Wednesday, December 26, 2012

TLC Book Tour: Round House

The Round House
By Louise Erdrich
Review copy from TLC Book Tours

The Round House, takes place in 1988 on a Indian reservation in N. Dakota. This is a coming age story of Antone Bazil Coutts, known as Joe, a pre-teen.

He is forced to grow up fast, one fateful day things will not be the same for Joe, and his mother and father.

He's mother, Geraldine leaves to go to her office to pick up a file.  She doesn't return for several hours.  Joe, and his father, a lawyer for the reservation, starts searching for her.  Hours later, she is at their home in their driveway, just staring.  She immobile, with scratches, and bruises all over her body.  She is unable to discuss it.  Geraldine isolates her self from everyone, including her family.  But, as we turn the pages we find out what happened to Geraldine.

It takes alot of research, and detective work of father and son to discover what happened to Geraldine. Joe involves his best friend, Cappy and his other two friends in the detective work.
It takes a lot of digging since he's mother wouldn't speak about it at first.  They eventually discover what happened, why? at Round House.  The book unravels like a detective story, but it is much more than that.

Finally, Joe does the unthinkable, and time can not be reversed.

We, the readers that have not been exposed to the native Indian culture we learn about the culture, Indian mysticsm, community, the conflict of white man vs. tribal laws, learns more about his family, and the social problems of alcohol, drugs, assault, etc in 1988.

We learn about the importance of Star Trek to Joe and his friends. Remember what is was like growing up as a pre-teen, with sexual awakening, looking at girl's body's etc.   The importance of his friendships of his four buddies.  They help Joe, discover by accident what happened to his isolated mother.

The friendship helps him deal with the frustration of not being able to help his mother, and reach her.  With the problems at home escalating, and the silence of his mother, and not dealing with daily life is frustrating to Joe, he reaches out to his friends, and his large extended family to learn to deal with family and learning to grow up fast.

The mysticsm of the land, the relationship to the people to the land, and why it is important.  For instance if you don't have any knowledge about the formation of the United States. Not knowing how the land was taken from them by the United States. I suggest you do some research.  This is a shameful part of history.

I like how the story is narrated. Because as we learn about Joe, it is told by the adult Joe, through his eyes, and voice. Through the narration we learn that Joe, went into his father's foot steps, and became a lawyer. We learn a great deal about what happens to his life later, what is said and unsaid, but we presume because of the adult narration.

Thank You TLC Book Tours for my chance to review. I want to apologize to TLC Book Tours.  This is the first time I had to ask to postpone my post for the book tour.  With the holidays approaching, and getting ready for school, I had so much on my plate.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Belated Chanakah Book Club Meeting

This month, our book club Beach Babes Book Brigade did something different.  Instead of discussing the book, we decided to do a book review on the book that you would like to swap. 

My team of book club members went into action. They cooked up scrumptious latkes of different kinds, salad, and different desserts.  After that I am stuffed. I did not want to review anything I was stuffed.

We went around to each member to discuss our best, and worst book club book of 2012.  I have been in a existing book club for about 7 years.  But, they don't usually like to do anything different. Just discuss the book.  The book club, Beach Babes Book Brigade has been in existence since March.

From the books we read, this is all the members take on books we chose. Everyone loved Forgotten Garden, a few picked Dove Keepers. The worst, was G-ds From Alabama.  My personal favorites, was Paris Wife by Paula McLain and Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.

The books that members chose to review and swap was:

I reviewed Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingslover. You can read my review below this post.   Also, Little Bee by Cleeve, Another by Kristen Hannah which will be discussing in the summer. Rachel Simon's true account of her disabled sister on the bus.  Another was Private, by James Patterson.
 The book club member that reviewed did not think it was his best.

The books we will be reading in the following months with some with special speakers:

Jane Eyre will have a guest speaker from CCU on Jan. 28th at California Dreaming.
 February-In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.
March- Raquella by Ruth Gruber in honor of Hadassah's 100th B-day.
April-Story of Beautiful Girl by Ruth Simon
May- Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
June-Rav Hisda's Daughter- This will be a Jewish Community Read. Guest Speaker Rabbi Debbi Slavitt will be speaking.
July-Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
August- Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern( Magically Novel).

To recap to do different next year.  We will wrap the book, and do it as a white elephant.
I hope to next year do something crafty. I have seen some book clubs make book marks with the year of books that chose.  I would like to learn how to do that.

Monday, December 17, 2012

January Book Event: Jane Eyre

I would like to invite you to our book event. It is hosted by The Beach Babes Book Brigade.
We have invited a guest speaker, Dan Ennis, from CCU to talk about Jane Eyre.
If you live in the Myrtle Beach area please RSVP.

The event will be held on January 28th at 1PM at California Dreaming.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Flight Behaviors

Flight Behavior
By Barbara Kingslover

Copy given to me by TLC Book Tours

On the Appalachian mountain lives Dellarobia Turnbow, and her husband Cub, and two small children.  Down the dirt road lives her husband's family. They are sheep Herders.   He's mother is domineering, and there isn't anything to please her.

 Dellarobia, found her self pregnant in high school.  Pretty much left barefoot and pregnant.  Living dirt poor, poor, in a shack. She is stuck, in the marriage.  She still loves Cub, but she has wandering eyes for the electrician.

One finally moment she is to meet him at a certain spot.  Instead she spots she thinks"fire", Moses burning bush.  Thinking it is a sign from g-d not to meet him.  Instead, she goes back down the mountain.  Later realizing it is a cluster of Monarch butterflies.

Later on she remarks to her husband, Cub that they should not sell the land for timber.  There is something up there that Cub, and he's family should witness.  Originally the family wants to sell off the land. But, after witnessing the miracle of the butterflies, the family and the community believe it is a sign from g-d.  It is a deliverance

 The community, outside visitors of the community find out about the miracle from the newspapers. People come from all over to witness the miracle, including a Mexican family that was uprooted because of a natural disaster.  Dellarosia's mother in law solicit tours for monetary gain to see the miracle of the butterflies.

 Scientists from other parts of the country are interested in why the butterflies started migrating in the winter to Tennessee rather than Mexico. She becomes involved in learning about the migration of the butterflies.  She wants to learn more than what is going on, on her mountain top.  She starts to learn about other things outside her town. This changes and challenges her mind for the better.

What transpires is changes of Dellarosia. She never was interested in learning.   With the scientists coming to investigate the butterfly phenomenon.  There comes good changes for her.  She knows now, there is more for her to learn about, and explore in her life than the limited Appalachian mountains.

Flight Behavior is not just about the change in the butterfly's flight pattern but parallel's to Delarobia's  life changes. Instead of sitting back and letting life take over. She eventually at the end became a take charge person.  She is doing something for the better to change her and her children.

Flight Behavior, underlying theme is global warming, and can we change things once we destroy them.  Can we prevent further destruction.  If you are a science buff, and interested in the phenomenon of the migration of butterflies this may interest you. This may interest you enough to do your own research as well about the monarch butteflies. This will make a good book discussion.

There is much more discussed in the book about envoirmental changes with the butterflies. What caused them to change to a different migration route? Is this the beginning of the end? Etc, etc.

The writing of Ms. Kingslover was beautifully written prose.  I personally at times felt she was getting preachy and long winded.  But, I still liked reading Flight Behaviors.  I like to read books that are science based, historical, and learn something with some meat.  Some people will not enjoy reading this.  But, I still felt like it had something to say.

I read a book called Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe. She talked about the butterflies also. But, was worried about the end of the Monarch Butterflies. Where Ms. Kingslover was writing about the ecology, and globing warming.  Two different things.

I wanted to read this because I have not read many books that take place on the Appalachian Mountains.  I felt the book gave the person that does not go on the back roads of the poor dirt on the mountain a taste, feel, and culture of the life of people that live in Tennessee in Appalachia. 

I read this novel about two weeks ago, so my memory is a bit fuzzy.
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for allowing me to receive a copy and review my thoughts.

Here are the other stops for the book tour:
Tuesday, November 6th: A Reader of Fictions
Wednesday, November 7th: Dolce Bellezza
Thursday, November 8th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Monday, November 12th: Caribousmom
Tuesday, November 13th: Bookish Habits
Wednesday, November 14th: 50 Books Project
Thursday, November 15th: Unabridged Chick
Monday, November 26th: Book Snob
Tuesday, November 27th: What She Read … – joint review
Wednesday, November 28th: Becca’s Byline
Thursday, November 29th: A Patchwork of Books
Wednesday, December 5th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, December 6th: The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
Tuesday, December 11th: Man of La Book
Wednesday, December 12th: Tina’s Books Reviews
Thursday, December 13th: Seaside Book Corner
Monday, December 17th: 50 Books Project
TBD: Much Madness is Divinest Sense

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Review: Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility
Amor Towles
Nook Edition

Rules of Civility, takes place in 1966, at a art gallery with Kate, and her husband.
Kate recognizes Tinker in a picture.  A old friend that she, and her girlfriend Eve met at a speakeasy in 1939.  Eve is a reckless girl, and falls for Tinker.  She doesn't want to be under her father's thumb.

  She is in a accident, Tinker and Eve go to Europe.  While, Kate stays behind and works as a secretary in a law firm.

I don't want to say anything else because I will be afraid to give it away.

My Review:  I enjoyed reading the novel for the setting of New York City, specifically Manhattan in the late 1930's.

  This is another novel, I did not connect with. I am batting a thousand lately, not my favorite book this year.  Everyone is praising Rules of Civility.  It was ok, but not my favorite.  It is heavy in prose. I did not see what the hoopla is for Mr. Towles style of writing.  I can think of other writers that I enjoy reading better.

This has not been my favorite reading month. Perhaps with what is going on in my life recently. I have been distracted.  Hope to get my teeth into a good book soon.

 I was the one to pick this novel for our book club.  I don't like to pick books that I read before.  But, I am starting to realize that it might be a good idea.

This is the second book  that I chose for the book club that I particularly did not like.  But, who knows it may be a good discussion.  Especially when it deals with class. We are meeting tomorrow at Olive Garden, I will let be writing a post about our meeting in the next day or two.

Book Review: State of Wonder

State Of Wonder
By Ann Patchett
My copy

State of Wonder, is based on scientific facts that take place in the Amazon Jungle. I remember as a child in school, the teacher being the devil's advocate. About science, and researchers going to the Amazon to locate wonder drugs. But, the unfortunate thing was the companies were taking, but not giving back to the community in the Amazon Jungle. But, things are changing for the better in the Amazon.

The story takes place in the Amazon Jungle in South America and the Midwest in Missouri.  This is the story of two researchers Dr. Singh, and Eckman. They work for a pharmaceutical company, looking for the wonder drugs in the Amazon.  The pharmaceutical company has Dr. Swenson in the Amazon already in the looking for bark, the wonder drug or ingredient for fertility. Dr. Swenson.  But, no one has heard hide nor hair from her for two years. She has not updated the pharmaceutical company of what has been going on in two years.  This has the pharmaceutical company worried.

The book gives you the feel of the lost civilization of the Amazon. With insects, bugs, snakes, tribal societies.

The drug is suppose to help fertility in woman. Why women in the Amazon at age 70 can produce children?  At the same time this drug can help with Malaria. It turns out Dr. Swenson is pregnant at age 70 too.

Mr. Fox, has asked Anders, Marina's collegue to locate Dr. Swenson in the Amazon.  Ander's has family back home. Marina wonders why she was not asked. Since Anders has family that are alive and well.   Marina is not married with children. Why was she not asked by Mr. Fox?  When Anders goes down to the Amazon.  Mr. Fox is notified that Anders is killed, but there is not a body to identify.  Anders wife believes he is not dead.

Mr. Fox then asks Marina to go down to the Amazon and locate Dr. Swenson.  She happens to be Marina's mentor in medical school.  Marina does trek down to the Amazon.  But, she is a secret hidden away from a couple.   I did enjoy reading about the envoirment of the Amazon.

My Review: My forte is historical fiction, but also novels that deal with science fascinate me.  But, for some reason I could not connect with the characters.

But,  I enjoyed reading about the Amazon, and the culture.   But, for some reason I could not connect with the characters. Our book club discussed the book, and most of us felt the same way. I read this book, about a month ago, so my feelings about the book are a bit fuzzy. 

The novel does bring up some discussion about the rain forest, and the companies that take from the environment  But, what I understand now, it is a lot different than what it was like years ago.  Used to be, companies were take, take, take rubber, cocoa with out giving back to the Amazon.  But, I hear things are different now. 

The other thing, you can't fool with mother nature. Are bodies are meant to carry babies at a certain time. As we get older, our bodies are not as strong as they used to be.  Having children after menopausal age, is not a natural thing. 

Lilac Girls: Book Review

Lilac Girls By Martha Hall Kelly Review copy from Ballantine Books You may not want to read my review. I am very critical of ...