Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday

How does one catch up on book reviews when it's been 3 months?  I guess the best thing to do would be to pick some favorites and then just attempt to stay current going forward.  Here are three of my favorites from the last three months.

from barnesandnoble.com
France, 1916:  Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.
Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Liv’s belief in what is right to the ultimate test.
First off, I have to admit that I really like Jojo Moyes.  So this review is a little biased.  With that out in the open, this book is breathtaking.  Both female leads are strong in their own right.  And both face future's of questionable security.  This book is a favorite and will be kept in collection and read more than once.

from barnesandnoble.com
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. 

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

Unless you live under a rock, you know about this book and the series that has since come out on Netflix.  I loved the memoir and thought Kerman did a beautiful job of explaining her emotions and experiences inside Danbury prison.  Now, the TV series, while it is based on the memoir, obviously had to sensationalize it for TV entertainment.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the series just as much as I loved the book.  But differently.  Kind of like a red headed step child...j/k.  I highly recommend you read the book.  (The TV series recommendation only goes out to those that I know can handle the graphic nature that is included.)

The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full anguish of desegregation—in Little Rock and throughout the South—and an epic moment in the civil rights movement.
In this gripping book, David Margolick tells the remarkable story of two separate lives unexpectedly braided together. He explores how the haunting picture of Elizabeth and Hazel came to be taken, its significance in the wider world, and why, for the next half-century, neither woman has ever escaped from its long shadow. He recounts Elizabeth’s struggle to overcome the trauma of her hate-filled school experience, and Hazel’s long efforts to atone for a fateful, horrible mistake. The book follows the painful journey of the two as they progress from apology to forgiveness to reconciliation and, amazingly, to friendship. This friendship foundered, then collapsed—perhaps inevitably—over the same fissures and misunderstandings that continue to permeate American race relations more than half a century after the unforgettable photograph at Little Rock. And yet, as Margolick explains, a bond between Elizabeth and Hazel, silent but complex, endures.

This is one of those stories that needs to be read by everyone.  It is remarkable how one image can transcend time and label a situation so emphatically.  The era was before everyone had a camera in their pocket..which makes that lasting quality of this image so powerful.

1 comment:

Girl On a Journey said...

Thanks for these reviews. I watched the entire season 1 of Orange is the New Black. I will plan to read it now. Kind of backwards I know. I am also interested in the Elizabeth and Hazel book. I used to be such a devoted reader but, got away from it. Starting Jan 1st I am now doing a daily devotional start is morning and night. Trying to not wake up and go to sleep with Facebook. Next, is to phase out some TV time to read. :)

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