Monday, February 27, 2017

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett, 357 pages

Sabine was the assistant to her magician husband, Parsifal.  He dies and she finds out his family, who she thought was dead, are alive and well in Nebraska.

After Parsifal's mother and one of his sisters visit her in Los Angeles, she travels to Nebraska, in the dead of winter, to find out more about the life Parsifal lived as a boy.

Ann Patchett weaves a wonderful story of loss and love and family and acceptance in this book that also includes a bit of magic.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family & Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, 272 pages

I started this book thinking I know Hillbillies and their experiences because I had my own grandmother called Mamaw.  My dad was the oldest of seven, and the only one of his siblings to leave North Carolina.  But I did not live the life that J.D. Vance experienced.  I wasn't even exposed to it when visiting my family in North Carolina.

This is a book about broken families and a broken society that our government isn't able to fix, and is perhaps, making worse.  It goes a long way to explaining how our new president got elected.

How do we make the American Dream real and attainable for all Americans?  How do we heal broken families and break the cycle of poverty, abuse and lack of education?  Until we find those answers as a country and society, I fear we will continue to be divided.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Reivers by William Faulkner, 320 pages

"The Reivers" is the library book clubs' classic pick this year.  It was originally published in 1962, about a month before William Faulkner died.

It is a rollicking and nostalgic story that the narrator, Lucius, is telling his own grandson nearly 60 years after it happened.  Lucius was 11 years old in 1905 when he and two family employees, one black and one white, "borrow" Lucius' grandfather's car and drive it from Jefferson, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee.  They pull this off because Lucius' parents and grandparents leave town to attend a funeral. 

Stolen cars, stolen horses, prostitutes, amoral lawmen are all part of this adventure.  I wondered all through the book when the term "Reivers" would come up.  It didn't.  I later read a review that said "reivers" is an old Scottish word that means "robber."  Ahh, well said, Mr. Faulkner.  I mostly internally cringe when I know I am going to read a CLASSIC, but I totally enjoyed this one.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Widow by Fiona Barton, 324 pages

"The Widow" is a psychological thriller set in England.  The main characters are the widow, the detective, the reporter and the husband.  Chapters are told from each of their perspectives.

What did the widow know and when did she know it?  Wouldn't you like to know.

I listened to this book and each character had a different narrator.  It kept me engaged even though the story wasn't a happy one.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, 784 pages

My semi-regular foray into Harry Potter is finished.  The seventh and final book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" does not disappoint.

Harry, his friends and supporters face down Lord Voldemort and his supporters in this great ending to a fantabulous series.

I re-read all the books this time, as opposed to listening to them.  Not sure which I like better . . . listening . . . reading.  Hmm, I guess I'll have to read or listen to the Harry Potter series again in a year or so to see if I can finally decide.