Friday, July 19, 2013


BenedictionBenediction by Kent Haruf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meet Dad Lewis.  He's on his death bed, suffering the indignities of loss of control over his bodily functions and reminiscing about his life.  His regrets and triumphs are examined as objectively as possible.  He holds a high standard of conduct for himself, and forgives those he doesn't understand. The reader learns of his childhood and his children.

His passing is uneasy, his life unfinished, his regrets unresolved.  And yet, the reader is left with the sense of things happening as they should and life going on, relentlessly unfolding for those Dad leaves behind.

Bookworms Anonymous declared this book "a sad, feel-good story about a wonderful old man."  As always, Kent Haruf delivers a solid story line populated with compelling characters.

One caveat:  there are no quotation marks in the book!  I find this style of formatting difficult to read.  I didn't have to suffer through it, though, as I listened to the audio version from  The lack of quotation marks was completely unnoticeable!  I had both the printed version and audio version, and after reading a couple of chapters I switched to the audio version and finished the story that way.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ed King

Ed KingEd King by David Guterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Guterson has effectively answered the questions:  How can what I don't know hurt me? and How do I know the facts that I know are really true?

The best way to read and enjoy this book is with little information, so the story unfolds for you as it should.  As a teaser, I can tell you this much without ruining anything:  In 1962, a not-quite-legal au pair from Britain had an affair with the father of her charges while his wife was in a mental institution.  In 1963, she gave birth and left the baby on a door step.

Find out what happens from there.

This is Guterson's best book yet.  Enjoy!

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Friday, July 5, 2013

It's All Relative

It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine by Wade Rouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wade Rouse takes the reader on a year-long journey through holidays large and small, sharing his experiences in his signature self-deprecating way.  The book progresses from New Year's Eve to Christmas, with stops along the way for important traditional holidays, as well as Chinese New Year, the Pez Collectors' National Convention, and Barbie's birthday.

Wade lets you in and gives you a glimpse of his life, his family, his foibles, his successes.  His writing is deep and true, and you'll find yourself laughing at least once during each essay, even as Wade learns life lessons and accepts his own talents and limitations.

Read this book to gain a better understanding of human nature, friendship, relationships, family and self.  And laugh at each witty turn of phrase.

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