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review 2017-04-23 09:48
The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein
The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

Enzo is not like other dogs, he loves race car driving, loves watching t.v and is convinced that he will be reincarnated as a man after he dies. On the eve of his death, Enzo looks back over his life, chronicling his adventures with his master, Denny and the highs and lows of their time together.

I loved so much about this book but most of all I loved Enzo, he is so loyal to Denny you love him for that alone. His insights into human life are humorous and sometimes it seems he's the only one who sees situations clearly.

The story itself was very easy to get lost in and I found myself cheering characters on, becoming teary when tragedy struck or angry when Denny was being pushed to his absolute limit. This read highlighted not only the best of human (and dog) behaviour but also the ugliest. I laughed out loud when Enzo got his revenge on one of the grandparents, be warned that feeding a dog a spicy hot pepper will have serious repercussions for your carpet.

Overall this was a fantastic read; engaging, thoughtful, realistic with wonderful characters and one hell of a dog. Be warned though, you'll need lots of tissues.

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text 2017-04-08 11:30
Book Haul
The Steerswoman (The Steerswoman Series) - Rosemary Kirstein
Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler
City - David W. Wixon,Clifford D. Simak
The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein
Memory of Water: A Novel - Emmi Itäranta
Dream London - Tony Ballantyne
Someday, Someday, Maybe - Lauren Graham
Roter Drache In Aspik: Das Fantasy Kochbuch - Sascha Storz

Remember when I told you about my last book haul? Yes, the one that made Lina so happy? Now you'll finally get to know the titles. :D

For the convenience of our international community I have chosen the English editions where available (one of the books I have actually bought in English).

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

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review 2016-08-28 01:36
The book covers controversial subjects with great respect.
A Sudden Light: A Novel - Garth Stein

A Sudden Light: A Novel, Garth Stein, author; Seth Numrich, narrator

Jones Riddell and his wife Rachel had recently experienced financial difficulties. They were forced to declare bankruptcy, and consequently lost their Connecticut home. Their marriage became strained and they decided to temporarily separate. Rachel traveled to her parent’s home in England, and Jones took his 14-year-old son Trevor to his ancestral home in Seattle, Washington. It was there that his father’s family had once operated a successful forestry enterprise.

Once at Riddell House, Trevor met his grandfather Samuel, a confused elderly man, and his beautiful Aunt Serena, a woman who made his hormones spring to life. Serena, younger than his father, was the caregiver for his grandfather. As children, her “Brother Jones” had exerted a great influence on her, but after the untimely death of their mother, Isobel, Jones was banished by his father, and more than two decades had passed since he had returned. His sister Serena wanted him to help her get their father, Samuel, to give them Power of Attorney so they could sell the house. The problem was that Elijah, Trevor’s great grandfather, who created the Riddell fortunes, became remorseful after his son Ben died; he changed from being a timber baron to kind of a conservationist. He decided to repent for abusing the forest in order to satisfy his own greed. He had written that the land should return to its former state after the last Riddell passed on.

As Trevor became more comfortable in his father’s former home, he began to explore. There were mysteries developing. Objects were disappearing without explanation, like his watch and his father’s ring. Even his Aunt Serena’s cake server went missing. Then, on occasion he heard strange sounds, voices, and he even thought he saw apparitions. He discovered secret passageways and hidey holes where he found some of the missing objects. When he tried to tell his mom and his dad about what he had discovered, they didn’t believe him. He wanted to know if the house was haunted. His mom thought his imagination was at work. His aunt laughed at him. Trevor realized that his dad was hiding something, but he wouldn’t reveal it to Trevor even when he pleaded.

As Trevor learned more and more secrets, he discovered that Elijah’s son Ben had died very young, under odd circumstances, right after the death of his lover, Harry. Both men had loved the trees and hated that Elijah’s business was deforesting the land. Elijah had disapproved of Ben’s homosexual relationship; Ben had disapproved of the family’s logging business which he believed was raping the land. This was more than a century ago and two things were true:  Alternate lifestyles were not accepted and abusing the environment was not a parlor conversation.

After awhile, against reality, it seems that Trevor actually engaged with a ghost, the ghost of Ben. He learned that Ben’s brother Abraham was Grandfather Samuel’s father. He learned that Ben was a gentle, thoughtful man. He learned about the “not quite secret” great love he and Harry had shared. He learned about the history of the estate and he discovered that Ben thought that he, Trevor, might be the one who could save it so that Elijah’s wish to honor Ben’s memory, by returning the land to its former state of beauty, would be fulfilled. This was in contrast to his aunt and father’s wish to sell it and have the land developed. Both Serena and Jones were truly cash strapped. What should Trevor do? Should he help Ben or should he help his father and his aunt? What about his grandfather? Did he want his grandfather sent to a home? Did he need that kind of environment? Was he really that sick? These were all questions that would be difficult for an adult to handle. Trevor had only just turned 14 a few days before!

As Trevor continued to consider what to do, he explored further and learned more and more. He began to suspect that Serena had ulterior motives. He began to wonder about why his grandfather seemed so confused sometimes, believing he heard his dead wife dancing, and yet at other times, seemed a bit more coherent. As the story twists and turns, it is laced with revelations and tragedy. How will justice be served for Serena, Jones and Samuel in this life? How will justice be served for Ben who is from the past?

At the core of the story, there is also an interesting environmental question. Should the forest be restored to its original majesty or should human interaction with it be allowed to destroy it? Have humans interfered with nature? Should they?

 

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text 2016-03-26 11:39
U.S. Amazon Kindle Sale (Today Only)
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
Old Man's War - John Scalzi
The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

The U.S. Amazon site has a sale, for today only, on several Kindle titles that they claim are “all-time customer favorites”.  There are 29 books, but these are the ones that stood out to me:

 

* $1.99 - Flowers for Algernon (the full-length novel version) by Daniel Keyes  (I read the short story when I was young and it made quite an impression; I’ve wanted to read the full-length version so I bought this one.)

 

* $1.99 - Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman  (I read this one several years ago and liked it a lot.)

 

* $2.99 - Old Man's War by John Scalzi  (I already own this one but haven’t gotten around to reading it.  It sounds interesting and seems to be well-liked among the people I follow.)

 

* $1.99 - The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein  (I don’t really know anything about this book, but I’ve seen positive reviews from a few people I follow.)

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review 2016-03-15 15:52
The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain

 

Garth Stein, 2006

 

 

Enzo the dog is nearing the end of his life. He's lived with Denny, a racecar driver, since he was a puppy and he's seen and done quite a lot. He also watches a lot of TV during the day, so he's learned things, like how he will come back as a human in his next life, and he's been preparing for it. This book is about Enzo taking stock of his life to this point and remember everything he's been through with Denny and his family.

 

 

I put off reading this book for a long time. I had heard really great things about it, that it was an amazing book, a bit heart-wrenching, but really well-written. I even bought it for my Nook. But I didn't read it... The concept was just too weird for me. Was I really interested in reading a book told from the point of view of the family dog? But I finally read it... And now I'm kicking myself that I didn't read it sooner.

 

This book was so well done. Enzo has an almost human point of view - he understands nearly everything that a human would (a few things go over his head), and even sometimes understands more than his humans do. He talks like a philosopher a lot of the time, but not a pretentious one. Just one who is sure that he will come back after he dies, and he wants to be sure that he learns as much as he can in the hope that he will remember. 

 

The human characters in this book were a little less developed than Enzo was, but they were still very interesting to read about. Denny, of course, is the one that Enzo is closest to, so we get more insight on him, but I really enjoyed reading about Denny's wife and child as well, and I found Enzo's impressions of the secondary characters mostly pretty entertaining. 

 

The one warning I can give is this: the ending is a bit heart-breaking. We know from the first few pages that Enzo is dying; the book is actually him looking back on his life. So the ending isn't surprising, but it is a little bit of a tear-jerker. A few events that happy throughout the book tear at the heart a bit, too, so just be careful about reading this book in public. 

 

This is not a long book - just over 300 pages - but it packs a punch. This is one that I would heartily recommend to almost anyone. Just be prepared to have your heartstrings tugged a little bit. I'm glad I finally made myself read this one. Totally worth it.

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