Thursday, February 27, 2014
"My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult made such an impression on me that
it will always be one of my favorite books. Our book club talked about this book for hours. I love her books and style of writing so much that I am trying to use a variation of it for my book. There are so many good ones that you could read and discuss them all for days.
This book tells the tale of a family in crisis, like most of her novels. Kate has a genetic disease and needs a bone marrow match. Since none are found, the parents genetically engineer a child to donate her stem cord to her older sister. But unfortunately that did not cure Kate and Anna has been giving Kate parts of herself for many years. Anna decides she wants to put a stop to it even though she loves her sister very much.
This novel asks some tough questions and there are no villains. Do we really
know what we would do to save our child or ourselves? Especially when your decision could kill your sister. This is a tough but warm story that will sear these people and the situation into your head. There is a twist, as there usually is in a Jodi Picoult novel, but you will never see it coming! She is an author to read slowly and enjoy, but her books will not let you put them down until you finish them.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Sue Monk Kidd might not churn out books quite as frequently as some authors, but when she does they are usually worth the wait! Her "Secret of Life of Bees" is one of my favorite all time books. Please read it if you have not. This book,
her latest, may turn into one of those favorites also.
The book is told from the two viewpoints - one a young, affluent Southern girl from Charleston and the other her personal slave. Sarah grew up the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and judge. Hetty, her slave, grew up in
Charleston also, but as the personal slave of Sarah. As each grow up, they form a bond but the trials of slavery and injustice pull them apart.
Sarah's father told her that she should have been born a boy because of her intelligence and oratory skills. After witnessing a slave being whipped during her younger years, Sarah developed a stutter that came and went her entire life. That did not stop her from growing up to be a Quaker and activist in the abolition of slavery. She and her younger sister, Nina, gave many speeches against slavery and worked toward it's end. Her life intertwines with many people from all walks of life but her intelligence and sense of justice guide her actions. The real Sarah Grimke who grew to become a Quaker minister also was influential in the Woman's suffrage movement.
Hetty, or Handful as her mother named her, was Sarah's personal slave. She was given to Sarah on Sarah's eleventh birthday. As Hetty's story unfolds we learn of the hardships of being a slave even in an wealthy household. We meet
her mother, Charlotte, who becomes a catalyst for change in Hetty's view of herself in the world. Hetty becomes involved in the unsuccessful slave uprising. As both of their worlds collide with history, the story will increase in intensity. Don't miss this touching story of two women who come of age in the old South with it's richness and faults. These two ladies will get you thinking about history and the evolution of injustice in the world today. All the while it will keeping you glued to the pages until you are finished!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
After reading some of the glowing reviews in my GoodReads SouthernLit group, I wanted to read this book. Luckily I found a copy at my favorite bookstore, Pelican Book Store. I had not read a Susan Crandall book before and I loved this one! I will definitely be checking out some of her other books.
The main character, Starla, was one precocious and adorable nine-year-old. The red hair should be a hint to the reader of her fiery personality. She goes on to steal your heart. As she questions the actions and words of those around her, you see the racial tension of the South during the early 1960's. The trials that she goes through in the few weeks we know her will give you quite a few chills and thrills.
You also come to know her father, grandmother, and her traveling companion, Eula as well as many notable characters. Eula is a black woman who ends up trying to get Starla to her mother in Nashville. She leads Starla thru a series of life lessons in a quiet and unassuming way while dealing with some major trauma herself. But the main thing you should remember is the punky and loving little girl who shows you how to not judge people by their skin color but by their actions.
Don't miss this book as it is on the level with one my favorite books of all
time, "To Kill a Mockingbird" but with a memorable little girl.
Friday, February 7, 2014
"bird by bird" came by it's name honestly. When Anne Lamott's brother could not get started on a writing assignment, his author father just basically told him to start and the words would find him. Anne Lamott goes on to give us heartfelt and funny advice in finding your way in writing and in life.
Even if I were not a writer, I would read this book. It is not long but full of advice on worthwhile things to remember as we go thru our day.
It is hard to write with humor but this book finds a way to do that. Anne tries to make us realize that we may not all go forward to be the next John Grisham, but we should just write, everyday. Let's just say I now have a new love for index cards. We don't want to miss an opportunity to capture those special moments to include in our next story or novel. I know I need a calendar, some cards, and my iphone just to make it through a normal day. Now hopefully some of that will come back and be of use again. She basically
says, "live like you are dying", which is great advice and a pretty good country song! If you enjoy writing or just reading a good book, don't miss this one!
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I learned a valuable lesson tonite - that writing is like ironing! You start with this big wrinkled mess that looks kind of familiar and after some work you end up with.a beautiful, pressed piece ready for the world to see. At least you hope it's ready. So while it may seem weird to some people that I iron sometimes while I am writing, now I see the connection. Hope my novel turns out as good as this shirt!