Two women meet briefly at the start of World War I and meet again during the bombing of Coventry, England on the night of November 14, 1940. We learn how the women have spent their lives between the wars. But what really compels in this book is the depiction of that terrible night.
Humphreys used historical records and personal accounts of that night to help in her depictions of everything from what it felt like in the shelters, to the bombing of Coventry Cathedral. While the story is clearly fiction, some of the images will remain with you long after you have closed the book.
This is one of the best mysteries that I have ever read. It was so suspenseful that I let the last 30 pages drag out for 3 days; only reading 10 pages a day because I didn't want it to end. The plot is simple. U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, ferry to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of an inmate of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. The mystery is how could a female patient held in a cell that is no bigger than a closet, manage to escape out of a locked cell, past several locked and manned checkpoints, then flee a rat-filled island that is surrounded by pounding waves and 50 degree water. Something strange is taking place on the island. The government funded hospital should be able to easily house more than 500 patients, yet there are less than a hundred incarcerated. There are almost three times as many staff and guards on the island than inmates. The head doctor could be a former Nazi. Rumors of illegal surgeries are hinted. The time is the early 1950's when hallucinogens were first being introduced into psychiatric treatment. This novel was optioned to Hollywood and Martin Scorsese directed the film that stars Leonardo DiCaprio. It's supposed to open in early October. The film adaptation will be tricky to pull off since this book is not bound to basic laws of physics. Visualization of the intricate character studies might be compromised. I recommend reading this book first if you are planning to view the film.
Kristin Hannah gives us an epic look into a lifeflong friendship and the ups and downs of life through the years. This books begins when the main characters, Kate and Tully are in junior high and follows them through 40 years of friendship-- high school and college on into adulthood, other relationships, careers, children, a husband, lovers, geographic moves. The friendship defines each of these women and it is central to who they are. With that said, some of the issues they face feel more like a lifetime movie than real life. But, the author does a great job of placing the reader in these women's lives and feeling the love and friendship that endures.
Two reporters have been murdered. On the eve of the publication of their scandalous sex-trafficking exposé, the two are brutally slain. In addition, a well-respected lawyer has also been murdered with the same gun on the same night. How are these murders connected? All the evidence, including fingerprints on the murder weapon, point to Lisbeth Salander. To the police, it is an open and shut case. Salander’s visit to the two reporters’ apartment just before the murders, the fact that the now-dead lawyer was her legal guardian, and her previous history of mental illness, instability and violence, are all nails in her coffin. The only problem is that she has disappeared.
To Mikail Blomkvist, friend and former lover of Salander’s, it is obvious that the murders had everything to do with the sex-trafficking story. He is determined to find Salander and prove her innocence, even if it means withholding evidence from the police.
In this second installment of Larsson’s Swedish trilogy, Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo returns as the antisocial but brilliant computer hacker, who is also blessed with a photographic memory. Readers learn about her troubled upbringing in which she was placed in a children’s psychiatric facility for her violent behavior at the age of twelve. The pieces of the puzzle fall into place as her secrets reveal her as the improbable central character in the sex-trafficking scandal and the murders.
Anna Roitman had always been an outsider. Her family came to Queens from Russia when she was a little girl and Anna spent her life straddling the two cultures but never firmly grounded in either one. As a teen and young woman, she used her considerable sultry, exotic appeal to attract artistic, bohemian men. Much to her parents' dismay, Anna's love affairs were intense, but brief. But when she was still unmarried at 35, even Anna was finally won over by the idea of a stable marriage to a good Russian-Jewish man. Alex K. was wealthy and stylish, even if he wasn't into literature and foreign films. Anna soon came to love her lavish lifestyle, but after having a son, things started to change. Anna felt trapped and bored. She finds Alex increasingly repugnant. Then she meets the man of her dreams. If the story sounds familiar, it's because this book is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Reyn does a excellent job of maintaining the pathos of the original work while creating a tactile atmosphere of the Manhattan and Queens lifestyles of Russian-Jewish immigrants. It is a relevant story of an individual's feelings of displacement, and how that relates to the immigrant experience.
Michael Steinberger's Au Revoir to all that: food, wine and the end of France is a fun and interesting look at the state of food in France. Like in America, the rise of the food star has made many first-rate chefs abandon food for media exposure. Chefs used to work hard to create new and interesting dishes. But now chefs strive to have the book deals, tv shows, and marketing of their brand. Very few top chefs remain in their kitchens. And as Steinberger notes this is a problem. France used to be the number one country for food excellence. Spain is currently the top-rated country and even England has better ratings than France.
Steinberger also gives us a fascinating glimpse into the world of the coveted Michelin star system. As the chefs have been complaining for decades, there is no specific criteria for the stars. Michelin claims it is all about the food. Yet there are numerous instances where the ambience has allowed the restaurant to receive the three stars. Also, the cost of upkeep of a three star restaurant has become such a problem that a number of chefs have refused the three stars.
Many wonderful food facts about France are included, the most shocking being that France is the number two market for MacDonalds. Yes, you read that correctly. After the USA, France is the second largest consumer of McDonalds. Steinberger also presents information about how the French wine industry, formally number one in the world, has shrunk so dramatically.
This is a great read for Francophiles, foodies and anyone interested in the state of three star, chefs, restaurants, and food in today's world.
This book surprised me. The main character is a man well into his seventies; a troubled POW who spent an eternity in a dreadful camp in Korea. He is a former lawyer, drunkard, and womanizer. He passes time by acting as a small time sheriff in a more small-time town. One night nine young immigrant Asian women are lined-up in a ditch and brutally executed by a gang of sociopaths. Their bodies are bulldozed over and a nonverbal message is sent to a mob boss. A lone witness contacts Sheriff Hackberry Holland's office and the hunt is on. Immigration and the FBI fight to take over the investigation. Holland and his deputies are pushed aside; viewed as flies on a farm animal. The team of killers are all guns-for-hire. In-fighting amongst them begins. Sides are drawn. The most dominant killer, called the Preacher, has the ability to stay a step ahead of the law while dishing out his own form of twisted justice. He is trying to backtrack and make certain that all witnesses leading to him are eliminated. There is the usual assortment of colorful characters that Burke brings to all his novels. This is the first in a new series for Burke. It is a spin-off of the Billy Bob Holland books. Billy Bob is mentioned a few times, but is not a character in this story. There are three pairs of improbable romantic relationships; all with their flagrant flaws. This 430-page novel flows. I snuck away to read it when I was supposed to be cleaning house. It was worth the time invested. I don't know if our future house-guests will concur.
This is the newest in the Myron Bolitar series. The sports agent gets a frantic call from a former lover who he hasn't seen in eight years, she needs him to come to Paris to help her find her ex-husband. Myron obliges and learns there is a lot she hasn't told him, when her ex shows up dead Myron try's to find the killer. The search leads to Myron and Therese being chased and getting invoved with French Police, Interpol, Mossad and terrorists, it's fast paced and has great locales in both Paris and London. A fun , fast, page turner
Andrew Grant is the younger brother of Lee Child. This is his first novel. Reviewers say that his main character, David Trevellyan, is a cross between Jack Reacher and James Bond. I disagree. The only similarities between Trevellyan and these characters is that he is tall, dangerous and a commander in the Royal Navy, ie. an English spy, with the license to kill. This is a good 1st novel. Grant has an easy-going writing style. His words flow. He starts each chapter with a lesson learned in the past, which is then applied to that chapter. I applaud the fact that Grant found his own publisher and editors without having to drop his successful brother's name. The plot is a little thick. There are a lot of characters, but they are not confusing. What is confusing is where this story begins and when it ends. The setup is very slow and the results are left open for the hopeful sequel. Trevellyan is in NYC having just completed a job for Queen and Country. He cannot walk by a body that he spots dumped in an alley. His brief investigation gets him arrested for murder. Trevellyan is a wise-arse who, if he wasn't so deadly, would be slapped around daily by offended strangers. He is a loner, but a man of his word. Like most fictional heroes, he lives and will die by an inner code that is not always transparent. In the book, he fancies a female friend, but their relationship never develops. There are two major villains that he must battle: Taylor, who runs a supposed security business in Iraq and Lindsey, who likes to keep certain anatomical parts of her failed employees in a jar full of formaldehyde as a reminder that she doesn't like to be let down. I confess I got duped. When I thought there were several pages left to read, they turned out to be all blank pages. I will be awaiting the sequel.
This is a beautiful book. In fact, you might mistake it for just another big, beautiful coffeetable book. But gardeners will discover a wealth of information.
Did you know that almost every type of stone used in one of these courtyard gardens has a name, and that garden connoisseurs in Japan would recognize each type and know it's geographic source? That water basins and stone lanterns come in several distinct styles- and each may have it's own specific name and proper use? Every illustration has descriptive text that details the classic design principles built into that garden. And the (few) pages devoted to text cover details on materials and construction that you will find very useful if you decide to add a bit of Japan to your own yard... or balcony.
There is so much here. It has taken me more time to read through this book, and inspect and consider each of the (spectacular) illustrations, than I spend on some novels. And it's a great investment of time.
Much to see. Much to think about.