13 Apr, 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

/ posted in: Reading The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
on January 19th 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Fiction, Literary
Format: Hardcover
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in Iowa

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

Goodreads

This book is a love letter to books and authors.

Amy and Sara write to each other about their love of books.  They share favorite books from their respective countries – The United States and Sweden.  Sara plans a 2 month visit to Amy in Iowa but Amy dies while Sara is en route.  Unsure what to do now, she ends up opening a temporary book shop in an open store front in town to share Amy’s vast book collection.

The beginning of this book was amazing.  It was easily on track to be my first five star read of the year.

  • Reaching strangers in a dying town by pairing them with books that they would have never picked up on their own?  Yes, please.
  • A heroine who worried about only bringing 13 books on her trip because of the weight limit on her baggage?  Totally understandable.

But then the book took an unfortunate turn.  A silly romantic plot was attached to it between characters that had zero chemistry and a lot of the talk about books fell away.  I had a hard time finishing it because at that point I just didn’t care any more.  I dropped it down to 4 stars because of the silliness and only my love for the first half kept me from dropping it further.

So let’s pretend that part never happened and go back to the books.  I was interested in seeing how many books and authors were talked about which turned into a quiz.  There are about 65 authors discussed.  It is an overwhelming white list, I was disappointed to see, but it covers a lot of fiction genres.

*Update* Well the poll is being hateful and the vote button doesn’t work so tell me how many you have read in the comments. Stupid free internet poll makers…mutter mutter mutter . I got 21.


What books and authors have you read from The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend?

Louisa May Alcott0%
Harper Lee0%
Steig Larsson0%
Terry Pratchett0%
Ulla-Carin Lindqvist0%
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery0%
J.K. Rowling0%
Dan Brown0%
Camilla Lackberg0%
Kathryn Stockett (The Help)0%
Helen Fielding0%
Fannie Flagg0%
Annie Proulx0%
Jens Lapidus0%
Harriet Beecher Stowe0%
Jilly Cooper0%
Judith Krantz0%
Jane Austen0%
The Bronte Sisters0%
Paul Auster0%
Joyce Carol Oates0%
Toni Morrison0%
Oscar Wilde0%
Charles Dickens0%
Philip Roth0%
F. Scott Fitzgerald0%
John Grisham0%
Lee Child0%
Christopher Paolini0%
Mark Twain0%
Ernest Hemingway0%
Agatha Christie0%
Andre Maurois0%
Douglas Coupland0%
Henry David Thoreau0%
John Steinbeck0%
Erich Maria Remarque0%
Lauren Oliver0%
Louis de Bernieres0%
Jodi Picoult0%
Nicholas Sparks0%
Michael Connelly0%
Elizabeth Young0%
Marian Keyes0%
Dick Francis0%
Georgette Heyer0%
Marcel Proust0%
Sophie Kinsella0%
Nelson DeMille0%
Giovannino Guareschi0%
Dylan Thomas0%
Fyodor Dostoevsky0%
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe0%
Gabriel Garcia Marquez0%
Moa Martinson0%
Harry Martinson0%
James Joyce0%
Barbara Cartland0%
Gertrude Stein0%
Iris Murdoch0%
Helene Hanff0%
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)0%
Vicki Myron (Dewey the Library Cat)0%
Robert Waller (Bridges of Madison County)0%
Marion Ross and Sue Collier (The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing)0%


10 Dec, 2015

Where Women Are Kings

/ posted in: Reading Where Women Are Kings Where Women Are Kings by Christie Watson
on April 28th 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Fiction, Literary
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in England

The story of a young boy who believes two things: that his Nigerian birth mother loves him like the world has never known love, and that he is a wizard   Elijah, seven years old, is covered in scars and has a history of disruptive behavior. Taken away from his birth mother, a Nigerian immigrant in England, Elijah is moved from one foster parent to the next before finding a home with Nikki and her husband, Obi.   Nikki believes that she and Obi are strong enough to accept Elijah's difficulties--and that being white will not affect her ability to raise a black son. They care deeply for Elijah and, in spite of his demons, he begins to settle into this loving family. But as Nikki and Obi learn more about their child's tragic past, they face challenges that threaten to rock the fragile peace they've established, challenges that could prove disastrous.

Goodreads

It is all Trish’s fault. It was a slow morning at work so I was on Twitter while waiting for patients when this happened.


I vaguely remembered hearing about that book and so I clicked the link to read about it and then Amazon 1- Click happened and then I was 25% of the way through the book before the day got busy.

Trish is a bad influence.


This is the story of Elijah, a seven year old boy who was born to Nigerian immigrants in London.  His father dies soon after his birth and his mother’s grief makes her unable to care for a baby.  She takes him to a church to look for help being a mother but is told that the baby is possessed by a wizard who the pastor can get rid of if she brings him some money.  This sets up years of abuse of both of them.

And we’re back to people misusing religion for their own gain and people being manipulated into believing it all – it seems like that’s a theme in the books I read.  Alternatively, that may be the theme I pick up on because that fits my world view.

Elijah is being adopted after being removed from his mother’s care.  His adoptive family is made up of a Nigerian man and an English woman who is white.  They are not told all the details of what happened to him because his birth mother is under psychiatric care and revealing what she has said would violate her privacy.

Elijah thinks that he has a wizard inside him who makes him do bad things and makes the people around him have bad luck.  Only his adoptive grandfather who is from Nigeria understands partially what he means.  No one else has the cultural vocabulary to discuss this with him.  Even though many of the caseworkers are of Nigerian ancestry they are English and don’t understand how real the wizard is to Elijah’s birth mother.

This is a short book that discusses some of the potential problems with transcultural adoption. It also highlights the joys involved too.

 

17 Feb, 2015

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson

/ posted in: Reading Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson
on August 28th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Fiction, Literary
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Tour
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Mrs Featherby had been having pleasant dreams until she woke to discover the front of her house had vanished overnight On a seemingly normal morning in London, a group of people all lose something dear to them, something dear but peculiar: the front of their house, their piano keys, their sense of direction, their place of work. Meanwhile, Jake, a young boy whose father brings him to London following his mother's sudden death in an earthquake, finds himself strangely attracted to other people s lost things. But little does he realise that his most valuable possession is slipping away from him. Of Things Gone Astray is a magical fable about modern life and values.

Goodreads

Mrs Featherby lost her front wall.

Delia has lost her sense of direction. Now anytime she wants to go somewhere she can’t get there.

Marcus is a pianist whose piano keys have disappeared.

Robert lost his job. He didn’t get fired. The building that his office was in disappeared and none of the neighbors remember it ever being there. None of his coworkers are in his contact list anymore.

Cassie’s girlfriend didn’t come on the flight from Brazil so she sat down to wait for her. Now she’s turning into a tree right at the arrivals gate in Heathrow Terminal Two.

Jake keeps finding lost things but he has a feeling that something he should remember is slipping away.

horizontal-line

This was a great book.  Losing the things that were most important to them, made all the characters reevaluate what they wanted out of life.  Magical realism is perfect for this book.  I loved the fact that no one was the least bit surprised that Cassie was turning into a tree.  It was just one of those things that happens.

The stories of the people start to intertwine so they all end up helping each other break out of the routines that they were in before they lost things.

16 Feb, 2015

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

/ posted in: Reading The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
on 2013
Pages: 352
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Occult & Supernatural, translation
Published by Pushkin Press, Limited
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Goodreads

Laura White wrote a series of children’s books featuring magical creatures. Now her hometown of Rabbit Back is in the business of Laura White tourism. Sculptures of her creatures are all over town. (Imagine if J.K. Rowling lived in a small English town dedicated to all things Harry Potter.)

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Laura White started a literary society consisting of children from the local school who she thought had the potential to be great writers. She trained them and now they are the top writers in Finland. She never added anyone past the original nine but has been on the lookout for talent.

Now, Ella, a substitute teacher, has been picked to be the tenth member.

Ella notices that there are a lot strange happenings in town and they seem to center around the Literature Society members. Library books are changing the endings of the stories. All the dogs in town are running away from home and congregating in the front yard of one of the writers. On the day that Ella is to formally inducted into the Society, Laura White disappears in a swirl of snow – inside her house.

Ella is determined to figure out what is going on in Rabbit Back.

I loved this book.  It is a wonderful mix of magical realism edging up close to fantasy and into psychological thriller as Ella probes the memories of the original members to find out what they are hiding.

And that epilogue?  I heart, heart, heart the epilogue!  There is enough of a twist to surprise and to smack you right in the feelings.

Quotes

“Shit,” Ella said.
“There you go,” Ingrid said happily. “When life gives you plums, spit out the stones.”

 

“Free coffee and cake will get the masses out better than resurrection day.” She looked around, smiled broadly, and said, “But if you want to find characters for a book, this is a good place to do it, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I found bits of a serial killer’s mother, half of a hero’s lover, and three whole peripheral characters today. A nice haul.”

 

Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

If you like this book try The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.  It is a Swedish novel that is also very funny.

UA-56222504-1