is ordered to play with Hester’s daughter Pearl (can we say “playing “pillory”) so the two unwed mother’s can share notes. The daughter is cautioned she must keep two secrets: don’t tell anyone you see heroines (albeit they are garbed in modern clothing) and the never to tell the heroines the rest of their or they will not go back to meet their dreadful fates. No wonder the young narrator ends up accidentally (so to speak) in a psych ward. An interesting take on an odd situation…I hoped for a bit more…kind of an adult “Inkheart” with a tad less drama, a lot less fantasy and slightly more heart.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Looking for just the right new book for that last minute summer reading? Here are a few recommendations from the newest releases:
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Iran. Mention that country to most Americans and the word that comes to their minds is “nuclear.” The new international thriller by David Ignatius takes that fear and spins it into a fascinating novel – one that at times seems more probable than impossible.
At the heart of the book is CIA man extraordinaire Harry Pappas (Ignatius readers will remember him from BODY OF LIES). This time Harry is playing the spy game with a broken heart having lost his only son in the current Iraq War. It sets the stage in unique ways as he attempts to discern the validity of an encrypted message from an Iranian nuclear scientist who is willing to share the country’s bomb secrets in return for safe harbor.
The author takes a sideswipe at American politicians eager to believe anything about Iran’s nuclear capability and thus use the country for target practice. Seems trigger happy politicos really exist in D.C. - shoot now and ask questions later mentality. Ignatius builds a novel about finding truth in a maze and where the answers lead to more puzzles. He walks a fine line between the novel and the news.
It is rare to find humanity in a spy thriller but Ignatius captures Harry’s heart, which gives the reader one more reason to keep turning the pages and reach the stunning conclusion.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
A romance, a family saga, a murder mystery, and a political thriller - all of these descriptions aptly fit the story of the last Russian Tsar Nicolas Romanov and his family. Many novelists and historians have written about the family, the individual members, the time period, and even the tragic love story between Nicholas and Alexandra. Like many historical tales, the lives and deaths of the Romanovs are shrouded in myth, mystery and legend.
Helen Rappaport’s new book :
Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg tells the story of Russia’s royal family at Ipatiev House in July 1918 - the last residence they occupied and where they spent their final hours. It is different not only in tone from other books, but also in the specifics it addresses. She takes great effort to individualize the family members and to remind us that while royal they were people with hopes, fears and dreams. Sheltered and protected all of their lives, removed from the everyday world and hardships of ordinary Russians the family is caught in a frightening situation without the normal trappings of their wealth and privilege. While ruling Russia the Romanov’s preferred to live simply but by virtue of their rank were entitled to opulent surroundings of their own choosing. When held by the Bolsheviks the family had no choice in their lodgings nor did they have access to their prized personal belongings or usual complement of staff.
Taken from their palatial homes and with hopes of being exiled the family instead are captives in five gloomy rooms. Alexy, heir to the throne has a fatal, painful disease and his four sisters spend their teen (or naive 20's) years ( not in happy youthful exuberance but in fear and with no chance to explore relationships with the opposite sex (one exception is noted in this book). Born a royal, the Tsarina is ill and perhaps a bit of a hypochondriac she is completely devastated, fearful and unprepared by the turn of events. The Tsar, always a simple and kind man who prefers exercise to affairs of state is beginning to realize that his family will not be rescued.
Eyewitness accounts and a new look at the hierarchy for implementing the death penalty for the Tsar and also for the entire family is exposed by Rappaport. She also delineates why the family was included in the death sentence. Anyone who has read or seen anything about the Romanov family knows that the basement killings in July 1918 were brutal, but nothing compares to the vivid writing in this book. Nothing.
But, as horrible as the deaths may have been, it is the daily life of the Romanov’s during their time in Ekaterinburg that brings heartbreak to the reader. All the windows in their rooms were sealed so there was no light from windows – nor any chance of a cool breeze. Royal dignity was displayed when even small joys were taken such as the Tsar’s daily newspaper.
Nicholas believed he was chosen by God to rule Russia. His flaw is perhaps thinking he knew what his people wanted and needed when in reality he did not nor could he understand the suffering in his country. The deaths of the Romanov family are a Russian tragedy as well. A tragedy, however, that now seems to have closure with the identification of the remains of the bodies. Rappaport’s book does an excellent job of tracing the culpability of their deaths something that has long been in question.
The research efforts that went into writing this book are very apparent. The way the research is used, however, is where the author distinguishes herself as a writer. Rappaport tells the story of the Romanovs last days as a reporter but with an historian’s eye and heart. Facts are meshed with personalities to provide a full complement of the actual events at Ekaterinburg. This story has been told before in bits and pieces but never the ending and never so fully and perhaps never so well.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
The Obama presidency along with the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth have again brought the 16th president to the forefront of the American mind. The tall, often sad looking, care-worn lawyer from Illinois was perhaps America's greatest President.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Ready to find a new author? Looking for a great read but want to stick with the same genre? Here are a few ideas that may get you started.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
If you need a chick lit fix try THE LOST RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS... it's about finding your way when tragedy has so profoundly shaped your life that ghosts from your past travel with you to the future. This book uses great cooking, a delightful chef, a Hollywood movie writer/producer/restaurant owning romantic interest, a lovable dog, Aspen settings and some universal truths that make it readable and bring the characters into your heart.
While I am a true Red Sox Nation supporter, I had to read Joe Torre's book
I picked up this Jeffrey Archer book having no idea of the content but because I like his writing. I could not put it down and spent the afternoon reading the story of Englishman and mountaineer George Mallory, who dreamed of being the first to scale Mt. Everest. In the early to mid 1920's he along with other climbers funded by the Royal Geographical Society attempted and perhaps reached the summit (the real mystery is if he did or not.)
The story, however, is not so much if he reached the peak but about his love of climbing, his zest for life, his enthusiasm and courage for trying not once but several times in the face of daunting odds, the tug of family ties and his code of honor. It's not about Mallory the climber so much as Mallory the man. Archer does such a wonderful job of making Mallory live in these pages that the reader feels the Englishman’s passion for admission to Cambridge, his need to stand for Britain in the Great War, and even the cold harsh wind he encounters on Mt. Everest. It is the closest most of us will ever come to scaling a mountain and Archer makes sure we understand the commitment, dedication and sheer joy of the trek. What a way to spend the afternoon. I have absolutely no interest in rock climbing or mountaineering but this book is about finding your talent and doing what you love. Romantics will appreciate the letters he writes to his wife and anyone who appreciates good writing will be pleased with this book.