User Reviews

Reviews by bweiner
Son of Saul
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The epic tragedy of the Holocaust has been the subject of innumerable books and movies. The sheer scale of death, deprivation and pain caused by the brutal executions of innocent millions will haunt us and future generations forever.

Then along comes Son of Saul by Hungarian director László Nemes, another entry in the canon of Holocaust material. It is challenging to find originality with this subject, difficult to find a way to retell the story of desolation and sorrow.

This, however, is not one of those stories. This very personal story of a man mourning the loss of a son he barely knew is not about a nation or world in sorrow. The exquisite pain, the fuel of loss, the need for one last moment of dignity and propriety, these things propel Saul Auslander, played with steely, rigid agony by Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig, to find a way to bury his son according to the traditions and laws of his Jewish faith. This story belongs to Saul and his son.

The Daughters
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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.
Hilarious!
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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.

There is a good chance that we may all know someone with obsessive compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD. A new book, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought peels back the layers of this often baffling disorder with honesty, careful research and abundant humor.

Author David Adam is intimately knowledgeable about OCD as he has experienced it for twenty years. He weaves many narratives into this story about his personal obsessions and compulsions, and will win over readers with the candid retrospect of his experiences.

But it is more than just a journey into the complicated tangle of ideas in his head. Adam also details the psychological, social and scientific aspects and reveals the research and treatments that have been used and are currently used for sufferers of this condition. He also speaks to the historical struggle to classify OCD; there was often conflict over its origin as a behavioral or mental disorder.

Insightful and absorbing, this book will enlighten with its fresh perspective.
The Water Knife
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The Water Knife, a thriller detailing a severe drought in the American Southwest, tersely cautions us of a possible bleak future without adequate hydration. Hugo and Nebula award winner Paolo Bacigalupi creates an authentic picture of the consequences to the people and the land, while painting an ugly portrait of the greed and corruption that develop in the wake of this drought.

This world is a brilliantly imagined, violent place, and we follow the lives of three people caught in the crossfire this drought produces. Angel Velasquez is a “water knife”, a sort of enforcer for the rich and powerful who define ownership of this precious commodity. Lucy is a cynical journalist and Maria is a dreamer who believes in better things, and together they become entangled in this drama. The people who have water have the power, and therefore the control, which they often use with reckless abandon.

The novel progresses like a well-paced action movie. The plot twists are unsettling and the characters are hovering on the cusp of good and evil. Science fiction writers have written about environmental concerns for many years, but as our world moves through time, we actually see the effects, and severe drought is a well-timed topic. Check out this thoughtful, engaging and meaningful read.

 
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
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