Five books that I read and reviewed.
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Fat is Not a Four Letter Word 'Dietland' |Sarai Walker
Plum Kettle weighs a whopping 300 hundred pounds, and she is waiting for her real life to start at any time. A life where she is thin and has racks of “skinny” clothes hanging in her closet. Her life small, and at times to her, meaningless. She goes between her apartment and coffee shop where she works responded to letter written by teenage girls to the editor of a women's magazine. Kettle sits at the shop eating weight watchers. Her attitude on life change when a strange girl starts following her. Soon she is sucked into a radical feminist organization that teaches self-love, acceptance and why it is okay to be fat. But this novel doesn't end in a bed of roses. Dietland suddenly takes a turn when a terrorist organization known as “Jennifer” is conducting justice to misogynists. Rapists are dropped out of helicopters, magazines are threatened with destruction unless they replace nude women with naked men. Kettle's strange friend is on wanted posters throughout the city, which leads Kettle to wonder if she is tied into something more. Dietland is a compelling, powerful book that brings today's issues to light in an entertaining way.
The Black Snow: Paul Lynch
A couple year ago, former Dublin newsman Paul Lynch made his debut as a novelist with a book called Red Sky in Morning. It was set in the mid-19th century where a rage-driven farmer committed a murder. The Black Snow, his second novel is set at a later date than the previous. It is 1945. An allied aircraft fly overhead on their way to bomb Germany. On the ground, a farmer named Barnabas Kane, his Irish-American wife, Eskra and their teenage son suffer from what they believe is arson. The family loses a hired help in the accident, and one thing after another, the family is hit with tragedy. The language throughout is beautifully lyrical. "a dream of sand ... A face like a lived-in map. The high terrain of his cheekbones and the spread of red veins on the pads of his cheeks like great rivers were written on him." The book is a story of hope, triumph, and tragedy all in one. Word by word, we read about how his world comes apart, almost as if we are watching it in front us. So take a seat, or a lawn chair this summer and read this riveting tale of a farmer who is ordinary, but has been through hell and back, making this an extraordinary read.
The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley| Jeremy Massey
Paddy Buckley is your average charming character with a screwed up side to him. He can talk to dogs, controls flies and leaves his body is a self-induced hypnosis that even the therapists would be impressed. Oddly, this is the main detail that surrounds the book. Just like an kid, he learned his magical abilities from his deceased father, Jedi. Critics are claiming that Buckley has the worst timing of when he can use his powers. He has them when he needs them, and of course, forgets them when he doesn't. Paddy is an undertaker working at a funeral home. His job is respectable among many. He has also been through tragedy. His wife dropped dead from a hemorrhage while standing in line at the grocery story. He picks up bodies throughout the day and night, helping families struck with grief along the way. In anyone's eye, Buckley is a hero, a real man doing something most wouldn't do. Late on night, he hits a man in his car, and kill him. Getting out of the car to call the cops in order to do the right thing, Buckley panics because he realizes that he has just rundown one of Dublin's most notorious mobsters. Panic ensures. Without spoiling it, this book takes its readers on a journey through a man living an ordinary life until one day he is struck with grief, fear, and a circumstance that continues to haunt him.
Points of Departure | Patricia Wrede and Pamela Dean
Liavek is an eccentric world originally produced in five collections of short stories, novellas and poems. Originally created by a group of seven, the port city attracted other authors to write about it. Those collections, for the most part, have been unavailable to the public due to copyright restrictions among the various authors involved. Among the authors, Pamela dean and Patricia Wrede have written diversion books to revive their own contributions to Liavek's lore. The authors describe the city as “ a hot, busy trade city” with everything that they could live without such as coffee, chocolate, and reliable birth control. For a world made up in the 1980s, Liavek is rather forward in its thinking and principles. Liavekans are dark-skinned. Same-sex relationships is a central aspect of the novel. The city has multiple religions, and also atheists like an major city such as Beirut. Dean's short stories focus on two teenagers from an immigrant family. Wrede focuses on one of Liavek's senior citizens whose task is to deliver counsel and guidance to the S'Rian community, one of the oldest in the city. Critics say that the stories seem to be missing something from the other authors who contributed in the original Liavek short stories. Thanks to Dean, Wrede and Diversion books for bringing back an 80s paperback for its readers.
The Life and Death of Sofia Stark | Anna North
In the beginning of the novel, an actress reflects back on her decision to leave the rolling hills of West Virginia for New York City. For anyone moving to a big city, things do not always go as planned. From the start, her first few days are disastrous. She goes from bad job to bad job, living in a basement with a dirty, dingy floor. The Life and Death of Sofia Stark tells a story of a young woman who struggles with what it means to be a person in a screen-saturated world. She struggles communicating her thoughts as a director on camera. The novel is narrated by Sofia's friends and family, which is an interesting way to tell a story of one single character. The book is filled with new relationships, and revived ones, too. Sophia experiences all the triumphs and pitfalls of romance. Even when reading the book, Sophie is difficult to understand, she is a complicated, yet a beautifully drawn character. The novel is graceful, showing a very real side of someone with an artistic background. Caught in romance and the struggles of a new job, North's novel is filled with excellent writing that makes it worth the read.