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review 2018-06-21 18:21
This really was more about the Mary Calmes than the Christmas, or at least...
What Can Be - Robert Nieman,Mary Calmes

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

 

I gave this one 5 stars when I originally read it and I'm sticking with that. I loved this story when I read it back in 2011...seriously that's how long ago I read this so...sorry there's no review by me for this one. I wasn't writing them back then...sorry. 

 

Anyways, it's Mary Calmes so does my love for this surprise anyone? I think not. This ones another short, sweet, holiday story narrated by Robert Nieman and start to finish I adored it so much so that if I didn't need to move on to other stories I'd probably have listened to this one more time...seriously it's only June...what the hell is wrong with me? Ok, I'm done with Christmas stories...for now and on to other things. Enjoy your summer days and don't forget to hydrate!

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review 2018-06-17 10:43
Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

Synopsis: I'm not sure its even worth bothering with a synopsis for this one, its freaking Harry Potter after all, but here goes anyway. A young boy who lives with his atrocious Aunt and Uncle and their hambeast troll child, is invited to attend a mysterious school for wizards he never even knew existed.


Review: Its been years since I've read this and I'm really looking forward to getting up to where I left off reading it (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; I just never got around to it), I can honestly say I loved this book. Its got the great feel of a mystery that you don't even realize is unfolding, highschool heroics, villians of a variety, and enough fun stuff crammed into every page to make reading it an absolute joy. I loved reading about Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Quidditch, the sorting hat and everything else.

While we're at it Rowling has an amazing knack for foreshadowing with her writing. She knows exactly how to drop little details that will be important not just in the book your reading, but 2, 3, however many books ahead. Its refreshing to read an author who has a clear idea where her story is going and how its going to get there.

I can't 5 star this enough.

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review 2018-06-14 09:23
Ecstasy
Ecstasy: A Novel of Alma Mahler - Mary Sharratt

by Mary Sharratt

 

Near the turn of the 19th century, Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. Female composers are unknown at the time, though new possibilities for women are opening up. She marries Gustav Mahler, who insists she give up her music as a condition of their marriage.

 

I liked the writing voice on this one right away. Alma had such enthusiasm that I wanted to see her achieve her dream from the start. The story takes us through her life as a young girl, her first love and her relationship with her various family members, but especially with her music.

 

It's not all upbeat though. Alma sacrifices a lot for her marriage and it's inevitable that she will question her decisions as time goes on. Mahler himself is a challenge to deal with and it was an era when women were expected to suppress their own needs and be supportive of a husband. Alma is a naturally passionate and creative person and this state of affairs can only clash with her natural inclinations.

 

I enjoyed reading this, despite the unhappy parts. The narrative kept my attention, even if at times I wanted to shake Alma and tell her she was making some bad decisions.

 

The historical note at the end was as interesting as the story itself. Alma was a woman ahead of her time, though her unfaithfulness in her marriages would bring a lot of criticism. She weathered some difficult times and gave her love to some of the top composers of her time. Some of her own compositions can be found on YouTube and I couldn't resist having a listen after reading this story. I found her 5 Lieder for voice and piano pretty amazing and can only imagine that if her music had been supported earlier in her life that she might have been recognised in history as one of the great composers herself, rather than just a shadow of her husband's accomplishments.

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text 2018-06-12 19:46
Good Western!
Doc - Mary Doria Russell

I'm about half way through this one.  It was my pick for the June read in my local book club.  We haven't read a western in quite a while, and this is a GOOD one, if I do say so myself!  Really enjoying it.  

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review 2018-06-05 22:33
Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog
Lakota Woman - Richard Erdoes,Mary Crow Dog

This is a raw and eye-opening book, though it’s as much manifesto as it is memoir; it’s partly about the author’s life, with a focus on various injustices she’s experienced or witnessed, and partly about the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1970s. The author grew up poor on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, was forced to attend one of those boarding schools meant to eradicate Native American culture, and wound up joining AIM as a teenager and having a baby during the siege at Wounded Knee.

I don’t necessarily know a lot about the author after reading this book, though that doesn’t seem to be her goal. Instead I know a lot about various people getting beaten up, imprisoned or killed and about political protests and religious ceremonies she participated in. The book was worthwhile to me not so much on literary grounds but because it’s a topic I know little about; I grew up in a part of the U.S. without a prominent Native American community and realized through this book that being native in the Dakotas in the 1960s and 70s was a lot like being black in South at the same time. But most Americans know at least a little about the Civil Rights Movement, while I knew nothing about AIM at all.

Overall, interesting book, the writing is fine and accessible (I might have expected more flourishes from a ghostwriter but perhaps he was just being careful to keep it in her voice), and it’s a hard-hitting introduction for those who don’t know much about this slice of history.

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