Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rating Books Read This Summmer

Rating Books Read This Summer
Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh ***
Always Looking Up, Michael J. Fox ****
Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan ***
South of Broad, by Pat Conroy *****
World Without End, Ken Follett **
The Madonnas of Leningrad, by Debra Dean ****
March, by Geraldine Brooks ***
People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks *****
The Twelve Little Cakes, by Dominika Dery *****
The Archivist, by Martha Cooley **
All of these books were fiction novels except for Gift From the Sea, Always Looking Up and The Twelve Little Cakes. Gift From the Sea was a reread from long ago and I found new insights this time around. Michael J. Fox's memoir Always Looking Up was awe inspiring as well as thought provoking concerning stem cell research for Parkinson's disease. I so dearly enjoyed the memoir by Dominika Dery, The Twelve Little Cakes, which was her true story of growing up in Communist Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. Very, very informative.
I expected to like Pat Conroy's newest novel, South of Broad, and I did even though I think it is the darkest book I have read in some time. Loving Frank was another read for book club. Wow! How I did I grow to detest Frank Lloyd Wright as I read this novel which made him out to be both arrogant and selfish. And the book's ending was truly shocking and sad. World Without End, continued the creation of a medieval cathedral in England that began in Pillars of the Earth. I gave the sequel just two stars. It didn't hold my attention the way that Pillars of the Earth did. I would give Pillars of the Earth five stars. Now between these two books I have covered over 1900 pages of Ken Follett's writing.
I dearly love the writing of Geraldine Brooks because in each book she tackles a very different landscape. In March the setting is the Civil War in both the north and south and in People of the Book, the plot centers around an actual Jewish historic writing with images and traces its history from creation in Spain circa 1480 to its re-discovery in Sarajevo in 1996. This book was like a Jewish Da Vinci Code. The Madonnas of Leningrad I enjoyed for both the plot and for the setting in a Russian National Art Museums of St. Petersburg during World War II. The Russians are boxing up the paintings as the Nazi Army is advancing towards Leningrad and St.Petersburg. The book discusses actual paintings that still hang in this famous national art museum.
The Archivist was a novel about an academic archivist who works with a student who is learning about her Jewish past and who in turn helps the archivist deal with his dead wife's tragic Jewish past. The book concerns the archived letters and poetry of T.S. Elliot. This one I finished reluctantly because it was so abstract and above my head.

1 comment:

June said...

Thanks for these, Joann! I haven't read any of them except for Gift from the Sea. I need to get the Pat Conroy for sure. June