Sunday, September 28, 2014

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How far back can you remember? Can you trust your earliest recollections, or have they been colored by time, maturity, perspective, subsequent events, or listening to others telling stories? Maybe your memories aren’t yours at all; maybe they’re conjectures you’ve invented to allow yourself to function.

Rosemary tells her life story: father a Psychology professor at Indiana University, mother a housewife, older brother Lowell and twin sister Fern, who was somehow subtracted from her life at an early age. If you’re a reader who reads the backs of books, you’ll figure out quite quickly that Fern was a chimpanzee, and she was raised as Rosemary’s and Lowell’s sister as part of a psychological study sponsored by the University. Don’t let the chimpanzee aspect steer you away from this book—it’s well-written, and Rosemary’s narration is so compelling, you’ll find yourself reading as fast as you can while hoping the story doesn’t end too soon.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Still Life With Bread Crumbs

Still Life with Bread CrumbsStill Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of course this is a 5-star book; does Anna Quindlen write any other kind?

This is the story of the self-reinvention of famed photographer Rebecca Winter. Divorced, alone, broke and dispirited, Rebecca sublets her beloved Manhattan apartment to make ends meet. She moves to a small town a couple of hours from the city and rents an old cottage. While there, she meets some locals, travels back to the city to visit her failing parents, has her son over for a visit, and does what she always does: takes photos of what she sees.

Quindlen's characters  are always personable and realistic, and Rebecca teaches us that it's okay to continually become who you are, whomever that might be at a given time.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest FamilyBurnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family by Kathleen Flinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What's not to love here? Family, fishing, foibles and food are all part of this fabulous Michigan memoir that includes the recipes mentioned in the story. Kathleen Flinn, author of bookshelf-worthy reads The Sharper Your Knife The Less Your Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, delivers yet another engrossing true story, and this one is set in Michigan (also my home state)!

I don't want to give too much away, but I can tell you I laughed at the chicken coop tale and the streaking story, and I cried at one point...maybe two. Kathleen included family photos as well, captioned with quotes and other wise words from her parents and ancestors. This book is a celebration of family and an inspiring invitation to cook a grand yet simple meal to share with your loved ones.

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