Thursday, January 12, 2017
A Man Called Ove
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.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Settle for More
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.
Apparently, the questions were leaked out to Mr. Trump ahead of time.
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."
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
Sunday, November 13, 2016
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.
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
Sunday, August 21, 2016
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.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Bigl Little Lies
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.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
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.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The Boston Gitl
by Anita Diamant
I read this a few weeks ago. I thought I posted, but realized I didn't.
Our book club read, The Boston Girl. I absolutely loved this one.
It is about feminism, Jewishness in the 1920's, and many more themes.
I have read a few novels by Anita Diamant. This one is her best, because it brings up social issues, and history for women in the 20th century. Just up my alley, history, women empowerment, etc.
I think I liked it so much because it takes place in Boston. Where most of my family is from. There was so much I wanted to ask my grandparents about Boston when I was younger. The book seems to fill in the gaps of unanswered questions.
Since, I read this a few weeks ago. I can't remember everything. Instead I will give you a couple points about the novel. This is a different type of narrative. Where the grandmother is telling the story about her life from her point of view. The Grand daughter is listening. You almost forget at times the book is told in the first person.
Ava, sweetheart, if you ask me to talk about how I got to be the woman, I am today, what do you think I'm going to say?From the beginning of the novel, we learn about her family, Jewish immigrants. Betty, her sister the rebellious one. Celia, the soft spoken, and accident prone. Addie, between both of them.
They came to the US from Russia moving to the North End of Boston. The unwillingness for immigrants to change their thinking. It was very difficult for Ava, and her sisters of immigrant parents. Because, the children were influenced by the new american lifestyles of their American friends.
There is a part of history that I found was interesting. During the summers she would go to Rock Port, Mass, considered a vacation spot. In the early 20th Century, Rock port Lodge, was bought by many of the companies where the girls worked. The companies bought a hotel for their women workers that were not married. They were given a vacation to spend time in a hotel for $4.00 a day for clean sheets, and going to the beach etc.
Addie had to hide secrets from her family. Without her parent's knowledge she would go to meetings at the settlement house. Where she learned about suffrage. The people she met she became close, and became friends.She now had new influences and her horizons opened up with new experiences. She would get support from her friends. They were more supportive and mentor her, and give her guidance. Where at home she was beaten down and put down constantly. She had a difficult relationship with her mother.
She learned about women empowerment, such as going to college, women's rights, the right for women's to have an abortion. She learned about clothing, and styles. Wearing "pants", which I found interesting in the novel. Women joining the work force, especially for women. How changes for women played a important part on the early 20th century.
The biggest thing in this book was adapting to changes. Don't let people tell you things are better in the old days. Because it was difficult for immigrants to accept change, and new ideas.I enjoyed reading Boston Girl. If you love reading about women empowerment. Pick up this book.
I give it 4 cups. Only because it is slow moving in the beginning and then picks up.
Friday, January 22, 2016
The Hours Count
By Jillian Cantor
The Hours Count, is a different kind of novel. I have read historical fiction before. But, this is quite different. Perhaps because it is contemporary. What makes this different, I think. I have never read anything that is historical fiction that is mainly about a relationship of two women. Yes, I have read historical ficiton. It is usually about the events surrounding the book, not characters. This makes this story more intriguing and different.
The author did change the facts around. My suggestion after you read the book. You should do your own research. I found interesting things on youtube about the Rosenberg trials and executions.
The story makes a interesting read. I always wondered why would someone leave behind their children because of the strong politcal convictions? Why were there U. S. Citizens that would betray their own country? Why did the US government allow a woman to be executed? Putting fear of communism being infiltrated in the United States. I never thought there were spies in the United States. I thought it was a joke. Think of the show, The Americans
I remember as a young child stories of the bomb shelter,bomb drills at school, I used to think how ridiculous this was. After taking this part of history more seriously. I now understand this. After WW2 there was a communism threat. The United States government tired to scare the Americans to death by using fear. The book makes you wonder who is a spy? Who is a communist?
Did you know just like sleeper cells that are in the United States? Yes there are sleeper cells. The Russian government had spies in different parts of government. Who would have suspected. Until it is too late. If you have not seen the documentary on Nova about spies, and the atomic bomb. If you are interested in the subject. The biggest thing was a young American scientist that was spying for the Russian and volunteered information. Would you believe he was seeking out someone in the Russian government. Can you believe that??
After the Russian government built the hydrogen bomb. The Russian spies leaked out the information to Russia. The bomb wouldn't have been built if American spies were helping the Russians. This caused so much fear and political turmoil. Forced the government to be harsh. Unfortunately, Ethel Rosenberg was in the crossfires and the scapegoat.
McCarthyism, causing the government to be harsh, and aggressive. Now, the irrational search was on to find the spies. No one could be trusted.
The Hours Count starts with the first sentence, "On the Night Ethel is suppose to die, the air is heavy to breathe".
Ethel, and Julius are first born Jewish Americans. Ethel has a wonderful relationship with her husband and children. Where Millie's husband is questionable. There are many suspicious and unanswered questions.
Who can you trust.The situation with Ed are starting to get suspicious. There is also a love interest between Millie and David's doctor, Jake. Can he be trusted? There are many twists and turns I didn't suspect at all.
The author took liberties to embellish the story. The author did a good job blended fiction with facts. What Ed did, and tried to do. I'm afraid to tell you anything more. Just to tell you it is worth the read.
The book also brings back nostalgia about our social, and political culture during the 1950's. The pill, planned parenthood, mentally challenged, feminism, psychiatry, husband-wife relationships.
The Hours Count will make great discussion for your book club. I promise you heated.
The book doesn't merit a great prize of fiction. Though, it is a wonderful read to entertain and discuss
the political scare and turmoil of the 1950's.
The Hours Count
By Jillian Cantor
After doing a google search for a novel, and pretty much gave up this year. I found a novel, on the Jewish Book Coucil's website. It was about the Rosenberg's. Already this novel, had me hooked even before I reached the first page. I had heard about them. Only knew they were Jewish, and both husband and wife were executed. I was young then. Didn't understand the implications. As I got older. I realized why this was important. This is still a hot topic. Why, you ask? The start of the Cold War, The wall between E. Germany and W. Germany. The Manhatten Project, Los Alamos,
Personally as a young child I didn't think this was a big deal. But now, years later I realize the implications. The race to make the bomb first. Interesting enough the Russian's build the first bomb first, the Hydrogen bomb. How did this happen? The U.S was embarrassed how this came about first. The United States governement tried to find anyone with information. Who they found was David Greenglass, Ethel Rosenberg's brother. This started the ball rolling. He accused both husband and wife of spying for the United States government. It was found out much later he was protecting his wife. There were plenty of American citizens that wanted to tell Russia what the United States was doing. There were scientists that were spying for the Russian government. Then came McCarthyism. Famous people loosing their reputation, because of the trials. One specific person was Lucille Ball. She was accused, but luckily her reputation was affected. Later on though it didn't ruin her. She was the lucky ones.
I asked the question, why would anyone betray their own government? What I got was people telling me. People were tired of the U. S. government. You are probably wondering why I thought this was important? Because reflecting back on our history. With terrorism with Al-Queda-ISIS. People were scared of the 1950's. Who would have ever guessed we would be in this situation. They are a mass of people,( a man without a country), there isn't a country represented. Instead of mass of terrorists terrorizing us. How did this happen compared to what happened in the 1950's. Russia, a country may build a bomb. We are not as worried about them as we are about ISIS. It is so ironic that Russia and US have a different kind of worries.
I started thinking this would be a bouncing off board from the novel to discuss the political climate. I know I am right. I brought this book up with my book club. There was already heated conversation. No one read the book yet, except for me. I can't imagine what heated conversation this is going to start when we actually read the book, and skype the author. Even if the book is not great. It is a wonderful springboard for discussion.
It was decided in conjuction with Jewish Grand Strand Reads and Hadassah Carolina Mizrah with a combined effort will come together to host a skyping program. Also we will be hosting a documentary that was directed and produced by Ethel and Julius Rosenberg''s grand daughter called, Heir to the Execution. If you live in Myrtle Beach area. You are welcome to join us.