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Trinity by Leon Uris

>> Friday, November 28, 2008

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1976
Pages: 751
Decades 08 #12 (1970’s), Chunkster Challenge 2008 #4

I love big fat chunky historical fiction. I love books with maps. I love books that inspire me to head to google to start looking up more information about the time period or place described in the book. This book was all those things and more and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This has been hanging around on the fringes of my TBR list for ages. I think it finally jumped to the more active section of that list when I read the review at
Framed and Booked last year. Written in the 1970’s when the hostilities in Northern Ireland were all over the news, this book takes a step back nearly a century from that time to look at another phase in the life cycle of that longstanding conflict.

Beginning in 1885 young Conor Larkin and his friend Seamus O’Neill are introduced as young boys living in a small town of Ballyutogue. Even then, the town is divided into their poor Catholic section and the more affluent Protestant section. The book follows many characters, but the primary protagonist is Conor Larkin. The conflicts between the Irish people and the British, the Protestants and the Catholics, the aristocracy and the working class all form the background and stage of this saga. Conor and Seamus hear the history of their families from the local storyteller, then go on to become part of the fight for freedom from British control.

The story follows Conor and two other families (one of British aristocrats and one of Scottish Protestants) as they interact and work both with and against each other to pursue their conflicting goals for Ireland. This book held my attention and kept me heading to my computer to look up more background information.

Obviously the violence in Ireland outlasts the ending of this book, but it gives an interesting look at some of the history of the conflict and helped me understand some of the background to what I saw on the news from Belfast when I was growing up.



>> Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts one generation can pass to another is the wisdom it has gained from experience, the Wisdom project, produced with the cooperation from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, seeks to create a record of a multicultural group of pepole who have all made their mark on the world. Presented against the same white space, all of the subjects are removed from their context, which not only democratizes them, but also allows for a clear dialogue to exist between them. In an attempt to create a more profound, honest, and truly revealing portrait of these luminaries, the project encompasses their voices, their physical presence, and the written word. This comprehensive portrayal of such a profound and global group is an index of extraordinary perspectives.
I think I either want this for Christmas or will be giving it as a gift for Christmas (or both).

Here's a trailer (but go here for more ):

More here too:
Filmmaker and photographer Andrew Zuckerman thinks hard-won insights should be shared. That’s why he’s releasing The Wisdom Project, a one-hour documentary film and companion book that share the collective experiences of 51 luminaries over age 65, including authors, artists, and world leaders from Willie Nelson to Nelson Mandela.
Inspired by the ancient African concept of ubuntu, which emphasizes human connectedness—I am what I am because of who we all are—Zuckerman set out to gather and communicate the lessons his extraordinary subjects have learned about love, work, the environment, and conflict resolution. “We live in a confusing and fast-changing world,” says the filmmaker. “It’s a great time to look to our elders, to see what they have to say that can help us.”

Special thanks to Lesley for posting this first. Thanks Les !!


Afghan for Amie's baby boy

>> Monday, November 17, 2008

Yarn - Lion Brand Baby Soft
Color - Pastel Green


Echo Burning by Lee Child

>> Friday, November 14, 2008

Series: #5 in the Jack Reacher series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 412
A-Z Reading #48 (E Title), TBR 2008 Alternate #8

Jack Reacher is one of my favorite characters. I’m not sure who it was that first recommended Lee Child’s books to me, but I’m very glad that someone did. This is the fifth in the series and I enjoyed it just as much as the others.

Jack is an ex military policeman who really just wants to drift and live his life without attachments. He travels with the clothes on his back, a toothbrush and cash in his pocket. The major complication in Jack’s life seems to be Jack’s inability to stay out of things when he thinks there is an underdog who can use some help. This usually ends up with Jack against not only the bad guys, but also one or more branches of law enforcement and or the justice system.

Jack is a little bit MacGyver and a little bit Rambo, and maybe a touch of Agent Gibbs from NCIS. He’s got some issues, but he’s a good guy who is out to help the underdog. This time around the underdog is a woman who picks Jack up when he’s hitchhiking through west Texas; hot west Texas. The heat is almost a character in this book. Carmen Greer needs Jack’s help and he ends up agreeing to see what he can do for her. Before long Jack doesn’t know who to believe. It seems like almost everyone is lying to him, people are in trouble and so is Jack. Then there are the 3 hired assassins that Jack doesn’t even know about.

The twists and turns keep coming and it takes a while for all the storylines to come together. I definitely recommend the series and hope to read the next one soon.


An excellent napper

>> Sunday, November 9, 2008

How many different directions can you point at the same time?


The Treatment by Mo Hayder

>> Saturday, November 8, 2008

Series: #2 in the Jack Caffery series
Genre: Mystery / Psychological Thriller
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 404
Challenges: ,
2nds Challenge #3, TBR 2008 Alternate #7

Mo Hayder can write a mystery/ psychological thriller that can keep me turning the pages and not want to stop reading. She can also write an extremely disturbing book that can give the faint of heart nightmares and make many people want to put the book aside long before finishing it.

Definitely not a book I’d recommend to a lot of folks, but if you made it through her first book (Birdman) you’ll want to read this one. Jack Caffery is back and he’s still the damaged and not wholly likeable hero he was in Birdman. The case in this book is just as messed up, if not more. The twists and turns keep the reader guessing. Jack’s personal tragedy continues to haunt him and there are more twists and turns about the story of what happened to Jack’s brother so many years ago.

Not for everyone, but a well done, if disturbing, story.


Murder at the Portland Variety by M.J. Zellnik

>> Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 329
A-Z Reading #47 (Z Author)

This is the first in what appears to be only a two book series by a brother/sister writing team (Miriam and Joe Zellnik as M.J. Zellnik). It’s an interesting mix of cozy mystery and historical fiction.

The story is set in Portland, Oregon in 1894 – so it’s interesting to me to read something set in that time period in my hometown. The authors’
website has some pictures of Portland, fashion, theater and others from that era. Those were fun to see – familiar parts of town from back then.

Libby Seale is a young seamstress working in a vaudeville theater making and maintaining costumes. When one of the performers is found dead, Libby just believe the quick conclusion to the case the police do. Soon she finds herself enlisting the help of a young newspaper reporter in town to investigate what really happened to her friend. Along the way the reader also learns what brought Libby to Portland from New York all on her own.

I enjoyed this book a lot. The mix of genres was a new one for me and since it’s set in Portland, many of the locations are familiar to me. According to the authors’ website, the planned series stopped at two books. I do plan to get the second book from the library. I liked Libby and her reporter friend Peter and want to read more of their adventures, even if it is only one more book.


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