Friday, January 9, 2015

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

image from LibraryThing
What a story! There were times when I felt I was wandering along Jacko's labyrinth totally blind and simply trusting that I remembered the path.  I think that is just what David Mitchell wanted for his take us to a part of our world we could barely fathom and could really only briefly grasp.  And at the center of all that unknown is Holly Sykes the girl/woman/old lady whose heart is filled with a no-nonsense love that gathers people towards her.  

That doesn't sound as enticing as this book actually is.  This story spans Holly's life- from her running away from her pub home as a 15 yr old to the final moment on the shores of Sheep's Head island watching her cherished family float away on a small boat,  Through a series of 'chance' meetings Holly has brushed against an ancient evil built on a blind shaman's desire for immorality. This immortality is taken from the bone clocks (humans) they brush against. Holly becomes an integral key to an opposing force.
I truly loved this book! I loved the impossible symmetry of this story...a world spinning along beside Nd underneath and all around without us even knowing!

One of my very favorites!'

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson

I LOVED the first books in this series - the Mortal Instruments.
I liked the Infernal Devices series.
I am just tired of them now.

Here is my pet peeve.

I read the books years ago - they have very detailed and intricate story lines. Magnus is an important character - but honestly I have forgotten most of the details of his part.

Now this book comes up and it makes me feel like I am on the outside of the cool kids inside jokes.  I wish there would more background - or more connections or something.

So - I did enjoy most of the later stories - the first few really fell flat. But the very last story was by far the most frustrating for me. I can't remember anything of the events.
I didn't like this book nearly as much as I did the others.
Shucks - I really wanted to because I liked Magnus!

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

image from LibraryThing
Life on a farm has never been easy.  This book proves the proverb once again.  Life on a farm in southern Iowa for Walter Langdon was not easy.  But, ease would not have been Walter's goal!  Instead, he wanted to raise a family on the land - and that is just what he did!

Smiley follows Walter's family and life from 1920 until his death in 1953 chapter by chapter, season by season, year after year.  Walter marries Rosanna and together they weather the fat years of the 20s and the con-summing drought of the 30s.  They raise their children on the acres of the farm - working long hours and feeling incredible pride for their accomplishments.  At least most of them.

I liked the format of this story. Each chapter was a new year.  The chapters didn't necessarily follow the same character throughout - but they did follow the time chronologically.  So we are able to watch as a family gets electricity or the first car. We experience the Depression in a very Iowa way - they didn't starve, but that is because they worked for every bite they got!

One of my pet peeves with farming books is the ridiculous rose-colored glasses that some writers use when they  speak of farming. Smiley doesn't do that.  It can be incredibly lonely and beyond difficult - like when Rosanna delivers her own baby by herself because she is not able to get to the field for any help.

It took me a while to get in to this book.  I kept waiting for some big moment when luck would come in to play.  The reality is that all farming is luck.  All farmers know that - you have no control over the weather or the markets.  You live on faith and luck and lots of work!

It was interesting to read about Iowa towns that I know...and the comparison between Iowa State and University of Iowa certainly rang true for will have to read it to find out what I mean!