Ana Turns is loosely based on the Mrs. Dalloway concept. A day in the life of a woman reckoning with her past and present in order to live a richer future. Although the most notable tribute was Michael Cunningham’s, Pulitzer prize winning THE HOURS, written in 1998, in many ways, this story is a fresh take on the Virginia Woolf story. With grace, perception of what makes us tick and originality, this book was a wonderful read. It's Ana’s sixtieth birthday. And what are birthdays for (especially the milestones) but to think about the rest of our lives. Her life has been complicated and she understands that if she is to find happiness in her future, she must make peace with her past. Unlike Clarissa, she did not plan her party, which may be part of her overall problem.
Sometimes a very good book comes to you by surprise. I was scrolling through Libby, the library's digital book app, looking for an audiobook for my daily walks. Not finding anything I'd heard of readily available, I spotted Winterland by Rae Meadow. The blurb compared it to Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips, a riveting Russian … Continue reading WINTERLAND
A World War II Drama Drawn from the real Elephant Angel of Belfast
Some novels are unevenly written. While the story may be compelling, the background reads like a text book. Or the setting and background are riveting and the characters are not well developed. The Elephant of Belfast is one such book. The history is informative and well done, the flow of the story not so much. You may have surmised by now, that I love to read historical fiction. As debate rages about what is appropriate historical material to teach in the classroom, this genre can provide a wide open window to slices of history that may be new to you. To badly paraphrase a quote from author Pam Jenoff (The Orphan Tale, The Lost Girls of Paris, Code Name: Sapphire): history is not a list of facts and dates, it is the choices people make when their lives are at risk. How true that is.
TWO NOVELS EXPLORE HISTORY THROUGH THE LENS OF FICTION: Are they at risk?
In reading the two books I will discuss, the threat of censorship was with me on every page. As I read, I was thinking of historical fiction as a source of understanding and new knowledge.What we might learn from the adage...walk a mile in my shoes. Personal stories that shed light on who we were, what we've done, and perhaps, why we are in the state we're in now.
I don't typically read dystopian novels. Too dark for me. The very meaning of dystopia warns me away. It is an imaginary place in which everything is as bad as possible (Oxford dictionary). In the dystopian fiction world, societies are generally characterized by class divides, environmental devastation, and loss of individuality. Set in a near future, they are allegories to generate a sense of urgency to change our ways. Today is my first foray into this world. I read two dystopian novels this week set in an imaginable future that described a degraded world for all of us, but Asian Americans in particular. As the Chinese New Year began, with its horrific violence, it seemed fitting to immerse myself in these worlds. We have a long history of Asian American discrimination in our country, now exacerbated by the pandemic. Both books have Asian American protagonists.
AMERICAN DIRT: A STORY OF TERROR, DISPLACEMENT AND LOVE
A book like this is why fiction can have an impact on how we view and think about subjects we may know about, but never personally encounter. And it is a great discussion starter.
Recommendations from my 2022 Reading Year
This list is not a best of 2022 because not all the books were written this year. It is a list of my best reads during the past year.
The Loved Ones: Healing an Inheritance of Grief
If you think about the families in this story, the plot and its twists, or even the unlikely title for this book, you might wonder how in the world it fits together. And yet it does. Remarkably well. It is a story of unlikely attractions, where they lead, their consequences and how they shape lives. … Continue reading The Loved Ones: Healing an Inheritance of Grief
HOW TO MAKE A LIFE
There have been many generational family sagas written lately about how choices and experience made in one generation impacts the next. Most, however, are told in the same tired way. There are two storylines—one past, one current— and they alternate chapters with the endpoint moving toward an intersection of the two. Invariably, I savor the … Continue reading HOW TO MAKE A LIFE