Dec 5, 2016

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date

I borrowed several books of poetry from the library written by Mary Oliver, including Dog Songs, The Leaf and the Cloud, and Blue Iris. Oliver tends to write a lot about the beauty of nature - flowers, the seasons, dogs - though her poems are not limited to these. Oliver has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

The bluebird
is dropping the pearls of his song
out of the sky.

- from "Rhapsody," The Leaf and the Cloud
Shelter by Jung Yun, March 15, 2016 by Picador.

Why should a man care for his parents when they failed to take care of him as a child? A debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one's family. (publisher)

I have been reading this on and off, not an easy story as there are lots of heartbreak on the part of the parents and a slow realization by their son of his responsibilities.

What are you reading this week?

Dec 1, 2016

Book Review: Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Review of Here Comes the Sun, a novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn, published June 2, 2016, Norton

I didn't think I'd want to finish the book, but as I kept reading it pulled me in - the vivid characters, the story, the, at times, poetic writing. This is a candid look at some of the lives of the less fortunate local people who live behind the scenes in the Jamaican tourist industry, the ones who serve in the hotels and cater to the tourists, legally or not. It also looks at the island culture of homophobia, superstition, and lack of opportunity and education that keep many miserable and hold them back. You won't look at the local people the same way the next time you vacation in paradise!

Written by a Jamaican-American who knows the island, the dialect, and its life rhythms. I recommend the book for all readers interested in the Caribbean.

Nov 29, 2016

First Chapter: Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book you are reading or will be reading soon.

Today's book I got yesterday from the library after seeing it by chance. I'm really enjoying it, a book set in Jamaica, written by a Jamaican-American writer and teacher now living in Brooklyn.
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn, June 2, 2016, Norton
"Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect..." Margot works at a hotel in Montego Bay to support her mother Delores and her younger sister Thandi, whom she wants to further her education to lift herself out of relative poverty.

Margot herself is a clandestine member of the gay community and will probably have to leave the homophobic island culture at some time. As I read along, I'm waiting to see if this happens.

First paragraph:
The long hours Margot works at the hotel are never documented. Her real work is not in answering the telephones that ring off the hook, or writing up delinquent housekeepers for sleeping on the beds and watching TV when they're supposed to be cleaning. Her real work is after hours when everyone had bid their goodbyes and piled up in the white Corollas --robot taxis -- at the massive gate of the resort, which will take them home to their shabby neighborhoods, away from the fantasy they help create about a country where they are as important as washed-up seaweed.

What do you think? Would you read on?

Nov 27, 2016

Sunday Salon: Older Books and New

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.
Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date.

I read Jamaica Inn years ago and am rereading a 2015 reprint of this mystery/romance about smugglers in 1820 Cornwall, England. It's just as intriguing as I remember though I did notice now that one of the characters seems much more modern than the others in his action and speech.
Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, republished September 1, 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks.

Another book on my desk is
The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran by Andrew Scott Cooper, August 2, 2016, Henry Holt. This one I am reading slowly as it's a history book, very detailed history of the man, his empire, his rule, and his death, yet written in a way that is interesting and easy to read. I see it as a tragedy of sorts.

A galley of a new book, the first in a few weeks, arrived.
My Last Lament by James William Brown is described as "a poignant and evocative novel of one Greek woman's story of her own and her nation's epic struggle in the aftermath of World War II." It's written in the first person, which I don't normally like, but the story does look intriguing. It highlights the Greek folk art of lamenting, its history, and the people who serve as "lamenters" and is an "eulogy to a way of life." I am looking forward to it, thanks to Berkley Books. It is to be released March 2017.

How was your Thanksgiving holidays? I ate at a relative's house and avoided having political disagreements.

Nov 20, 2016

Sunday Salon: Kindle books and Other Books

I bought the ebook, Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman, after a recommendation from Lisa of Southern Girl Reads.
If I like it, I'll try his new book, We're All Damaged. It's been a while since I've read a novel by a male author who wasn't a mystery writer.

My current read is The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt, quite suspenseful so far.

A couple of books I started enthusiastically but left after reaching the middle, as I thought I could predict the direction they were headed. The books were more plot driven so the character didn't carry me through to the end. These include The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran and Love, Alice by Barbara Davis, both of which I still recommend for the plots, intriguing stories.

There are other Kindle books than Domestic Violets that I have recently bought. I haven't read many, mainly because I prefer paper books, of which the library has a ready supply.

It snowed and sleet-ed and rained yesterday. Who knows what today will bring? But it's reading weather for sure.

What are you reading this week?
Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.
Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date