One of the things that draws me to young adult books is their handling of serious issues. When I saw this title dealing with both depression/suicide and the search for roots and answers to family secrets, I was intrigued. The Astonishing Color of After handled both beautifully. Leigh's search for answers and connection to the Taiwanese grandparents she never knew after her mother's death is a painful one that reaches no easy answers but still ends with hope and an implied sense that healing can finally begin.
This intriguing and disturbing book tells the story of Suzette, Alex and their 7 year old daughter, Hannah, who has quite literally become a threat to their existence. Baby Teeth is told in alternating chapters between Suzette and Hannah and you quickly realize that not all is right with their world. Hannah is mute and nothing Suzette has done, including numerous schools and eventually homeschooling, has helped Hannah learn to talk.
For many readers, Joanne Harris will forever be known as the author who brought them the delectable Chocolat. They'd likely be as shocked as I was to discover this gem from Harris, a collection of Norse myths all written from the perspective of the diabolical Loki!
(Sorry, Loki . . . I just couldn't resist!)
I just loved Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf.
Set in a small town in Colorado during a current time period, this book kept me think about the situation that Addie Moore, a lonely widow, and Louis Waters, a widower have found themselves in. Being old and living alone can be very lonely.
Where the Crawdads Sing, an enthralling, magical novel by Delia Owens, is set in rural North Carolina in the 1950s and 60s. Kya is known locally as the “marsh girl,” abandoned by her family to grow up in the marshlands with little more than her fierce determination and equally fierce intelligence. Ostracized from society and spending her time living off the land - and dodging truancy officers - she tentatively makes contact with the outside world and develops a relationships with two boys.
In Paris in the late 1800s, with hypnotism as a popular form of entertainment, a strange murder case captivated the world. Gabrielle Bompard claims to have been hypnotized on numerous occasions since childhood, and everyone from her lovers to her family doctor concur that she is very susceptible to suggestion. When she is captured after having worked with Michel Eyraud, kills a man, and then lives on the run, her defense is that she can not be held responsible for her part in the crime, because, not only was the murder Eyraud's idea, but he had a hypnotic power over her, and she was not a w
This is an absolutely fascinating book.
Walker starts with a question: What makes great sports teams great? He came up with a criteria and looked at the history of athletic teams--national and international, men's and women's, all varieties, so long as they were a cooperative venture--and identified the most dominant dynasties of their eras. He found 122 teams that met the basic criteria, then identified 16 that stood out as the best of the best. He dubbed the 16 as Tier One and the remaining 106 as Tier Two.
Then he looked at the 16 teams to see if he could identify anything they had in common as a shared secret of their success. He noticed that the span of success for one team coincided with the membership of a particular player. Then he looked at the others. [They] weren't the only team whose Tier One performance corresponded in some way to the arrival and departure of one particular player. In fact, they all did. And with an eerie regularity that person was, or would eventually become, the captain. The more he looked, the more he found similarities between all of those figures, until he eventually had to conclude that the most crucial ingredient in a team that achieves and sustains historic greatness is the character of the player who leads it.
What labels define you? Which boxes contain you? No middle ground. No grey. Keep it simple. Describe yourself with categories. Binaries. Either-ors. Extremes.
Once you tell me, do I know you?
Or do you want to say, "Wait, that's not really me. I'm much more complicated and nuanced than that. Those are mere ideas. I'm a person."?
This isn't going to be a review, so much as an essay on my journey into the world of Dungeons & Dragons and general Role Playing Games (RPG) starting in my late 20's, so strap on your sword and buckler and get ready for an adventure!