Friday, January 22, 2016

The Hours Count- Book Review

The Hours Count
By Jillian Cantor

The Hours Count, is a different kind of novel. I have read historical fiction before. But, this is quite different. Perhaps because it is contemporary. What makes this different, I think. I have never read anything that is historical fiction that is mainly about a relationship of two women.  Yes, I have read historical ficiton. It is usually about the events surrounding the book, not characters. This makes this story more intriguing and different.

The author did change the facts around. My suggestion after you read the book. You should do your own research. I found interesting things on youtube about the Rosenberg trials and executions.
The story makes a interesting read. I always wondered why would someone leave behind their children because of the strong politcal convictions? Why were there U. S. Citizens that would betray their own country? Why did the US government allow a woman to be executed? Putting fear of communism being infiltrated in the United States. I never thought there were spies in the United States. I thought it was a joke. Think of the show, The Americans

I remember as a young child stories of the bomb shelter,bomb drills at school, I used to think how ridiculous this was. After taking this part of history more seriously. I now understand this. After WW2 there was a communism threat. The United States government tired to scare the Americans to death by using fear. The book makes you wonder who is a spy? Who is a communist?

Did you know just like sleeper cells that are in the United States? Yes there are sleeper cells. The Russian government had spies in different parts of government. Who would have suspected. Until it is too late. If you have not seen the documentary on Nova about spies, and the atomic bomb. If you are interested in the subject. The biggest thing was a young American scientist that was spying for the Russian and volunteered information. Would you believe he was seeking out someone in the Russian government. Can you believe that??

After the Russian government built the hydrogen bomb. The Russian spies leaked out the information to Russia. The bomb wouldn't have been built if American spies were helping the Russians. This caused so much fear and political turmoil. Forced the government to be harsh. Unfortunately, Ethel Rosenberg was in the crossfires and the scapegoat.

McCarthyism, causing the government to be harsh, and aggressive. Now, the irrational search was on to find the spies. No one could be trusted.

The Hours Count starts with the first sentence, "On the Night Ethel is suppose to die, the air is heavy to breathe".

Ethel, and Julius are first born Jewish Americans. Ethel has a wonderful relationship with her husband and children. Where Millie's husband is questionable. There are many suspicious and unanswered questions.

Who can you trust.The situation with Ed are starting to get suspicious. There is also a love interest between Millie and David's doctor, Jake. Can he be trusted? There are many twists and turns I didn't suspect at all.

The author took liberties to embellish the story. The author did a good job blended fiction with facts. What Ed did, and tried to do. I'm afraid to tell you anything more.  Just to tell you it is worth the read.

The book also brings back nostalgia about our social, and political culture during the 1950's. The pill, planned parenthood, mentally challenged, feminism, psychiatry, husband-wife relationships.

The Hours Count will make great discussion for your book club. I promise you heated.
The book doesn't merit a great prize of fiction. Though, it is a wonderful read to entertain and discuss
the political scare and turmoil of the 1950's.

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The Hours Count: Jewish Grand Strand Reads

The Hours Count
By Jillian Cantor

After doing a google search for a novel, and pretty much gave up this year. I found a novel, on the Jewish Book Coucil's website. It was about the Rosenberg's. Already this novel, had me hooked even before I reached the first page. I had heard about them. Only knew they were Jewish, and both husband and wife were executed.  I was young then. Didn't understand the implications. As I got older. I realized why this was important. This is still a hot topic. Why, you ask? The start of the Cold War, The wall between E. Germany and W. Germany. The Manhatten Project, Los Alamos,

Personally as a young child I didn't think this was a big deal. But now, years later I realize the implications. The race to make the bomb first. Interesting enough the Russian's build the first bomb first, the Hydrogen bomb. How did this happen? The U.S was embarrassed how this came about first. The United States governement tried to find anyone with information. Who they found was David Greenglass, Ethel Rosenberg's brother. This started the ball rolling. He accused both husband and wife of spying for the United States government. It was found out much later he was protecting his wife. There were plenty of American citizens that wanted to tell Russia what the United States was doing. There were scientists that were spying for the Russian government. Then came McCarthyism. Famous people loosing their reputation, because of the trials. One specific person was Lucille Ball. She was accused, but luckily her reputation was affected. Later on though it didn't ruin her. She was the lucky ones.

I asked the question, why would anyone betray their own government? What I got was people telling me. People were tired of the U. S. government. You are probably wondering why I thought this was important? Because reflecting back on our history. With terrorism with Al-Queda-ISIS. People were scared of the 1950's. Who would have ever guessed we would be in this situation. They are a mass of people,( a man without a country), there isn't a country represented. Instead of mass of terrorists terrorizing us. How did this happen compared to what happened in the 1950's. Russia, a country may build a bomb.  We are not as worried about them as we are about ISIS. It is so ironic that Russia and US have a different kind of worries.

I started thinking this would be a bouncing off board from the novel to discuss the political climate. I know I am right. I brought this book up with my book club. There was already heated conversation. No one read the book yet, except for me. I can't imagine what heated conversation this is going to start when we actually read the book, and skype the author. Even if the book is not great. It is a wonderful springboard for discussion.

It was decided in conjuction with Jewish Grand Strand Reads and Hadassah Carolina Mizrah with a combined effort will come together to host a skyping program. Also we will be hosting a documentary that was directed and produced by Ethel and Julius Rosenberg''s grand daughter called, Heir to the Execution.  If you live in Myrtle Beach area. You are welcome to join us.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

This is Your Life Harriet Chance: Book review

This Is Your Life Harriet Chance
By Jonathan Evison

Galley was given by publisher

This Is Your Life Harrient Chance is a different type of writing. I enjoyed the writing style of the author. The novel is not writen linear, but written at different times of Harriet's life. From the age of 78, then to her 20, then when she is a little girl.

 I enjoyed the different perspectives of her life, and her point of views.  For instance the memories and reactions, how the story is told can be very different when she is younger, or told when she is older.

 In life when we recall something, there is a trigger that something jogs are memory. Then a cascade of dominos start falling. That is exactly what happens with the writer.

The novel starts out when Harrietl is 78. Her husband passses away. A travel agent calls her and tells her that her husband has not picked up he's prize. Harriet decides she will not let it go to waste, she goes to Alaska.  She revisits her entire life.  Her husband's spirit continues to come into her life. There are realizations she learns about her husband that upsets her. Her daughter enters the picture. They try to reconnect, there is anger, sadness, and happiness. Throughout the novel, I was thinking of the man, on at TV show, " This Is Your Life". Watching her every move, and re-rolling her story. Sort of remembering the movie, Christmas Carol, and Christmas past keeps coming back to haunt her.

Our book club read this for our book club. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there. I had a hard time getting into the novel. But, after I finished the book, I got it. The novel is a fast read.  It is a coming of age story when your parents get older. When you get older.  Things in life happen, and your daughter and son's perspective of you. Your husband's perspective, and the reinvention of life.

There were many sad parts in the book, with many regrets, and sometime hard to swallow. But, I still enjoyed reading. I heard from our book club that most ladies didn't enjoy reading. I think because most of the people that are in the book club are older, and they did not live like Harriet, and experience the things that Harriet, and her family experienced.

Or because she had to make some tough choices. Some of the other ladies, said, " I didn't like the book". It was so sad. I didn't see it that way.

If you like books that are different,and unique. You may enjoy it. I found it to be a character study, and a beach and at times fun read.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Finding a Family for Nachat

Hi blog readers,

With a heavy heart I am trying to find a new family that would love him, and pamper him. I need a locate a new home for my dog, Nachat as soon as possible. He is free to a good family. He is very loved and wanted. I can no longer keep him as I am moving and they don't allow pets.

I am posting today in despiration to find a new family to take my cutie pie in. He's name is Nachat( Naa-chaat) short vowels. He is a male Tzit-Tzu. He is 9 years old and is neutered.

He lives with my parent's dog, and was raised with my son since he was 12. He is good with other people, well tempered, quiet, doesn't bark, only when someone is at the door.  He is shy until he gets to know you. He is leash trained. He is trained to go outside without a leash as well.

He would be great with an retired family member. Because he doesn't have to walk him far.

He is well behaved, and pampered, and loves attention. I live in South Carolina. If you know someone, or you would like to adopt him please let me know. If you are interested please leave me a message on my blog how I can get a hold of you.

Update: I am sorry I haven't been on my blog for months and got back to you. Nachat has been taken in by my parents. So, there is a happy ending. I have been going through a rough time sorry that I didn't get back to you. Thank you to all the people who were willing to adopt him. There is a happy ending. 

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: Invention of Wings

Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
Published by Penguin

Invention of Wings takes place in Charleston, SC. It is based on historical characters, the Grimke family. Sarah, and Angelina. This is a part of history that is not well known. Most likely because the sisters were against slavery, and women inequality. It is most likely why the author, Sue Monk Kidd decided to write the book. Because not much is known about the sisters, Angelina and Sarah.

Our book club selected this novel, for September, Invention of Wings. I am so glad we picked this novel. It is the story of Sarah Grimke. Who is Sarah Grimke, you ask? She is part of history that is not well known in the south, particularly, Charleston, SC.

She is the oldest child of a plantation, and slave owner in Charleston,SC..  11 years old Sarah is the main character. Her parents giving her a birthday present. What she didn't figure was the present being a slave.What does a 11 year old child do with a slave, named Hetty.. If she is anything like Sarah. She is defiant. She teaches Hetty how to read, and write. Which is against the law at that time. What a mess she causes. Teaching a slave to read. Hetty, also known as Handful is whipped.

On the other side of the story is Handful's mother Charlotte. She is defiant like Sarah. She finds any opprotunity to find a way to escape. Each time she tries she is found out. Ususally with a beating.

This is why this novel, works on opposing ends.Sarah being defiant, independent. She also lives under the confines of being suffucated by the southern ideas. Then you have Hetty and Charlotte being a slaves.. They have different views of s being a southern girl, and another being a slave. Different ways to look at slavery.

Sarah has strong views being a woman is not going to stop her. She wants to go to college to become a lawyer.  She thought her brother would defend her views being a woman.

But, when her father was having a discussion about her brother becoming a lawyer. She thought this would be a good time for her to discuss herself. It did not work out as planned. Sarah has strong views against inequality of women and slavery.

She was heart broken that her father didn't agree with her. She thought her brother would defend her. The only ambition a woman should have as she is told by her mother. Is getting married, and having children.

Mother entered swaying with her weight. "I took no joy in seeing your hopes quashed" she said. Your father and brother were cruel." But, I believe their mockery was in equal proportion to their astonishment. A lawyer, Sarah? The idea is outlandish. I feel I have failed you bitterly. Your father belives you are an anomalous girl with your craving of books and your aspirations. But, he's wrong. Every girl comes into the world with varying degrees of ambition. Even if its only the hope fo not belonging body and soul to her husband. Every girl must have an ambition knocked out of her for her own good. You are unusual to fight the inevitable. You resisted, and now it came to pass to being broken like a horse..
After this incident, her mother is pregnant. She gives birth to Angelina. Sarah wants to be Angelina's godmother. With some apprehension her mother agrees with the plan. For many years after. The sisters are close.  But, then Sarah is given no choice she must travel with her father to Philadelphia. Sarah is saddled again. This time to travel with her father to Philadelphia to convalence, and  care for her father who is ill. While there she learns that her father is there to die

While living in Philadelphia she learns about the activism against slavery with the Quakers. She decides to stay. For years conflicting view about staying or returning to Charleston.

The part I most enjoyed is when Handful, and Sarah are cleaning the chandalier. Handful says, My body may be a slave, but my mind is not shackled. Where Sarah is opposite.  I will tell you later on in years. The Grimke sisters are not welcome in Charleston.

The Grimke sisters in history are thought of as trouble makers. Not true abolishists because. They also believed in Women's rights. The movement felt they would facture the slavery movement. Maybe it did, but they were important to women's rights. If it wasn't for them. Women may not have gotten the vote.

My Review: I absolutely loved the narrative. The author told the story with opposing ends. All the characters have some type of inequality that they are dealing with. Slavery, women's rights, etc. I loved the different points of views of the characters. Sarah then telling the story of the southern culture compared to the Quakers ideals. What the views of slavery of the northern ideals. The way the story was told couldn't be done any other way. I think a straight narrative wouldn't work.

There is not many historical fiction during the era of the Civil War, and slavery about inequality.
Most books are written by men for men. I absolutely recommend it to someone who loves historical fiction, wants to know about abolitionist. If you like to read novels, with strong characters, and strong ideals, I recommend this one.  You may look at women's right a different way. You can also find a newspaper article here.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Miniseries Review: The Tudors

The Tudors
TV Miniseries

After several attempts in the previous years. I finally watched the entire series of the Tudors. I enjoyed watching it. Even though it was not historically accurate. I understand why, the producers wanted to make a pleasant and good looking Henry. I enjoyed watching because of the back drop, the time period, the costumes, etc.

I always thought that Henry 8th started the reformation because he believed it was for the good of the British people. That was not so. But was for himself. He didn't want the reformation to the Anglican Church. He wanted the Catholic religion to stay. He only wanted to have the complete power to allow himself to divorce and marry without conflict.

Now on with the review. if you watch it be prepared to see many flaws.  If this bugs you, I wouldn't watch it. If you can bare it. After watching and you want to do your own research. Then check out some of the official British websites. If you are watching it for face value for the heck of it. Then go for it.

One thing, I have been trying to figure this out why, oh why, is the title called The Tudors. It is only about one Tudor, Henry the 8th. Perhaps, called Henry, or Henry Tudor. There are many generations of Tudors.

Warning there is a lot of sexual graphic content, and violence. . If you can get past that, Then you will be OK. I still enjoyed it. If you watched this. I will recommend another called, White Queen. You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

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Hurricane Sisters: Book Review

Hurricane Sisters
By Dorthea Benton Frank

The multi-generations of Maisie, Liz, and Ashley have their secrets.
 80 year old Maisie(grandmother), is a sassy southern gal. Liz(mother), her daughter is involved in helping abused vicitims. Liz's husband, is fooling around with an old class mate of Liz's, from years ago. Ashley, the youngest of the family. She is in a relationship with a politician that causes serious problems emotionally for Ashley. Then between the family, Mary Beth tries to help the entire family. Then there is a secret years ago that has not been worked out between Liz and Maisie.

My Review:Author, Dorthea Benton Frank is from SC, specifically from Sullivan Island. Not far from my home. Anyone who is a reader, and lives in South Carolina. Is a must read from any South Carolinian.

The Hurricane Sisters, is the first novel I have read by this author. I really wanted to enjoy reading Hurrncane Sisters. I was very disappointed. I was expected more from this author's writing. But unfortunately, it didn't hit me. I expected more. I understand it is a beach read. But, even beach reads have more substance.  I  respect that the author was trying to write a novel about a social issue, domestic abuse, date rape, Also, mother daughter relationship. But unfortunately, it didn't grab me. I couldn't wait for the book to finish. This is the first book I have read in months. How unfortunate.

The writing is very simplistic, without depth of the characters... I don't like to be this direct.I am going to try one of her other books very soon, and see if this book was an isolated case.

Our book club read one of her other books, and they praised it. I was not in attendance. So, I was disappointed after reading this. I am going to try one of her other novels. Before making a judgement of her writing.

My rating:

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gran Hotel: Best Mini Series

Gran Hotel has to be the best mini series I have watched in a long time. I started watching because someone posted on facebook the best BBC shows. I knew Gran Hotel was on Netflix.
So I started watching the first episode, then the second, then on, and on, till the last one on which was 42 episode. It gives you a cliffhanger.

I thought for sure I would have to wait for quite awhile. Because Netflix wasn't planning on adding season 3 until July. But, good news folks it was added. Hallelujah!!!. This show is so addicting. I don't know what it is, the acting, the setting, the time period. But, it has me hooked. I watched the entire series 1, and 2, in two weeks. 

The Gran Hotel, is a mystery, suspense, romance, intrigue, historical setting, hot, Spanish, love scenes, the actors are fresh, and not bad to look at, either. I am afraid to start watching season 3 and I will be hooked.  The only thing is you have to tolerate the subtitles. But, it may help you brush up in your spanish, LOL!. 

If anyone else has watched this show. Leave a comment to add discussion. Also, if anyone has any comparison of other shows to watch that are good. Let me know. Has to be on Netflix.  Just wondering has Spanish TV always been this good? Or I never noticed. But, now since Netflix there is a broader audience to watch more interenational TV. Which I am happy about. 

My rating:

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Father's Paradise: Book Review

My Father's Paradise
By Ariel Sabar

I am the keeper of my families stories. I am the guardian of it's honor. I am the defender of it's traditions. As the first born son of a Kurdish father these, they tell me,  are my duties. And yet even before my birth I resisted. 

Opening line of My Father's Paradise. This is a very important line to Jews everywhere. I discovered My Father's Paradise a few years ago, only by accident. I understand many Jewish communities, use this book as a medium for bringing up discussion.

I always wanted to understand what happened to Jewish Iraq, and the Middle East. Especially during the United States invasion of Iraq. My brother is a photojournalist for the Military Times. But he never talked about it.  It did not make sense to me that there were only a few Jews left and no synagouge. My Father's Paradise answered these questions that I have been wondering about.

Did you realize that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all lived in harmony at one time. Then something happened to change that.

I am going to give you a brief synopsis from the novel. But, also why I think you should read this book.  I am going to give you a better book review on my Jewish book blog, at my other book blog, Bagels, Books, and Schmooze.

 This part of history takes place during the 1930's, 1940's during WW2, when Yona's mother and father married. But, also the 3000 year history of the Middle East,and the language that was spoken in Iraq. Did you realize there are many different languages you must know to survive in Iraq.
There is Aramaic, then the Arab language as the spoken language when you are out mingling about, then the biblical language as well.

 Aramaic is important to Yoni,  This is how he was able to bring the Aramaic language to the United States, and become a renown Professor teaching Aramaic.It was important to him to keep his traditions and culture alive. Thanks to his son, he wants to keep the culture and traditions alive.

The reason that the culture and traditons of the Jewish Kurds continues was because the Kurdish territory was surrounded by mountains. Which isolated the people. That is why Christian, Jews, and Muslims were able to get along for thousands of years.

We first learn about Yoni's parents, how he looses his sister, and what happened to her. Then when Yoni was born.  Israel became a independent state the other Middle East countries in the Middle East made living in their countries for Jews miserable. What transpired afterward many Jews in these countries made a mass exodus to Israel in early 1950.

But the dream of thbe Jewish state was not for Middle East Jews to mingle and change the countries culture. Their dream was for European Jewish culture to saturate Israel into a European Mecca. But that didn't happen. Instead there is a mix of Middle Eastern Jews and Ashkenazi Jews living in Israel.

Israeli Jewis treated Jewish Middle Eastern Jews like a sub species. I thought Jews everywhere would be happily welcomed, but that didn't happen.

The second half of the book is when Yona came to the United States. How he came and became a renown professor. What is was like coming to the United States, living here. How he's son saw he's father. Which was rather hard for Ariel.he saw it as a culture clash of Middle East meets L. A.

It was important for Yoni to pass on the tradition of Ariamaic, and the traditions of his forefathers.To pass this on, Ariel wrote this book in honor of his father. To pass on the traditions, history, memories, and culture of Zakho, Iraq to his children, and his children's children, L'dor V'dor.

When Ariel and his father, and family returned to Israel for a visit to his grandparents. It felt like it was full circle. His Grandmother waited to die when the entire family came to visit. It brought tears to my eyes.

My Father's Paradise is a wonderful book for discussion. I can now, understand why it was chosen for many synagouges for community reads. There is so much to talk about. The writing is prolific, and beautifully written. You can tell he writes from the heart, and written with love to his father, Yona Sabar.  I am sorry it took so long to review. It was given to me by Aloquin books for review.

Since I didn't tell you in the beginning, My Father's Paradise was written by Yoni's son Ariel Sabar. He is a renown journalists for many periodicals such as the Baltimore Sun, and Christian Monitor, and many others.

You can listen and watch Ariel at his website. There are plenty of resources to watch and listen to. There are also discussion questions at the back of his book. Also a conversation with him as well.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

The Girl You Left Behind: Book Review

The Girl You Left Behind
By Jo Jo Moyes

I read The Girl You Left Behind for our book club. I was unable to attend. So, I can't tell you what was discussed. But, I can tell you that everyone enjoyed reading.

This is the first novel I read by this author. I have heard wonderful things about her. My expectations were very high coming into this book. I wanted to love this book. I love modern historical fiction, especially WW1-WW2 era.

Sophie Lefeve is left running her restaurant, Le Coq Rouge. While her husband Edwourd, a painter  is on the frontlines. The Germans have over run her town, Perrone. The Kommandant orders her that she must feed his soldiers each Monday evening. She has no choice but to do what he asks. She gets along with the Germans which turns the stomach of the townspeople. They think she is collerborating with the enemy and they turn against her.

While in his company at the restaurant he admires the self portrait that Sophie's husband, a painter has done.  Shr remembers how much the Kommandant admired the painting. She gets in her head if she can trade the painting for her husband life, not all will be lost. She travels to the camp of the Germans to influence him to release her husband. But all doesn't go as planned. After she leaves, later on she is taken prisoner. The townspeople and her family turn a blind eye to Sophie. They don't want anything to do with her.

Now turn the clock forward to modern day England, 2006. Liv, a young widow has lost her husband. All she has left is a painting that her husband bought for her in Spain on their honeymoon. She falls for a man that she doesn't know works for investigation team recovering lost, and stolen art during the war.He finds out she has the artwork he has been trying to locate for a family.

The parallell narrative was interesting how it played out. Both of them were strong women characters when they had to. Sophie though, was the champion. She fought tooth and nail for what she believed in. It was interesting to learn about the lost, and stolen artwork that was stolen during WW2. What families did to get their families heirlooms back. What happened to Sophie and her husband, Edwourd. theThe other players, that were involved with the Girl You Left Behind. How it went from different hands, and how it eventually ended up with Liv, and her husband.

For a superficial story it has some depth. But, the story was drawn out a little bit too long for my taste. I will still read her previous novel that I have been hearing about.

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