Monday, February 24, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Hassan Haji, a young man growing up in a boisterous family
in Mumbai has a gift. While his family runs various food carts and restaurants Hassan picks up skills that unleash an inner sense few people aquire. Even those who are "chefs" and cook for a living do not possess the skills blessed upon him. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes and the family is shaken to its very core. They liquidate everything and move to France where they can once again begin a new life in the restaurant business. Hassan is finally old enough to become head cook and his remarkable skills lead him on a path to fame and fortune. This delicious, funny, touching story about family, love and traditions takes the reader on a magnificent cultural journey that one can visualize and taste as this spicy family travels through bland rainy England, the hills of Lumiere and the bustle of Paris. The writing was excellent and it is hard to believe this author is not a chef himself! An entertaining and heartwarming story, a must read in my book: but warning! it will leave you starving for more!! The Hundred-Foot Journey

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Still Life with Breadcrumbs

Rebecca Winter, world famous photographer, mother,
daughter, ex-wife. This is who she is on paper but who is Rebecca, really? After a dwindling of finances and little recent success with her work this renowned artist finds herself renting out her lavish apartment and living in a small cottage two hours from Manhattan. Small town life sounded quite like a plan; she would save money, concentrate on photography and meditate on the quiet. It wasn't until she was literally alone in the dark that Rebecca realized how empty and frozen her NYC life had truly become. She befriends the local baker and begins the most unlikely relationship with a roofer, different from her in every way possible. Her long time fame is fading, at this age Rebecca is not sure what she wants from the rest of her life and it is both scary and exciting. Anna Quindlen is a beautiful writer. Short delicate chapters which can make you laugh and cry as you continue to turn the page until sadly you've reached the last one. Highly recommend this touching enjoyable novel.  Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Labor Day

Small town USA, single mom Adele lives an extremely
reclusive life with her son Henry. Labor Day weekend is approaching. The "normal" American families are getting ready for baseball, hot dogs and long days at the beach before the start of the new school year. 13 year old Henry doesn't see himself or his life as normal. In the midst of adolescence Henry deplores his body, athletic abilities and lack of female companionship which he fantasizes about daily. While picking up a few things with his mom at a local Pricemart, a rare outing for her, a stranger strikes up a conversation and Henry and Adele find themselves offering him a ride, which morphs into a place to stay. An unlikely friendship begins between Frank, Adele and Henry. Through this simple, heartfelt story we learn trust, friendship and second chances in life are sometimes found in the most unlikely situations. Being like everybody else is not always the answer. Love and family, happiness and satisfaction are ours to create, they are not always handed out equally. This is a fantastic, easy enjoyable read by Joyce Maynard. I loved every minute of it and cannot wait to see the film when it comes to the theater! Highly recommend!! Labor Day Movie Tie- In Edition: A Novel (P.S.)

Andrew's Brain

This stream of conversation falls between Andrew and most
probably his psychiatrist. Sometimes Andrew is reflecting on his life, sometimes his future or most likely the universe in general and how we find our place in it. The abilities of our brains and the line between consciousness and subconsciousness is threaded through every chapter as well. Okay, if I still have your attention, I have always wanted to read something by E.L. Doctorow and figured his latest would be a good choice. The funny thing is it left me bewildered, not disliking it but not knowing what I felt. Looking back now after a few days I can get a better grasp of what I read. The writing and flow of words is extraordinary, if it was anything less I could never have read this type of book. The character is interesting in the strangest of ways and there is a story in there somewhere but I think you only find it long after finishing the book. With all this in mind I must say I have never read anything even remotely similar (which is good!) and it presented me with a lot to think about (good again!) If you cannot live without an intense specific storyline this may not be for you but based on the size (easily read) and excellent prose I give it a thumbs up and also apologize in advance for the rambling review which may just be a symptom of the book itself. Andrew's Brain: A Novel

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sense & Sensibility

Thoroughly enjoyed this light, easy read, modern day Jane Austen
story by Joanna Trollope. The Dashwood family consisting of mom and three vivacious girls find themselves homeless after two unexpected deaths and misbegotten wills. They must leave the magnificent estate called Norland and venture out into the real world where jobs, bills and expectations abound. Belle, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret experience love, betrayal and friendship as they carry on and manage to survive life at another glamorous estate owned by a distant relative of their father's. The characters are adorable and predictable but if you want to relax and smile and read some delicious nonsense, this is it. Loved it! Sense & Sensibility

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

Fanny Osborne Stevenson and Robert Louis Stevenson. Two magnificent, brilliant, creative minds. A romance born in the stars and lived to the fullest. She was his lover, best friend, confidant and muse. He was her everything. This beautiful story of their lives takes historical fiction to a new level. Fanny travels to Europe after leaving her scoundrel of a husband in California. She arrives in Antwerp with three children, she is 35, she has dreams of living a creative life without even knowing what that truly means. With little money and no one to depend on but herself (practically unheard of in the late 1800's!) Fanny meets Louis and her life would never be the same. The Scottish writer, a decade younger yearns to travel, to see, to experience and to write. And so begins two decades of their lives intertwined with much success, and also sadness. Love and loss, friendship, jealousy and everything in between. Somewhat comparable to the other stories of famous successful men and the women who love them, there seems to be one enormous difference. After a childhood filled with illness, Louis has a joy for life and happiness. He knows what it means to have Fanny in his life and he is never letting go. I knew the end before I started and still cried. These characters will be in your mind long after the novel has ended. Highly recommend this terrific read. Enjoy! BUY TODAY! Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel