Tuesday Teaser

This meme, hosted by the Purple Booker, asks readers to grab the book they’re currently reading, copy a few sentences in an attempt to get readers to show interest in your “read.” Why not play as well, put your sentences in the comments section, being careful not to give away anything vital–no spoilers. Please remember to include title and author.

Here is mine for this week: From Taylor Caldwell’s Tender Victory

“They had finished dinner and the children were in bed, and there was the good hearty sound of Mrs. Burnsdale, washing dishes in the kitchen.  Dr. McManus and Johnny sat in the study-parlor; the muggy air barely stirred in the close confines of the room. The doctor laid down a heavy brown paper parcel of x-rays.  He lit one cigarette after another, his big face moving, his eyebrows jerking, his mouth pursing.  Johnny waited, his hands clenched on his knees, praying for some hope in the older man’s verdict. But the doctor continued to sit there, dropping ashes on his thighs, muttering in his squeaky voice, scratching his ear.  Four hospital calls had come for him, but he had snarled into the telephone, and had suggested aspirin or a “jolt of morphine, and tell him to shut up,” and he still sat there, the mound of ashes increasing on his soiled light suit.  There were great sweat marks under his monster arms, and his shirt collar had become gray.”

What a way to build suspense; they don’t write detailed description like they used to.  This reader, for one is waiting with held breath to see if an operation can help Johnny’s young foster soon. Caldwell’s old-fashioned novel does everything right and keeps the reader turning pages and staying up late to read another chapter.

Now add your teaser. Scroll down to “About the author” and type your teaser underneath into the box provided.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA: A Review

This 1997 novel, on the NY Times Best Seller List for over a year, gives the perfect women’s point of view on a Japanese women’s institution, surprisingly written by a man, Arthur Golden. It was researched very thoroughly and is a PWR selection for this quarter.  It is sexy, expressed in a most polite Japanese way, and described by reviews of its day as “astonishing,” “breathtaking,” a “literary sensation”, “seductive,” and “an exotic fable.”  If it isn’t considered a classic, it should be.

The novel recounts the story of Sayrui, a fictional famous geisha, probably a composite of several famous geisha of Japan’s past. Born in a tiny, poor, fishing village, Chiyo ( her first name as a servant in the geisha house she is sold to by her father)/ Sayrui’s life reflects the difference between the life of a geisha and the life of a prostitute. Hatsumomo, a famous geisha of the same house is her nemesis, insanely jealous and revengeful motivated by feelings of jealousy, fear, insecurity, and mean-spiritedness. Chiyo’s only friend, Pumpkin, eventually betrays Chiyo/Sayrui, making Mamha’s job as Sayrui’s mentor/”Big Sister” all the harder.

Of course it is a romance, but much much more than that.  There is a well-described picture of Japanese life both before and after the WWII bombings. Sayrui’s life goes from rags to riches to rags again to…I’ll let you read the end of the story. The underlying theme of the book deals with how a woman’s life and destiny depended on a man. It is a worthwhile investment of your precious reading time that will keep you turning pages into the wee hours.

THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST: A NOVEL: A Review

To tell you what a good read this book was, keep in mind that I read it in a day and a half in a week I didn’t have any time to read in.  It was a fast read; it was an engaging read–I couldn’t wait to get back to it; and it was an informative, actually educational ,read.  And, all this in a novel!

This 2016 publication by Ann Hood includes everything I enjoy in a novel: It was about a book club; it was about a middle age woman whose husband was a cad; it was about friendship and was character driven.  The characters, both major and minor are vividly depicted, and the reader cares about each one. The relationships dissected were mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, and friends and lovers–which all make good reading.

To quote one critic, the novel is a “celebration of all that books awaken within us: joy, love, wisdom, loss, and solace.” There are enough twists and turns to satisfy even this reader who demands them, and Hood is a natural storyteller. It is a book for book clubs, specifically and book lovers, generally.

A bonus in the novel is the description of  year’s worth of the book club’s discussions on the selections of the year’s theme, “The book that matters most to me”, some of which I had not read.  The books discussed (linked to the characters who chose them) are: Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Anna Karrenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Slaughterhouse Five.   The mystery and revelation involved in the protagonist’s choice is a wonderful “touch,” leaving a twist for the last few pages.

This is an exceptionally satisfying read, stuffed full of the “good stuff” that makes us choose novels as well as a book you will enjoy on many levels.