Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

by on ‎01-17-2012 12:04 PM (2,333 Views)

As an avid reader, its surprises me that I am just beginning to read the fascinating works of Haruki Murakami. This critically-acclaimed Japanese writer and translator has well over a dozen  fiction and non-fiction works, along with a slew of short stories that have been translated into more than 40 languages.


The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

by on ‎10-06-2011 05:00 PM - last edited on ‎10-18-2011 07:53 AM by (3,724 Views)

First, let me disclose that this is my sister…so I readily admit to being biased and loving the book. When People magazine featured it in their Oct. 3rd issue, they gave it 4 stars. I decided that it was probably okay for me to give it the rave review it deserves as well.


Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

by ‎09-09-2011 02:12 PM - edited ‎10-07-2011 11:10 AM (2,648 Views)

One of my favorite authors, Lisa See, once again weaves a brilliantly told story about the lives and times of Chinese women and families. In this sequel to her 2009 Shanghai Girls, we now find Pearl and May, (the two sisters who were forced to flee the country as Japanese bombs demolished their homeland), living in L.A.’s Chinatown.


Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

by on ‎08-08-2011 10:12 AM (1,650 Views)

This fictional “true story” could be considered a prequel to Walls’ first engrossing and acclaimed memoir, The Glass Castle. In the Castle, we learned of the author’s first-hand experience as she survived extreme poverty and deplorable parents. It was a heartbreaking tale, and one that speaks of survival and determination.



The Tin Ticket by Deborah J. Swiss

by ‎05-05-2011 04:12 PM - edited ‎05-05-2011 04:24 PM (2,317 Views)

I’ve heard people speculate that Australia’s wild side is partially due to its residents who are descendents of prisoners. The Tin Ticket sets the record straight as the true nature of these resilient and courageous “criminals” comes to light. These poor souls were unceremoniously shipped from England (and surrounding countries) to Australia in the early 1800s.


The Help

by ‎03-15-2011 05:35 PM - edited ‎03-16-2011 10:42 AM (4,108 Views)

Tenacity and bravery comes in many forms. In Katheryn Stockett’s first novel The Help, we discover a group of individuals who have toiled for years, largely unnoticed and unappreciated, as the black caregivers and maids of white southern families. Its 1962 and Eugenia “Skeeter” Plelan, newly graduated from Ole Miss, returns to her parents’ cotton farm in Jackson, Mississippi.


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

by on ‎02-21-2011 03:27 PM (2,849 Views)

This moving memoir was on the best seller’s list for nearly two years. First released in 2005, it’s worthy of your time if you missed it on the first go round. Author Jeannette Walls shares the intimate story of her and her three siblings shocking and tragic childhood. Rex Walls is their father, who when sober, is a charismatic inventive parent...


The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

by ‎01-31-2011 07:04 AM - edited ‎02-15-2011 09:54 AM (2,436 Views)

As the mother’s pregnant body grew ever larger, the town began to wager on the size of the baby boy that would result. When the massive baby came it was actually a girl, a little giant named Tiffany Price. After her mother dies....


The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee

by ‎01-06-2011 05:44 PM - edited ‎01-06-2011 10:35 PM (2,508 Views)

Reviewed by the Bookworm
This engaging first book by Lee weaves the tale of two women making their way through two distinct time periods in Hong Kong’s oftentimes turbulent history. The first woman, Trudy Liang, is a 1941 sharp-tongued socialite. The second is Claire Pendleton, a 1952 disenchanted housewife of a British engineer. Their complicated connection is Will Truesdale.


Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

by ‎12-27-2010 10:45 AM - edited ‎12-28-2010 09:09 AM (3,103 Views)

While Grisham is brilliant, this story with a bit of scrooge-like undertones, is not. This 2001 novella made its way back to store shelves just in time for holiday shopping this year. Luther Krank (the oh-to-obvious main character’s name should have given away what we were in for…) decides that he’s going to skip Christmas and all the trimmings....


The Poisonwood Bible

by ‎12-05-2010 10:17 PM - edited ‎12-06-2010 07:15 AM (3,312 Views)

By Barbara Kingsolver

Rich in detail, this compelling story follows the experience of an American missionary family. Their journey takes place in 1959, when it was common for Baptist churches to fund excursions of its most devout members to the wilds of the African Congo. They were sent to share their Christian faith with the locals, and hopefully convert a few along the way. The story is told by Oleanna, the wife of the single-minded “man of God”, Nathan Price. His vigilance is so strong that the plight of the locals, and his own family, escape him. His sermons include frequent shouting of the phase, “Tata Jesus is bangala”, not realizing that in Kikongo, bangala not only means “precious and dear”, but also the “poisonwood tree”, a local poisonous plant.


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

by ‎11-11-2010 11:26 PM - edited ‎11-15-2010 01:45 PM (2,817 Views)

by Anne Fadiman

This fascinating story weaves the intricate story of two cultures colliding as a family and doctors work to find the cause of three-month-old Lia Lee’s illness. The first is a Hmong family who are refugees from the CIA-run Quiet War in Laos. The second, a husband/wife team of American pediatricians. Both want the best for Lia, but their ideas clash dramatically over her treatment and diagnosis. Western medicine follows a path toward epilepsy, while the Hmong family, who's beliefs are deeply rooted in rituals and ancestral involvement, refer to her symptoms as a spirit that makes their daughter fall down.


The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

by ‎10-29-2010 02:30 PM - edited ‎11-09-2010 01:01 PM (3,600 Views)

Hairdresser  Rodriguez joined a humanitarian organization after 9/11. One might initially think that there are better relief efforts than opening a beauty school, but this book changes that perception. The school becomes a sanctuary for its students, allowing Afghan women to drop their veils, and their reticence, to share remarkable, and often tragic stories of their daily lives.


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - A Book Review

by ‎10-13-2010 08:00 AM - edited ‎10-14-2010 02:35 PM (2,154 Views)

By Lisa See

(Book reviews are done by the "Bookworm." Let us know what you think of this book...or let us know one of your favorites.) In 19th century China, the perverse and painful practice of foot binding was still a part of a young girl’s childhood—if she wanted to marry into a good family. This story follows two women, bound as “old-sames”, or friends for life…

The story begins with Lily, the 80-year-old matriarch of her village. She brings us back to her childhood days when matchmaker’s were prized for their ability to find even the most headstrong girl a great husband....


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