Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?


 

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.
My comments are not meant to be recaps of the story lines as I include a link to Goodreads for their synopsis of the book. I am merely stating how I felt about the book without giving any spoilers.

Finally getting caught up after a month of travelling.

81 COMPLETED READS TO DATE!
1 ABANDONED - title?
Thirty Girls
Evening

FINISHED:
Before We Met


I really enjoyed this book. Just when I thought I had it figured out she through me for a loop.
I did wonder what would possess a 30something very career-oriented woman to give everything up after meeting a man and move across the ocean. 
In reading other reviews, however, most said that her two other books were much better.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd  becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.
 
A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly  honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd  watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.
 
Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively  readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

Firstly, this is not fiction. Secondly, there is so much historical detail that I will admit my eyes started to glaze over.
There were just so many players to keep track of!!

As a family they were not likeable or believable. Even though this is the 1930s I found Dodd himself to be naive, and seriously who takes their grown up "children" with them on a work assignment. Martha is insufferable but at least her affairs kept me entertained much as they did seem to go on. There were missing elements to me, Mrs. Dodd is barely mentioned, Bill, the son, doesn't play any part. 
I'm glad I read it but not sure I would want to read anything else written by him.

STARTED:
The Orphan Master's Son

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

1 comment:

  1. I have read a couple of Larson's earlier books, including Isaac's Storm, about a monster hurricane destroying Galveston.

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