Saturday, February 11, 2012

books 2012 #1-7

The Lake of DreamsThe Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I certainly liked this one better than The Memory-Keeper's Daughter. The cover says, "A family's secrets will always be unlocked." Will they? Considering how much digging, research, and persistence was required to unlock this family's secret, it hardly seems like a foregone conclusion. Some nice mysteries, both in the near and distant past, are unraveled.

Those Who Save UsThose Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The narrative of this book switches back and forth between (mostly) current day America and WWII Germany, and centers around Trudy and her mother Anna. Trudy desperately wants to verify her memories and to understand her mother's actions, but Anna refuses to speak about her experiences during the war.

The reader knows all, however, and, unsurprisingly, there are a lot of WWII horrors within. For that reason, it can be a difficult read, but Anna especially is a highly sympathetic character, and it is satisfying to see their relationship deepen over time.

I liked it, but I think I need a break from WWII lit. Those things are almost too traumatizing, even from the safe distance of over 50 years.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a lot of fun. A quick and easy read, it still has plenty of food for thought.

Frankie attends a prestigious prep school and, as a sophomore, undergoes physical, emotional, and intellectual changes that prompt her to become somewhat of a criminal mastermind.

She challenges the idea that females are not admitted to a super-secret all boys' club, and finds a way to break in and become their anonymous puppetmaster.

Interesting insights into the panopticon (the idea that members of a society follow rules because you never know who might be watching), girl power, cliques, and friendship in the life of a teen.

Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief SocietyDaughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading about the women throughout the history of Relief Society who served one another and helped each other to get through the hard times. This is just how I aspire to be, as a friend, visiting teacher, and a member of Relief Society.

As a teenager, I didn't see how I would fit into Relief Society, but I think I have caught the vision as I've matured. My esteemed grandmother told me that Relief Society taught her everything so she knew, so it must be a very grand organization indeed.

The Pilot's WifeThe Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In between 3 and 4 stars. A quick read that I finished in one day while sick in bed.

I found it interesting to read about how the protagonist dealt with grief. And the question: how well can we really know another person? does not always come with answers we want to hear. Pretty sad ending.

Because of Winn-DixieBecause of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this years ago with Max and all I remembered was that I really liked it and that it was a sweet story about a girl and her dog. Well, I just re-read it with Eva and I loved it even more. (She loved it as well, which made me very happy.) I am changing my rating from 4 stars to 5.

India Opal is just such a great protagonist. I love the relationship she has with her father, whom she calls "the preacher." I love the way she makes friends with such a broad spectrum of people in her small town, and I really love the way she brings them all together so that they are all friends with each other. She made me want to seek out lonely people in my neighborhood and befriend them.

Great characters, great writing. We are currently reading Despereaux — I think I would read anything by Kate DiCamillo.

North and SouthNorth and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first Elizabeth Gaskell book, and I really enjoyed it. I loved witnessing Margaret's change from a pampered girl who was taken care of in every way to a woman acquainted with grief and suffering, one with empathy. Her eyes were really opened when she moved to the industrial town of Milton.

Mr. Thornton is not your typical romantic lead, but I enjoyed getting a peek underneath his gruff exterior at the tenderness within (perhaps awakened by Margaret?).

Really interesting characters.

View all my reviews


Jill said...

Wow, this is seriously impressive!! I feel so slow with my reading progress, only 2 books so far this year!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I love your reading reviews. I often take suggestions from it! Thank you.

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