Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah

This is a rather short book, just about 100 pages, depending on the format you read. It delivers quite a punch, though.  It is the true story of an Iraqi family, who first seeked shelter in Syria and then after sometime there seeked refugee status and gained asylum in Canada.  It is very eye-opening; how they almost normalize things that we'd consider alarming, but I think they do it as a means of survival and to maintain their sanity and to promote a sense of trying of normal family life for their children.  It is good in these times to see that the majority of Muslim families are not that different than our own.  They may have a different religion with some different beliefs, but underlying it all, they want safety and security in their lives like anyone else.  Through out history, there has always been hatred or dislike of those cultures that seem different from our own, the two examples that most come to mind are those of the Jewish faith, especially during WWII and Native American through most of American history, as well as countless other minority groups throughout the world and throughout the centuries.  Of course many of the individuals, who would most benefit from reading this or similar life stories won't but even if only a small number who read these books, change their perspectives that will help make this a better country and world.  I would love a follow up of this book, once Abu Baker and his family have been here a longer time.  I believe they moved to Canada in late 2015.4 stars.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser

I'm having trouble just starting the review of this book. It's difficult even to rate this. I've wanted to read this for a long time and I was on reserve for it on Overdrive for a ridiculously long time, also. Maybe the reason that I was on the reserve list, so long was that it took others an incredibly long time to read it as it took me. In fact, I don't know when the last time was it took me so long to read a book (4 weeks) . 4 WEEKS!! That is unbelievable; I usually read a book a week, give or take. I know nonfiction often takes longer to read than fiction, but 4 WEEKS? The last time it took me that long to read a book, which I faithfully read each day was many years ago, probably decades ago and then it was usually because I did not have the time to sit and read it on a daily basis.

This book is incredibly dense, full of 25 cent words, which were totally unnecessary. Nearly 85 pages of this tome are footnotes, some of which offer further information while some just offer the source or are merely stating. Ibid. There were several times during the book, when I felt like I might DNF this, but then I went a little further and found some interesting parts, For the most part, when you think of the book in its entirety, there were more parts that were boring and/or irritating than that I sincerely enjoyed. I appreciate that the author went into some, well maybe a lot (maybe a little too much of the historical background. This was a highly detailed accounting of the life of not only Laura Ingalls Wilder, but her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Rose Wilder Lane was not a nice person. She has a history of bizarre behavior, and relatively radical political views; she suffered sometimes from severe depression, often with suicidal thoughts. It appears to me that she may have been manic-depressive and/or suffered from bipolar disorder. (Is manic-depressive and bipolar disorder, the same thing?)

This book is highly-rated. There are many, many 3, 4 and 5 stars on Goodreads. The book has even won a Pulitzer, as well as many other awards. I usually don't do well on books that have won prestigious awards, like the Pulitzer and others for great writing, etc, Goodreads Awards for the best book of the year in several different genres are the exception, but those awards aregiven based on what "normal" everyday readers think.

Personally, I give this 1.5 stars and round it up to 2 stars, which might be generous, but since there were parts that I enjoyed and were interesting rounding it down to 1 star would not be giving the book justice.


Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

2.5 stars. I was not overly impressed with this book. A woman takes a genetics test through and finds a surprising twist that she never knew about. I listened to it on audio and it was narrated by the author. I found it interesting, but not as emotional as I thought it would be, especially since it was narrated by the author of this memoir.

The House on Olive Street

The House On Olive Street by Robyn Carr

This is not the typical Robyn Carr you know from Virgin River. I did like it though. It took me a while to warm up to the characters, but after I did I finally was hooked on the story. The story revolves around 4 women, all writers, who were going to get together with their good friend, Gabby for her 50th birthday, who lives on Olive Street and they find she has died. They pretty much stay the summer to go through her personal things and in the process get their lives changed for the better. 3 stars.

Our Now and Forever

Our Now and Forever by Terri Osburn

3.5 stars. Parts of this book, I loved, but there were other parts where the characters did some stupid things. I love this series, but based on some of the stupid things done , I couldn't give this 5 stars, so I rounded the 3.5 stars up to 4 stars. The 4 stars are based on me loving a lot of the book. 

It Had to Be Fate

It Had to Be Fate by Tamra Baumann

I've been enjoying this new series by new-to-me author, Tamra Baumann that I have been listening to on Audible through Kindle Unlimited. This one focuses on the oldest sister in the Anderson family of Anderson Butte, Colorado, who fall for a "bad boy" musician. I thought this would be my least favorite, but boy was I surprised when it turned out to be my favorite, so fat. 5 stars.

The Memory of Butterflies

The Memory of Butterflies by Grace Greene

3 stars. I don't have much to say about this audiobook. There were a lot of secrets that were uncovered in the last half of this book, but I felt the ending was wrapped up too quickly. Another 30 to 50 more pages would have been better.