Friday, March 3, 2017

Book Review: Orphan #8

I am updating all my reviews. Some of the books I can't give you the details. What I remember is that a tragedy unfolds. The children are sent away to a Jewish foster home. They are separated which makes the story sad. At the same time the story seemed like a parallel to the holocaust. As experiments were done to the children in the foster home. When she grows up. She works a nurse. She is confronted with one of her patients. Her elderly patient is now in her care. She was a doctor. She did experiments on the children. She is reminded of the experiments when she is confronted. The entire theme to me was about can you forgive? Or do you do the deadly crime? Reminded me of Simon Wisenthal. When he was confronted with someone that assisted with the holocaust. You will just have to read the book to decide. It is full of historical truths of the foster home.

The author used some of her family background to write the story. I particularly didn't like the book. Because it was sad. I usually do like to read historical fiction but not this one. But, if you want to learn about the living conditions of the Jewish home than this book is for you. Thank goodness conditions in the Jewish home don't happen any longer.

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png


Marjorie Morningstar
By Herman Wouk

Our book club, chose to read Marjorie Morningstar for our February meeting. I was hesitant to read the book. Because it was such a long novel. We discussed how we were going to discuss a long book. But, we chose to read it in one month.

Some of the book club members have read the novel before, but years ago. Most of them read it in their teens in the 1950's.. So at that time most of the members thought the novel was relatable. But, now they have a different perspective.

Some of the members thought that Noel was a terrible perspective for a boyfriend for Marjorie. That Marjorie was a spoiled little rich girl. She was so rebellious. Did everything opposite what her parents expected.

The book takes place in the 1930's before the war. I couldn't believe the author was the same author that wrote the novel, War and Peace and other books. I never understood how he could write a romance novel. I couldn't relate to the book at all. I could not see this as timeless. Because I couldn't relate to the novel at all. Perhaps if I was a teen I could relate to it. Because a teenager I could see her being rebellious. Like any teenager. But, reading as an adult in mid life I couldn't relate. I thought she was reckless, and radical, having, and talking sex openly.

The writing is straight narrative. Now, many authors have different and varied writing styles, and have different types of skills to write a novel. For example, some authors, write using flashbacks, other write subjective, and objective writing. The modern writing styles grab you most of the time. They don't use long sentences like Mr. Wouk did.  The writing with Wouk were long and descriptive.

Also, I noticed the author using, " The Father", The Mother", as a authoritarian. Instead of using, mother, and father. I didn't like any of the characters, I think the only character I liked was the Uncle.
The only part of the novel I liked was the early part of the book. When they were at the Bar-Mitzvah, and at the camp. It reminded me of the stories of my Mom and Dad growing up. Also reminded me of Dirty Dancing.

I am glad we read the book because reading a book that was written year ago. To hear the perspective of the ladies that read it when they were younger. Was wonderful hearing their perspective of the novel. I struggled through it because it was a book club book. If I was reading it for my pleasure. I think I would have put it down.                                                                

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Book Review: The Making of Donald Trump

The Making of Donald Trump
By David Cay Johnston

I was never interested in Donald Trump. Living in the metro area of New York. I used to hear the gossip and troubles, and womanizing in the 80's in the news, and on TV, and newspapers. He's wife, and lovers. I thought he was disgusting. I didn't know the half of it. There is even more in the concise biography of Donald Trump.
I was disconnected because I didn't know anything about Trump being on TV, on the Apprentice.

 I never followed politic until this year. I was a republican until this year. When I turned to the democratic party. I didn't want Hilary Clinton, but I definately didn't want to see Donald Trump. I could see right through him. Where most of my other friends, and family didn't.

 I saw him as reckless, and a dangerous man. he has no conscience, no heart, conflict of interest, what does a wealthy business man have to gain to become president? ,How does he understand the average person's problems? . He is up in Trump Tower. He is unaware of most of our daily financial problems. He has so many business interests all over the world. You are going to tell me he isn't looking out for himself? He definately is. He is going to benefit becoming president. Passing laws that benefit him and he's family. You tell me he is going to disassociate himself from his business. I can see him  at Thanksgiving dinner. He isn't going to ask his son," What's going on". He reacts before he thinks, He is so thin skin. He attacks people, etc, etc, and it keeps continuing each day. Our heads get dizzy with news or distractions It is so mind blowing.

So finally, I decided to give the benefit of the doubt to read this concise short book on Trump. I thought maybe it will give me a different aspect, WRONG!!
He's grandfather, father were pretty terrible people. Trump, and his siblings decided to sue one of his brothers. The family was contesting the suit. Saying one of the brother's didn't deserve being part of the will. So instead the family decided to stop their health insurance. Which involved the brother's baby son who was gravely ill. I told you Trump had no heart.

Donald Trump has unscrupulous business practices, reckless when dealing in business, He has no regard for others only what benefits himself. He has a lack of business ethics, and judgments in business.

Each of the chapters are made up of controversial items in his life. Whether it is unethical or criminal. The only problem is Trump seems to get away with it. He is able to find a loophole or pay someone off. It starts with him being a slum lord in the New York City projects, or taking from the government monies that he uses cheaper materials and then pockets the money. He doesn't pay people he owes for work that is done. He boasts that he just bought a million dollar project. Then reneges it, and then says the property is less. He then pays less in taxes, Trump University fiasco. Students paying large amount of money. He promises he is going to hand pick he's faculty. Which he doesn't. He then brands his property. He has someone else do the work. He proclaims he is a billionaire. But, reading it appears he doesn't. It is important to hide his so called wealth. Because banks will not simultaneously loan money to him if they realize he is not.

I realize this because, why would he not pay contractors and employees he owed money too. He also was bankrupt several times. Banks and lawyers saved his butt only because of the self interest of themselves. Realizing it was better that they give him more time to pay them back. He was involved with football leagues and tried to pull a fast one with them. He has never given to charities. If he has it is money he has given from the Trump Foundation to give back to the Trump Foundation. He knows the loopholes to get away from paying taxes for years, and the same with the Casino Commission. Ridiculous. He is basically cheating us, We the People. He is fine with cheating the government for years. Paying $0 in taxes. Piggybacking on others. How he can sleep at night. I wonder what he's children are like. I would think they would be embarrassed to know he's father did this. Or they are just like him.

 He also was involved with the mafia, gangsters,etc. He also was involved with using concrete instead steel regulations. Sounds to me like a Hoffa cover-up??! The whole book turned my stomach.And this is years ago before he was ever thinking about becoming president.  The book should have been required reading for any Trump supporter. Now, look what we got ourselves into America!

There is so much more than I discussed. The list goes on, and on... If you want to learn more, I suggest you pick up the book by Pulitzer prize winner, David Cay Johnston.

The Making of Donald Trump reads like a gotcha book. It grabs you from the first page. The book reads like a newspaper article. It is fast reading. Each chapter takes a piece of Donald Trump's controversial life. I don't know how this man can sleep at night. He evades paying taxes for years. He is proud of it. He even said at the debates, I'm smart.I got away not to have to pay taxes.

I am sharing my thoughts... The book doesn't cover anything about the presidential race, and when he becomes president. The one thing that bothered me is that he never apologized for his strategy for being divisive and dividing the country. I never heard him defend any of the minority groups. He finally says something a week ago. It's a bit too late. Then he's excuse when Israeli Prime Minister comes to Washington. A question is posed to him. He answers with the voting numbers again. Then brings up his daughter is Jewish. He's daughter is a convert. That doesn't mean he sees his daughter as Jewish. He used her marriage and her husband as a political ploy. Also when other presidents see a crisis the president steps up to the plate to decrease anxiety of the United States citizens. He doesn't.
 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Club: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman

I am posting A Man Called Ove a bit late. I read it about three weeks ago. So pardon if it is a bit sketchy. I will try my best to give you the highlights shared by my book club as well as my thoughts.

When you first pick up the novel. You fear the novel is going in one direction. Surprised to say it goes differently. Each chapter is named with a cute picture of a tool.  The novel is a wonderful read. It is a breath of fresh air. Each chapters are short. The direction the novel takes when he is an "old man", to when he was young.  The way the author does flashback is very different than other books I have read. Perhaps because the author is Swedish, rather than from the U.S.

I loved reading, A Man Called Ove. The novel opens when he is much older. Then goes back to when he was growing up.  As I was reading the book I thought he was much older than 59. I expected him to be much older perhaps in his 70's.

Ove wants to end his life. He thinks there is nothing to look forward to in life after his wife died.  Each time he tries something, or someone interferes with him committing suicide.  In comes his foreign neighbors that rams his mailbox. Once this happens nothing is the same again.  Situation after situation prevent him from ending his life. Ove is rigid. He can't think anything outside of the box. He follows the rules. He can get very angry when other people don't think like he does. He face looks mad.

He has lived in the small community for years in Sweden. He seems not to like his community, or the people in it. Always fighting with someone. But, then it seems after awhile the community comes to love, and adore him. But, also Ove comes to mellow with his neighbors, and love them. The community seems to embrace Ove, and watch out for him.

After his wife passes away. For years he lives alone, and lonely. Then a cat appears at his door step. He hates that cat. Til he finally takes the cat in and falls for the cat. This is just one of the situations. There is more to the story about the cat. But, I don't want to spoil it.

Ove, is so rigid, the story is so funny. He lost his friendship with a friend over  a car! Ove only likes the Saab. Then his friend buys a Toyota. Their friendship is lost because of a car!! There is some serious parts. Especially when he's friend becomes ill. In Sweden, the country can take a citizen and put him away in a nursing home. Ove tries to help him avoid this happening.

This is definately a feel-good, uplifting book that you can't forget about Ove.  I don't want to go in the specifics that will make you laugh, cry, smile, etc. Rather, just letting you know( my readers), that it is worth the read.

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Settle For More, and More: Book Review

Settle for More
Megyn Kelly

My own copy

I didn't have any idea who Megyn Kelly is until the presidential campaign of 2016. She is a woman not to be wrestled with. She is feisty, hard nosed, and very competitive. This is how you see her on Fox News on the Kelly Files.

The memoir, Settle for More gives you a bit more depth of her growing up. It gives you intimate details of her life story. I don't know if I would share some of the very intimate feelings she shares. Some of the book comes off as a "self help", and a bit preachy. The reason I purchased the book was because of the presidential campaign. I was curious. There is not much about it only about a chapter or two.

I am really not sure why she wrote the memoir she is still young( 45 years old). She still has a lot more to say I am sure as her years continue. I don't usually read memoirs so that may be my issue. Usually author's of memoirs have contributed something. Megyn Kelly has not given anything back to society. I am not talking about financial. There isn't any causes that talks about or believes in.

There are a few topics that I would have thought she would have gotten into more detail. She says she doesn't like excuses. Everything with her has been hard work. She says she isn't  a "feminist". But, she is strong willed, and hard nails attitude.

I think most people thought the book would be about the controversy about President-Elect Trump and how she handled the controversy. If you think that is what the book is. I wouldn't suggest you purchase it. There is only a couple chapters at the end and the first chapter about the issue. She does discuss it but not in length. She also discusses the sexual harassment issue with the big honcho, Roger Ailes.

I was very disappointed that she didn't do anything about it. She decided not to pursue it because it would jeopardize her job at Fox News. She only came forward when she learned a couple other employees came forward. I was disappointed that she didn't defend her colleague, Gretchen Carlson. She preaches to the choir that this shouldn't happen at any workplace in her book. But, then stands down. Writing about it and acting upon it are two different things. Writing about it is not going to change anything. Acting upon it does. She claims because she was a "newbie" on the job is why she didn't come forward. Yes, I have no right to criticize unless I am in her shoes. But still.....

There were some good points in the book about school bullying that she experienced in 7th grade that affected later on in life. She later didn't realize she was protecting herself by not giving into her emotions. Later on she learned with the help of a counselor how to open up to her colleagues and associates and effectively make friends. It is OK to be vulnerable. Changing jobs in midstream of your life. Having a high powered job and juggle marriage with children.

The juicy part was yet to come about her exposure to Trump after the debate. She was threatened not by Presidential candidate Trump but by his followers and executives that worked for him. She does talk about leading up to the time Mr. Trump decided to run he was calling her and praising her. It leads to believe as well as her that he had intentions of running for president. He was lining up his eggs in a row to call in favors from the media, and elsewhere.

Which shes does say that Trump was trying to buy gifts for the newscasters of the big brass of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS. She doesn't state if anyone did. But, she does believe that there was a possibility that the news stations may have been manipulated not to be fair, being easier on Mr. Trump. Also that Mr. Ailes and Mr Trump ran in the same circles that Mr. Ailes could have shown favoritism to Mr. Trump in his favor. Or just got more news coverage than the other candidates.

It is also suggested that she may have been poisoned the day of the Republican Primary Debates on her way to work by the taxi driver. He insisted that after he drops her off. He will bring her a cup of Starbuck's Coffee. After putting in her book. On interviews she has recanted the statement. They why is it in the book or even suggested?!!

Ms. Kelly is hard as nails and did come straight to the point asking Mr. Trump about his degrading comments about women.  On August 6th 2015 at the first primary republican debates.

Kelly: "You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'slobs,' and 'disgusting animals.' Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?"
Trump: "What I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry, I've been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treatedme. But I wouldn't do that to you."
Apparently, the questions were leaked out to Mr. Trump ahead of time.

After reading the book I did more research on my own about Megyn Kelly. No one should be sexual harassed in the work place. But, it sends a mixed message what I found Howard Stern's program with Megyn Kelly exchanges lude remarks on his program. It is OK to be yourself on a show to market yourself. But, not to the point of it is disgusting, It is sending the double standard.
Is she marketing her self as a "sex symbol", or hard as nails reporter? I was shocked. Playing along to publicize herself.

Yes, she should be proud of where she is but don't glout. The book seemed to me almost like a self-help. Preachy telling the reader how to improve. There were parts of the book that made it sound like she was better than other.

I haven't read a memoir in a long time. It gave me insight to the corporate world, and broadcasting. I did find that interesting.  working in a man's world must be tough. She worked hard to get where she is. Her looks and her sexual appeal helped her along as well. Settle for More did hold my interest. The best part was during the presidential race. Here is an article here

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2 AM at the Cat's Pajamas

2 A. M. at the Cat's Pajamas
By Marie Helene Bertino

I had picked 2 am at the Cat's Pajama's for our book club. I was surprised what the book was actually about. I had thought it took place during the prohibition of the 1920's. What a shock that was. It started talking about a cell phone. That was such a disappointment. I expected the book to be quite different. Well, I kept on reading expecting it to get better. Unfortunately, it didn't. I liked the premise of the story about a little girl. But, then there were many more different characters that didn't jive with the story. The interconnecting characters just didn't connect well.

The story is about Madeline a young little girl. Her mother passed away. Her father was going through a lot of torture after loosing his wife. He couldn't relate to his daughter. He's daughter was getting in trouble in school for different things. The last straw was lice in her hair. The principle kicked her out of school.  Then the community became involved with Madeline since the father was so devastated about his wife's death. Which has already been quite awhile. We meet the owner of the Cat's Pajamas. The club is in trouble for violations. It will soon be closed up. Then one of Madeline's teacher. Has her own man trouble.

I had trouble with the father. I had no compassion for him. You pull yourself up and do it for your child. He had no sense to get over it. It was quite stupid in my eyes. Your children come first.

The end of the story is when Madeline sings at the club. That is when all three characters connect to each other. I am sorry it didn't do anything for me. The writing was too simplistic, and childish. The book each chapter went with the hour of the day and the character. I did like how the author changed the time. If only I liked the story.  I was  disappointed. I expected it to be different. More about the father-daughter relationship.

Oh, well you can't have everything. Hoping the next book for book club will be better. It is actually my fault. I picked it. Just like every book. Or book club selection. You are not always going to like it.
The most hated books are going to be the ones that are great for discussion. Most everyone  didn't like this book either. Not many read the book.

 Our next book club is a latke party for December. We are reading" A Man Called Ove". I have heard a lot about this one. They actually adapted it to a movie in Sweden.

My Review:
 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Empty Mansion

Empty Mansions
By Bill Dedman
Paul Clark Newell Jr.

If you thought you heard, and knew the story of Hugette Clark.
 You should check out the book, Empty Mansion.
It was written by a man who was playing a game when he was searching for a new home for his family in Connecticut. He didn't realize what he stumbled across.  By chance he was NBC investigative reporter, Bill Dedman. The investigative reporting is on NBC website

I bought Empty Mansions because of the synopsis on the back cover. Who would want to live the rest of her days in a hospital room? Well, Hugette Clark did? She left her mansion empty for 20 years till her death.

She was born during the gilded age to W. A. Clark, and Anna. WA was born in Pennsylvania. Then moved out west.  He dabbled in mercantile, gold, banking, mining, and then became founder of Las Vegas known as Clarke County today. He became US senator in Montana which didn't fly to well, He also was a railroad baron. He was worth billions of dollars. Was compared to the Vanderbilts, and Rockefeller.

Hugette Clark was born into wealth with her older sister. She was born in 1906 in Paris.
Then 4 years later her family moved back to the U. S. Her sister died very tragically. She eventually married, but that was short lived. She lived with her parents, then with her mother. She was a very quiet person, and stayed to her self. Only went out with her mother.  She learned very early to be weary of people because of her millions.

Her family owned a home in Santa Barbara on the coastline. After her mother passed away she didn't visit any longer. She stayed in her home with her mother in New York City. She also bought a estate in Connecticut that was never used.

Hugette was worth millions, she was an artist, collector, of art, dolls, doll houses and paintings. She gave away money frivolously to many of her friends. Her employees she was very generous.

At the last twenty years of her life. She left her mansion in NYC. She was to be checked out by the doctors in Beth Israel and never left. They took her millions while she was staying in an ordinary room without a view. Her family came out of the wood work before she passed away. The only heir to her millions was her nurse for 20 years. The family protested the will.

There was more to this story. It was a fascinating story to read about the beautiful homes, and collections of dolls, and lithographs. Unfortunately her lawyers and accountants didn't keep records and watch over her fortunes. Some of her jewels became missing. As well as her Degas- Ballerinas.

She invested well in her fortunes and didn't die penniless. I enjoyed reading The Empty Mansion and learning about this fascinating woman. Not just about her eccentricities. But also her life. The changes in time from the Gilded age 1906. She lived through the sinking of the Titanic, to 9/11, to the election of President Obama. What a history to tell!!!

You can read further and see her possessions online. I posted a link on more about her. You also can check out youtube, and do your own research about this fascinating woman

My review

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: Before The Fall

Before the Fall
By Noah Hawley

Before the Fall is a different summer suspense novel. Usually most beach reads, don't go into the characters. That is what makes this novel so interesting. Because it does lead into a character study.

It does take awhile to get into the story. I will confess I was looking forward to reading. It took me quite awhile to build up the story. I may be one of the few that didn't love the book. I did like the story behind the characters. I know this is a double negative and I apologize to the english critiques. Before the Fall disappointed me. I was expecting a bit more. Because of the fanfare about this book all summer. It was such a let down.  I was at the end, REALLY! what a bummer.

The story takes place from Martha's Vineyard to NYC on a flight all of a sudden the plane crashes in the Atlantic Ocean. With 10 people on board, and only 2 survive. A painter, down on his luck. He was not suppose to be there and a young boy, 4 years old. The only surviving member of a wealthy family.

I didn't care for the story itself. But, what I did care for was the interweaving chapters about each of the individuals on the plane. The story didn't make it for me but the characters. That is different for me. I am the kind of person that cares about the story not the characters. This time it is the other way around.

 I was not given a copy to review.

I do suggest not reading till after your plane flight. I give it three tea cups.

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Club Read: Big Little Lies

Bigl Little Lies
Liane Moriarty

My own copy

Our book club will be discussing Big Little Lies in about two weeks. Some of our members wanted to read something fun and delicious. So, here it is. It took awhile to get into the story. Once you get into it there is not turning back. It grabs you. The novel is not a literary sensation. But, it is a fun read once you are drawn into the characters. My problem is knowing who was who. The book I think does have alot to discuss for a beach read. There is meat to it. For instance, bullying, child competition, parenting, parent competition, abuse, domestic abuse, school playground, teaching, and of course murder. You say murder, what does that have to do with school children?

You will just have to read the book to find out. I am not going to divulge anything else. I enjoyed reading. From the start I am in my mid 50's, re-mincing about being a parent years ago brought back memories. There always seemed to be competition against the parents. But, I think it is more so now, then when I was bringing up my son. My girlfriend would tell me about her daughter's children. It just reminded me from the start. The first two chapters had me rolling in laughter.

If you are looking for something fun to read and entertained this is it. There is topics to bring up if you are interested in reading for book club. The author has several other books. Also, this book is being adapted for a movie on HBO with Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman.  Can't wait to see it.  As a beach read I give it 3 stars only because it took me awhile to read and to keep up with the characters.

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png

Saturday, March 26, 2016

10th Anniversary Book Club Discussion

The Bridal Chair
By Gloria Goldreich

Our book club met this month for our tenth anniversary celebration. We decided on The Bridal Chair. Some of us were reluctant to read because we all thought it was romance.  W were wrong.Elaine Karpel, a snowbird from upstate New York. Arranged for the author, Gloria Goldreich to speak to us through speaker phone. It was wonderful listening to her and learning about the Chagall's and what she thought.

The Bridal Chair, is not about Marc Chagall instead it is centered on his daughter, Ida. The author states that the novel, Bridal Chair is pretty accurate on the life of Marc Chagall's daughter and her father, Marc and her mother Bella.

I reviewed Bridal Chair about a month ago after our book club. I am surprised I still remember some of it. Some of it is somewhere in my memory. Please forgive me if I am not accurate in places, people at exact time and names. I would like to thank Source Book for sending me a review copy and allowing our book club to talk to the author, Gloria Goldreich. Also here is a few other reviews here,

Our book club had our tenth anniversary this month. We met at my friend's house, Carrol's. The theme of food was Russian, French, Jewish cuisine.  There was so much food, and drinks. Our belly's were quite full. My friend Donna's husband made a cake for the occasion.

We had great conversation. There was so much to discuss about Ida, and her parents. The family dynamics, Jewish rejection or wasn't it?, What does he's drawings represents? His daughter relationship with his father? Thank you Elaine for arranging the author to speak to us. Thank you Gloria.

Kate Lloyd, from Simon and Schuester was so kind. As a gift  for our tenth anniversary. Simon and Schuester Publishing gave each of the book club members a copy of, The Lights We Cannot See to our book club she gave us ten copies of the novel, We will be discussing next month. Thank you for all the hard work to put this together. For the publicist's and authors that worked with us to put this together. It was wonderful.

 photo POSTSIG_zpsbfb68bd5.png