Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

This biography/historical text follows the life of Benjamin Franklin's
youngest sister, Jane. In 1712 Jane was born into this large Franklin family residing in Boston. The youngest of 7 sisters and Benny being the youngest of 10 brothers were a matched pair from the beginning. Girls were not educated as were the boys and even then - only the wealthier families were able to do so. But Ben began to teach little Jane all he could and as times wore on, and times were hard, this brother sister pair were the last remaining of their clan and spent the better part of their long lives enjoying correspondence, friendship and loyalty with each other. Ben Franklin, one of the most remarkable Americans since the birth of our nation had in Jane his one link to family, to his past and his true self. He forever bounced his ideas, his writings and philosophies off this self learned sister at a time when women found themselves on the outskirts of education, history and politics. Author Jill Lepore brings to life, in an extremely manageable read, a look into the most precious and private letters between the siblings and a carefully studied glimpse of the American Revolution. Personally, as a lover of books, I found it completely intoxicating to learn the details of how Ben Franklin revolutionized not just our nations politics but the alphabet, the written word, the printing press, magazines, newspapers and libraries. Making reading, the desire and ease to acquire knowledge and express ones freedom through their own writing a part of every persons life. The history of documentation, archiving records and the massive changes that slowly took place for educating women is a fascinating and pleasurable journey through our history.    Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Friday, December 27, 2013

A House in the Sky

This book is hard to digest. I spent days deciding if I was
up to read this detailed account of the horrific hostage situation Amanda Lindhout endured with her coworker Nigel a few years ago in Somalia. Similar to reading a Holocaust story two things come to mind, one: how in the world can you survive this? and two: how can I say, as a reader, that this is a "good" read. Let's just say this; A House in the Sky, is an extremely well written account, coauthored by Sara Corbett, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, of an unimaginable experience and this memoir is painful but enlightening to the reader in many ways. Amanda dreamed of travel her entire life. She devoured National Geographic magazines and imagined all the places that she could see far far away from the small town she was raised in Canada. After a few backpacking adventures Amanda was ready for more. Self taught, she began photographing her adventures and writing stories. Sounds innocent enough and even exciting, except her journeys began to take her to war zones and countries where danger was imminent for both foreigners and especially women. She and a fellow photographer Nigel, an on again off again romance/friendship, meet in Somalia to see for themselves a country known to be the most dangerous place on earth. Four days into their trip they are kidnapped and 463 days of captivity follow. It is amazing they survive this ordeal. It is amazing that Amanda's heart is so big that she has now dedicated her life to educating women around the world to help them live a better life. Her healing process is helping others. Extraordinary read. Highly recommend you take the time to put your feet in someone else's shoes, as scary as that may be and think about our world.  BUY TODAY!! A House in the Sky: A Memoir

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Rosie Project

I had no idea what The Rosie Project was about, can't even remember
how I found this one, it may have been the adorable cover that attracted me BUT what a pleasant laugh out loud - put a smile on your face -surprise! The life and adventures of Professor Don Tillman, a expert of genetics at a large university in Australia. Don's journey begins with "The Wife Project", his scientific method for finding a life mate that is a perfect suitable match through a questionnaire he posts online, not far off from the popular sites for online dating. Don is presented with Rosie, who is certainly no match for him due to lateness, smoking and questionable eating habits but the two nevertheless become fast friends and begin "The Father Project." Don decides to help poor Rosie find her biological father and it is not long before "The Father Project" morphs into "The Rosie Project," which frankly, you will have to read to find out how this brilliant rigid man with few social skills who has been trying to fit "in" his entire life learns the truth about himself, the world around him and love. Highly recommend this easy enjoyable read. BUY TODAY!! The Rosie Project: A Novel

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Marie Commeford is an ordinary Irish-American girl growing
up in Brooklyn, NY during the early 1940's. This novel by the talented author Alice McDermott is a simple novel that follows the life of Marie, her priest brother, hard working mother and hard drinking loving father. They have little but for the love of their family and deep faith in doing right by the church, this small quiet story meticulously hides the meaning of their lives, their dreams and their losses. The small spare apartments, little sunshine lighting their lives leaves Marie sort of glum but dreaming of more. As luck would have it she marries Tom (at not such a young age) and has four children to carry on and lend her life the purpose she has dreamed of since childhood. Reminding me a bit of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the writing draws the reader into the story with ease. The only downside is the characters are not enticing and the story is so quiet it leaves the reader on the edge of always wanting something more to happen. I could never say I did not like "Someone" due to the quality from this gifted writer but I would find it hard to pick for my book club as we would have little to discuss.  Someone: A Novel