Sunday, December 14, 2014

Books, Books, Books

It's again been a while since I've posted about books and since I'm reading quite a bit these days, I'm just going to post the ones I really liked, starting with

Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney.  This is the first American release from this seasoned Australian author and I hope it's the first of many.  The setting is a sheep ranch in the outback where a family struggles to hang onto their operation even after they've been forced to sell off the sheep, by turning it into a tourist destination.  The strain of constantly fighting to keep their heads above water hurts every one in the family, each in their own way.  But when something even more threatening than financial strain hits the family, they learn who and what matters.  The title comes from their annual Christmas letter.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes.  Simply put, if you loved this movie, you will love this book.

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud.  The biggest criticism I saw in Amazon was that the characters were unlikeable, so let me get that right out there.  However, if you liked Seinfeld, these are the same kind of people and they're as real as New York City, which the setting for this book.  I was reminded of the The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.  The reviews are mixed but mine is one of the 5-star ones.

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin.  This is Toibin's seventh novel but my first time to read him, which means I have six more books to look forward to.  Nora is widowed and heartbroken at the age of 40 with four children, two of them young boys,  She  is also broke, forcing her to return to work at her former place of employment.  The time is just as the IRA is rising in Northern Ireland and Nora lives in a small community where everyone knows everything about everyone.  She feels alone and utterly friendless unable to help her sons in their own grief,  Sleep walking through her life, she begins to find her way back through the power of music.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  This is another Australian author and the third book I've read of hers this year.  She has a way of taking flawed people in compromising circumstances, inserting a little humor and keeps you flipping the pages.  In the beginning I almost put this down because I thought - who wants to read about rich petty kindergarten moms.  Were it any other author, I really would have stopped reading, but  I suspected she would deliver and she certainly did. And again, she inserts a moral quandary into the story. The quotes from the police reports at the end of each chapter are an interesting touch.

I would recommend any of those five books.  Make yourself a cup of tea and go sit by the fire.

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