The Trees by Ali Shaw

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is the first book that I would EVER want to read over and over again.  First, we need to pause and admire this amazing cover.  It has so much meaning to me now that I’ve finished the book, but prior, it was what incited me to indulge in the story it held behind it.  The book is quite hefty being close to 500 pages, but I promise you that you won’t even notice.  Reading this was a journey; at times light, and at others so heavy I felt myself shrinking into the couch. I loved every minute of it.

In the dead of night, without any warning, they came.  The trees.  They came without remorse for what damage was to come or who would be in the way of their rapid eruption from the earth.  The aftershock of creaks and groans were heard then, the sound of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins… Why had they come.  What did they want?

The story seemed to revolved around Adrien Thomas, a man who in the beginning you think will not ever be able to make it in this abruptly “new” world but he has no choice once he realizes that help isn’t coming.  His wife Michelle is thousands of miles away in Ireland, across the sea and Adrien has no way of knowing whether she is alive or if the trees had come for her too.

On his way out of his destroyed town he meets Hannah and her son Seb.  Although Adrien would prefer to travel alone, Hannah will not have it.  Her and Seb are setting out as well to reunite with her brother who lives in the forest.  Then they plan to help Adrien reunite with his wife.  Although nothing could have prepared them for what was to come. This has become a fascinating, frightening and grim world to traverse into filled with new strange creatures and animals alike.

THIS is a book you MUST read dear followers.  Dig into it and smell the freshly turned soil, experience the authors poetic way of writing.  Let the story take you into the dark heart of nature where you will find it’s beauty and this book may just change the way you look at the world we live in.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

~Book Club Selection~ A Novel Idea’s book for March!

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

A Man called Ove was a laugh and a tear jerker for me.  Ove is a grumpy old man. A man of principle. And not very nice. He was never a talker and not very social either. It’s the way he is, and there is a reason too. His wife Sonja died recently and he just can’t take life anymore. In flashbacks we learn how he meets Sonja, how they build a life together in which he absolutely adores her. He misses her dearly and when we meet Ove he actually makes several attempts to end his life as he sees no use living on without her. However, the neighborhood prevents him to do so…. He meets a new family who comes to live in his neighborhood. A pregnant woman, a clumsy husband, and two little daughters. The first encounters with the various family members are hilarious. And Ove meets a cat, who comes to live with him. And other colorful neighbors follow…. he does not want to connect with them at all, but it can’t be helped. And then… the story really starts. And Ove, without wanting it, bonds… with the cat and with the family. And the other neighbors.

This book was fantastic!  I had previously read Fredrik Backman’s  “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” and this book was just as enjoyable!  This book is about the transformations we go through in life and how different events within our life affect, shape us, and make us who we are today.  This book is a journey. For Ove, for Ove’s surroundings and for the reader. It is a magnificent tale about true love, Saab and the fact that what you see isn’t always what you get.  Ove is melodramatic but he will make you laugh and cry and you’ll be glad that you met him in the end.  A highly recommend read!

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home (Mennonite #1) by Rhoda Janzen

Book-Club

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Rating: ♥ ♥

This is the first book in my new post series “Book Club Selections”, as they are books that we have read for our book club ~ A Novel Idea!

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her brilliant husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her with serious injuries. What was a gal to do? Rhoda packed her bags and went home. This wasn’t just any home, though. This was a Mennonite home. While Rhoda had long ventured out on her own spiritual path, the conservative community welcomed her back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she date her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.) It is in this safe place that Rhoda can come to terms with her failed marriage; her desire, as a young woman, to leave her sheltered world behind; and the choices that both freed and entrapped her.

Written with wry humor and huge personality—and tackling faith, love, family, and aging—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.

I will be completely honest with you, this book was difficult for me to get through.  I stepped out of my box, which is why I wanted to join a book club, and this one to me was just not a winner. All things considered I did find humor in a few places!  Sad to say, she pretty much used up her good material within the first few chapters, after that I felt as though she was rambling on, going no where.  Here’s another thing, the author makes a point of mentioning that she is an English professor and a grammarian who is often asked to edit her colleagues’ research papers and has in fact taken on a paying editing gig in the wake of her divorce. Apparently, these editorial skills don’t extend to fact-checking (in which her copy editor also failed her), since the text is sprinkled with such things as “Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers” (the actual name is spelled Bonne Bell).

Although I think the part that kept me reading the book was that it was interesting to me all the skills that Mennonites have.  Now a days you won’t find kids in the kitchen learning how to make bread or learning to sew.  Still, this was a bizarre read. I had no idea what to expect of this book but I’m glad that I stepped out of my ‘norm’ to take a shot at it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter.

Some Writer! is one of the best biographies, for kids, that I have ever read!  Seriously! E. B. White is one of my most favorite authors.  If you don’t know the name, he is the author of the iconic Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, among many others.

The mixed media approach calls for the reader to slow down to observe all the details and sweet emphasizes, that E. B. White did himself. It’s filled with maps and collages that connect to the stories/chapters included of his life. There are thirteen chapters, among them, White’s beginnings and his work for The New Yorker magazine, his three books, and his collaboration on a new edition of The Elements of Style. His love of solitude and being in nature is evident in nearly every chapter. A beginning page, for children’s use especially, is a full-page picture of a manual typewriter, and an explanation of how it works. There are pages of actual pictures of White’s manuscripts, some hand-written, some typed; and a page about boat building, which is a surprising thread throughout the book. He was given a canoe by his father when he was young, and when the family spent summers in Maine. And, among others owned, late in life his son built him another one. (His son became a boat builder!) He spent much time canoeing and sailing on the water, observing, thinking about life.

The whole thing is a masterpiece. It’s so lovingly and expertly written and illustrated – capturing White’s essence perfectly.  For any literary lovers, this is a must for your personal library!  I cannot wait to read a few more books from E.B. White such as a book full of letters.  A beautiful, exceptionally written book that is a gift to us all!

This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs by Gary Paulsen

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you do not know who Gary Paulsen is….then we can’t be friends….I supposed we COULD, but you must read his books!  Gary Paulsen is the Newbery Honor–winning author of Hatchet and Dogsong . In this book he shares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure.

Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.

His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.

I found this book in Juvenile non-fiction section at the library and due to that fact, the book to me was too short!  I want to hear more of his stories other than those I have already read!  I highly suggest you read about the very interesting life of Gary Paulsen!  You will wonder where and when did he have time to write over 200 books?  A fantastic author and person to read about!

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In spite of the macabre topic, Mary Roach must have had a ball doing her footwork for this book. Not happy to glean her information from published sources, Mary traveled extensively to conduct her research, and had doors opened for her that I doubt get opened very often.  This book has so many interesting tidbits on what happens to our bodies after we die. I was amazed and fascinated by the history and current research being done on human cadavers.   Although this book is not for the faint of heart, as we are obviously talking about cadavers here, you will yet find the interesting history behind the medical research being done every day to SAVE YOUR LIFE!  This was a book that I had to take in stride, due to all the information in each chapter that sent me pondering into the next day!  If your up for it, check this book out and let me know what you think!!

The Best Man by Richard Peck

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Richard Peck, a Newbery Medalist, has written us readers a novel about gay marriage from a kid’s point of view!

Archer is a 6th grader who has a great life full of friends, family and wonderful teachers.  He soon finds out that his uncle Paul is about to marry another man.  The man he is going to marrying just happens to be Archer’s favorite student teacher.  Not only that, but Archer is to be the ring bearer!

The big talking point of the book will be that Archer realizes that his favorite uncle is gay, but this really wasn’t main point of the story. Yes, the uncle gets married to a man, but this was addressed in such a supportive and accepting way that it was never an “issue”. It’s just a part of life, no big deal to him.

This is a great book that emphasize the importance of family, no matter what the circumstance thrown their way.  A controversial topic handled with honesty, humor, and insight.   Richard Peck is an excellent story teller, the mundane and everyday ordinary lives of his characters are so real and well written!