The title is a ploy. This book is not about a cat. It's about a woman who lost her eleven-year-old son in a tragic accident. I'll admit that I would not have read this book had I known how the book dwelt on the profound sadness of Elise, the mom, after a car driven by a child psychiatirst (of all people!) hit and killed her son. This is a painful read. I think it's not only painful for anyone who has lost a chld, but also for those who have (any age) children and have even the slightest fear of losing them.One quote I found in this book seemed especially insightful to me and is worth noting here. These were the words of Elise:"Maybe tragedy brings out cruelty in people. Maybe that’s how they distance themselves. They’re afraid of contamination."Elise had a tough life as she was born with a "stain", most likely a port wine stain, marking half oF her face. She had always been on the fringe because of her appearance. The loss of her one companion, her child, really unhinged me as a reader. The child's father had abandoned Elise to move in with another woman. Yes, there was a cat--an affectionate one at that. However, even the comfort Pursie the cat gave to Elise did not lessen the discomfort of this read for me.Why did I read it? I like the work of Edeet Ravel and have previously been impressed by her novels about Israelis. I'll continue to read her works, but I might just take more than a peek at the title before I dive in.
I began this novel by listening to it on CD and was mesmerized by the narration performance of Grover Gardner who made an excellent Andy Barber, the assistant district attorney whose 14-year-old son Jacob was indicted for murder of a fellow student at McCormick Middle School. I totally identified with Andy's indignation and disbelief at the turn of events in this story. His anguish was palpable and believable. While I was listening to this book, my husband had simultaneously been reading the hard copy. It was a race for both of us to finish, but I won simply because I found the novel so engaging that, by the time I had gotten to its midpoint, I literally could not put it down.In addition, I could not believe how engrossed I became in the courtroom testimony as well as the questions of prosecuting attorney Neal Legiudice and defense attorney Jonathan Klein. That is so unlike me. As a parent, I totally felt what Andy Barber was feeling. Throughout most of this book, I really had no idea if Jacob was guilty or innocent. I did not guess the story's trajectory, another factor which made reading it fun. If more "legal thrillers" were as interesting as this novel, I might even become a fan of this genre one day. My only tiniest criticism of this book is that it seemed as if it had four distinct endings. Let me explain. The crescendo of the story ended and the result of the court case was revealed. Ending one. Then another short story ensued. Ending two. Then there was a peaceful lull. Ending three. Then there was a crisis. Ending four. The last three endings seemed tacked on. I liked the first ending (which wasn't the ending at all) the best. I loved the experience of reading this story and look forward to reading other works by this new-to-me author.
It was really painful reading this book as I already knew the story of Danny Pearl. His wife Mariane was very brave to share the details of those trying days leading up to Danny's death. I wish a happy life for Mariane and Danny's son who will only have to read through this book to know what a special mom he has and what a special dad he had. This book left me very uncertain. I got the feeling while reading it that Pakistan must be quite a dangerous country. I felt (kind of as I did when I read Mohsin Hamid's novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist) that I would not know for certain whom to trust in that country. Usually I tend to be a very trusting soul. I continue to feel unsettled as, still to this day, American contractor Warren Weinstein, who is local to my own area, is being held in captivity after being kidnapped in Lahore, Pakistan. When will this insanity end?The end of the book had many notes of support to Mariane. Some were from people I did not know; others were from recognizable names such as Shimon Peres and Laura Bush. It took a while to get through these letters, but it was probably important to include them as they were an uplifting note to an otherwise deeply sad story.
The World According to Garp is a work of genius. The characters are bold, colorful, and outrageous. Every word of this voluminous yet entertaining book is important to the story. There are stories within stories that are easily woven together yet outstanding each in its own way. It frequently is laugh-out-loud funny. The relationship between Garp and his mom is wonderful because there are not too many good novels which extol a positive relationship between a son and his mother. This is a truly enjoyable read.
This is a neurosurgeon's retelling of his near death experience during the time in which he suffered from bacterial meningitis and was in a coma for a week. I'm not sure why I wasn't more affected by this book, but I found it rather dry reading. I am a profound believer in both the spiritual and physical balance in humans, but this book did not overly inspire me.
After I received this book, Pocket Antioxidants, I took a quick look at it and figured it would be ultra boring. In the book, I saw large, chemical-sounding words and many graphs. I wondered why I'd even ordered it. Well, I'm a "foodie". That's why. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised when I actually took time to read it. It's very easy to understand. As a matter of fact, the author say *not* to dwell on the big words, but to listen to the underlying idea of what he's saying. The idea is that a variety of fruits and vegetables daily is what is needed to supply us with our necessary antioxidants.The book opens with an explanation of what antioxidants are. I had been previously just impressed by that word since I heard it so much in food advertising! Now, at least, I know what it means.This is a quick read, a nice little reference book, and one that impressed me with some of its facts. For example, I learned that a strawberry daquiri has more antioxidants than a plain daquiri. That's good to know! I also learned that some foods are greater in antioxidants after being cooked, while the opposite is true of other foods. In addition, I was given small charts (nothing to fear, really) that show which foods, in their own categories, outperform others within the same categories in relation to their antioxidant content.This book has a small, but rather nice, list of resources at the end. I'll need to soon check those out. The very best thing about this book, though, is that it says that chocolate and coffee are good for me (in moderation, of course!).
This is the first novel I've ever read that was written in first person plural. I started out very skeptical of this technique, but I fell in synch with it rather quickly thanks to the lovely writing of Julie Otsuka. This is the composite story of young Japanese women who came to the United States to live in California prior to the onset of World War II. There men whom they had only previous seen on pictures awaited them for the purpose of marriage. The marriages took place and children were born. When World War II did break out, individuals of Japanese descent suddenly started to disappear from the American west coast. The end of the book was startling and horrifying.This is a short book, but it's one that gives a great overall picture of the people of Japanese descent living in America prior to and during World War II. It was so well done, in fact, that I'm wondering how many of the individual "stories" were really facts and not fictitious at all.
Jane Takagi-Little, an American whose mother is Japanese, is a television filmaker making a program shown in Japan which highlights different American families and their use of meat in their cuisine. Her search for original ideas in producing this programs leads Jane into confrontations with her Japanese boss “John” Ueno. Unlike John, his wife Akiko is a great fan of Jane’s programs.My Year of Meats tells about an independent woman, deals with intercultural and social issues, and explores serious deficiencies in the American meat industry . Jane is a feisty, free-thinking woman who makes this novel come alive. John is a horrible characterwho mistreats his wife and has no appreciation for what Jane is trying to show in her television films. Having two stories run parallel in both Japan and the United States is a great technique for exploring the uniqueness of both cultures. In addition and of no minor consequence is that learning some disturbing facts about the American meat industry might make some readers question the need to eat beef at all!
My first words upon finishing this book were in reaction to Dr. Gawande's story about a surgery he performed. I felt that he was so brave in sharing that story. However, let first things be first. If you think reading about why a checklist is important might be silly, you're wrong. This book is a convincing and intelligent argument favoring how checklists work to decrease errors. Dr. Gawande's book also examines other theories which assist in creating better than expected outcomes of unexpected or emergency situations. Contrary to what may seem a simple answer, having an expert give directions, the proven better option is to have participants in a project communicate among themselves to formulate the best resolution. Taken together, a checklist plus a team of interested and communicating individuals have proven to decrease errors in many professions. It might be worthwhile for all of us to give "the checklist" much more credit. I so much enjoyed reading this book. I easily applied it to the environment in which I work as a quality auditor. I began using checklists for myself after my tasks became increasingly lengthy and complicated. My manager uses weekly meetings for our team of five to discuss problems and, together, decide the best resolutions. The next step in my personal checklist for this book is to pass it along to my manager just so she can she what she's been doing right!
For many readers of this book, Amanda was not a particularly likable character. I, however, did like her. I felt sorry for her, thinking that her upbringing must have been strange and that she had been her own worst enemy. I found her to be a believable character despite her personality flaws. The fact that she was a lawyer, that she never wanted children, that she had a negative outlook as well as a low tolerance for stupidity reminded me of one person I know well in real life! I would not mind meeting Amanda again in another Joy Fielding book. I still wonder, though, why Amanda left her first husband Ben (not a spoiler) in the first place.As this story opens, Amanda returns to her hometown of Toronto, Canada, from her current residence of Jupiter, Florida. She learned that her mother shot and killed a man she did not know and is now being held in a detention center awaiting bail hearing. Amanda is ambivalent about being back in Canada because she never had a close relationship to her mother and her ex-husband Ben is her mother's attorney.I thought this book was done very well. I loved that the plot revealed itelf constantly in little pieces as opposed to having the whole explanation at the end, a process which make me despise most mysteries. In addition, I was intrigued by the dark undertones of some psychological weirdness which pervaded this story. I was certainly surprised by the ending and found the story most engaging. I'm not sure why others gave this book only lukewarm reviews as I found it a fun read.