Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sarah's Key

WARNING: Only read this book if you have 2 days with absolutely nothing to do. You will not be able to put it down or think about anything else while immersed in this memorable, historical, loving saga. Sarah is a ten year old girl living with her family in Paris. It is July, 1942 and the Germans have forced the French police to round up all the Jews and force them into holding areas to be deported to the concentration camps. Sarah leaves her little apartment with her parents but locks her brother, 4 yrs old in a cupboard, which has been their secret hiding place. She is sure she will be back soon and they will all be together again. Noone can believe they are really never coming back to their home. Noone can believe they are really being sent to their deaths because they have done nothing wrong. Nothing wrong except they were born Jews. She innocently questions why would everyone hate the Jews for no reason? What could they have possibly done wrong? The story changes chapter to chapter from Sarah's story to the present day of a journalist Julia Jarmond. An American living in Paris researching the upcoming commemoration of the "Roundup" in Paris that so few know about and fewer ever speak of. Both characters are captivating and the story flows smoothly and quickly, which is why the reader cannot stop until the end. We all know what happens in the end.  Sarah could be played by Dakota Fanning and Julia, Kate Hudson.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire  By Stieg Larsson.  Fabulous on the edge of your seat murder mystery. Just as suspenseful as the first book [Girl With The Dragon Tattoo] and wonderfully written. Lisbeth Salander is the main star this time around. Now she has grown on us and and the reader finds themselves rooting for this most unique challenging character. She is more clever than all her counterparts and very hard to love, but love her we do and only want her innocence to be proven when she is accused of a triple murder. Naturally, Mikael Blomkvist, and Millenium magazine are involved and Mikael has lost contact with Salander but feels indebted to her for saving his life in the first story so must help solve the mystery. Once again there are an enormous number of characters and towns that are equally hard to pronounce and keep track of but worth the effort. This book can be read even if you haven't read the first one but personally I would go in order to get to know the characters. As for the movie, it must be out there in someone's mind! A box office thriller for sure. Possibly starring Brad Pitt as Blomkvist and Kristen Stewart [Twilight] as Salander.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Book Thief

The Book Thief   By Markus Zusak.      This is a story narrated by Death. At first glance that may be hard to grasp but as the reader becomes immersed in the life of Liesel, it begins to flow and Death is never questioned again. In Germany during WWII Liesel finds herself alone. She is a young girl and taken in by a foster family. Books and the notion of reading is something Liesel dreams of and her foster father enables her with the little bit he has, to bring words into her life. They take in a jewish man and hide him in their basement. Liesel develops an important relationship with him as well as with a boy her age that becomes her only true friend. This is a unique story, written from a perspective like none other. This is a story filled with compassion, love, friendship, good, evil, pain and suffering. Death is looking down at all of us and thinking what is with all this killing, I can barely keep up, are you people crazy? Yes, they were.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever, By Jennifer Weiner. Addie Downes is a quiet, talented artist that has led a lonely existence. The only true friend she ever had was Valerie who grew up across the street. As highschool progressed, their friendship was destroyed and they have not been in touch for 15 years. The weekend of their class reunion, Valerie shows up at Addie's door and drags her into a mystery, chase and ultimate reunion of their friendship. Can a friendship be revived after all these years? What is the meaning of true friendship and forgiveness? There is no doubt, you must like Jennifer Weiner (books) to enjoy her latest novel. If by some chance you have not read them, by all means give her a try! It is by no means earth shattering, it is field trip back in time. Her clear depiction of an adolescents uncertainty and emotions is uncanny. She mixes it all with a wonderful sense of humor and camaraderie (we are all in this together).  You will find yourself laughing out loud (or at least quietly smiling). If we see this on the silver screen any time soon, it may star Cameron Diaz and Melissa McCarthy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

People of the Book

People of the Book, By Geraldine Brooks. The story of Hanna, a rare book expert from Austrailia who  traces the history/mystery of the Sarajevo Haggadah. This book is a rare Jewish codex that has traveled extensively, survived many wars and been rescued by the most unlikely people. The story is based on historical facts of the Haggadah but as a novel, enmeshed in the lives of interesting characters completely fabricated by the author. Hanna has some of her own personal troubles that are borderline unrealistic and she is bitter as well, but that aside the focus is the Haggadah and Hanna is the tool to take us on this journey. This book takes place during the year 1996 and flashes back through hundreds of years of persecution, war and a quick history lesson of peoples lives that is most interesting to imagine. The story would be an excellent book club discussion. For one, it covers a range of emotions. Everything from religious persecution (and for those who don't want to read yet another Holocaust story, a chance to learn that this persecution started way before that!) to the mother daughter relationship between Hanna and her own (horrible) mother. Secondly, there are tons of book club questions out there which of course is always a plus. Definitely worth the read, wouldn't be surprised to see it as movie in the future, maybe starring Charlize Theron.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Time of My Life

The Time of My Life  By Allison Winn Scotch   Fantasy like story featuring Jillian who seems to have it all. Loving husband Henry, adorable baby girl Katie, house in the burbs, etc. Only the grass always seems greener on the other side. The "what if" side. If I chose this or had done that.  One day Jillian wakes up and it is seven years prior! She is in bed with the past love of her life Jackson and those what ifs become real. Could she actually enjoy this dream like state, could this be real if it feels real. Could Jillian really start over and what about her beautiful baby that she loves with all her heart? Original story that gives the reader a chance to explore these questions through someone elses drama! Enjoyable summer read, and by the way, the grass is never that much greener.