What Susan is Reading
Not since reading City of Joy have I read a book that I know will have a lasting effect on me. American Dirt is the tale of a mother and son who have suffered an unbelievable tragedy and are forced to flee from Acapulco to the U.S.They join countless other migrants and suffer indescribable acts of violence and cruelty. Yet there is a poignancy and spirit of love that transcends the tragic story that makes it an important as well as relevant novel today.
The backdrop for this historical novel is the JFK assassination, a time when the world was torn apart. Two very different people have a chance meeting and so begins a thriller and love story. Themes of hope and redemption are witnessed throughout the book. The author, Lou Berney, describes his characters so well, the reader feels immediately drawn into the action! A great read!
This immigrant tale tells the love story of a Syrian husband and wife who take the Syrian refugee trail to Europe. It's about resilency and the power of the human spirit. Beautifully written with a rich vocabulary, I loved this book!
This may be my favorite of JoJo Moyes' novel. During the 1920's and 1930's Eleanor Roosevelt created traveling libraries for indigent and poor communities. The setting is in the mountains of Kentucky where five women take it upon themselves to deliver books by horseback to poor families. They refuse to be detered by men or tradition and are heroines in their own right. The character development by Moyes is remarkable , and as a reader, I felt I knew the experiences of these women. Moyes is a true and extremely talented storyteller!
Fly Girls is mostly about five women aviators in the 1920's and 1930's and the dangers they experienced: severe weather, lack of technology and men who undermined their desire to be considered equals. It's a story of the human spirit and the dramatic and unprecedented danger these early pioneers of aviation faced. A page turner!
This is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel that satirizes the traveling American in Europe. Arthur Less is the main character who is reaching the age of 50 and is pondering the meaning of his life. Each chapter takes Less on a new adventure that is more comedic than the last. The prose is lyrical and the story structure makes it an easy read. Highly recommended!
The title is a "tongue in cheek" statement about the lives in a loving family that is also at times dysfunctional. The Most Fun We Ever Had is about relationships on every level - parents who have been married for 40 years, four sisters, lovers and children. A great read for anyone who has thought about what makes a "perfect marriage."
If you are a fan of the WWII genre, this book is a literary classic. It is a tough story about life under the Nazi regime, especially as experienced by the German youth who were at the sidelines of the war. Themes of friendship, personal sacrifice, and courage are seen throughout this novel through the characters of Leisel, Rudy, Max and Hans Hubermann. Narrated by Death, this unique approach adds to the creativity of the story.
This novel is filled with quirky characters who become a substitute family for two English children. Rachel and Nathaniel's adventures lead the reader to see that people may not be what they seem. Left alone by their parents who purportedly are going overseas, the brother and sister are resourceful, curious, and self-reliant. A mystery, thriller, and wartime drama, I highly recommend this book. NPR has rated it the best book of the year.
Don't be put off by the length of this book! Themes of love and loss within an Australian family of five brothers are prevalent throughout this well-written novel. The brothers take care of themselves as well as each other, with each having unusual passions. Home life is raucous and at times violent . There are sub-plots of rejection and then bridge building that offer the reader a rich experience.
Alternating stories of two different women, an illegal Mexican migrant who finds herself pregnant and a childless Indian woman longing for a baby.A compelling story especially in the context of our current political situation. I couldn't put this book down. Incredible writing and story!
Lavinia, an Irish orphan, is sent to work on a wealthy plantation owner's home. Sent to the kitchen house, she becomes part of the black family and bonds with them. This is a tragic story of love, loyalty and family ties. This is a must read for people who enjoy stories of the old south during the 17 and 1800s.
The Newcomers is an inspirational book that follows the lives of 22 newly immigrated, high school students enrolled at South High School in Denver. They are supported by a gifted teacher, Mr. Williams, who helps them with language acquisition as well as self confidence. Considering our present refugee crisis, this is a must read.
Beautifully written with a suspenseful ending, The Ghost Writer, piqued my interest from the very beginning. Early on in the book you learn why Helena, a type A, successful author of romance novels, decides to write a new novel in three months. Seeking help from a ghost writer, the unlikely partnership adds depth and intrigue to the story as well an ending that is heart wrenching. The reader discovers throughout the book that Helena's life is not what it seems and discovers many twists to the plot. I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates the writing of Alessandra Torre and also a good mystery.
This is a novel I won't soon forget! With vivid imagery and artful prose, I couldn't put this book down. The setting is in the marsh land of North Carolina where a solitary "marsh girl" lives a life on her own unhindered by humans and surrounded by nature. A death creates suspense and a surprising twist to the story. A must read!!!
Eliza, the wife of Alexander Hamilton,is the story of a not very well-known woman in history. This is an inspiring story of an early feminist who started the first orphanage in New York among other projects. The illustrations are exquisite. This would be a great read aloud for young children to introduce them to the concept of feminism.
Native American novels are everywhere and There , There has been widely acclaimed as one of the best of the year. Set in Oakland , California, the city serves as a microcosm of Native American life. A variety of characters are introduced to the reader in short, intense chapters. Alcoholism, unemployment, abuse and depression historically prevalent within the culture,are seen through tragic characters and events.The intertwined lives come together at a powpow at the Oakland Coliseum. An intense and compelling read!
This book details a family saga that commands the reader's attention as well as an emotional investment in the outcome. After surviving the Vietnam war, a young father suffering from PTSD moves with his family to Alaska to begin a new life. The beauty of the Alaskan landscape is juxtaposed with the family's tragic life. This is one of my favorite books of the early summer.
This newly published book details the lives of two girls living 800 years apart. One, a Syrian refugee, experiences war and its tragedies. The other, living in medieval times, assists a cartographer in mapping the local region. The parallel stories are imaginative and creative.
A relevant book to read as well as thought provoking. The author, a Norwegian explorer, travels by himself on a 50 day expedition to Antarctica. He explores both the silence around and within us and offers suggestions for finding quiet within ourselves, amidst social media, traffic and a constantly noisy world. A very meaningful book for me.
Susan says: A WWII novel that demonstrates the conflict and turmoil of people involved in the resistance , as well as the unlikely friendships that can develop. A heart-warming story of a father's love for his blind daughter and how people try to be good to each other especially in wartime.