Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Writing Class by Jincy Willett

I am not a frequent reader of fiction, and when I do read read it, it usually leans toward science fiction or westerns. Still, there was something that struck me about the premise of The Writing Class by Jincy Willett. My curiosity was rewarded with a very enjoyable book.
The book concerns an adult creative writing class, the teacher, its students and how one of them turns to murdering other class members. What caught my imagination was that the story is told through the teacher's viewpoint, and her descriptions of her students was very humorous. As a teacher of college/adult students for many years now I recognized many of the student-types that Willett brought to life for her story. I think that is what initially caught my attention.
What kept me involved was the flow of the story, and how suspense was built to the closing pages and the unmasking of the unhinged member of the class. Not to give any spoilers, but the culprit is apprehended. Also, Willett does a good job in building her main character, instructor Amy Gallup, and the somewhat flaky members of her writing class.
The Writing Class  is a solid compilation of unique characters and a bit of mystery, and I found it a fun and enthusiastic read.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bottomland by Michelle Hoover

At first, when beginning this book, I thought it to be rather depressing. But I pressed on as it is the "All Iowa Reads" selection for this year. As you get deeper into the story, you become more engrossed in the lives of this family.
Beginning with the disappearance of the two youngest girls, you realize this is a family that experiences it's share of hardships. Two individuals from Germany begin a new life in America, joining their lives to start a new life and raise a family. Taking place after WWI, this family of German descent is treated with suspicion by their neighbors and the local townspeople. You experience the story of the two lost girls from five different viewpoints; the oldest sister, the father, the brother who came back from the Great War, the older lost sister, and the youngest lost sister. I especially found the part about the factory, and the difficulties of working there, in Chicago intriguing. It is very interesting how the family moves forward and form varying degrees of closeness to each other because of the different tragedies they have endured. I thought it was totally unfair that the youngest sister was thought to be dead when at least two members of the family knew she was alive. This would be a great book for a discussion group.