Sunday, May 25, 2014

One Last Thing before I Go by Jonathan Tropper(Read 5/19-5/23)


This was a book from my other book club that I missed, so when I finished The Wind Through the Keyhole so quickly I decided to pick it up and have a go.  This is the story of Drew Silver, a loser.  He was in a band with a hit song, the the band broke up.  He was in a marriage, then the marriage broke up.  Now he lives a lonely depressing life, and to top it off he finds out he is dying and his daughter is pregnant.  Silver must struggle with the relationships in his life and try to mend some of his mistakes, while deciding if he wants to fight for his life, or just accept his death.

Surprisingly, this was a page turner, there were times when I couldn’t put it down.  I really thought in the first chapter of so when I was reading about the disaster that was Silver’s life that this would be depressing and an awful read.  But the writing was wonderful, there was an easy flow to the storytelling, nothing fancy, just a good story well written.  I think the fact that all the characters in the book are so flawed and broken, makes them relatable and loveable.

There was a great rhythm in both the writing and the storyline.  There were no super fast or thrilling sections of the book, but neither were there slow sections.  You just rolled along at a happy place, and often I found that I was rolling so well that I couldn’t find a place to stop.    I’m not afraid to say that this book made me cry at some parts, they were just so well written and touching.  I didn’t have any laugh out loud moments, but those are much harder for a book to get from me.  I did quietly chuckle once or twice though.

The Wind through the Keyhole (Dark Tower #5) by Stephen King (Read 5/11-5/19)

The Wind Through the Keyhole

Next up in the BOTM series, Stephen Kings The Wind through the Keyhole.  This was a new read for me, since it was published after I read the series the last time.   It was refreshing to read something new.  It was when I mentioned that in my book club that I realized this book was published after he series had been completed.

This story picks up after Roland and the crew leave the tower in wizard and glass.  They encounter this crazy storm called a starkbast, it is a deadly ice storm, but worse.  While they wait the storm out, Roland tells another story of his youth, in which he chases a “skin-man.”  While on the hunt for the “skin-man” Roland and his companion Jaime find a young survivor Bill Streeter.  Bill is scared and Roland tells him a story from his childhood, the story of Tim Stoutheart.

This was a super quick read, which was a very nice change after Wizard and Glass, my book club split the reading up over two weeks half one week half the next.  In actuality though, I read this whole thing in two days. 

It was fun and light for a tower book, and we got to hear a fun fairy tale for Gilead.  Which left me wanting to hear the rest of the Tim Stoutheart tales.  king’s writing wasn’t as heavy as in Wizard and Glass, and this is a nice bridge between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of Calla.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower #4) by Stephen King (Read 4/22/14 to 5/11/14)


BOTM continues with the Tower series, the fourth installment is Wizard and Glass.  This is one of my least favorite in the tower series.  It is slow and I just can’t seem to get into the storyline. 

This is the story of Roland’s first mission as a gunslinger and his first love.  Roland and the others have found a strange glass tower in the Stand’s Topeka, before they enter the tower, Roland tells a story.  As a reader I found myself caught up in the a story that Roland is telling his Ka-Tet.  I love hear about Roland as a youth, but for some reason King’s writing just makes it drag.  So I flip flop between loving and hating the storyline.

Roland and two of his friends, Alain and Cuthbert are sent to the Outer Barony of Mejis.  On his first night, Roland meets Susan, his first love and I think is only true love.  And that chance meeting sets off a whole series of events that change and shape Roland into the Gunslinger he is.  We are able to see the coldness and talent, tampered some by youth.  And Roland makes mistakes, not many, but sadly the ones he makes cost him dearly. 

Like I said before I like to hear about Roland’s youth, it gives Roland a human side.  But both the first time I read this book and again this time, I just found the writing dull.  I love the characters and the insight, but it takes me forever to read and feels like a chore.  And I’m not sure why.  It is a must read for the series, but I wish King had written it better.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The House Girl by Tara Conklin (Read 5/6-5/7)

The House GirlThis is a beautiful story following the lives of two woman linked through art, history, and personal mysteries.   The story moves between antebellum Virginia and a modern-day New York.  The truth of one, with lead to the truth of the other.  It is full of heartbreak and loss, but don’t be discouraged, the truth leads to justice.

Josephine Bell is a slave on a failing tobacco farm in 1852’s Virginia, she is a house girl and nurse to her Mistress Lu Anne Bell, an artist.  Josephine is also an artist, and our story begins on the day she has decided to run.  Her chapters follow her through her day as she prepares to run, and the information her Mistress finally tells her after 4 years of secrecy.

Carolina “Lina” Sparrow is a first-year associate at an elite law firm in 2004’s New York.  She is ambitious and talented and on the “Partnership tract.”  She is given an assignment to find a “perfect plaintiff” in a historic lawsuit regarding reparations for the descendants of American Slaves.  It is while on this search, that Lina discovers Josephine.  Currently all of her artwork is attributed to Lu Anne, but there is some suspicion in the art world that Josephine was the true artist.  Lina’s chapters follow her through her search for the descendants of Josephine and the truth of who was the real artist of the Bell Paintings.

This was a short book, about 370 page in paper back, but electronically only about 150 (font size does make a difference I think).  I read this book in two evenings, I could not put this book down and the writing was so easy to read.  I loved Conklin’s style, it was smooth and idiomatic.  Conklin did a wonderful job of describing both Virginia and New York, with just enough details to guide my imagination, but not so many the I had no creative freedom.  The story line flows, and like I said I kept coming back and couldn’t put down.  I really liked Lina, I was able to relate to her and her drive and need to know the truth, not just for her job, but for her own peace of mind.  The need for the truth, whether good or bad, the need is what drives Lina. 

I didn’t like the ending, I don’t want to go into too many details because of spoilers, but  really wanted things to turn out differently for Josephine, although I was pretty happy about how things went for Lina.  The fact that things turned out the way they did, contributed to the realism of the novel.  Things are not always unicorns and rainbows, and not every story can have a happy ending, although I can still wish for it.

I would definitely recommend this book as a light read, maybe for a weekend trip something light to keep you entertained and interested, but not so long that you couldn’t finish it on your days off.