Some of My Favorite Books

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

She Left Me the Gun by Emma Brockes

She Left Me the Gun:  My Mother's Life Before Me by Emma Brockes is a daughter's memoir of her mother. The daughter, Emma Brockes, wrote about her late mother, Paula's life to understand it. 

Paula (Pauline Dulcie Brockes) grew up in South Africa and moved to London in her late twenties to escape her life. She reinvented herself, married later than most and had a child in her forties. Emma, her daughter, was told snippets of her mother's life but never the whole story.

After her mother died from cancer, Emma decided to find out for herself what her mother wasn't able to tell her. Emma first did some research online then visited South Africa twice and met with Paula's many siblings to piece together the mystery of her mother's upbringing. 

This is a shocking story that has to be true. It's too strange to be fiction.

Book Read:  She Left Me The Gun:  My Mother's Life Before Me
Author:  Emma Brockes

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story by Carol Burnett

I read Carol Burnett's latest book in two sittings. It is a fast read and a love letter between mother and daughter. 

Carol Burnett's daughter, Carrie Hamilton, died in 2002 at age 38 from cancer. This book is a actually written by both Carol (the narrative and emails to her daughter Carrie) and Carrie (emails to her mom Carol and a partially written story Sunrise in Memphis). 

Before Carrie's death, the pair wrote a play Hollywood Arms based on Carol's memoir One More Time.

I'm a huge fan of Carol Burnett (she's genuinely funny) and have read her other two memoirs. Do you like to read celebrity memoirs?

Book Read:  Carrie and Me:  A Mother-Daughter Love Story
Author:  Carol Burnett

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by C.J. Box

I've read several of C.J. Box's early books about a Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett and really enjoyed them. This Wyoming author writes mystery/crime books that keep you (or at least me) guessing till the end. 

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye is a standalone book set in Denver, which was fun to read since I lived there for years. Jack and Melissa adopted their daughter 9 months ago when out of the blue, the birth father, who never signed away his parental rights, decides he wants the child. Or maybe it's the grandfather who wants the child.

The fight is on. 

Jack's childhood friends from Montana, Brian and Cody, who also have moved to Denver, help out making sacrifices that no one saw coming. 

This book is spaced over three weeks, as the title says. I read this in a couple of days, making it last because I was really intrigued with the why's and how's of this mystery.

Have you read any of C.J. Box's books? Do you have a favorite?

Book Read:  Three Weeks to Say Goodbye
Author:  C.J. Box

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Keep by Jennifer Egan -- What a Strange (but Good) Novel

Okay, have you read The Keep by Jennifer Egan? If so, please explain it to me. 

I really enjoyed reading this book with two stories:  one of two cousins who experience a tragic event in childhood who then meet up again as adults. This sets the stage for the relationship of Danny and Howard but does little to explain the adult-version of the story. Danny, as a child, left Howard in a cave for several days, which traumatized Howard, but then as adults Howard has become stinking rich and summons Danny to Eastern Europe to help set up a resort in an old castle called The Keep. 

The second story involves Ray, who is in prison and writes in the prison writing class about Howard and Danny. 


So, being the literal person I am, I was quickly confused. But I kept reading hoping one of these would happen:

  • The story would unfold all nice and neat.
  • I'd figure out what the heck was going on after I'd finished reading it.

Well, not so much. Loose ends were not tied and I was more confused than ever when I closed the book at 2 a.m. last night (this morning).

If you're read The Keep and help me understand this book, I'd love to hear what you think about it. Seriously. Help!

Book Read:  The Keep
Author:  Jennifer Egan

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende

Have you read Isabel Allende's latest novel, Maya's Notebook? Yes? Isn't it great!? No? Well, it's a winner!

I really enjoyed Allende's popular novel The House of the Spirits: A Novel and I think I liked this one even more. Maya is the granddaughter of a Chilean refuge, Nini, who raises her in San Francisco with Maya's Popo, her step-grandfather, who Maya adores.

The story follows Maya's troubled youth from San Francisco to Oregon to Las Vegas to Chile. Allende's superb storytelling comes through with several subplots and twists that are gently revealed throughout the novel. 

I really savored this book. It took me more than a week to read because I just didn't want it to end.

Book Read:  Maya's Notebook
Author:  Isabel Allende


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