The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall

 

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was the best book I read in 2017 by far!  It is going to be my pick for book club in June!

Willow Havens, a 10 year old girl is a little obsessive over the fear that her mother will die.  Given the fact that her mother does happen to be the same age as most of our grandparents…Polly is anything but old and boring.

Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to shoot varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late fifties when Willow was born, so Willow knows she’s here by accident, a late-life afterthought. Willow’s father died before she was born, her much older brother and sister are long grown and gone and failing elsewhere. It’s just her and bigger-than-life Polly.

Willow has no inkling to Polly’s past life before she came into the world.  It’s her goal to find out the clues before…you know…her mother dies! Willow wants to know – why did Polly leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return? Who is Garland Jones, her long-ago suitor who possibly killed a man? And will Polly be able to outrun the Bear, the illness that finally puts her on a collision course with her past?

This is a very highly recommend read! I loved every second of it!

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My book club wanted to read a classic and this was what was chosen.  To many of us it was a struggle…

I had never read the actual version of this book, I had a ‘downed’ version for younger readers.  To my surprise, it was pretty challenging to read.  There was just SO MUCH DETAIL!  I do recommend readers to at least try to read any version of this classic tale, or even watch a film adaption!

VIA Goodreads –>

One of the most beloved books of all time, Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen’s most popular book- has been resonating with readers since it was first published in 1813 and has been adapated many times for television, movies, and books.

When headstrong and independent Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters, is required to find a wealthy husband, her encounter with the arrogant Mr. Darcy leads to one of the most entertaining and satisfying courtships ever imagined. Beyond the romance, Pride and Prejudice is a book full of humor and wit that is also a commentary on upper-class social manners at the turn of the nineteenth century.

 

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I am a fan of Charles Dicken’s amazing writing.  We read this for our Christmas theme for book club and it didn’t disappoint!  I read this as as e-book and highlighted many lines through out.  Dicken’s just has a way with words that is so poetic!

We discussed the essence of the actual cricket and the many meanings we thought it had through out the story for each character.  It was a great discussion!

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

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Rating: ♥ ♥

This is satire piece with the portrayal of the human life from the viewpoint of Screwtape, a senior tempter for “Our Father Below”.  C.S. Lewis gives readers letters of correspondence from Screwtape to his newphew Wormwood who is a ‘novice’ demon in charge of securing the damnation of a young man.

The book was comical at times, but I really couldn’t get into it.  I stated at book club that I felt like the story was similar to the movie “Monsters Inc.” where there is an underworld of schooling these ‘demons’ go to and then are thrown up into the world of humans to get their ‘scare meters’ up to 100!

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

This was a book that was picked at our book club for a classic genre.  Via Goodreads – “When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin’s daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation.

Aside from its unusually frank treatment of a then-controversial subject, the novel is widely admired today for its literary qualities. Edmund Wilson characterized it as a work “quite uninhibited and beautifully written, which anticipates D. H. Lawrence in its treatment of infidelity.” Although the theme of marital infidelity no longer shocks, few novels have plumbed the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship with the perception, artistry, and honesty that Kate Chopin brought to The Awakening.”

It was a very short story that abruptly ended and left you feeling like there should of been more.  But once the discussion started at book club, we all found that there was more to the book that met the eye which made for interesting perspectives on the matters.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

This book was so beautiful and haunting, a story of the broken destinies of two young protagonists, during World War II. There is Marie-Laure, a French blind girl, forced to flee Paris and the routine of her safe and familiar life, with her father. Then there is snow-haired Werner, a young German private, keen, resourceful and thrown in a war he doesn’t fathom.

Marie-Laure lives with her father near the Museum of Natural History in Paris.  Her father works as the “master of its thousands of locks”.  Ever since Marie-Laure went blind at the age of six, she as been memorizing the neighborhood via a perfect miniature rendition her father has made.  She can navigate easily now.  Then the war comes when she is twelve.  Her and her father flee to an uncles house by the sea, where they think they will be safe.  Although with them, they happen to carry the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In Germany, Werner grows up with his younger sister Jutta and many others at an orphanage.  They find an old radio one day and their lives were changed forever. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

All the Light We Cannot See is undeniably a masterpiece. The characters are well developed throughout the novel, the settings are lush with expository passages that help entrench the reader in Marie-Laure’s sightless world, and is ultimately a novel of optimism in a time of doom.  This is a highly recommended read!

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!