Friday, February 29, 2008

The Grapes of Wrath

library book
I can't believe I got to be this old before I read this book. You've probably already read it and if you haven't you should.

It was set during the great depression and followed one family, the Joads, as they were driven out of their home and driven west seeking work, along with thousands of other families. It is not a plesant time in our history and treated starkly by Steinbeck.

This book grabbed my heart. I was somewhat dissapointed at the end. I wanted to know what happened to the Joads, where Tom went, how Noah got along, if Al married the girl, did the starving man survive after Rose of Sharon helped him.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Samantha at The World's Fair

I've had this book for a while on my shelf. I bought it because it is an antique book and because it was written by Marietta Holley, who was a friend of Clara Barton and Susan B. Anthony. Holley wrote about women's rights and other social wrongs.

In this book she spoke out about slum lords, the mistreatment of native Americans, women's rights, and the government, and temperance doctrines among other things. She gave wonderful descriptions of buildings, displays and artwork found at the World's fair. Throughout the book Samantha and Josiah visit most sections of the fair with entertaining conversations and confrontations.

One of my favorite quotes is when Samantha was unhappy with Josiah. "I looked at him witherin'ly, but he didn't seem to wither any."

I loved this discription: And pretty soon the White City riz up like a city of dewilderin' beauty and enchantment, with the sun a-lookin' down from a blue sky, and lightin' up the tall, white walls, and gilded domes, and towers, and minarets. And as we floated along by jackson Park, and could git a plain view of the perfect buildin's - the lagoons with fairy boats a-skimmin' over the sparklin' serface - in fact, in plain view of the hull vast, bewilderin' seen of matchless splendor - why, I declare I felt almost as if I wuz took back clear into the Arabian Nights Entertainments, and magic seens wuz bein' unfolded before my enraptured vision.

All in all I liked this book because of the discriptions, but it seemed that that was all the book was. It was a slow go. One of the reasons I read "The Devil in the White City" was because I already had this book.
2 (694 pages)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night is Elie Wiesel's memoir of the year that the he spent at Auschwitzand Buchenwald , Nazi death camps. It was the final year of the Holocaust. This story of his nightmare life in the death camps is harrowing. He writes it to bear witness for those who died and begin his healing.
It was not an enjoyable book, but it is an important one. We can't forget these things. If we do they will happen again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gun Shy by Ben Rehder

This is the fourth Blanco County, Texas mystery starring John Marlin, a game warden and Texas Peace Officer. Two sides of the gun control issue are addressed in this book with humor, wit and satire. Marlin believes that criminals, not guns are the problem. He is not a fanatic. However he is faced with fanatics on both sides, pro and con. There are a lot of characters to keep up with but I think you will like this book. It kind of reminds me of Carl Haaisen only in Texas.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright

library book
This is one of my favorite books ever and this is the third time I've read it. The first time I read it, my grandmother gave me her book. It was old then. I still have and love that book, it is very special to me. Some time after Grandmother gave me her book, we moved to the Ozarks. I consider it the most beautiful part of the country.

There are several sub plots in this the story, as there would be in a small community. There is the Shepherd who moves to the Ozark mountains from a city to escape tragedy and changes the community. There is Sammy Lane wishes to become a lady and there is the father that she loves dearly but who is in trouble surrounding the Bald Knobbers. Young Matt fights to steal Sammy's heart from Ollie Stewart, though he knows Ollie has promised Sammy a rich city life. There is also Young Matt's and Wash Gibb's struggles to the title of "Strongest Man in the Hills." Some are forced to relive the past and learn from it.

This is a sweet and ultimately uplifting book. I highly recommend it.
favorite, classic, Missouri, Sammy Lane

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Dog Who Rescues Cats by Philip Gonzalez & Leonore Fleischer

This is the story of Philip Gonzalez and his dog Ginny. Philip adopted Ginny from the pound after he was badly injured in an accident at work and found himself living on disability. He became depressed, living in despair. then a good friend insisted he adopt a dog, hoping to help Philip focus on something besides himself. He soon finds that his dog has a special gift - finding and caring for disabled and abused cats. They quickly become a team, rescuing and caring for the discarded and forgotten cats living in their neighborhood.
I loved this little book. Animal lovers especially will like it, but I think that in general this inspiring story would be loved by most.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

library book
This story is "woven" around the six Lady and the Unicorn tapestries that hang in the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris. Research shows that the tapestries were most likely commissioned by the French noble Jean Le Viste and made in a workshop in Brussels at the end of the 15th century. Nicholas des Innocents, the handsome artist designs the paintings for Le Viste, who cares more about impressing the king and his court than pleasing his wife. Le Viste's wife, Genevieve, tells Nicholas to paint scenes with a unicorn. He does so, but uses the faces of Le Viste's daughter and wife. The paintings are taken to Brussels for weaving into tapestries. The family we meet there, to me, are the most sympathetic characters in the book. I like the details Chevalier gives concerning the social customs of the time and, especially, the craft of weaving as it was practiced in Brussels.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Girl With the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

This story is told by Griet, a sixteen year old Dutch girl, who, due to changed family circumstances must take a position as a maid in the home of the painter Vermeer. Griet tries not to draw attention to herself. But she is drawn to Vermeer's work and his methods. Vermeer, teaches her to mix colors for him, but it is all done in secret. Griet finds herself confused and wants more than she can have, she wants a relationship with the painter. In the mean time she is courted by a young man, a butcher, her family approves of and encourages her to marry. I like the way Chevalier gives details of life in the seventeenth century Dutch city of Delft.

At times I just wanted to shake Griet and tell her to wake up and smell the coffee. I found it somewhat frustrating because of this, but all in all a good read.


library book.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bitsys Bait and BBQ by Pamela Morsi

This is a cute light romance. I enjoyed it and think you will too. It takes place in the Ozarks. I once lived there, so know how beautiful it is.

Emma has always taken care of her younger sister. Katy's divorce sends her and her young son back to live with Emma who had been planning to go back to school. Not wanting to be a further burden to Emma Katy uses her settlement money to purchase a bed-and-breakfast, off the internet, sight unseen, in the Ozarks. It turns out to be a bait and barbeque business in small town of Warbler Lake. Emma moves there with Katy and they become a part of the community. Soon Katy's awful mother-in-law and ex-husband come to take her son away from her. This is a sweet, amusing story with a happy ending.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Fred Factor

I liked this little book. We used it as a book study (for the teachers) at school. It encourages us to take the chance to be extraordinary in everyday situations. Using the example of his mailman, Fred, Sanborn relates how we can become Freds. We can make a difference where we are. We can build relationships and create value. We can apply the Fred Factor to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. I think you would enjoy this book.