Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Bookstore - Deborah Meyler

Oh, this was a good read!  A young English woman comes to NYC to study art history on a scholarship to Columbia and takes a job in a bookstore.  She falls in love with Michael, a suave, rich, intoxicating man who loves her, leaves her, loves her and leaves her again and pregnant.

She learns some life lessons through it all, finding true friends through the bookstore.  A feel good book that was like having a very good fresh bagel and coffee.  I liked her dedication: "To my father..who taught me how to be happy".  Well said.

Published: 2013  Read: June 2016  Genre: Fiction

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Someone Not Really Her Mother - Harriet Scott Chessman

This was a quick read, a different style for telling of the fading memory of a mother and the reaction of her daughter and granddaughters.

Hannah is losing her present memory but those of her past in WWII and losing her family become sharper and confused with today. It's hard on her only child, Miranda, and challenging for her two granddaughters just beginning their adult lives.

I think the book could have had much more substance with deeper stories about the daughter and her husband and her relationships with her daughters.  The character development was sketchy and left the reader to fill in the blanks.

Published:  2004  Read: June 2016  Genre: Fiction

Chronicler of the Winds - Henning Mankell

translated by Tiina Nunnally

This was another find at a book exchange in a campground on our travels this summer.  The author is well-known (but not by me) for his Kurt Wallander mysteries however this story is a departure from his usual writing.

Nelio is a nine or ten year old boy in Africa, living on the streets after his village was attacked by bandits and he escaped their insane violence.  The narrator, Jose, finds him shot on a theatre stage behind the bakery where Jose works.  He carries him to the rooftop where over the course of nine days, Nelio tells him the story of his life before dying from his wounds.  Jose chronicles the story carried by Nelio’s last breaths. 

It’s a short tale that seeks to reveal how humanity can survive evil and violence if we would pay attention to even the least of ourselves. 

The translator is the same woman who translated Smila’s Sense of Snow, another Norweign book that I enjoyed much more than this one. 

Published:  1995 (translated 2006)  Read: June 2016  Genre: Fiction, philosophy