Julie Otsuka has written a sparse, but powerful novel following a group of young women brought from Japan to America as mail-order brides in the early twentieth century. Written in the plural first person, the hardships faced by these women are described in poetic detail. From their travel to a new land and husbands they had never met, the backbreaking work as farmers and housekeepers isolated by the language and culture, and their forced internment during the Second World War, Otsuka succeeds in bringing this dark period of history to life. Book clubs would find much to discuss in this slim, thought provoking novel.
This thought provoking work of fiction probes the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She first met Charles Lindbergh while on holiday with her parents in Mexico. She fell in love immediately, and by the time she met him the second time, he proposed to her. Their lives were shaped by the media, family, celebrity and tragedy. Ms. Benjamin had me turning pages faster and faster so I could find out what exactly happened to this incredible couple.
The thing that enthralled me about this book was the sensation that the author was transporting you to his world. You could see, hear, taste, smell, and feel the experiences of his characters. This is a story of love and humanity, and of war and despicable cruelty. It takes place in a remote Turkish village, before and during World War I, that is a microcosm for all of Turkey. Muslims, Greek Christians, Armenians, and other ethnic groups coexist and people fall in love. Then the Armenians are forcibly removed, as are the Greeks several years later. Some parts of the book dealing with straight historical events (the rise of President Ataturk and the fall of the Ottoman Empire) are somewhat dry, but they are worth working through so you can experience the vivid stories of the villagers.
Robotham explores the illegal world of human trafficking and surrogate births in England. Alisha Barba suspects that an old friend's death was not the accident it appeared to be. She goes beyond her official capacity as a detective with the London Metropolitan Police to try to uncover the truth not only about the death, but also about why her friend was faking a pregnancy. The convoluted trail takes her to the seedy side of Amsterdam and a harrowing crossing on a ferry to London. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This book winds between the present and events in war torn, 1944 Hungary. It is primarily a book about sisters and the things they inadvertently do that cause pain for their siblings. Ms. White gracefully weaves her story around the secrets two sets of sisters hold close out of fear. Major themes include forgiveness, healing and second chances. Very enjoyable.
Beginning in 1960 London, this is the story of a married woman, living a life of affluence, who wakes up after a car accident unable to remember anything. Upon leaving the hospital she begins to piece together aspects of her life. She is confused by the distance she feels from her husband, until she discovers she was in love with another man. The story moves back and forth between the times Jennifer remembers her life and when she does not. The book may bog down a bit in the middle but I would encourage readers to stick with it for an interesting twist towards the end. In 2003, a young journalist happens upon some documents that lead her to Jennifer and develop the plot in an appealing way.
It is evident to me why this book was and is a major influence in the Science Fiction genre and has become a modern classic. Ender Wiggin, a preteen genetically designed to be a brilliant military strategist, finds a way to rise above the dystopia he is born into. He bravely commands others in defense of his home planet, but he also has the greatness of heart to show compassion to those he was trained to destroy. I would recommend reading the book before seeing the film to appreciate the depth of the child-man Card has created.
The author, who is the chief national correspondent of New York Times magazine, takes us behind-the-scenes of our nation’s capital to show how most journalists and politicians of all stripes are motivated by the business of money and fame, while appearing as ideologues in the public eye. He candidly provides ample cases to expose their hypocrisy. This book is fascinating and heightens one’s cynicism of the nature of media and politics in our country.