Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Reading

"The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien
This is not an easy book to read.  The author writes candidly about the war in Vietnam.  He describes, in the form of short stories and snippets of stories, the things the men carried with them into battle both physical and emotional.  I"m finding it hard to read because it's real and raw.  In some ways it reminds me of the tv series "Mash" which was humorous one moment and desperately sad the next.  It's a book I won't forget.

"Maisie Dobbs" by Jacqueline Winspear
I love these books and I'm re-reading the series.  This is the first book in the series and we are reading it for Book Club this month.  With the "upstairs downstairs" stories of life in a big house and Maisie's uncanny ability to get to the truth, it is part Downton Abbey, part Sherlock!  The book is set between the first and second World Wars and when we first meet her, Maisie is a psychologist and private investigator just starting out in her own practice.  Later in the book we are taken back in time to Maisie's childhood, learn about the loss of her mother and Maisie's subsequent job as a maid in a big house. WW1 interrupts her education and she enlists as a nurse.  This book is a detective story, a mystery, a love story and a war story.  I enjoy the depth of the characters the descriptive settings.  The exciting storylines keep me turning the pages!

"Birds Of A Feather" by Jacqueline Winspear
This is the second in the series and once again the author weaves together multiple story threads to form a wonderful tapestry.  

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry
I have been meaning to read this book since my son read it in elementary school (he's in college now!).  The release of the movie reminded me and since I don't like to see a movie if I haven't read the book, I thought I'd better just do it!  In the Communities there is sameness, everyone has an assigned career path and there is no violence or crime.  At the same time, there is no color, no emotion, no choices and no love.  In the book Jonas discovers he is different from his friends, he can see beyond what is.  In the ceremony where all the twelve year old children are assigned a career, Jonas is left till the very end and is assigned the job of "Receiver of Memories".  He has to train with the man who previously held this title and who is now the "Giver."  Jonas now begins to see in color and to experience the memories of the ages both good and bad.  I couldn't put this story down, I wanted to know how it turned out for Jonas.  I could see how someone might find the book depressing, there are some parts which are disturbing, but I thought the ending was full of hope.  I also thought the movie captured the feel of the book very well.

"The Prime Minister's Secret Agent" by Susan Elia Macneal
In this book Maggie Hope is back, changed by her war experiences and at the mercy of her "black dog" moods.  We find her in Scotland training would be government agents.  After her friend is almost murdered, Maggie investigates and finds disturbing evidence of experiments with chemical/biological weapons.  The author also weaves in clues about the up coming attack on Pearl Harbor.  The book is suspenseful and exciting.  If you haven't read the other books about Maggie Hope, though, you should start with those first.  

This is a steampunk teen fiction book.  Finley Jayne is a girl with a dark side, powers of strength that take over her body when she becomes upset.   Clearly she is different to everyone else until she meets some other "different" young people.  It is a fairly predictable good vs evil story set in Victorian London but is a fun read.  

I bought this book for inspiration.  It is full of bright colors and beautiful folk art designs for sewing projects that use appliqué.  I probably won't make any of the projects as they appear but I like to read about different processes and take inspiration from the beautiful photos.  

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