we are water…

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wallyWe Are Water by Wally Lamb was an interesting book.  Wally Lamb’s writings are always in touch with disturbed people’s deepest, darkest thoughts and actions.  This is not an uplifting book, but it was a good read.  Any time he comes out with a new book… I scramble to read it!  I would recommend this book.  If you like this book, he’s also written She’s Come Undone, which was a great read.

Goodreads describes the book:

In middle age, Annie Oh—wife, mother, and outsider artist—has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Annie and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss. We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb—a compulsively readable, generous, and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.

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and the mountains echoed…

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mountainsI loved And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  This was a great book.  It was completely different than I expected…  We saw the many, many dynamics of family.  From parents to siblings to cousins and how we can nurture each other or wound each other.  Khaled Hosseini is an incredible writer and this book will not disappoint you.

Khaled Hosseini is also the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  These are also VERY good books that I would highly recommend!

Goodreads describes the book:

An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

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eleanor & park…

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eleanor

I absolutely, positively loved Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I felt like I was 16 again! The author did a great job of bringing both Eleanor and Park to life.  As the reader, you can put yourself into those kid’s shoes and feel everything they were feeling.  I bought this book for my teenage daughter (again, just like the Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant) and ending up reading it myself.  Great book for teens and parents alike!

Goodreads describes the book:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

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the wolf of wall street…

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wolf

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort was actually a great book.  I have yet to see the movie, but the book was available at the library… so I borrowed it.  I started reading it right before I had to return it (online public library) and I did not realize how LONG the book is (519 pages!).  My loan expired, so I had to get back on the waiting list to finish reading it!  In short, it took a lot of effort to get the book, keep the book, and finally finish the book, but it was worth it!!  Jordan Belfort was everything you’d expect a sleazy stock broker to be… and then some!  He has more than you can imagine (more everything) and it was never enough.  He was an awful human and therefore he thinks the entire world is against him because he just can’t imagine someone being good.  That said, it was really fun to read.  I kept telling everyone about the book… “Can you believe this?  Can you believe that?”  He is very, very open about all his short-comings… his drug use, his cheating, his stock fixing and his shocking spending habits.  This book reads like a work of ridiculous fiction, yet it’s a true story.  I can absolutely see how it was made in to a Hollywood movie.  Read this book… you too can walk around saying, “Can you believe this guy!?!?!” 

Goodreads describes the book:

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids waiting at home and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king, here, in Jordan Belfort’s own words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called the Wolf of Wall Street. In the 1990s, Belfort became one of the most infamous kingpins in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. It’s an extraordinary story of greed, power, and excess that no one could invent: the tale of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices to making hundreds of millions—until it all came crashing down.

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me talk pretty one day…

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me talk

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was HILARIOUS!!!!!!  (Yes, lots of exclamation points!!!)  I laughed out loud so many times!  I did not read the back of the book and actually thought I was borrowing a totally different type of book, perhaps about someone new to America?   My mind went everywhere but where the book went!  This is a memoir, of sorts, about David’s life.  They way he describes himself (very self deprecating), his family (beyond funny) and friends was so humorous!  This was a quick and funny read and I would totally recommend reading it.  If you do, let me know what you think!

Goodreads describes the book:

David Sedaris’ move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious pieces, including the title essay, about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section. His family is another inspiration. You Can’t Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.

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behind the beautiful forevers…

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beautiful

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo was such a sad book.  There is a tile wall at the Mumbai airport that says “forever beautiful forever beautiful forever beautiful” and this is the story of what is BEHIND the beautiful forevers wall, literally.  It is a true story of several different families that live in the slums on the other side of this wall.  The book was heartbreaking.  The book reads like a novel, it was hard to imagine that this was real life, real families, real tragedies.  It was so heart wrenching to read about the families and how they survived behind this wall and on the “privileged” side of the wall.  I would highly recommend reading this, it’s a book that makes you think… and keeping thinking.

Goodreads describes the book:

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter — Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” — will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

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beloved…

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belovedI read two books by Toni Morrison in a row.  This was a good book, but I did not like it as much as I liked The Bluest Eye.  This was such a sad and disturbing book.  It was a horrible time in history and all of the characters were so very, very damaged.  It was hard to read, but Beloved is definitely worth reading.

Goodreads describes the book:

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

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