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The Daughters by Adrienne Celt explores the complex dynamic between mothers and daughters in a dramatic, unflinching and uncompromising way. The maternal presence in this story is represented by four successive generations in one family, and their fierce love mixed with struggles for power is a familiar scenario.
Woven into the fabric of this story are bits of Polish mythology, and this influences the fates of the women involved. Lulu is an opera singer who has trouble with her voice following the difficult birth of her daughter, an event that has extracted a personal cost to her family. When a daughter is born, someone must be held accountable…
Adrienne Celt does a magnificent job creating mood and atmosphere in this story. You can feel the darkness descend and the moments of tension between the women are tangible. The passion of these mothers is transcendent, and to be in their inner circle is fascinating. As an added bonus, most of the action takes place in Chicago. This is a very interesting read, and a wonderful exploration of the powers of motherhood.
Lily and Ted meet in a London airport bar during a flight delay. Some small talk, an attraction, too many gin and tonics, too many personal details shared and the conversation takes a dark turn. Ted reveals that his wife is involved with another man so his emotions are highly charged and he is feeling vengeful. Lily seems reasonable in a cold, calculating way and encourages him to act on his wronged point of view. They make plans to meet in a few days’ time. If neither shows up, no harm was done. Except that they do meet and make a plan for murder.
These characters play by a different set of self-serving rules; morality is not a characteristic they possess. And yet I wanted to find out what happens next and enjoyed being surprised by the plot twists. Others may be able to anticipate them but I did not see them coming. Will they get away with murder? Will anyone be punished? What kind of person would dare to make a determination that someone is “the kind worth killing”?
The beginning of this story is reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and, in a nod to this author, Lily is reading one of her novels when she meets Ted. Readers who enjoy suspenseful novels with plenty of twists and turns might like to read Peter Swanson’s novel The Kind Worth Killing.
Ever since I was young(er), I've loved suspense stories. I've loved the twisted, psychological thrill of basically anything from Criminal Minds to reading about the Stanford Prison Experiment (which is now a movie that I highly recommend). It's no surprise that Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Haeberlin, a book about a lone survivor of a serial killer caught my eye.
16-year-old Tessa Cartwright is found among the remains of other women. She has very little memory of how she got to be buried alive, let alone about the circumstances leading up to this finale. Tessa Cartwright is the sole survivor of the Black-Eyed Susans, rightly named due to the array of black-eyed susans around the grave. Her testimony is what lands a man in jail and sentenced to death.
Almost 20 years later, with the death clock looming, Tessa isn’t so sure the right man is sitting in the cell. After finding the infamous flowers planted beneath her bedroom window, she has her doubts. We soon see that Tessa has a lot more secrets than she's letting on.
Julia Haeberlin takes us through the psychological journey in two different timelines. We follow the therapy and development of young Tessa, as well as the adult Tessa. The slow-building tension is beautifully done and left me falling off the edge of my seat. While some may compare this to Gillian Flynn, Haeberlin is in a league of her own – excellently executed. Once you notice things don’t quite add up, this book is hard to put down.
If you are looking for heaps of hilarity in your life, something guaranteed to make you chuckle, or even better, make you laugh till the tears come down, look no further. Check out the hysterical, frenetic world of bestselling author Jenny Lawson, as she describes in uproarious detail, her struggles with mental illness in 2015’s, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.
Whoa, wait, mental illness? Are we allowed to laugh at that? According to Jenny Lawson we are! She shares her struggles and permits herself to be gloriously and furiously happy, to ride the tide of joy when she can, knowing the darkness is not always that far behind.
This audiobook caught my eye because of its riotous cover, which Jenny will explain in detail. Her goofy voice, sincere delivery, captivating stories and fresh approach to living with mental illness make this a superb selection.
The true story of Bill Browder and his rise to financial success and his eventual battle with Putin and the Russian oligarchs. Browder starts with his upbringing, his grandfather was twice a nominee for president of the American communist party and grew up in a very liberal family. Bill then went to boarding school in Colorado and began his his rebellious streak against his family by embracing capitalism.
Browder continues his education with a B.A. from U of Chicago and M.B.A. from Stanford and starts his career with a successful stint at Saloman Brothers bank being one of the first to invest in eastern Europe with some success. He then started
Hermitage Capital with help from billionaire Edmond Safra, they mad a fortune investing in oil after the fall of the Soviet Union and thought it would continue when Putin became president. Putin and the Russian oligarchs began seizing companies and the downfall of Hermitage began. Browder was expelled from Russia, had his assets seized and his lawyer arrested and beaten to death.
Browder then started a campaign against the Russian corruption that continues to this day. The book is fascinating and reads like a fiction thriller.
Author George Hodgman moved back home to tiny Paris, Missouri, in 2011 where he grew up as an only child to care for his 90-year-old widowed mother, Betty. He describes himself as an unlikely guardian, that his and Betty’s lives were lived on different planets. Her independence is now at stake, her home. She struggles against needing assistance and George finds that he cannot bring himself to take her away from the house that his father built. So he stays.
So much goes on in any given day’s routine. Betty still plays bridge with her friends and plays the piano at church but irrational arguments erupt over shoes and forgetfulness becomes more frequent. George finds humor is often the best way to deal with this and the role reversal of a child now caring for a parent.
After graduating college, George lived a lifestyle that he knew his parents could not understand. His homosexuality was an issue they avoided because of the way they had been raised to think about people like him. In this story, there is a great deal of contemplation about life, memories, how events turned out, how people treat each other, and how you can trip yourself up and get into trouble – recovery hurts. Families are complex, living things that constantly change but if done right, one constant is love and that is what Betty gave him.
Many readers will be able to relate to the issues George and his mother face in this memoir written with kindness and candor. Other readers may find some of the topics eye-opening as told from George’s point of view.
Pianist Paul Bley, 83, passed away this week. He leaves behind a jazz legacy of boundless progression and experimentation. After a fairly straightforward start to his recording career in 1953, he soon headed a trio that featured up-and-coming free jazz pioneers Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. In the 1960s, he was one of the first jazz musicians to use synthesizers. Later, he would champion such new artists as Jaco Pastorius and Pat Metheny. By the end of his career, he had over 150 albums to his name. There are numerous Bley albums available on Hoopla Digital.
I'm just a big, old kid. So sue me. In 1960 I saw on TV for the first time Peter Pan - starring the late Mary Martin as Peter and Sir Cyril Ritchard as Capt. Hook.
I was hooked.
I'm still scared that if I hang a foot or arm off the end of the bed, a crocodile is gonna snatch it off while I'm sleeping. To date I've seen just about any and every version of this classic tale and of course read the novel by J.M. Barrie. I was gonna pan outta viewing this latest film adaptation until I brought it home and thought, what the heck, I'd give it a try.
It explores an interesting angle. . .that Hook and Peter once were friends and not always aversaries. It stars Hugh Jackman, who I enjoy his work. It also has refreshing newcomer, the 13 year old, Levi Miller, in the title role. His expressive eyes only adds to his charm.
Adding to the charm of this film is a score that is both lively and supportive. The CGI is okay. I liked the way the pirate ships float in space. Garrett Hedlun (of Friday Night Lights fame) shows some potential to play a more devious role in the obvious sequel.
It is rated PG and not that scary. I almost was able to let my arm drift off the bedside as I fell asleep the night I watched this film. Almost...
As a New Jersey kid growing up in the 1970s, I loved soccer. I remember being completely thrilled when the New York Cosmos brought on the legendary Pele, immediately catapulting the then-struggling North American Soccer League (NASL) into the national spotlight and seemingly making soccer America's "next big thing." For the next several years, I thrived as a Cosmos fan (sorry Sting enthusiasts!) and completely bought into the idea that big-time soccer was soon to be a permanent fixture on prime-time TV. Of course, I knew nothing of the NASL's disastrous business model, and didn't realize that, when teams weren't drawing 30,000+ crowds for games against the Cosmos, they were lucky to be filling 15,000 seats in NFL stadiums.
Ian Penderleith's Rock & Roll Soccer gives us a good long glance at the NASL and considers what made it special (great international talent, a willingness to try and create a league based on attractive, fan-friendly soccer when European teams were becoming ever more defense-oriented) and what ultimately brought it down (excessive focus on the Cosmos, allowing for too much expansion too quickly, etc.).
The approach is thematic rather than sequential. Chapters focus on topics like "Pele vs. Eusebio" or "The NASL vs. Fifa and the world," with quite a bit of sidebar-like inserts to illustrate points. This means that the timeline jumps around a bit, but it still makes for a lively, entertaining read. There are plenty of colorful anecdotes about legendary players like Pele, Rodney Marsh, George Best and Giorgio Chinaglia, along with accounts from lesser-known American players, as well.
Ultimately, did the NASL help or hurt soccer's profile in the US? Is the current league, Major League Soccer, successfully managing expansion in a fashion that will avoid NASL's disastrous collapse? You can take either side, but the story of American soccer is certainly not complete without the NASL.