Some of My Favorite Books

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

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.

Book Read:  The Paying Guests
Author:  Sarah Waters

Monday, February 16, 2015

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields

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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mannequin Girl by Ellen Litman

I finished reading Mannequin Girl by Ellen Litman late last night. I have to say I was glad I finished it. I really enjoyed this book at first but it seemed to sort of slog on and on after awhile. 

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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.

Have you read any of these novels? They are excellent!

Book Read:  Station Eleven
Author:  Emily St. John Mandel


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