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Search tags: American-Novel
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review 2019-07-07 20:11
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
Heart Berries - Terese Marie Mailhot

I don’t feel that I can rate this short, not-quite-chronological memoir. It’s certainly well-written, and deals with a lot of heavy topics, but this sparse, symbolic, stylized form of writing isn’t one that quite works for me. Entire stories are distilled into a single paragraph or even sentence, and so much of the way the author sees the world is figurative. Major elements are skipped over entirely: the author spends much of the book lamenting an intense relationship with a man who doesn’t seem to respect or care about her very much, who brings out the worst in her and whom she believes doesn’t understand her. And then suddenly, he’s her husband, and apparently remains so, in what seems like a terrible choice based on everything she’s written here, though it’s so brief it can hardly be the complete story. At the same time, it’s really great, polished writing, and highly re-readable. Those who enjoy very literary memoirs will probably eat this up. Others might be left confused or nonplussed.

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text 2019-07-05 16:19
My June 2019
Verbrechen - Ferdinand von Schirach
American Panda - Gloria Chao
Verbrechen - 4.5 stars
American Panda - 5 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month:

EVERYTHING

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet:

Still, Tote Asche, Percy Jackson - Die Schlacht um das Labyrinth, Gläsernes Schwert, On The Come Up

 

Random ramblings:

I didn't even wanted to post this but here we go. I was in the worst reading slump last month and reading just felt like the worst chore and I just didn't wanna do it but made myself do it, which ended with me reading and not going anywere. That's why this month I decided to take the first week off, it's nearly over and I find myself being excited about reading again. Thank god.

 
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review 2019-07-04 23:11
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

An American Marriage recently won the woman’s prize for fiction, a story surrounding a couple and what happens to their marriage when the man is put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

 

The narrative is split into three, with the most time being given to the husband (Roy) and his wife (Celestial). The third narrative stream is that of Celestial's best friend, Andre. I think this worked, although I didn’t see it as wholly necessary that we have Andre’s perspective. It didn’t add a huge amount to the novel and I didn’t find his voice very distinctive. His perspective was sometimes interesting, though and his own portions in the book were minimal.

 

The disintegration of a marriage was the real star of this book. It didn’t happen quickly, but was gradually fed to the reader making it very believable. I found both Celestial and Roy very authentic and could almost feel Roy’s frustration at being locked away and unable to actively participate in events that were impacting his life.

 

What I really liked about this book is the unapologetic way it handled itself. Celestial made choices I completely disagreed with, but I could still empathize with her. This shows a real skill the author has in forming characters. Roy was fantastically portrayed as well. I sensed the change in him after his time in prison. It would have been unrealistic to have him as the same man when he came out of prison as when he went in, but this didn’t happen. He was different in subtle ways and I could understand Celestial’s apprehension towards him.

 

A deft character study concerning a topic that needs more attention. I highly recommend it.

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review 2019-07-03 22:30
Rocket Men by Robert Kurson, narrated by Ray Porter
Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon - Deutschland Random House Audio,Darwin Porter,Robert Kurson,Robert Kurson

This is an amazing story, made even more amazing by Ray Porter's excellent narration!

 

I can't help but feel that, much like 1968 when this tale took place, we need this kind of patriotic, inspiring story to get us through this tough time. (And then I see something like this proposed Trump July 4th parade, and I think to myself, this is NOT what we need right now.) Sorry to get political.

 

These men were patriots, they were brave and they were Americans. It was a pleasure to learn more about them.

 

*Thanks to my public library for the free download. Libraries RULE!*

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review 2019-06-30 22:04
The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton 1775-1777 (The Revolution Trilogy #1)
The British Are Coming - Rick Atkinson

The American Revolution was both political and martial in scope, yet while the high dramatic points are often touched upon it’s the details that are missed where real history can be seen affecting and creating those high points.  The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton 1775-1777 by Rick Atkinson is the first book in a trilogy chronicling the military history of American Revolutionary War from major battles to minor skirmishes to unknown campaigns left out of other general histories of the period.

 

The account of the Revolutionary War begins in 1773 with the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party put Massachusetts under martial law and the resulting insurgency throughout the entire colony that restricted the royal government’s control to Boston alone.  This situation led to the British regulars’ expedition to Concord, via Lexington, thus beginning a colonial rebellion that would slow mushroom into a global conflict.  From this beginning Atkinson chronicles the military events of the war over the next two years in as best chronological fashion he can provide with multiple theaters opening up from Boston to Virginia to Canada to the Carolinas to New York and New Jersey with multiple other little events happening around the colonies as well.  Atkinson avoids venturing into the political aspects of the Revolution save for how it directly affected military affairs thus George Washington’s appointment and the Declaration of Independence shaping the American military cause are covered, on the flip side the politics on the British side especially George III’s view and how the British government’s instructions to it’s commanders and the logistics of a transatlantic war were covered in-depth to provide context to the how and why of various British strategies.  And the slowly developing diplomatic “front” which would be important later in the war is given its groundwork beginning, centered around Benjamin Franklin.

 

The approach Atkinson takes in his chronicle of the American Revolutionary War is first and foremost a military history with political, diplomatic, and social influences of secondary importance and in context of their influence on the military situation.  In previous histories of the period I’ve read, the civilian governments support, or lack thereof, of the Continental Army were focused on a lot but Atkinson flips the narrative and focuses more on the British side to emphasize the transatlantic nature of their war effort especially as their expectations of loyalist support in both manpower and supplies.  Atkinson brings forth many minor engagements surrounding better known battles, first in the Canadian expedition and later in various Southern colonies/states in 1775-6 that general histories do not touch on.  While Atkinson is good in providing biographical information to many important participants from both sides as well and how disease affected both sides, it is also where some of his biggest mistakes and oversights occurred that left one scratching their head but not bad enough to ruin the whole of the book.

 

The British Are Coming begins Rick Atkinson’s military history trilogy of the American Revolution in dynamic way while also giving the reader a new view of the period.  The emphasis of the historical narrative on the martial conduct of the war from major battles and campaigns to minor engagements as well as giving a clearer focus on the British side of the conflict makes this different from other books of the period I have read and has me looking forward to the next book.

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