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All You Have to Do Is Call
by Kerri Maher
Freedom? (6/13/2023)
This book is a welcome tool for the ongoing debate over abortions. There are many reasons a woman many want/need to end a pregnancy. The fact that so many people feel they should have a say in this very personal decision is mind boggling. This book was well written and kept a good pace. The discussion was not heavy on blame or excuses, just stating that this medical procedure should be made available with consequence. An excellent resource.
Innards: Stories
by Magogodi oaMphela Makhene
Not worth the effort (5/13/2023)
This is a difficult book to dredge through. There is the language issue; there are times it is necessary to skim over the words until a recognizable one pops up again. Then there is the issue of rather offensive sections that weren't required for understanding the basic story. This book won't make you a better person for having read it. No recommendation can be given on this one.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel
by Gabrielle Zevin
A book I didn't know I'd enjoy (4/1/2023)
When a person reads a book on a subject that is totally unknown, it could go in any direction. This book on the creativity, distribution, and enjoyment of video games was a fun surprise. From the very beginning, the reader is hooked. From tragedy comes what? Read and find out!
You'll Forget This Ever Happened: Secrets, Shame, and Adoption in the 1960s
by Laura L. Engel
Unfortunately, not an uncommon story (2/18/2023)
Laura Engel starts the book off with a good hook and the story went along well for the first half. The second half is just one big whine. Not to be insensitive, people's lives move on and what happened in the past shouldn't be brought up constantly. Unfortunately, that is how it appeared in the book. Some things can be kept to just a few people and others need never be the wiser...does it really make a difference in anyone's life?
Moonrise Over New Jessup
by Jamila Minnicks
It has potential (12/30/2022)
There is an assumption that a sequel will be forthcoming as the story is not complete. The story is quite compelling, especially when talking about racial inequality in the 50's. It would be nice to know how the characters' lives end up and if integration is possible or just a pipe dream. I passed the book on to someone else to see if the relevance was felt as strongly. Not too bad; again, it would have been better had it been completed.
by Thrity Umrigar
Life can be unexplainable (10/29/2022)
This author has been on the 'to read' list for some time. After finally reading this book, the other books have moved up on the reading list.

This book addresses an age-old problem of the hierarchy set by communities, religion, and the more dominant sex and how that hierarchy is maintained. Even in modern times, education plays such an important role. Keeping people ignorant and afraid is the key to also keeping them enslaved and maltreated. The world never seems to change.

People's hopes, dreams, loves continue even during diversity and pain...they persevere.
All the Lonely People
by Mike Gayle
One book is like another (8/26/2022)
When choosing this book, the review said if you liked "a man called ove". This is true. These two books should not be read in the same year. Although both books are well-written, the similarities are too many. The book is enjoyable and easy to read with good-sized chapters for people who have limited spurts of time. Highly recommended...just wait a little...
Shadows of Berlin: A Novel
by David R. Gillham
Another Chapter (4/29/2022)
Will we ever know what really happened during the holocaust? Really know? Recently, several books have been published to shine light on another aspect of the fear and horror, and decisions that had to be made in order to stay alive.

These stories are truly appreciated. Shadows of Berlin explained two new 'sins' of the terror bestowed on people just trying to live their lives. Reading this book has had me thinking about the aftermath of these will stay with me a long time.

Thank you, David Gillham.
Activities of Daily Living: A Novel
by Lisa Hsiao Chen
Interesting... (1/18/2022)
Once again, i was given an opportunity to read a book I might have just ignored to my detriment. The writing style is not one that I find easy to read and the story(s) was not the easiest to follow; however, the author took time to educate the reader while telling a tale of family hardship.

More than one issue is covered and all have their merits and interest points. It is easy to stop reading and think about what the author just shared, be it the life of an artist, the child of a disappearing parent, or the friend of a friend/lover. So well written!

This book will stay with me a long time. I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to absorb these pages.
The Fields: A Novel
by Erin Young
It took a while to get interesting (11/17/2021)
This was a very slow story that took its time grabbing its audience. So many times i picked up the book only to thing of anything else I could be doing. A great book will hook the reader who will no longer even hear their spouse over the roar of the words.

The plot was nothing new; however, the story line did pick up just over halfway through the book. The stale character analysis hurt the pace of the book and had me rolling my eyes several times.

Having read several good books this year, it was disappointing to feel I was wasting time on a story that wouldn't stay with me. I could not recommend this book to anyone.
The Book of Lost Names
by Kristin Harmel
Please Read (5/22/2021)
One of the best books in 2021. What a shame if it is missed by any historian, especially regarding the holocaust.

There are probably many more aspects of this horrific event that have not yet been written about and the subject is just as sad today as it was when it ended. There is no way to make sense of such a tragedy.

This book gives some hope for humanity and for that I thank the author Kristin Harmel.
Of Women and Salt
by Gabriela Garcia
Hard Work (4/25/2021)
A book should be something to sit back and enjoy. Of Women and Salt is not such a book. It is exhausting to follow the author as she weaves together a story that will leave the reader wishing for an actual ending to the book.

There is a certain curiosity about reasons for people trying to find a new life in the US and this is what brought my interest to the book. Unfortunately, there were underlying stories that threw the reader into an abyss. It got harder and harder to pick up the book to finish.

Hopefully, the next book by Gabriela Garcia will be more of a treat and less like a sentence.
Waiting for the Night Song
by Julie Carrick Dalton
Good story; fair writing (1/7/2021)
The least favorite writing style of some is repetition of basic facts; it would appear the author is going for word count. Although the story was interesting, it was painful how slowly the plot moved along. It's not like the reader didn't figure out the ending relatively early.

The environmental concern was a refreshing back story, the only redeeming quality. This book will not be recommended by me. It was forgotten as soon as I finished.
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline
Great Book (10/15/2020)
Every year, there is one book that sticks out as an excellent read; one that stays with you and you think of often; the story never leaves you. This book, about very strong women under challenging circumstances and how they manage to not only survive, but to thrive. I am so impressed by the author's writing and the fact that the story never lulled. This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. Kudos to Christina Baker Kline. I have become a fan.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel
by Christy Lefteri
Why a war? (7/4/2020)
This book will haunt me for years. Every time a 'conflict' is on the news, the discussion only involves the soldiers. But what about the people who aren't involved in the fighting? The ones who were just living their life and now can't? The ones who no longer have a home, family, livelihood? And, yet, they also have no place to go, to try to find normalcy...whatever that can be after such horrendous events. I will never understand this need to cause a war with no plan for those who just want to have their life. Thank you Christy Leftri for the heart wrenching novel.
The Paris Hours: A Novel
by Alex George
Highly Recommend (5/23/2020)
I do believe this is the first book of 2020 that rates #1. The style of the writing almost requires reading four (not too long) chapters at a time and the storyline(s) are so unique, it is a surprise to find how they connect.

The choices a person makes every day are more consequential than we know. Not only for ourselves, but for those with whom we interact.

Thank you, Alex George, for this wonderful read.
The Things They Carried
by Tim O'Brien
Can you ever forget? (3/7/2020)
This book was read in its entirety two weeks ago and yet it remains on my mind everyday. Part of the reason is that there are some personal feelings of empathy having had a family member involved in this war. I have always wondered about this conflict because I haven't been able to get anyone I know that participated to give up any stories other than stark fear.

Our young men should never have been sent to a land without the government knowing what to expect. And who suffered for this disaster? The government that created the mess? No The poor men and women who were involved and then vilified upon their return...if they were lucky enough to return.

Every person involved with any such decision should read this book. Lots to think about.
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper
Just okay... (1/8/2020)
I know there is a story in this book, but you really have to have patience to find it. The storyline moves so slowly and didn't really get interesting until page 237. If the purpose of the book was to explain how exciting life could be in Australia, it failed. Still, one will cheer on the protagonist...every so slowly...
Red Letter Days
by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Another American Mistake (10/24/2019)
The pace of this book was perfect. Watching (or reading) the process of finding a person, deciding that person was a Communist, and then ruining that person's life was swift and sad.

Ms. Stratford obviously did her research and the story was gripping. At one point, I just had to stop reading because I knew it was going to take a sad turn...and I just needed a little time to prepare.

This book will be recommended to our book club...there is much here to discuss. Thank you!!
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao
May the men stop winning (3/8/2019)
The book is extremely disturbing in its discussion of the way women are sometimes treated by societal norms. Whether it's religious beliefs, societies (most of them originated by men), or men's lack of self control, the end game is to make women feel unimportant and that their own worth is based on what they do for others. It is this very attitude that has caused the metoo movement and the decrease in church attendance. Men are equal creatures on the earth and women need to gain the strength to reach their potential.

It was easy to sympathize with the main characters and feel for their life's journey. It would have been nice if the author actually finished the book...I was looking forward to the reunion.
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