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The End of Your Life Book Club

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When Mary Anne is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer her son Will, along with other family and friends, accompanies her to some of her chemo and doctor appointments. When she asks him one day "What are you reading?" this simple question starts them off discussing books and the books that they each think they other should read. This begins their two person book club and a way for mother and son to connect over a shared pleasure and a way to make saying goodbye a little easier.This book made me cry, and cry and then cry some more. But it also made me think; about the way we treat people, how we interact with our families and friends and how we treat strangers.I originally didn't think I would like this. I figured it was another one of those books that I would hear people love and then when I get around to reading it I would find it cheesy or highly overrated. I got it out of the library after a friend gave it a high rating, but then I let it sit for almost the whole allotted three weeks. It is due back in two days and I am so glad that I didn't end up sending it back unread!
Beloved

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Sethe was a slave before escaping with her children to her mother-in-law's home in Ohio but although she is free she can not escape being a slave to her memories and her past. Her home is haunted by her dead daughter, her sons have run from home and she is left with her only remaining daughter, Denver, and her memories. "124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom."Set in the 1860's after the American Civil War and inspired by a true story, Beloved tells much more than a ghost story. Dealing with some very strong emotions it portrays the emotional and physical devastation that slavery caused and the mental decline that could occur in a freed slave when forced with the prospect of being forced back into slavery. This was almost a five star read for me but in the second part of the book it is written in a completely different way than the beginning and end and I found it difficult to follow. Thankfully that was only a small portion of the book and was only a minor irritation.I can see why this book won the many awards that it did.
The Graveyard Book: Full Cast Production

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"He looks like nobody but himself," said Mrs Owens, firmly. "He looks like nobody.""Then Nobody it is," said Silas. "Nobody Owens."The Graveyard Book follows the life of Bod, Nobody Owens, as he grows up in a graveyard after his family is murdered and the ghosts and creatures of the graveyard take him in as one of their own. Bod is a target of the assassins who killed his family, but as long as he stays in the graveyard they can not find him. Unfortunately Bod can not stay in the graveyard for his entire life and must face the challenges presented to him to be able to move on and grow as a living being.I really enjoy Gaiman's works and this was no exception. I listened to the audio version of this and it was read by Gaiman and his british accent made it that much more enjoyable!
Oryx and Crake

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Orxy and Crake reads like a mixture of science fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction and Atwood herself calls it speculative fiction. Call it whatever you want, I'm calling it awesome! Atwood has an amazing mind and this book is full of her creativity and wit. Snowman, also know as Jimmy in his past life, is struggling to survive in a world that has been destroyed by plague. The only company that he has are the Children of Crake, human-like creations that have been created by Snowman's old friend Crake to live harmoniously with each other without hatred or lust. They bring Snowman food and he teaches them about the world that they have been thrust into. Snowman narrates through flashbacks to his childhood and the time prior to the plague and the present, where he is running out of food and has limited protection from the hybrid predators, like wolvogs, rakunks and pigoons, that were released from captivity during the plague.As you can imagine from this terribly written review this is a very difficult book to summarize without giving away too much information about the plot. If you like science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction or speculative fiction then I recommend this book to you!
Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel

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Unfortunately I ended up unimpressed by this novel. Martel made an attempt to try a new way to write of "the horrors" of the holocaust but in the end it just didn't work. It worked for the first 150 pages or so and then it stopped working. The story was so slow moving that I felt like Martel was trying to make the reader think more than he was trying to tell a story and then the ending was something out of a bad crime novel. It just didn't fit.I don't really recommend this book and I especially don't recommend it for anyone who can't deal with reading about animal cruelty. There is a brief period where Martel is describing torture of a donkey and it made me cringe (and I don't cringe easily!)
The Song of Achilles: A Novel

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Madeline Miller tells the tale of The Iliad through Patroclus' point of view and in my opinion does a superb job! I listened to an audio version that was narrated by Frazer Douglas and I could listen to him talk all day! Such a fine job of narrating a very interesting story.
Snow White Must Die

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This is a fast paced thriller with tons of drama and complications. Originally published in German it is actually the fourth book in a series and the only one, so far, to be published in English. I really hope the rest of the books get translated as this is an author I would enjoy reading more of.
The Lacuna: Deluxe Modern Classic

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I am amazed that there are so many awesome books out there that start terribly. Award winning books that are an absolute bore for far too long before turning into something worth reading. The Lacuna was this way in my opinion. Terribly slow to begin and had me wondering what the story could possibly be about that was worth reading. At least one hundred pages went by before I actually cared about the story line but thankfully by page 300 or so it became a book I didn't want to put down.I find this novel extremely hard to summarize without giving away much of the plot. It's a complex and complicated book with quite a point to make. I found that it took most of the book for some of the points from the beginning to make sense.One quote stuck with me after I closed the book."Why does a person spend money on a stamp, to spout bile at a stranger?"Recommended to those that have a lot of patience for slow moving books.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

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I absolutely loved this book. Just loved it!Clay is out of work and rapidly lowering his standards for job searches when he stumbles across a 24 hour book store. When he enters the store to enquire about the help wanted sign he is greeted by a tottering elderly man who says " What do you seek in these shelves?" After a brief conversation Clay finds himself the night clerk in a 24 hour bookstore. But these days independent book stores are barely hanging on, let alone having enough customers to stay open 24 hours ... clearly there must be something more going on ... and there is so much more going on!“...this is exactly the kind of store that makes you want to buy a book about a teenage wizard. This is the kind of store that makes you want to be a teenage wizard.” This was light and funny and creative and made me laugh so much. And the last line was the best ending line I've read in a while.
Tigana

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Amazing. Absolutely amazing.Fantasy is not my "go to" choice of genres but I have enjoyed quite a few over the years. Tigana has been the best fantasy book that I have read since I was a teenager and immersed myself in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I had not heard of Guy Gavriel Kay until I joined a group read for this book but after reading this I am sure that this will be the first of many Kay books that make their way into my home! This was a borrowed library book but I plan on buying a copy.In the Peninsula of the Palm there are 9 provinces and 8 of them are lorded over by two tyrant sorcerers. When, during a battle in Tigana, the sorcerer Brandin's son is killed he destroys the town of Tigana and casts a spell that removes the name of the town and makes it so that no one can hear the name unless they were born in Tigana. Twenty years later a band of Tigana survivors forges a plan to pit the two wizards against each other and attempt to gain freedom for The Palm and all the residents. This is more than just a battle between good and evil. The cast of characters that Kay portrays go through an amazing range of emotions and and struggle with decisions that must be made in order to bring down two wicked men. It's not often a book can bring me to the edge of my seat at the start of a chapter and then bring me to tears by the end of the chapter.Highly recommended!"Her tears fell on his hands. She lowered her head but others kept falling. She felt as though her heart were a bird, a trialla, only newly born, spreading wings, preparing to give voice to the song of its days."“She lifted her hands and closed them around his head... and it seemed to Catriana in that moment as if that newborn trialla in her soul began to sing. Of trials endured and trials to come, of doubt and dark and all the deep uncertainties that defined the outer boundaries of mortal life, but with love now present at the base of it all, like light, like the first stone of a rising tower. ”
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