Friday, December 26, 2014

Pride of the Peacock by Victoria Holt

I read a lot of books by this author when I was in high school. When I saw they had been re-issued with a fresh look I couldn't resist reading one. This story follows the life of young Jessica Clavering. She feels somehow different from the rest of her family. When she discovers a grave in the meadow and a marker with her name, she begins to ask questions. she continues to watch the goings- on at Oakland Hall across the creek up the hill from where she lives at the Dower House. Although the answers she seeks are not immediately forthcoming, everything is eventually revealed. After developing a relationship with the old owner of Oakland Hall she is introduced to the possibility of having a new and different life. The mysteries in the story, along with a romance keep you reading to the end.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Having  seen a few episodes of the HBO show “Girls” and having become aware of Lena Dunham’s rise in popular culture, I thought I’d check out her latest literary effort. I turned the final page very entertained. If you like analyzing other people’s problems, and hearing too much information on their various body parts and dating habits, you may be very entertained as well. Dunham pulls no punches in describing her  past and how it brought her to the positions she holds today in both Hollywood and in her personal life.  You’ll laugh and cringe as she takes you along on this journey.
I found the book an easy read, and one that keeps you turning the pages. I especially  enjoyed the advice she had received from her father and mother — quick lists that are very funny.  If you like “Girls” or Dunham herself, you will like this book.  Even as a guy in a girls’ world, this book held many interesting points for me; and, it left me wondering if the girls I dated so many years ago were as complex as Dunham has been in her young life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Promise Kept by Robin Hatcher

     After her marriage to an alcoholic husband ends in divorce, Allison moves to her deceased Aunt Emma's cabin in the mountains.  She is lonely and full of regrets but starts to make a new life for herself.  When she finds a wedding dress, pictures, and journals written by her aunt she uncovers many surprises of the struggles her aunt had and how they relate to her own. The life Emma lived
is woven through this book in separate chapters from Allison's. 
     I really enjoyed this Christian fiction book. Parts of the book are based on events in the author's own life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I enjoyed this sweet, sad novel.  The story moves back and forth in time before and after the world is altered by a flu pandemic.  Five characters are connected by events before the pandemic and end up crossing paths again.  Station Eleven was a 2014 National Book Award finalist.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Problems with People: Stories by David Guterson

From the author of the best-selling novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, comes this short story collection exploring the everyday lives of ordinary people.  The ten stories delve into the yearnings of human desire to connect.  Paradise tells the meeting of two individuals navigating the dating scene by  Tenant shows the alienation of a landlord's awkward encounter with his tenant.  Hush portrays the harsh reality of an old man dying of cancer and befriending a dog-walker.  Whether it is the misperception of a situation or due to one's belief, Guterson conveys a universal longing that we have to belong.  I empathize with the characters who are struggling with hardships and am reminded of what's most important in life.