Thursday, October 9, 2014

Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton

With the people watching days of the Iowa State Fair behind us, and the shopper watching days of Black Friday still a few weeks away, if you find yourself needing a glimpse of your fellow human beings, Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” is worth checking out.

Stanton took his camera to the streets of New York City, a place full of potential subjects, and snapped shots of the folks that caught his eye. The pictures that he took capture faces, clothing styles and moods of his fellow residents of NYC.

The shots are not anything technically advanced; Stanton does not use any high-tech equipment or new photography techniques—he simply stops people and takes their picture. How these people look and dress tell the story.

Some of the pictures are simply titled; while others are accompanied by short paragraphs providing some details of the people pictured and how their lives brought them to where Stanton found them and took their picture.

Many of the pictures and the stories bring a smile, or even a laugh; several are very touching as you catch a glimpse of how some people simply survive. The book is sure to keep you turning pages.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The First True Lie by Mariana Mander

This was a very interesting book.  It is the story about a young boy and his single mother who live in an apartment in Italy.  One day his mother does not awaken to help him to school.  Thinking she is just sick, the young man does his best and gets ready on his own.  When he returns home he realizes that his mother is never getting up again.  The child, not wanting to become an orphan, decides to keep it a secret and goes about living as best he can with his cat Blue.  How long can this last?  When will someone notice?  Who will help this child?  So many interesting questions brought about by this story.  I really enjoyed this book.  It is not a long novel but still makes you think.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

A kidnapping gone awry…
    Mia Dennett, young adult daughter of a well-known Chicago judge, goes missing.  But the man sent to abduct her doesn’t take her to the planned dropoff, and drives her to a remote Minnesota cabin instead.
      This story is told from the different perspectives of Mia, her abductor Colin, her mother Eve, and the detective Gabe.  Adding to the suspense, the story unfolds with events from “Before” and “After” her disappearance.  We are along on the journey with each of the characters to try to figure out what really happened.  Well-developed and intriguing, this author’s first novel is a real thriller!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

    Maggie Murphy leaves Ireland along with her aunt, friends and family on the Titanic  She is sad to leave her sweetheart but excited though fearful of the voyage.  Her feelings and thoughts are well expressed as she boards and travels on this magnificent ship.  The sinking of the ship and loss of those traveling with her are well portrayed.  Maggie keeps a private journal during the sailing and carries a bundle of love letters from her sweetheart.  These letters were lost when the ship sunk. The stories of some of those waiting for the travelers and hearing the news of the sinking is also included. Seventy years later Maggie tells her story to her great-granddaughter, Grace, a story she refused to discuss before.  Grace is looking for a story for her journalism career-what a story this is!
     At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to read another book about the Titanic but I really enjoyed it. This book delves so well into the character's personalities, thoughts and feelings.  It travels back and forth in time.  The audiobook has good narration -we have a copy in book form also.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ape House by Sara Gruen

     I decided to read this book because it was by the same author as Water for Elephants. Although I liked the first one better, I still enjoyed  Ape House. The author is very detailed in her descriptions  of the apes and the research being done. This story does not have the same romantic feel you get from the other one, but if you love animals you will still find it very interesting.
     The story line centers around the female scientist, Isabel Duncan, and the journalist, John Thigpen. the place where the apes are being studied and cared for is bombed by activists. Isabel is severely injured, and the apes are out in the open, free, but in danger of weather conditions and evil people. Read this novel and find out what happens to the apes.

The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

In this multiple plot novel, we come to realize that the different characters in each story are unknowingly connected as the book progresses.  Van Booy shifts back and forth in time and place from World War II in France to 2010 Los Angeles, telling the stories of John Bray, a wounded American soldier in World War II, intersecting with a German infantryman named "Victor Hugo" in France.  The characters also include Martin, a handyman at a retirement home, Amelia, a blind museum curator in New York City and Danny, a Hollywood Hill film director.  Through acts of compassion from strangers, an unbroken human chain is formed.  Each individual's life is connected one way or another through time.  The compelling imagery of war and separation will stay with me for a long time.