Quote of the Week

Without nations, there would be no border disputes.

~ Jasper Fforde, Something Rotten

 

This seemed appropriate.  There are a lot of words of wisdom like these to be found in Jasper Fforde’s brilliantly absurd Thursday Next series.

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Review: Big Little Lies

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Big Little Lies is brilliantly written. Liane Moriarty certainly knows how to use a red herring. Though I did figure out a few of the book’s major twists, I was left guessing and second-guessing and third-guessing the main mystery of the novel. Even after it was revealed I didn’t believe it. It happened so suddenly and I was certain it was another of Moriarty’s diversions.
Not only is Big Little Lies a well-written novel with a razor-sharp sense of humor and utterly real (this is so unfortunate in many cases) characters; it is also an important novel. Moriarty tackles themes of bullying, domestic violence, marriage and parenthood, complicated structures, and friendship in a way that is so entertaining that the issues somehow seem to sink it more deeply. Big Little Lies not only makes you think about these issues but lets you think about them from different angles. Are we all capable of violence given the right circumstances? Why are some people able to control that urge better than others? When does the violence start? Why?
I’m not just thinking about all of these questions thanks to Big Little Lies. This book has changed the way I view the world. Every song on the radio suddenly sounds like a potentially abusive relationship. “If I tell you I love you, will you come back?” (I’m paraphrasing here) Why did she leave in the first place?
One of my favorite things about the novel was the little snippets of the interviews with the parents/witnesses throughout the story. Not only did they provide smoke screens, they deftly demonstrated how perceptions can be skewed and half-heard conversations can cause big problems. It was like the most ridiculous game of telephone ever. The adults were so much worse than the children.

If you enjoy Big Little Lies, you may also enjoy Joshilyn Jackson’s Gods in Alabama or Ian McEwan’s Atonement.

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Review: Poets, Artists, Lovers

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A NovelPoets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel by Mira Tudor

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Poets, Artists, Lovers by Romanian writer, Mira Tudor, is packed with ideas and complicated relationships but short on actual plot. The look at intertwined, evolving relationships both romantic and platonic travels back and forth in time over the course of a decade or so. This back and forth timeline adds to the confusion or who is connected to who and when.
Despite its shortcomings, Poets, Artists, Lovers is a fascinating looking into the lives of young – 20s and 30s – creative Romanians. The youths of these characters if very different from my own.

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Quote of the Week

Was music beautiful because it was full of mystery, […] or was it full of mystery because it was beautiful? 

~ Gregory Maguire, Hiddensee

 

This is something I’ve always wondered myself.  

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Review: In this Mountain

In This MountainIn This Mountain by Jan Karon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading my way slowly through Jan Karon’s delightful Mitford Years series so I don’t always recall Father Tim’s relationship with the many vivid characters that populate the series and I have a hard time remembering details from the previous books. I only know that each is heartwarming in its own way. In this Mountain, the seventh in the series is a little heavier in overall tone than its predecessors as Father Tim himself struggles with some very dark internal demons rather than helping others through their trials. But his reaction is real and familiar, I’m certain, to many readers, making this book an inspiring addition to the series.
My only real complaint about In this Mountain is that a few of the plot lines seemed to be left unfinished. I suppose that is meant to get me anxious to read the next installment but in a couple of cases it just felt like a loose thread – Father Tim and Hessie should’ve had an encounter about the gift she sent him!

My only recommendation is to read the entire series beginning with At Home in Mitford.

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