City of Thieves by Dan Benioff
Written from the point of view of a teenage Russian boy during WWII, this story was almost bizarre. The young boy is taken into custody of the Russian police and offered his release if he is able to complete one task: Find 2 dozen eggs and return them to the commander within a week. The seemingly pointless task must be a comment on the pointlessness of war? Anyway, I was curious how it would end and I did indeed finish it, but I found myself skimming at times (especially the graphic war parts) looking to "get on with it."
Gardens of Water by Alan Drew
Again, not a light-hearted read. This story is set in Turkey during and after a catastrophic earthquake. The story then is about a family struggling to cope with the aftermath and a group of American relief workers who are there to help. It challenges the concepts of East meeting West and what role religion plays in relief. The characters struggle to relate to one another with the cultural issues when humanity issues arise. It was intriguing and well written but somewhat grim and left many philosophical questions lingering in the air.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Who would have thought that the world of the Geisha in the lifetime of the 1920's to 1950's would be so interesting? I didn't. This work of fiction is so completely mesmerizing it is hard to remember that it is fiction and not a true story. I know that I am really enjoying a book when it interferes with my crochet. This book did. I had to just read it as fast as I could so that I could get back to work more quickly. I was worried that the book would read too much like a history lesson, but really this was more like a conversation with an extraordinary woman. It takes you through the transformation of child to adult, through her lessons to become a geisha and all that it entails. It was much more elegantly depicted than I expected for the topic. Excellent.
Mr. Muo's travelling couch by Dai Sijie
Ok, I tried. I read two chapters. I pulled this book off the "Librarian's choice" shelf at the library. I thought, hey, it's about a psychoanalyst, maybe I'll find this interesting, given my former profession as a mental health counselor. Nope. It was too scattered for me. I didn't finish it. Maybe you'll like it, but it didn't engage me. Off to read something else.
Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
What a tear-jerker. It was a great book, easy to read, short and quick but Oh my goodness, I had to put it down several times to compose myself. My friends, if you have any issues with grief at all (and who doesn't?) this book will force you to heal just a little bit more. Reading it was the kind of pain that's like putting a dislocated bone back where it belongs. You know it's going to hurt, but you know it needs to be done, and in doing it, you'll feel better in the long run.