Well, I finally finished After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson this evening. I have actually been reading a lot but mostly nonfiction books that I don't always add to this blog. I liked this book but because I was reading other stuff, I didn't always read this novel every day and thus I didn't keep with the story like I like to.
I'd recommend it though if you enjoy historical novels. It was well researched and well written. The author also wrote Somewhere in France, which was a prequel to this novel. Book Read: After the War is Over Author: Jennifer Robson
I have read several of Jennifer Weiner's novels and have loved each one. All Fall Down was no exception. This book was a little different from her other novels though. The subject: addiction. The main character, Allison Weiss, is a wife, mother, blogger, and all round busy gal. When she hurt her back, she continued taking pain killers and for two years progressively abused Oxycodone, Vicodan and Percocet until she was putting her daughter in danger. I personally don't know much about addiction, but this story rang true in the way Allison was in denial, abused the drugs progressively until she couldn't not take them, and the reluctance she experienced in thinking she needed help. And then accepting it when she was finally forced to go to rehab. Read and love it! All Fall Down: A Novel Book Read: All Fall Down Author: Jennifer Weiner
I finished reading The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters today, during the day sitting outside at my son's house. The best way to finish a really good book, in my opinion, is to enjoy it while I'm wide awake in a great setting. I usually read in bed at night so the daytime reading especially to finish up a book is a treat. This was a really good book. A long one but a good one. Set in 1922 London Mrs. Wray and her unmarried daughter Frances have a lovely large house but little income or servants. To make ends meet they take in boarders, or as they call them paying guests. The couple who rent two rooms from them are Leonard and Lilian Barber, and the friendships and events that unfold are surprising. I really enjoyed this book all the way to the end, wondering what the outcome would be. It was suspenseful, well written, and yes, long at 564 pages. But so worth it.
I listened to Brooke Shields's memoir There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me since I reserved the audio book on CD at the library when I meant to get the book. It was actually a really good book to listen to and I found myself taking little breaks to listen here and there over several days. Brooke Shields's mother was an alcoholic, which informed this entire book. The woman would have driven me bonkers, but it looks like she came out alright despite Teri Shields. After her mother died, Brooke wrote this memoir laying it all (I guess, it was a lot so I hope that was all or most of it) out there for the world to see. I mean this woman let her 12-year-old daughter make the movie Pretty Baby, which admittedly was fairly racy for being made in 1978 or any time. Brooke appears nude in it and in some pretty compromising and adult-themed situations. She said she wouldn't let her own daughters make that movie at that age. I guess not! I did enjoy listening to this audio book read by Shields proving none of us have a perfect life or perfect parents. We just do the best we can.
When the book begins Kat is a Jewish girl who lives in Russia in the 1980s. She is young, just 6, I think and is diagnosed with scoliosis so is sent to a special school for extra care and to get the medical attention she needs. The book was interesting and then it sort of got to be repetitive or something. I did enjoy it, but I lost interest as Kat aged, I think. But try it. You might just love Mannequin Girl. Book Read: Mannequin Girl Author: Ellen Litman
Late last night I finished reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and today I noticed that this book is classified as science fiction. Well, I normally don't like or even read science fiction, but I had read a good recommendation for this book so I'm glad I read it before realizing it was science fiction. (grin)
I mean I knew it was science fiction because of the premise: a horrible flu strain wipes out most of the people on Earth. Not that that couldn't happen or anything, but it was in some ways futuristic in its doomsday message, but I loved this novel. Loved it.
It took a bit to get the gist of this story since it floated between then (pre-flu) and now (post-flu) where time was measured in years after the flu (Year Two, Year Twenty). The story of survival and living in this new reality was interestingly told through some characters I won't soon forget.
I've actually read a couple of other such books with almost end of the world themes: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller and The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. They were also excellent reads so I guess I like my sci-fi in an end of the world sort of way.
If you love reading books with a good story that's well written, that's fresh and unpredictable, pick up Martha Woodroof's debut novel Small Blessings.
While reading this book, I felt like this woman-of-a-certain-age (she's in her sixties and this is her first published novel! I love that!) had saved up some wisdom gained from living and shared it with us, her readers.
The random people and events might seem unbelievable in another writer's hands but this author lends enough "truth is stranger than fiction" to the circumstances that they fall happily into place.
Book Read: Small Blessings
Author: Martha Woodroof