amekole

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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel

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I loved this book. The author takes us from New York to a small village in Burma as seen through the eyes of the New Yorker and her father, a native to the area. His story is compelling, and heartbreaking, although not sad. It is a contradiction that is best experienced. It is a fascinating look at one man's experience of being blind, and experiencing love through his senses. I highly recommend this book as it offers the reader an alternate way of seeing the world.
The Time Keeper

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i read this book in one night. It is definitely s book to ponder over. I enjoyed the stories as they unraveled and how the characters intersected. It is a bit simplistic and the characters do not have a lot of development, but if you take it at face value for what it is, then it is a very enjoyable read. The author compels the reader to contemplate their relationship with time and the prevailing message is to, of course, live each moment fully and appreciate it for what it is. The majority of the message could be summed up by a magnet on my refrigerator, "Don't waste today worrying about yesterday" (or tomorrow). Would recommend it.
Charlotte Street: A Novel

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I had a hard time getting invested in this book. There was enough in there to keep me interested, but the two main characters were not all that likable. Jason, was a directionless man who spiraled downward and just didn't seem to have any ambition. I found that frustrating. But that is something that frustrates me in real life, so my dislike for him may actually be a reflection of how well the author portrayed this character. Suffice it to say, I was unable to walk away from this book and finished to the end, although at times I did want to disengage with the characters. There are some great lines, and the ending is pure hollywood, made getting to know the main character, and all his flaws worthwhile.
Flight Behavior

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I really enjoyed this book. She is one of my favorite authors, and does not disappoint with this book. The characters in this book are revealed and explored in ways that really gives you insight and depth into their character and personality. I particularly liked the mother in law and the protagonist as you got to know them throughout the book. This story has so many levels and explores some very controversial issues, both interpersonal, and global. It will stay with you for awhile after you put it down. I would definitely recommend!
The Fault in Our Stars

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The story of Hazel and Augustus is not your typical love story. I feel like this book brings a great deal of credibility to the experience of childhood/teens with cancer. While this book focuses on their experiences dealing with cancer, it also highlights their "teen-ness". Their love story is inevitably sad and tragic, and this book should be read with a box of tissues nearby. My favorite parts were the biting humor that they exhibited. I found Hazel's assessment and world view interesting and insightful. I would recommend this book to any teen who knows someone with cancer.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore was an enjoyable read. I liked the idea of secret book reading society/cult. THe characters were interesting and their was enough intrigue to keep the plot moving along. I was invested enough to care about the outcome of the story, but I can't way I really bonded with any of the characters. All in all a good story, interesting and unpredictable enough to the end.
Cutting for Stone: A Novel

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This book was enchanting to read. I know the book is long, but you won't regret reading it. The description of Ethiopia and the protagonists are spell-binding. I have a medical background, so that may have added to my appreciation of this book, but I don't think it is necessary, but if medicine does not interest you this book may run a little bit long for you as it is very descriptive and detailed in all aspects, including medicine. I trult flelt immersed within the pages of this book and that I could see and feel what was happening as it happened. ALthough it is 600+ pages, I read it all in 1 week. Wonderful!
Daughters Who Walk This Path

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I enjoyed reading this story. Not knowing anything at all (forgive my cultural ignorance) about Nigerian culture I found those embedded facets of Nigerian customs and life kept me motivated throughout the book to continue. The descriptions of their political system and courting and wedding customs fascinating, as well as the significance of various tribes within Nigeria. I was also interested in the dissonance between Morayo's attitude and actions and traditional cultural norms. I did not find the book depressing as others did. I found the descriptions of abuse as a personal/individual occurrence, as well as a systemic/cultural occurrence certainly troubling, though not isolated to Nigeria. The oppression and abuse of women is certainly universal in perhaps all cultures. I found the journey that Morayo and her Aunt traveled in their lives to be engaging and I wanted both of them to succeed and live fruitful lives. I found the book to be uplifting in it's entirety.
Middlesex

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Middlesex is an interweaving of various storylines centered around Calliope Stephanides. In one part it is a historical reaccounting of the a Greek family immigrating and assimilating (or not) into American culture. It is also the story of Detroit during a highly turbulent time, but at it's heart it is the story of Calliope and he self discovery of who and what she is. Middlesex delves into multiple highly complex issues, and the reader is rewarded with an engaging, interesting read. The book is long, and can move a bit slowly at times, but the in depth discussion/description of lives and events is worth the effort.
My Pilgrim's Heart; A Woman's Journey Through Marriage And Other Foreign Lands

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I normally love books about travel and pilgrimage. I normally love books that are strong on female introspection, particularly when looking at relationships. I really want to like this book, and there are parts so far that I do enjoy, and certain phrases and paragraphs really stick with me as truisms, but... I'm having a hard time getting through it. I really like the travel pieces. I might appreciate the introspective parts as well, except I generally would expect more from a women with her experiences. She seems to be well educated, struggled raising her son, and clearly seems adept at introspection. This sort of inner turmoil and marital issues, only a year into a marriage seem like they should be coming from an impulsive 20 year old. I feel like she should have sorted her self out before now, and it grates on me. Probably because I really wanted to identify with her as a mother of an adult child traveling the world. I love her sense of adventure and spirit. I hope this book ends well for her and her marriage. I will continue to struggle through it to get to the end and maybe it will pick up and I will have to rewrite my review (I hope so!). Right now, I'd only give it 3 1/2 stars. If I could have bypassed the first 35 pages and started with the traveling section I would probably be enjoying this book a lot more.
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