Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I read Behind the Beautiful Forevers for my new book club. It was our first selection, hand picked by a member who has traveled to India and seen the beautiful and the antithesis first hand. Normally, I would never pick up a book like this. It's a harrowing non-fiction tale of the inhabitants of the Annawadi slum. Trust me. If it was fiction, it would be easier to absorb. Unfortunately, it is disturbingly true. But, that being said, it is beautifully written and enlightening. As an aspiring writer, I'll never forget how the author describes little yellow flowers as the open beaks of baby birds. Dazzling imagery. There is so much ingenuity in almost all of the characters. Like teenage Abdul. His talent is foraging for recyclables. He digs, sorts and scraps together a meager existence for his entire family. In fact, exceeding their income far above others in their slum. And then there's Asha, clawing her way to the top by utilizing every means available to her. Rarely an honest mean is ever selected. In fact, Angela, from my book club, described honesty as a luxury in Annawadi. There's no truer statement. 

The most powerful character for me was Fatima the one leg. Her plight becomes a main plot point as the book progresses. 

You'll never forget the fighting spirit of these unforgettable characters. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Three Came Home

Below is my review on Goodreads of the true story of a family taken captive as POWs by the Japanese during World War II (the child was just a toddler!) There is also a movie by the same name, starring Claudette Colbert.  Excellent book!

This book was such an important testament to human courage and perseverance! As Agnes, her husband Harry and small son George are taken captive by the Japanese during World War II, the years ahead hold struggle, fear and overwhelming obstacles. Harry is placed in the men's camp, to undergo the horrors of internment. Agnes and little George, with the other women and 23 other children, learn to survive in the women's camp. They bargain and steal food for themselves and especially their children. They are always hungry, and always worked non-stop during daylight hours. They are slapped and punched and belittled. Agnes struggled to maintain her sense of composure through all the torments, for the sake of her son. Her belief in human kindness is tried, and her faith in God. The three of them survive to the end, and she writes of their ordeal in a fascinating, wonderful account of those who triumphed in spite of hate and the horrors of war. Excellent book...highly recommended!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Wedding Bees - a novel of honey, love & manners

This is a quick feel good novel to read.  I needed that because the last two books I tried to read I had to give up on.  They just didn't grab me in the first couple of chapters so I gave up and returned them to the library.  I found this one and it was a perfect read.  It's one where you know what the ending will be but you just don't know how its going to get there, what obstacles and diversions are going to come up so that the writer has a long book instead of a short story.
Main character: Sugar Honey Wallace.  Her real name in Cherie-Lynn but she goes by the nick name her grandfather gave her.
Occupation: beekeeper and maker of honey products.
Hobby: bringing out the good in people and helping them to resolve their problems.
Her problem: she had a very traumatic first love and has resolved not to commit to anyone.
Her bigger problem: Theo Fitzgerald who she meets when she first arrives in New York City and sparks fly.

The book is filled with a whole host of minor supporting characters including Elizabeth the Sixth, the current queen bee in Sugar's hive.

Look for this book by Sarah-Kate Lynch.  You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Off Script by Cary Schmidt

Off Script
What to do when God rewrites your life....
by Cary Schmidt

This book is about those unexpected disasters and trials that we suddenly face in the middle of our everyday expected daily life.  This book is about how we face those trials: whether we fight them, become moody and despairing, give up, or ask God for Grace.  The author was just diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma when he started the book, and goes through chemo treatments during the course of the writing.  There are moments of humor, examples of despair and fear, and real Biblical help to get you from despair to trust and faith.  It is a wonderful book, so inspirational, and so helpful on so many levels!