Written in letters, this novel begins with the story of author Juliet Ashton and her search for a story. She is tired of writing about the happy life after World War II, and wants to get back to writing about life during war. Living in England, she and others around her have been deeply affected by the Nazis and World War II. A farmer, Dawson, writes to Juliet, asking about an author, Charles Lamb. Juliet begins writing frequently to Dawson, and Dawson to her. Dawson tells her about Guernsey, and about life during the war. He tells her about a literary society that him and fellow Guernsey natives founded during the war, as a alibi against Nazis. Dawson tells his fellow members to write to Juliet and tell her about experiences. What unfolds is the story the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. She travels to Guernsey, and learns about "their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives." The citizens of Guernsey's lives were deeply impacted by the war, and Juliet is impacted deeply by these citizens. A soon to be classic, this is a WWII story, with romance, betrayal, mystery, and everything you can possibly wish for in a book. Rating: ★★★★★
The story centers on Morrie, a war veteran, who is very alone in life after the death of wife. He has been head of maintenance at Ruby Park, an amusement park, for as long as he can remember. On the morning of his 83rd birthday, he is killed in a tragic accident at the park. Then, as the book continues, and as the title suggests, he meets five people that have significantly impacted him, or he to them. He isn't in paradise, he is in five other people's heavens. In each heaven, he learns a lesson. He meets "The Blue Man" (a freak attraction at the amusement park) and learns about coincidences , "The Captain" (Eddie's commanding officer in the Philippines during WWII) and learns about sacrifices, Ruby (the inspiration for Ruby Pier, Morrie's amusement park) teaches him about forgiveness, Marguerite (his wife) who teaches him about love, and I don't want to ruin the fifth one, so you should read the book! Mitch Albom is also the author of the Tuesdays with Morrie, a real story about a dying man who Albom interviewed every Tuesday. If you have not read that, do so immediately! This book makes you think about death and who are the five most important people in your life. I think, that is one of the most important things a book can do, is make you think about something and have a lasting impact on you. Rating: ★★★★★
A book for book lovers, A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse tellls the tale of Ivan George (Van), a bookseller on a quest to create "the perfect bookstore" selling only good books. This presents a challenge to Van. What is a good novel? Van, and his financier Francesca, decide to ask eight writers who they consider to be the most important writers of their time. They then create a bookstore called "The Good Novel" (They also created a website, which was put together so the reader can access it). After its opening, the bookstore does great, getting a loyal base of customers and solid sales. Then, things take a turn for the worse. Rival bookstores open, and negative stories come out about The Good Novel. One reviewer said, "By twisting in a plot of star-crossed lovers, talented writers with hidden powers, mediocre writers gone mad, standardless publishers gone green, crummy bookshops gone empty, and witless critics gone ignored, Cossé makes her book an engaging love story and also a gripping story of deceit, revenge, and despair." I couldn't agree more. A Novel Bookstore is the perfect story about a perfect bookstore. The novel brings up a number of questions, such as, what makes a book good - is it because of the author who wrote it, the critics love it, or because your friends and family recommend it? For me, it is a mix of all three. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, and don't get turned off by the confusing beginning! Rating: ★★★★
A novel by Little Bee (read my review of that book here)author Chris Cleave, Incendiary tells the story of a woman who has lost her husband and son to a terrorist attack on a London football (soccer) stadium. It is a letter to Osama bin Laden, the leader of the notorious al Qaeda and it takes the reader through the mind of this woman and how she deals with losing her only child and husband. She tells bin Laden about herself and her family, "They say you are a FIEND Osama but like I say I don't believe a word of it. I've seen you in your videos. You give me the shivers and you look like a gentleman. My husband was a good man he was a gentleman too. You would of liked him....They say you believe that if your people kill anyone innocent then you're doing them a favour because they will go to believe with Allah. I wouldn't know about that. My husband didn't believe in Allah he believed in his kid and Arsenal football club." Incendiary means "capable of causing fire." To me, that definition strikes true with the story. When the narrator finds out that terrorists bombed the stadium, she is in bed with a lover. She is immediately filled with shame, and goes to the stadium attempting to find her family. But it is so chaotic there that she ends up in the hospital. While the pain, grief and guilt she carries with her never goes away, she tries to deal with the loss of her loved ones. She is a working class woman, and her poor use of grammar and East End slang may be a little confusing and hard to get read, the story is worth it. Creepily, the day Incendiary was published, al Qaeda bombed the London subways.