Books I Am Currently Reading

  • Moon Over Manifest
  • Shadow Flame

Books I have recently read

  • A Discovery of Witches
  • Henry's Demons
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Queen of Shadows
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain
  • The Orchard
  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
  • Widow of the South
  • Winter Garden


Click on picture for link to one of my favorite bookstores.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Among the Hidden

"Among the Hidden" is the first book in the "Shadow Children" series. It takes place in a time where the government controls everything a person can do. The Population Police control how many children a family can have - 2. Families who choose to have a third - an illegal - must hide their children. Luke, the main character in the story who has been hidden for years, discovers that there are other children like him. His discovery also leads him to a better understanding of how his government works as he finds a network of people who are trying to help the illegals. I have read the second book "Among the Impostors". The story continues as Luke takes on an identity of a legal who has died. Luke leaves his home where he has been hidden only to move into a school with no windows in which he cannot leave.

These are easy to read, short, books - and there a lot of them. I am not sure if I am up to reading 10 or more. I think series should be limited to a max of 5.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Heretic's Daughter

"The Heretic's Daughter" by Kathleen Kent is Kathleen's story of her ancestor Martha Carrier, a woman who was hung during the Salem Witch Trials for supposedly being a witch. This novel covers much of what occurred during this period in history from the perspective of Martha's daughter, Sarah Carrier. Sarah and her family arrive in Salem at a time when the Puritans created an atmosphere of superstition and fear. The Puritan faith turned everything that happened, sickness, a dying animal, as a warning or judgment from God. Slanderous accusations were made without hesitation, setting off more fears and turning lives into turmoil. Nearly 150 men and women were arrested and 19 men and women were hanged during 1692. One man was pressed to death with stones for not testifying as to whether he was guilty or innocent. This is how it was for all involved. If one would say he was guilty of being a witch, he was imprisoned. If he insisted on innocence, he was hanged. Interestingly, the testimony of a group of young girls aging from 11 to 20, who accused their neighbors of witchcraft because they didn't like the families, is what sent these people to their death. As the Witch Trials are studied more in history, we are learning that much of what occurred happened because of land disputes and greed of wealthy people.

The details of the imprisonment of women and children will make you sick . To think this actually occurred is disturbing.

I was captivated by this novel, as I have been with the Salem Witch Trials, because my ancestor, Susannah Martin was also hung on July 19 1692. I have known Susannah's name for as long as I can remember. Like Martha Currier's family, our family passed Susannah's story on through generations. Ironically, soon after I moved to WI in 1998, there was an article in the Star Tribune about the trials and how those who were killed had been exonerated. I was a bit disappointed to hear that Susanna was not really a witch!

Kent's descriptions were so well written in this book that I often felt as if I was in the middle of the entire event.

Thanks to Mrs. P at C.meron for suggesting this book to me,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sarah's Key

"Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay is a touching portrayal of one of the darkest incidents in French history, the July 16, 1942 roundup of Parisian Jews by the French police for their eventual transport to the Auschwitz death camp. The story is told by alternating the first person narrative of Sarah Starzynski, a young girl taken from her family in the roundup, and Julia Jarmond a journalist assigned to do a story on the incident some sixty years later. When the French police come for the family, Sarah locks her brother in a closet to protect him, thinking they will be back within a short time. As weeks pass, Sarah's mission is to survive and return home to save her brother. This is a great book. It sheds light on an event that so many people wanted to forget and cannot be found in many school history books. France would rather forget it had happened.

Sarah and her parents were taken to the Vélodrome d'Hiver where they and thousands of other Jewish French citizens, were locked into a stadium-like building with almost no food or water, and no toilet facilities. Many people died. Sarah is then separated from her her parents and placed in a concentration camp. She manages to escape the camp determined to get back to Paris to release her little brother from the hidden wardrobe before it was too late to save him.

Sixty years later, Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a Parisian, learns about the Vél d'Hiv for the first time and is shocked to learn how the event has been forgotten. She is even more shocked when she finds a link between her husband’s and Sarah's family. She is determined to find Sarah so that she can tell the entire story.

I couldn't put this book down. Other books like "Sarah's Key" are "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak and "Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

1000 White Women

"1000 White Women - The Journals of May Dodd" by Jim Fergus is historical fiction based on Indian Relocation that occured during President Grant's administration. Cheyenne Chief proposes to President Grant that the two nations trade 1000 white women for 1000 horses. It was the Chief's belief that by having children with the white brides that the offspring would bring the Cheyenne closer to the white world and thus begin the process of assimilation. In reality, this proposal did not set well with most Americans and the Cheyenne were eventually relocated or those who would not move were murdered. In the book, the US Government takes the Indian Nation up on its offer and secretly sends only those women who volunteer or want the freedom to escape their current lives, such as women in asylums and jails. May Dodd jumps on this opportunity to free herself from the asylum her parents put her in for having children out of wedlock. This novel is comprised of journal entries and letters by May (a fictional character) during her time as a member of the Cheynnne. The story presents the Native American's perspective as their land was taken from them and they were forced onto Reservations and murdered.
"Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo" by Obert Skye Is written for ages 9 and up. I loved it. Leven is a 14 year old who has a miserable life until he learns about a secret gateway that bridges the world of reality and Foo - a place that makes it possible for humans to dream and hope. Without Foo there would be no humanity. This book is the first in a series of ??? 4 that I know of for sure. One of the things I loved so much about this books is not just the plot and characters but the author's writing style. He used some really great similes. "They drifted into town like an unpleasant odor." Can't you just picture these people? Fate is a big part of the story. The people from Foo believe that Fate will protect them or do what is right. "A true lithen would think nothing of walking off a four-hundred-foot cliff because he would know that if it were his time, he would hit the ground and die." So many young reader books are written with no expectations that kids should learn new words. Leven Thumps challenges the reader with words not found in many books for 9 year olds - but should be. I wanted to reread passages. As I said, I loved this book and have ordered the 2nd one - "Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret".

My Book Blog

I started this Blog because I don't know where else to write about all the good books I read. Hope you can share your recent readings with me.