Some of My Favorite Books

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

I've read several of Maeve Binchy's novels and Minding Frankie was just as good as I remember her others being.
If you've never read any of Binchy's books, I highly recommend them. In Minding Frankie, the cast of characters is wide and diverse. She sets up each character so well that I was sure I knew who the main characters would be but was surprised. 

The background and history of each character makes them memorable and important to the story even though many became minor characters, who were mostly in the background for most of the book.

Charles and Josie Lynch live a quiet, religious life in Dublin. Their grown son Noel lives with them but is not a part of their lives. With the arrival of Emily, Charles's niece from America, the small community where they live is never quite the same.

Plenty of problems plague the characters and keep the book interesting, but like her other books, Binchy brings them together for a realistic (not too sappy) but happy ending.

Book Read: Minding Frankie

Author: Maeve Binchy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

I chose Call the Midwife off the shelf of memoirs at the Scottsdale library because the cover caught my eye. It looked more like a novel, and in places it reads like one.

Jennifer Worth was in her twenties in the 1950s and worked as a midwife in London's East End. The area had been hit hard during the war with bombings that left many of the tenements demolished and marked for demolition. That didn't keep many of the poor dock workers and other residents from living in this bombed out buildings.

The author tells stories of women who gave birth in extreme situations but who made the most of their lives for the most part.  

Worth lived in a nunnery that the midwives were associated with. The book introduces some colorful characters--both nuns and East End residents. The nuns worked along with the lay midwives, training them and making house calls. At that time, women gave birth at home for the most part and only went to the hospital if there were complications with the birth or the mother's health.

Midwives were trained to deliver babies and care for pregnant women before and after birth. Doctors took care of illness and injuries. 

This book has been made into a PBS series. I can't wait to watch it! Luckily it's available on Amazon (see the DVD, right there!) --->

Book Read: Call the Midwife:  A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times
Author:  Jennifer Worth

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

Okay, it's been a while since I've read a novel that I really, really liked. The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway was just the ticket! 
I loved the premise:  a woman who teaches high school biology and grows new strains for roses, who also happens to have liver failure. Gal, short for Galilee, goes to the hospital every other night for dialysis while she sleeps.

A monkey wrench is thrown into her strictly scheduled life when her 15-year-old niece, Riley, shows up at her school one day. Gal's sister has flown to Hong Kong for a new job and thrust Riley upon her without any warning.

The book extensively covers both liver disease and growing roses, but neither is boring. If you like books you can live in, check out this one. It's certainly not a life I'd want to really live in but it was fun for the days I read it.

Book Read: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns
Author:  Margaret Dilloway

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz is a humdinger of a book. For one thing, it's huge. The text goes on to 534 pages and it's so full of fascinating tidbits about the queen of cooking, Julia Child.

In case you've lived in a cave your whole life, you know that Julia Child co-wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This book lets us peek into her life up till that time to see how she came to do such a thing, since Julia McWilliams came from a privileged background and was no cook. 

Her college years, work history as it were, service during World War II all help paint the picture of this larger than life woman who stood 6 foot 3 inches. I told you it was a humdinger, and so was she.

If you like memoirs, biographies, and generally nosing around in other people's lives, read this book. I liked it so much I even watched a few shows from her first season of The French Chef (Boeuf Bourguignon and The French Omelette). I even made an omelette the Julia way and it mostly worked. I cooked mine longer because I don't care for any sort of softness to my eggs, but it was delicious!

Book Read: Dearie:  The Remarkable Life of Julia Child
Author:  Bob Spitz

ISBN: 978-0-307-27222-5


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