Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Morning Book Review

Back before we had kids, Paul and I used to really enjoy lounging around on Sunday mornings. We would buy a big bag of bagels, a container of freshly whipped cream cheese, delicious fruit and two huge newspapers . . . the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. We would spend hours enjoying brunch, working on the cross word puzzle, laughing over and discussing stories from the papers and pouring over the Book Review sections. I'm afraid those days are long gone, but I still thought Sunday was a good day to share a few book reviews.  
In March, my book group chose a large book called The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wicker. It is a fantasy/fable about two mythical creatures arriving in New York City at the turn of the century. The writing is fabulous, and the author's description of NYC at that time was captivating.  The characters are also really interesting - well drawn with tremendous back stories.  The plot is complex but well laid out. For such a long book, it ended a bit abruptly, but that was my only real criticism. Like most fables, it raised some really interesting, big questions that apply to contemporary life. On the whole, I would recommend it, and I give it 4/5 stars.
Next up is Defending Jacob by William Landay. It's a courtroom murder mystery that asks really troubling questions about how far parents will go and/or should go to defend their children. It was a page-turner, well written and very well plotted. It's a notch above a typical murder mystery and one that will be interesting to discuss at our next book group.
My book group is also reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. I haven't started that one yet, but I'd be interested to hear what you thought about it, if you have read it.
I'm also interested to hear what else you're reading and what you thought of it.  I think blog land can be just as informative as the New York Times Book Review!


Joan said...

I loved Life after Life. It's confusing, with many different versions of what might have been, plus confusing chronology.I got confused, maybe partly because I read before sleep and sometimes am more asleep than reading.I loved it at the end so much and was enough confused that I read the first half again. I loved the main character.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I saw the Golem & the Jinni at the library last week but didn't pick it up. I'll have to see if it is still there Wednesday when I go back.

I just worked my way through the last 3 books in a contemporary mystery series by Connie Shelton about a woman who owns a bakery & has this mysterious magical box that gives her energy & enhanced abilities. I'm not a fan of mysterious magical boxes in contemporary mysteries. I think they are a plotting cop out, but this series did it quite well. It didn't rely on the box to solve everything & I liked the characters.

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

I really enjoyed Life After Life. It took me a little while to get into it, purely because I was always so tired by the time I picked it up at night and only read in very short bursts to begin with. It was well worth persevering with. Right now I'm reading Tuesdays with Morrie. I remember those kind of lazy Sunday mornings....long ago!

Karen said...

Defending Jacob got a rave review from one of the men in our bridge group. Although I've heard lots of good things about Life After Life, I couldn't get interested in it. I just downloaded The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, but I've just started it.

Sian said...

I'm thinking maybe those days will come back again some time in the future. Maybe.

I'm a big Kate Atkinson fan - love Jackson Brodie! - but I haven't read that one. It sounds quite different from everything else she has done

Anonymous said...

I've been reading some books that I loaded on to my kindle for John while we were away. The one on the go right now is a Tom Clancy one - Threat Vector but I'm anxious to finish and start "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain. I can only read one at a time these days.

Jimjams said...

Defending Jacob sounds interesting ... you didn't score it (not that I ever dare score my booksbut you scored the first one so I wanted to know ...)
I'm not sure I've read Kate Atkinson before, but lots of people have been mentioning Life After Life - I'll see how you like it first.