Two Reviews: Books finished over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s

When I was flipping through my Book Log (stenographer’s notebook #5), I found several books I’d mentioned but not reviewed here on PWR:

A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman, our Third Tuesday Book Club selection, was a huge hit with all the members and a book I enjoyed.  I had seen the movie first (with Finnish subtitles) and LOVED it, so I was a bit skeptical about reading the book.  Evidently the reason I liked the film so much was because it followed the book so closely.

It is the story of a curmudgeon, recently forced to retire, who kept to rigid routines and often demonstrated a short fuse.  The opening of the book is different from the opening of the movie, so to ensure I don’t give anything away, I will deal with the plot sparingly. The book is described as a “word of  mouth bestseller,” and that is what it is.  I must have been the last in my group of friends to actually read the book. The lesson to be learned from this novel is that “Life is sweeter when it’s shared with other people.” Kirkus review called it “hysterically funny–” well not in my opinion, “hysterically…” but it is as Publisher’s Weekly labels it, “…a reflection on loss and love.” We had excellent study questions, and I would definitely recommend this as a good book club selection if your group has not already found it.

A book that definitely left me wanting to read part II was Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book one). Talk about a cliffhanger ending! It is set in Mississippi in 1922, the era of the Harlem Renaissance.

Nora White is a daughter from a Negro family, has graduated from high school, and everyone expects her to go to college.  Instead, she runs away to explore Harlem. She has heard of the Cotton Club and the literary renaissance going on there. Her parents, Gideon and Mary, who have issues of their own in their backgroundes, can’t believe any Negro child would ever run away from home and fear their daughter has been snatched. Nora’s adventures in the North and her parents’ efforts to find her in the South, lead to adventure, revelation of family secrets and a “give-me-more” ending.  I can’t wait for Book Two to come out.  I heard about this book from a blogger who featured the author, Yecheilyah Ysrayl, on her blog and purchased it through Amazon. I plan to contact her this weekend to see when I can purchase Book Two.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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