I’ve Never Been

I’ve never been to Niagara Falls and I have heard it is beautiful and is quite the experience.

I picked up a copy of The Day the Falls Stood Still. 

Recently I was browsing a book store with a friend and they had the book displayed.  I told them I had a copy and I haven’t read it yet.  I then proceeded to get out my copy. These past few days I’ve read it.  I was even reading it while at work, something I rarely do.

Cathy Marie Buchanan weaves a tale using true life stories from Niagara Falls in the early 20th century and the days of World War I.  Bess Cole is the narrator and her story begins as a teenager and ends in her twenties, her formative years.  It is a page turner from the first page. The story is a reminder that even in the face of tragedy and the daily grind, life goes on and resilience is key.

A must read.

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The Last Days of Night

This book is written by Graham Moore.  It is appropriate for Tweens and up.

This is a fiction book that fills in the history behind the history.

People know the name Thomas Edison.  A lot of people know the name Tesla and Westinghouse.  Mr. Moore brings their connections together based on the real life attorney of Paul Cravath.

The year is 1888 and electricity is in its infancy.  Edison and Westinghouse are in a race regarding the light bulb and Tesla can make or break their companies.  Paul Cravath walks the fine line between all three of these brilliant and ambitious men.

It’s a book you will not want to put down.

Review: While I Was Gone

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This book is one for people who love Boston and Massachusetts.

This is also a book that was selected for Oprah’s Book Club years ago.  Again, in my own list of I-finally-got-around-to-it.

This is a coming of middle age life story.  The narrator, Jo, is forced to confront her past when someone from her past shows up in an unexpected context with shocking secrets revealed at the end.

This is a very calm book.  Jo calmly goes through her personal past and her current life.  We all know someone like Jo, perhaps Jo is you reading this.  I didn’t find her hateful or likable, just Jo.  Jo could be anyone.

A great book for settling yourself down into bed.

Premonition

Something in pre-motion….

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

This should be your pre-motion, premonition every-single-day of your life.

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

Say it again: Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

Whether or not you believe in God, religion, higher powers, you are still here…..

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

I am alive.  I exist.  I am breathing.  I have a purpose.  I have people who support me.

Today I am the luckiest person on this planet.

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Review: Jack and Jill

A local high school was giving this away in their Little Free Library.  I was shocked and saddened to see they cleaned this one out.

This book is by Louisa May Alcott, the same author who wrote Little Women.

Jack and Jill, in this story, get into a sledding accident and the book goes through their year of recovery and how it changes their lives and how people around them react to their tragedy.

It’s a very calming, charming, well-written book about preteens and all of their shenanigans.  Jack and Jill aren’t the only ones who get into and find themselves in a bit of trouble.  There is plenty for boys to read about, and identify with, as well.

I’m surprised I haven’t seen this one on any reading lists.  Preteens can identify with the characters and Alcott’s prose is top notch.

Get a copy and share with the preteens in your life.

Review: Fifth Business

Don’t look up information before you write a review.  Yet I did find out Tokyo Police Club wrote a song based on this book.

Ramsay, the protagonist of Fifth Business, could be Everyman and Anyperson except that historical and world events move through his life and become up close and personal.

Fifth Business is a story that no matter how much we don’t believe that we impact people’s lives around us, we find out about it at the weirdest moments and when we least expect to. Then at some point everything will come to a head and perhaps not the way we expect. It’s also about belief, love, being yourself, being part of something and being part of other people’s lives.

This book talks a lot about magic and has a magic all of it’s own.

Review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

For mature audiences only and for those that can handle tough issues and graphic portrayals.

The copy of this book that I found contains notes and a lot of highlights.  I’m wondering if someone, or two, used this for a class or book group, or both.  Finding scribbles and highlights is fascinating because it shows what other people reading the same thing latched onto during the reading.

In today’s day and age, Michael’s relationship with Hannah would be treated as a major crime, the setting for a show like Law and Order’s Special Victim’s Unit.  Olivia Benson would be on the case of a woman having an affair with a teenager half of her age.

This book could only take place in the setting that it does.  Everyone has secrets to hide yet justice is being handed out on a continual basis.

I just wonder for a country like Germany that has forced and compulsory state sanctioned education, just like the United States and a few other countries, how someone like Hannah would have fallen through the cracks and would have never learned to read or write, even functional literacy.  That is the major gap that is left by having the story from only Michael’s point-of-view.  He says that Hannah would never answer his questions.

Having worked with English Learners and with clients who can read barely beyond a second or third grade level as adults, Hannah’s complete lack of anything really makes me wonder.  Did the system just pass her along, so to speak, as happens today even though not many people are willing to discuss the subject.  Did she come from a poor family that the system missed somewhere?  Who knows?  It is left to the reader’s imagination.

Hannah preyed on Michael and the feeling seemed to go the other way as well.  No one is a good guy in this story.  Heartbreaking in some ways, yes, but these are two imperfect human beings.