I will read a wide range of books from just about all genres. I am particularly drawn to light mysteries, books with subjects of art, New York, France, Japan, and spiritual development. I love books where the characters go to a foreign country and part of the story is their discovery of the culture and language.
We meet Hedwig Kiesler, an actress in Vienna, Austria in 1933 and follow her to Hollywood, where she becomes Hedy Lamarr. In the ten years this book covers, we see through her eyes moviemaking, the rise of Hitler and World War II, her abilities with scientific inventions, and, throughout it all, a woman's place in the world. I've never seen a movie starring Hedy Lamarr, so that's next on my list.
This is the perfect time of year to read this beautifully written, informative, and thoughtful book about all aspects of gardening. Lively writes about garden history, fictional gardens, and her own gardens as well as others of family and tour visits she has taken. I knew it was going to be delightful from page 2 when she wrote, "The daffodils her mother tried to grow in Egypt were rightly aghast at what was required of them..."
I eagerly traveled with this world-renowned chef as he explored various regional cuisines. Bringing the diverse dishes of immigrants into focus instead of modern trends, Lee writes beautifully about his experiences, tastes, emotions, and the philosophies behind food. He even provides recipes based on regional traditions and makes them his own. Delicious!.
Sofija is part of the immigrant community in Australia, having moved there from the former Yugoslavia. Her personal story is skillfully intertwined with the history of the place -- now seven separate countries. Her voice drew me in and allowed me to easily absorb all of the complex historical information
This novel is all about books, writers, marriage, parenting, and, especially, about "finding a life that completes us." A mother and her two daughters create a new life for themselves in Paris when their husband/father disappears. There are fabulous details about the French, Paris, The Red Balloon, Madeleine, and so much more. Magnifique!
Would you want to live forever? After reading this book, you may want to re-think your answer. Rachel has lived for 2000 years, and she has experienced hardships over and over again -- failing businesses, widowhood, problems with children. Now, with the rise of technology, Rachel may have to find a way out of her eternal life. This is thoughtful, beautifully-written fiction, and I am a big fan of Dara Horn.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is a perfect blend of the thoughtful and the delightful. It's the story of an unusual bond between a world-famous children's book writer and his assistant, as well as his legacy of work. I met the author at our event and asked her if there were plans to publish the fictional teen trilogy featured in the book, and she said that it was not in the works. I believe it should be. A passage about a petition to save a tree enchanted me.
I learned so much about the Spanish Civil War from this historical novel in the context of a grandmother who explains her involvement to her granddaughter sixty years later. This book is very thoughtful about subjects involving religion, family, politics, and aging, and it is very timely.
I have been happily immersed in the lives of the four different Archibald Fergusons. We follow each version through his childhood, teen years, and early 20's with the families, friends, sports, films, and the history of the 50's & 60's intricately intertwined. The author shares his inner thoughts on the writing process through each Archie's love of reading and writing. My copy is underlined and dog eared because I want to refer back to it in the future as so much is beautifully phrased, thoughtful, and wise. Dear Mr. Auster, continue your journey and give me another 866 pages, please!
Joseph is stuck in the early 1900s in Greengage (a sort of modern Brigadoon), and Lux is a young single mother of the 1970s who travels between the two times and places. This is perfect summer reading with the fantasy of the time travel element, and there are beautiful, intelligent insights into relationships and cultures. The flower clock information is great!
This is the story of two complicated marriages, one vulnerable child, and a trip to Italy that changes all of their lives forever. The couple who are writers give us fascinating insights into the process of writing and the discovery of ideas. The family dynamics of the other couple and their daughter are also uniquely intriguing. The trip and interactions intensify as the story builds to a very compelling conclusion, plus I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Rome and Sicily and the interpretation of events in each traveler's voice.
The author's beautiful style of writing makes the insights and workings of this passionate scientist understandable as well as enjoyable. The essays about plant life are intertwined with her personal history, and both of them are equally fascinating. I'm excited to share this book with my garden club and with you!
Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this well-written story of the Empress of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her day, much admired for her fashion and ankle-length hair. I was fascinated by the strict rules of royal life, her relationship with King Ludwig of Bavaria, and the description of the Vienna World Exposition of 1873.
I have been curious about the practices and services of various religions and the author, Reba Riley, gives us a glimpse of them with humor, discovery, and illumination. Considering the theme, it is not heavy handed, and I was completely involved and fascinated.
The author asks taxi drivers in Buenos Aires, New York, and Berlin to take her to their favorite (not touristy) restaurants and writes a blog. She even becomes a taxi driver in NYC. I thoroughly enjoyed her voice and story; it changes the way I'll think about taxi rides in the future.
How could I not love this book when it involves a bookstore at the center of a small Southern college? Newly-hired Rose meets a group of professors and their lives are never the same again. The author has wonderful insights into people's personalities and motivations. The way she presented them delighted me!
With the much-anticipated book Go Set A Watchman arriving in July, I thought it would be interesting to familiarize myself with all things Harper Lee. It is thoroughly enjoyable as she weaves through the life of the Lee sisters and their home town. To Kill A Mockingbird is the book that is second only to The Bible in sales!
A statewide music festival is held at a faded grand old hotel. A mix of students, chaperones, staff and guests make for an intriguing story involving past and present events. The descriptions of the meaning and feelings that music evoke are memorable. There's even a blizzard thrown in which was timely to my mid-winter reading!
I was drawn into this story at first because of Annie Oh, the artist. Then I was captured by the voice (and chapters) of her husband, the psychologist. Each chapter moves amongst the family so you get diffrent perspectives of the same issues. Totally absorbing and rich with familial insights, Lamb totally delivers.
This is the story of a famous self-help author who no longer believes in his own advice. We are taken on a journey of his past and what has led to his disillusionment as well as a present journey propelled by an unexpected visitor to his Martha's Vineyard home. The language and ideas presented in this book are lyrical and noteworthy.
I like that each chapter alternates between the voices of Matt and Lucy. I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster with these characters. I enjoyed not only the satisfying plotline, but also the author's insights on relationships and life.
Layers of history are explored and brilliantly brought to the new age of computers in this carefully researched and crafted story. I am a big fan of Dara Horn and this latest novel doesn't disappoint.
How does a revenuer end up with a bootlegger? The compelling story of well-drawn characters will answer this with lyrical imagery. The history of the Mississippi Flood of 1927 and its parallels to Hurricane Katrina is fascinating also.
I was very happy to be immersed in the life of Alma Whittacker in the 1800's born to a wealthy family. "What Alma wanted to know most of all was how the world was regulated. What was the master clockwork behind everything?" I spent a delightful time reading about her discoveries, most notably in Botany. Alma ultimately becomes an expert in moss and I for one will be grabbing a magnifying glass to take a closer look at moss in my garden!
Starting in 1958, Juliet is deserted by her husband and left to raise two children alone. With money meant to buy a refrigerator she pays for a portrait instead. And so a life of art and portraits follows. Thoroughly enjoyable.
I enjoy the historical story running back and forth with the contemporary story of loss and love surrounding a painting. It is very different from Me Before You, but still a very enjoyable read.
A woman finds a plastic bag containing a diary, composition book, watch and letters washed up on the shore of British Columbia. Every other chapter is an entry from the diary of a Japanese girl raised in California but back in Japan and the woman's reaction to it. How did it arrive - did she toss it like a bottle or was it the tsunami? Just one of the questions in this exquisitely crafted novel. I "enjoyed" it in spite of the sensitive nature of the events depicted.
A little bit of magical realism in what is really a coming-of-age story. Meg May views the world in a scientific, factual way after listening to her mother's whimsical, far-fetched tales all her life. Meg is after the truth but realizes along the way that the botanical parts of a daffodil are perhaps not as beautiful as the whole flower. This is a great choice for a bookclub discussion. Plus, look on the back cover -- the publishers printed my blurb -- WOW!
I recommend this book for 7th to 10th graders but really enjoyed it as an adult. The author interweaves storylines very well, and the writing is very pleasing - seemingly simple metaphors with profound meaning. The story explores the maturing of three best friends in the 7th grade, a 10th grader dealing with friendship issues, and another 7th grader grappling with his beloved grandparents' separation.
Lunch with Buddha is a must-read if you enjoyed "Breakfast with Buddha"! Otto is on another road trip with the Buddhist monk who is now his brother-in-law of six years. The trip is more than physical as Otto grapples with his family's upheaval. In spite of difficult issues there is still plenty of humor mixed in with spiritual and intelligent ponderings.
I enjoyed the voice of her international life journey. Living and cooking in Berlin, Italy, Paris and New York, she shares recipes at the end of each chapter. There is an emphasis on German cooking and her time in Berlin which I fould fascinating, having visited there last year.
I am very excited by this new cookbook. It is visually compelling with paper cutout titles and great photos. There is a picture for each relatively easy but delicious recipe and I love -- and want -- the plates featured!
The narrator of this novel is a young man in his family's publishing business that is famous for Beginner guides (similar to the "For Dummies" series). The insight into the publishing business was interesting and an often funny aside to the more serious topic of the loss of a spouse. In the hands of this gifted author, the loss is poignant at times but not at all oppressive.
For fans of the Downton Abbey time period and "of the manor born" style, this is a quirky, fun read. We are invited to a birthday party that has many twists and delightful turns. Some of us are invited - but what to do with the uninvited guests?
We return to Two Rivers Vermont as a young boy discovers his artistry and his parents mature and discover their son and themselves through the mutual love of Grace. It reads like a mystery as chapters alternate between 4 characters and the language is as emotionally and beautifully written as the characters are emotionally detached from each other.
Whose body did the government man find in the well? We find out in this beautifully written story told by Laurel, a young woman living in a dark cove in South Carolina with her brother, their family scorned by the town because of superstitions during WWI. The author's poetic language appeals so much to me as in "dewdrops on a spider's web held whole rainbows inside them."
A man's search for his family's history from Russia to Japan, from wealth to loss, from the mid-1800's to the 1940's. Wis writing is absorbing and fascinating, particularly because of his artistic eye for detail.