Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
This is a book that reaches into your heart… and then tears it out. Set during WWII, the book is split between the story of Marie-Laure, who has been blind since age six, and Werner, an orphan drafted by the Hitler youth. Marie-Laure ends up working for the French resistance, while Werner is working his way through Europe, destroying the resistance. As you can probably guess, their paths eventually intertwine. Aside from one key point at the end that left me a little disappointed at the lack of follow through, this book was both tragic and hopeful. I loved it.

Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three
I've been fascinated by the West Memphis Three ever since I saw Paradise Lost in high school. That said, I truly don't know which side I stand on… I know that the three recently accepted the Alford Plea and were released from prison, but I don't know what I believe. From a layman's standpoint, I do think it was a stretch to find them guilty and sentence one to death based on the little evidence they had, but I also understand that there were quite a few things pointing toward the three as the perpetrators (and no, I'm not talking about wearing black or reading Stephen King or listening to heavy metal--or truly even Damien Echols' mental issues… I have students with mental issues. I can't fathom them doing this). What does bother me about this case is that it was bungled from the start, with evidence being lost and destroyed, a search party not being organized until the next day and so on. What bothers me is that, in the end, whether these three are innocent or guilty, we seem to have forgotten about the three 8 year old boys who tragically, horrifically lost their lives that day, and I guess that's why I keep reading whatever I can about it.

The Farm
Daniel receives a call from his dad, telling him his mom has been institutionalized. Then he receives a call from his mom, telling him not believe his dad. And so begins a story in which we don't know who to believe--Daniel's mom, Tilde, or Daniel's dad, Chris. Tilde claims of a conspiracy, a plot to make her look insane. Chris claims she's broken down and is insane. Daniel is in the middle and must decide which parent to believe. This book was slightly reminiscent of Shutter Island, except that the bombshell twist at Shutter Island was more concealed. Still, I couldn't wait to read on and find out if Daniel would believe his mom or side with his dad.

Bankson is an anthropologist alone in the field, until he meets up with Nell and her sometimes angry husband Fen, who are escaping the volatile Mumbanyo. Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the mostly matriarchal, gentle Tam, but in the midst of this, he cannot stop thinking about Nell. This book grabbed me. Quickly. The storyline was fascinated but also the relationship between Nell, Fen and Bankson. This was a book that reminded me somewhat of The Poisonwood Bible but on a very different level. What does it take to live amongst native peoples? And what does one sacrifice or give up for the sake of science?

What are you reading?


Lyndsay W said...

What am I reading? WHAT AM I READING?!

I am reading about 1 page a night. My child suddenly needs way less sleep. Truly! She use to need to be in bed by 8:00 and I had HOURS to read before bed (plus T isn't home until 10 on Tues/Thurs = READING). Now she's awake until 9:30. Last night it was 10:00. The kitchen was a mess. I had to get ready for today's potluck at work. Every night is like this!

So what am I reading? Nothing. Except your awesome book reviews.

Lyndsay W said...


...but soon school will end and life will slow down and I can read while A plays in the backyard or we can sit on the deck together with our books....

I have hope.

Barb Ruess said...

I sympathize greatly with Lyndsay because my life is so busy it's hard to find time to read or I'm so tired I fall asleep. Looking forward to summer slowing down in a few weeks!

At any rate, I have moved on to a true guilty pleasure: Diana Gabaldon's latest: Written in My Own Heart's Blood. (This is not my typical genre but something about this series has always had me hooked!) And it's over 800 pp so I'm just hoping to finish it before I have to return it to the library next week.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I just finished reading Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank.

InTheFastLane said...

Read All the Light. Love loved it. But yes in the unresolved part. That bothered me as well.

Then read Chasing the Sun. Interesting story but just meh writing.

Now reading Bittersweet: A novel. The jury is still out on this one.

One crazed mommy said...

I'm over halfway done with The House of Bathory - I wish I had more time to dedicate to reading it, as it is keeping me guessing. I love Linda Laffery's books - she brings these odd/psychotic historic figures to life and creates known, yet unique, storylines. She also wrote The Bloodletter's Daughter, which I loved. I will be checking out more of her writing!

Unknown said...

I just finished The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbreath (a.k.a. JK Rowling). It's a modern day private investigator story about a famous model's death. I enjoyed it. The writing was very good, as you would expect from Rowling!

Theresa Mahoney said...

I don't even want to talk about it. I thought I would have a few books under my belt already this summer, but noooo. The kids have other plans which involves mom being the taxi driver all summer. I am ready for this darn rain to stop, the sun to come out, and finding a quiet spot on the beach to just read!

I did read the Cuckoo's Calling not too long ago, like another poster. Was a decent read, but it took me awhile to get into it. A little predictable, not her best work, but still good.