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Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha (film)

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Title: Memoirs of a Geisha

Author: Arthur Golden

I will admit that I had no clue what a geisha even was until I read this book. I read this around the time the movie version was released. Even better was that I found this at the library book sale. You can’t go wrong buying the book by the inch instead of cover price. Personal victory.

For a complete work of fiction the story is as real as the country it takes place in. The lies and deceit of those who are greedy and prey on the innocence and less fortunate. The tearing apart of a family and the lengths a girl will go to find real love.

This book was worth the read and the movie was worth the viewing. 🙂

The cover of the 1994 novel

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Title: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Author: John Berendt

I loved this book. This was one of the books I read after I saw the movie but only because I didn’t know it was a book first. I love how this reads like a fictional novel when it is about real people and events. I love how Mr. Berendt makes the scenes come to life-like they are happening now.

“Elegant and wicked…. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil might be the first true-crime book that makes the reader want to book a bed and breakfast for an extended weekend at the scene of the crime.” –The New York Times Book Review

Cover of "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bon...

Cover via Amazon

Title: Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons

Author: Lorna Landvik

I know the rule is to never judge a book by its cover, but I couldn’t help but grab this one off the shelf right after I read the title. I do believe I laughed out loud in the middle of the book store. After my skeptical reading of the first chapter in the aisle, I knew I had to buy it.

If you are an avid reader and like having a list of books to read on hand this book is perfect. Each chapter has the title of a different book. This book was also awesome because although it is fiction it is congruent to life and the issues we face everyday.

I believe this book is the proof that with a few good friends and a good book you can make it through anything.

Cover of "A Secret Kept"

Cover of A Secret Kept

Title: A Secret Kept

Author: Tatiana de Rosnay

A Secret Kept is about the discovery of the past of two adult children’s deceased mother. The discovery comes on a birthday weekend when the older brother chooses to surprise his sister on her 40th birthday and take her to a place they used to visit in the summer with their grandparents. As the trip draws to a close and the siblings are on their way back to reality, the sister remembers something that changes both of their views of their mother.

I love that I opened up Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key and that this novel left me just as satisfied. The world she creates is full of normalcy and whimsy. The characters are so vivid you can almost feel like you want to have them over for tea.

Eat Pray Love

Cover of "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Se...

Cover via Amazon

Title: Eat Pray Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

 

So this is going to be an off review since I honestly couldn’t finish either the book or the movie. I wasn’t a huge fan of the beginning but I loved the part that took place in Italy. I got half way through India and was thoroughly bored. I tried to get into it the way I got into Italy. I just couldn’t. I will confess. I began reading the book because I wanted to see the movie and I have this thing where, if I know the movie is based on a book beforehand, I do my best to read it prior to seeing it. I don’t like to have someone’s face in the novel unless it is because the author did a fantastic job describing them and I can mentally imagine the words being acted out in my head. I hope to hunker down and finish it eventually but my attention span is on vacation right now and I seem to get distracted by random thoughts or my dog barking at something outside at the present time.

 

If you loved the book and/or the movie don’t ruin it for me. I am sure I could use some encouragement to finish though. 🙂 Leave some in the comments if you wish.

Cover of "A Reliable Wife"

Cover of A Reliable Wife

Title: A Reliable Wife

Author: Robert Goolrick

This book was not what I expected it to be. The characters were boring, one-dimensional and unlikable.You think you may get something fresh and witty when you start with an old man with a fortune waiting at a train station waiting on his bride whom he found in the penny saver. The bride (a middle-aged woman) plans to poison him and take his wealth and find a young lover to live out her days with. The old man used her to reconnect with a child his late wife had with her Italian lover.

This book was such a waste of time. I was so glad when it was over.

Title: Sarah’s Key

Cover of "Sarah's Key"

Cover of Sarah's KeyTitle: Sarah's Key

Author: Tatiana de Rosnay

 

Sarah’s Key is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read where the story takes place in present day but tells the story of a Jewish girl during the French roundup. This novel would be the perfect addition to any avid reader’s book shelf. Full of secrets, lies and a family’s burden Sarah’s Key is sure to leave the reader turning page after page to find out what happens next. I sure was.  The movie looks like it is true to the novel which makes me very happy. Check out the trailer below and feel free to leave a comment!

 

But Can the Phoenix Sing?

Cover of "But Can the Phoenix Sing?"

Cover of But Can the Phoenix Sing?

Title: But Can the Phoenix Sing?

Author: Christina Laird

This story is told through letters. The letters are from a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto to his step-son. The letters take the reader through the fighting of the resistance in the forests and the friendships and relationships forged through fighting to free the Jews from death.

Christina Laird gives the characters a complexity and qualities that keep you rooting for them until the end.

“We have to make sure our phoenix can sing. Otherwise, what was is all for?” -Misha to Richard (two of the characters in the book)

Cover of "Playing Botticelli"

Cover of Playing Botticelli

Title: Playing Botticelli

Author: Liza Nelson

This story takes place in Florida and takes the reader on a journey as Dylan runs away from home to find the man in a photo she presumes to be her father. Dylan’s mother, Godiva Blue, struggles with the fact her daughter is growing up. On Dylan’s quest she runs into some interesting people who leave her with some precious cargo.

Now you want to know more, don’t you? 🙂

This was a great book and a steal since I bought it for a dollar years ago.  It’s refreshing to find a book that can make you mad one page and relieved the next. When an author can make you think about the alternate world they have created, it makes the world seem a little bit bigger.

“Playing Botticelli is one of those wonderful novels that treat the mother-daughter relationship for what it is: part mine field, part love nest.”                     – Pat Conroy author of Beach Music

Night

Night

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Title: Night

Author: Elie Wiesel

 

This autobiography tells the life story of Elie starting at age 15 and continues to the liberation at Buchenwald. It was interesting to read in the preface how it took years for publishers to acknowledge that the stories were a part of history.

In 115 pages, I felt the confusion he felt as his life started changing in 1944. Then his fear of the unknown and bitterness towards God as the life he was comfortable in was tossed upside down. I can only imagine the pain followed by numbness he felt after he lost his father. It is hard to imagine he was completely grateful to God after being liberated. I am sure that took time.

For reading it cover to cover in an hour, I still take every word as a gift. It has to be hard for Mr. Wiesel to tell his story and see so vividly every time the pieces he may want to block out.