The 100 Year-Old-Man Who Disappeared

Hello Fellow Reader!

How can it be fall already? This year is truly flying by. I have been trying to keep up with my book clubs and Goodreads lists. I am finding that being in two book groups is good from the standpoint that I read two books a month that I generally would not have read but on the other hand, I miss reading some books that I want to read. Do you ever feel that way? My TBR (to be read) pile just keeps growing!

Today, I am going to review a book that I wanted to read. I don’t know where I heard about this book but it sounded fun and so I borrowed it from the local library. The title of the book is The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. No, it is not a mystery. It is a light-hearted story.

The story starts with the main character, Allan Karlson deciding that he is not interested in attending his 100th birthday party. The party is being thrown by the nursing home where he lives. The mayor and newspaper reporters are coming to the party to celebrate the big event. Allan sees that he could just escape out his window and walk away. So that is what he does. This is the start of an adventure that has Allan boarding a bus with a stolen suitcase and collecting people and an elephant along his way. Oh, and he even gets married for the first time. And the police are looking for him because they think he might be a murderer. Allan does quite well for being 100.

The tone of the book is humorous and reminds me a lot of the humor in A Man Called Ove. The story tells current day events for Allan but also goes back in time and tells Allan’s truly remarkable life. In reviews, Allan is often compared to Forrest Gump. He has traveled the world and met many historical figures – and he drank with most of them. (He really likes vodka.)

Overall, the book is funny and an interesting story. I found that it dragged through the middle. Allan has a considerable backstory and I found myself wanting to get through it. Allen’s life is interesting and the author did a great job connecting everything. Allan had a lot of adventures during his 100 years.

And it seems to have been made into a film in Sweden where it is the highest grossing film of all time.

My review is mixed. It was a fun amusing story. I like the humor in the book. While all the parts come together, it just seemed to drag a bit in the middle. I read the book in e-book form and did not notice that the book is 396 pages. It is not exactly a quick read but I am not sorry that I read it. (Especially compared to the last few book club books I read.)

I still have next week’s book club book to finish and then I hope to hit that TRB pile. I am hoping there are some good quick reads there waiting for me. I’ll let you know.

Thanks for reading.

 

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Banned Books Week 2017

Hello Fellow Reader,

Everyone has their favorite holiday. Some start the countdown to Christmas mid-summer and some love Thanksgiving or the 4th of July.

I like Banned Books week. I know, it is an odd thing to look forward to but I do look forward to it. I see it as a celebration of freedom. For the most part, books that are challenged are not banned and I think this is a good thing. It means that in this country, we are free to read and publish books even if some find them objectionable.

There are books that I have not liked as there are movies that I found offensive. I know that my standards are not universal.  I do not have the same taste as others and my religious background may not be the same. There is one book that comes to my mind each year duringBanned Books Week. I found the book repugnant but I do not think that my opinion should stop others from reading it. The book made the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a movie so it must have had some popular appeal.

I don’t know about you but I am not willing to give the ability to ban books to anyone. I do not trust anyone to decide what subject matters are not “appropriate” for me. Everyone has their own issues and what is not appealing for some reason to one person may not be a problem for another. I also think that many times when there are objections over books in schools, that a passage is taken out of context.  An adult will often want to protect the youth from what they perceive to be a bad influence when the youth does not have the background or knowledge to view the book in the same way.

When you look at the list of books that have been challenged over the years, I think many would find it surprising.  The Harry Potter books, the Bible, The Hungar Games, 50  Shades of Grey and The Bluest Eye have all been challenged.  The Captain Underpants series has made the list several times. Another book that has been made into a recent movie, The Glass Castle, has made the list.

One of the books that has been challenged four out of the last five years is John Green’s Looking for Alaska.  He is also the author of the book, The Fault in Our Stars, which was very popular and was made into a movie.  You might be interested to hear what he has to say about attempts to ban his book.

If you would like to see the “Top Ten” lists for the last 17+ years, the list can be found at  http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

In honor of Banned Books Week, maybe you should take a look at one of this year’s books and see what you think.  I would love to hear your opinion.

Top Ten for 2016

Out of 323 challenges recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reason: challenged for offensive language

Thanks for reading.

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Happy National Book Lover’s Day!!

Isn’t this great!  National Book Lover’s Day!

Hello Fellow Readers!

We should celebrate.  How do you celebrate National Book Lover’s Day?  Since I have never celebrated before, I think the choices are wide open.  The following are some choices that I came up with –

  1.  Buy a book.  This is always my favorite choice but one I am trying to cut back on…
  2. Borrow a book. Go to the Library and find a new book to start.  Stand in the Library and inhale the bookish fumes.
  3. Look at the “sale e-book” sites and pick a new book to read. (also one I am trying to cut back on)
  4. Go outside and read a book for a period of time.  If you are like me, this might be a long time…
  5. Go out and get or make cupcakes to celebrate. The more frosting the better. Carefully eat a cupcake while reading.
  6. Look around your house and pick your favorite book and crack it open and start reading it again. Ahhh.. the pleasure.
  7. Take a book with you on a date to a coffee shop for a mini celebration.
  8. Write your favorite author (via their publisher – no stalking allowed) to tell them what a great book they wrote.
  9. Go to a bookstore and buy your favorite book for a friend that might need to find this perfect book.  (Or if they have an e-reader, send them a copy via Amazon.)
  10. Okay this might be my favorite choice – go and buy some books for a local school or classroom.  A great way to pass along your love of books to the next generation.

There you go. Ten ways you can celebrate National Book Lovers Day.  Go forth and celebrate!

As long as I am finally here, I will tell you about a couple of the books I have read lately.

I had completely missed anything about this book when it came out but it was my library book club book for July.  When Breath Become Air is an amazing, fantastic, lovely, and sad book.  When I read the description, I was not inclined to read it but one of the things about book clubs is that you get to stretch to read things you might not ordinarily read. The author of the book is Paul Kalanithi. The story is incredible.

“At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.”

Summary from the book jacket

What that book jacket does not tell you is that prior to going to medical school, Paul Kalanithi had received a Masters in English.  He knows how to write. The writing in this book is beautiful. You wonder along with him about life and medical decisions. I though this book was wonderful.

The book I read right after that was another book that dealt with death but this book was more about the aftermath of death. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant  was far better than I thought it would be. Okay, I did not read Sheryl Sandberg’s first book, Lean In. I found it hard to believe that she had the answers for women. Her life was certainly nothing like mine and I just didn’t see her as my personal career adviser. (Okay, I am a touch cynical.) Putting that aside, I had read great reviews about the book and had seen several interviews that intrigued me.

In case you don’t know who Sheryl Sandberg is, she is the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook. But in the context of this book, she is a widow. She was married to David Goldberg, who suddenly died on a trip to Mexico. She found the body in the exercise room of their hotel. The subtitle of this book is Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. The book chronicles her struggle with her husband’s death, it’s affect on her and her children.

“Just weeks after losing Dave, I was talking to Phil about a father-child activity. We came up with a plan for someone to fill in for Dave.  I cried to Phil, “But I want Dave.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit our of Option B.”

Live is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B. This book is to help us all kick the shit out of it.”

The book follows Sheryl through those tough times and the things that she did to cope with her life. I thought there were good ideas and thoughts. I think it is helpful and I recommend that you take a chance with it.

I have included an interview that Ellen did with Sheryl Sandberg if you are interested.

I hope your summer is going well and you are finding lots to read. If you can pass along suggestions, I would love for you to let me know the good books you have read.

Time to go celebrate!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

 

Dear Fellow Reader,

Garden of Lamentations is the newest release in Deborah Crombie’s British mystery series featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. The first book in the series was published in 1993 and with this book there are now 17 books in the series. When the books started, Gemma James was a Sargent reporting to Duncan Kincaid. In that first book, A Share of Death, the reader also learns that Gemma is a single parent with a young son. Duncan is divorced or almost divorced (I don’t remember – it was a long time ago!)

I would suggest that you start at the beginning of the series and read the books in order. The characters grow quite a bit in the series. If I have any quibble about the latest book, it is that you really need to remember what happened in the prior book. The last book, To Dwell in Darkness, came out in 2014. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember a lot about books that I read three years ago. If I had known, I would have re-read the last book again prior to reading Garden of Lamentations.

I enjoyed the book. The Deborah Crombie books have twists and turns and interesting characters. There is not only the “who done it” part of the mystery but the story also tells what is going on in the main character’s lives. In the same spirit as Elizabeth George and P.D. James, you get to know the characters; you don’t just read for that book’s “who done it.”  I think the characters in Crombie’s books are far more normal. I like the series from the other two authors but I think Crombie’s characters, Duncan and Gemma, are more normal and warm.

In this book, Gemma is working on the murder of a young nanny. The young girl’s body was found in a shared private garden behind the house where she was employed. At the same time, Duncan finds that his supervisor who had been off on leave is back and he tries to see him. He was told the man was not in but soon after received an anonymous text setting up a meeting. While fairly sure the text is from his old supervisor, Duncan has some misgivings about going to the meeting. Upon arriving, he finds his previous supervisor. They have a very short conversation that Duncan feels is unsatisfactory. Duncan finds out the next day that the man was brutally attacked after leaving the meeting. The situation leads Duncan to believe there is something is not right with Scotland Yard and he and his prior associates start investigating the issue.

Facebook Followings

If you like Elizabeth Berg and Louse Penny, I suggest that you follow them on Facebook. They have lovely posts. I liked their books but now since I have been following them, I like them even more. When I read Elizabeth Berg’s posts, I just think we could be best friends. I know that is silly but her posts resonate with me. If you are unfamiliar with Louse Penny, she is a Canadian author of the Inspector Gamache series. I dare you to read the first book in the series, Still Life, and not be drawn in. Her writing is wonderful and the world of Three Pines is hard to leave.

100 Days

My 100 days of not shopping will be ending next week. I have not been completely successful but I did stop myself many times. I am now thinking about the next 100 days. What goal will I pick for them? Have you been inspired to try something new or change a habit lately? Let me know in the comments. I could use some inspiration.

Thanks for reading!

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The Amazon links above are affiliate links that if used could bring me a commission.  As I have said before, I have yet to make a penny with these.  I think you need to know that I still hold out hope that someday I will make at least a penny.

 

 

 

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Dinner with Edward – A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

Dear Fellow Reader,

I thought that I would surprise you this week with a book that is not a mystery nor is it part of a series. Dinner with Edward was a delightful surprise. I seem to have a “collect them all” mentality. In terms of books, this means that I tend to have many books to read on my eReader at all times. I often don’t remember why I have a particular book or where I got it. I don’t know what originally drew me to this book.

Edward loved his wife, Paula. They had been married for 69 years. When she died shortly before her 95th birthday, he wanted to die with her but she told him that he had to continue living. His daughters feared that he would give up on life. His daughter Valerie had a friend who was living in New York with her husband and little girl. Valerie suggested to her friend Isabel that she have dinner with her father.

Isabel was at her own crossroads. She had moved to New York with her family for a fast-paced newspaper job. Isabel and her husband had lived all over the world following wars and other stories. While Isabel was working in New York, her husband, a Canadian citizen, could not work. He hated living in New York. He was unhappy and she was unhappy. The relationship was wearing out and Isobel wonders if the relationship had lasted as long as it had because they had chased stories all over the world. Now that they were settled down, their problems could not be denied.

“I don’t know if the temptation of a good meal did it for me, or if I was just so lonely that even the prospect of spending time with a depressed nonagenarian seemed appealing. It was probably a combination of loyalty to Valerie and curiosity about her father that propelled me to Edward’s door a couple of months later. I could never have imagined that meeting Edward would change my life.”

That was the first of years of dinners with Edward. Edward was a phenomenal cook and he taught her to cook and he guided her though hard times in her life. His dinners were always amazing meals. Edward would go specialty shopping for the ingredients all over New York City. While the dinners and cooking were important it was their discussions about life and love that helped Isobel.

While there is some information about cooking, it is much more about the relationship that she developed with Edward and how he helped her and how she was there for him. Edward would be a lovely addition to everyone’s life. He was there when Isobel needed him and as she learns, he was there for others also.

This book is not going to change your life but it will be a nice addition. A pleasant story for you to read and enjoy.

Goodreads update

Did you sign up for the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge? Are you keeping up with logging in the books you have read? I have really been trying to keep it up this year. I had set my goal and then decided that I really wanted to read more this year. As of right now, I have reached 40% of my goal. Which is not bad, especially when I have rejected a couple of books so far this year. If you have not done it yet, I urge you to sign up. If nothing else, it does help to keep track of the books you have read. You might surprise yourself with how many books you have read. Also, we can be Goodreads friends!

Happy Spring!

Thanks for reading!

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