This Blog is Dedicated to our dear friend Karen.
When she left this life she left a hole in our hearts as well as several to be read books.
We, her friends, will read these books for her.
This blog will be a sort of book club for us to post our thoughts and feelings about the stories and feelings we have of Karen while we read.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#466 - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I did not hate this book. But I didn't love it, either. (Duh, Kris, that's pretty much what the 3-star rating is all about.) This was a good multi-generation story about a Greek family emigrating to the US, and it's also a personal history of early 20th-century Detroit, detailing the beginnings of the auto industry as well as other early history of Detroit. Eugenides does a good job of detailing the rise and fall of the Motor City, showing how parts of the city fell into ruin, and how a city with such promise became the urban wasteland that much of it is today. One of my big interests is how a city grows physically, architecturally, and I enjoyed that aspect of the book.
I really couldn't get invested in the story of the main character, Cal, though. Which is surprising, because we had some things in common. No, not the hermaphrodism; the interest in foreign cultures. I really didn't understand the purpose of bringing the subject of hermaphrodism into the story. I don't have a problem with the subject, I just didn't see how it advanced the plot or drove home the theme of the novel. In general, though, I did enjoy many of the characters in the book.

-read by Kris 7/26/15

Friday, July 10, 2015

#177 The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I am not sure what to say about this book. It was an amazing story with really well developed characters that you think you hate until you get to know them and then you feel for them even thought they are pretty much terrible. But the reason I am not sure what to say about this book is it was a tough read. It is soooo dense. It took quite a bit for me to get into it and it didn't help that my copy of the book had very tiny print. (maybe I'm getting old nahhh that can't be it) But I had to push and I mean REALLY push through on this book. But once I did I have to say it was worth it.

The main character in this book gets involved in quite an adventure is the best way I can describe it. It goes from learning about a lifestyle in history and trying to reenact it and then it just gets weird to put it mildly. I feel like I need a light right after this one. . .

-read by Abby 7/10/15

Sunday, July 5, 2015

#123 Same Kind of Different by Ron Hall and Denver Moore


Here's a story of two men; one, a very wealthy art dealer from Texas and the other a very poor, homeless man from Louisiana. 

The poor man, Denver Moore, grew up on a plantation in Louisiana way past the times when slavery became illegal.  Apparently there are/were many plantations using black labor for cheap (they would never get paid, but were "allowed" to live in shacks on the "man's" land and buy clothes from the man by their labor and they could never get ahead as the "man" had control of the cost of everything and with no education for the modern-day slaves they didn't know any different).

One day Denver Moore got tired of living this lifestyle so took off.  He hopped trains and eventually found himself in Texas.  Along the way he got himself in all kinds of trouble with the law and became very angry and bitter.  I had a hard time reading his thought and entitled behavior the first half of the book.  He felt like he was doing people a favor by allowing them to help him.  He would make comments such as: I will let them shelter me through the night (and so on).  He had way too much joy in conning people out of money, too, because he felt if people had money it was their duty to share it so he was helping them make the "right" choice.  It was so repulsive and disgusting for me to read. 

The wealthy art dealer was married to a very spiritual woman that decided her and her husband were going to start helping out at a homeless shelter.  Well, that's where Denver and Ron met.

They developed a true friendship and Denver's attitude changed tremendously (and so did Ron's).

The woman that brought them together gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and this brings them even closer together.  It was so heart wrenching reading the chapters of cancer as it was all too familiar hearing the terms and rituals and reading the family heartache and such. I will admit, I did shed tears through these chapters.

The book is "Christian Literature" so it does come across preachy at times and to be honest, I felt they over shared some very sacred things which made me uncomfortable and even question them.  Sometimes those sacred times are private because once shared they become less-real and less-sacred.  Although, I am certain Karen would have loved this book.  I was sad she never got to read it as I think she would have really connected to this story, but I am glad I got to read it for her.

Friday, July 3, 2015

#415 Where are you Now? by Mary Higgins Clark

This book was a pretty good mystery that I did not predict the ending to go the way it did. It starts out as the brother went missing 10 years ago from college and he calls his mother every year on Mother's day but they have no idea what happened to him. Then there are some mysterious deaths of young ladies occur that seem like maybe the brother may be tied to them. It is an interesting inside view of what it is like to grow up in a very wealthy New York city community.

My biggest complaint about this book is that there were so many characters being introduced that it became hard to keep track of who was who in parts of the book. I didn't really grasp who the main players were until 3/4 of the way through the book.

But the end had me saying ooooh yeah that one I wouldn't have expected. It was a pretty quick read that I think would be perfect for a plane ride or sitting by the pool.

-read by Abby 7/3/2015