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review 2017-05-11 16:01
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The Secret Chord: A Novel - Geraldine Brooks

I greatly admire Brooks' works and the voice she gives to historical characters, so I looked forward to seeing what she would do with the Biblical King David. Considering the drama of David's life, this novel was surprisingly uninteresting. 

 

Told from the point-of-view of the prophet Nathan, David's life is full of contradictions that are not fully explained. He seems much more an irreverent philanderer than the "man after God's own heart." Of course, David had his issues, but he doesn't seem to have any positive attributes in this portrayal of him, leading the reader to wonder why God would have chosen him at all.

 

It doesn't seem to be a question that Nathan ever considers, though he does take it upon himself to ensure that David's son, Solomon, becomes a better man than his father. I enjoyed the part of the book with Nathan mentoring the young future king.

 

This novel closely follows the Biblical account of David with many additional graphic sexual encounters that I could have done without. Some Christians will undoubtedly be offended by the author's decisions regarding some of David's relationships, but I was not particularly surprised by any of it. Even with the scandalous attempts to add to David's known story, I found this book a bit bland. Definitely disappointing coming from an author of such great skill.

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review 2017-05-09 18:48
Powerful historical fiction
March - Geraldine Brooks

Historical fiction with a powerful grounding in both the fictive world of Louisa May Alcott ("Little Women") as well as the real history of the American Civil War. A pitiable and complicated main character (March) leaves his family to fight in the war as a committed abolitionist. As the father of Jo and Beth and Amy from Little Women, we get to hear his side of what was happening in this critical period in U.S. history.

I found the premise more intriguing than the execution, but I liked the way in which his life and decisions had complicated outcomes, not predictable ones that were clearly heroic. The story reflects the complications and horror of the Civil War itself, and capably demonstrates the terrible life of slavery and its affects on human beings in that period.

Source: nednote.com
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text 2017-05-03 09:55
Reading progress update: I've read 168 out of 280 pages.
March - Geraldine Brooks

I so loved Year of Wonders that when I saw this at the library I picked it up on the off-chance. Somehow though, when I got it home, I kept looking at it and thinking 'I just don't fancy this', so it sat there as my only unread library book from March. It kept quietly nudging me though every time I picked up another book or walked past - read me, it kept whispering. So, before renewing it for another month, I finally picked it up. I'm not disappointed so far. I so love her writing, descriptive but no intrusive. I may try one of her non-fiction next but I hope she carries on writing fiction.

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review 2017-04-05 23:02
Review of People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks

A new favorite! It is such a fantastic surprise when you start a book with no expectations and it becomes a top read. I had never read any of Geraldine Brooks' books before, but I am very much looking forward to the next one.

 

This novel alternates chapters between the main character who examines and repairs historical books, and the stories of how the book came to the main character throughout history. A wonderful concept that reads as a series of short stories in many ways. I loved the history, the writing style, and the character development throughout the book.

 

Highly recommended.

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text 2017-02-02 05:58
Reading Challenge update - January 2017
His Bloody Project - Graeme Macrae Burnet
The Hanging of Mary Ann - Angela Badger
Amokspiel - Sebastian Fitzek
Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
Nutshell: A Novel - Ian McEwan
Cold Earth: A Shetland Mystery (Shetland Island Mysteries) - Ann Cleeves

It's been a good reading month for me. I've been feeling generous so there are some five star reads in there. Classics and non-fiction fell by the wayside (no surprise there) but I did manage a book in German so I'm pleased with that.

 

So, my January reads:

 

His Bloody Project

Not really sure if I could include this one as I finished it on January 1st (feels like a bit of a cheat to me). I thought it was a true story at first and when I found out it wasn't I was impressed by the author's skill in capturing the writing style of the day.

 

The Hanging of Mary Ann

Another sad story of a woman being made example of. Simply because she was a woman.

 

Amokspiel

Not the best Fitzek I have read. It was full of clichés but entertaining.

 

Nutshell

I confess to not being Ian McEwan's biggest fan but I loved this wine-swilling, philosophizing baby.

 

Year of Wonders

The book was rich in language and culture. Loosely based on true events, it inspired a little research on my part in to the events in Eyam in 1665.

 

And the disappointment of the month award goes to ...

 

Cold Earth

The strong and silent Jimmy Perez has disappeared from Shetland and in his place we have a flat character who seems to be handing over the reins to his girlfriend. The story was formulaic and there wasn't an original character on the island. Glad I only borrowed it!

 

Just to complete the stats that's a total of 1465 pages read (excluding His Bloody Project) at an average of 47 pages a day.

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