Sunday, January 07, 2007

From the Stacks Winter Challenge....



I have finished my 5 books for the From the Stacks challenge. Yeah! Following are my reviews, though I'm definately not a reviewer. I just like to read.. When selecting a new book, I have many times turned to the first page and read the first paragraph to see if I'm drawn in right from the start, so that is how I have chosen to start my reviews.

1).
'It is clear beyond doubt that the arrival of the MacBrayne steamer is the great social event on the island of Erinsay. Anyone not otherwise engaged will be there, just to check on who has purchased anything on the mainland, from sheep-dip to a new carburetor for an old tractor, and to check the size of other parcels that will be delivered next day in person by Callum the Post.'
Dark the Night, Wild the Sea by Robert McAfee Brown

This is a short story (only 167 pages) by a first time novelist. Jamie Stuart, the main character, is an architect in Glasgow who puts work and success above the love of Annie, his long-time girlfriend. Jamie suddenly finds himself alone, is forced to take a much needed vacation and finds himself on the Island of Erinsay in Scotland. The island is a close-knit community of locals who still strongly believe in Scottish lore. It is said that when Duncan MacDuff, a local old-timer" plays the pipes on certain friday nights and if you are standing on the right knoll, then time and place can sometimes be reversed. Jamie hears the pipes playing and decides to test this legend for himself. He suddenly finds himself in the Erinsay of 150 years ago and must make an identity for himself. He finds and falls in love with Maragh McPherson, only to lose her again. A story of love beyond time.
I have a fascination with the Scottish Isle's and legends and folklore of the people there, so really enjoyed this book. Because it is so short would make a great "road trip" book. Was a fun read.


2).
'It's Christmas Eve, and the lake in front of me is frozen hard. Snow surrounds the edge, crunching beneath my feet. The sun is beginning to sink, and the trees, heavy with snow, cast long shadows over the paved path that runs along the shore. Several runners make their way around the perimeter, careful not to bump into the occasional walker on the inside of the path. I stand for a few moments in that familiar spot, beneath the giant oak tree, looking out over the smooth surface. As I'd driven through the icy streets on my way to the park, past familiar shops and sights, I'd noticed few changes in the three years since I'd been gone. I take a deep breath and exhale, leaving faint clouds in the winter air. I have work to do. I open the tailgate of my truck and grab the legs of the heavy wooden bench that I'd loaded earlier.'
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere

To me, Christmas isn't Christmas without a new Christmas book on my nightstand. This is a sequel to Donna VanLieres "The Christmas Shoes" and is just as wonderful. We revisit Nathan Andrews now as a young medical student who is struggling with his choice of profession and with the Cardialogist who Nathan has found himself working under in his current rotation at the hospital. He meets several people who make him take a deep look at himself and his choices. Meghan is a young woman born with a hole in her heart but who has overcome great odds to be a champion cross-country runner. Charlie is a young cardiologist patient, a good friend of Meghans and wise beyond his years.
This is a must read, not only for Christmas, but at any time.

3).
Clare: It's hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he's okay. It's hard to be the one who stays.
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffengegger

Hmmm.... What to say? A strange book, but an easy read. Very far-fetched and unbelievable in many ways. This first paragraph really sums up what the book is about. Waiting. Clare has spent her entire life waiting for Henry. Clare has known Henry since she was 6, but Henry doesn't meet Clare until he is 33. Henry tells Clare that in the future they are married, so Clare spends all of her teenage years and early adulthood waiting to meet Henry. When she finally does, she has to convince Henry that she knows him. Then she waits on him the rest of her live,as he disappears at random on his time traveling adventures.
I don't want to give the impression that I didn't enjoy this book, because I did. Pick it up and read it. Tell me what you think....

4).
Like Steppingstones along a meandering stream, dirty puddles of water dotted the dusty road. Nothing more than a trail, really, the remote old road cut a wagon-width path through rolling acres of Oregon wheat fields. Barbed cheatgrass and weeds growing between the tire tracks scratched against the bottom of the almost-new Datsun station wagon.
The Homestead - Jane Kirkpatrick

Jane Kirkpatrick is one of my favorite authors. Jane and her husband live here in Oregon and I had the pleasure of listening to her talk and personally meeting her last spring at Fort Clastsop. She generally writes Historical fiction based on the lives of real women. Very good books. I am close to having her entire collection.

This particular book is her memoir, written about the land on which her and her husband, Jerry, buildt their home. Their homestead is located in a very remote river canyon 50 miles south of The Dalles, down a very treacherous "driveway", impassable during the rainy season. In the first few chapters of this book, Jane mentions my hometown of Elgin and a good family friend of ours is mentioned several l times, so this book is near and dear to my heart. Jane writes about the hardships of first deciding to leave civilization, jobs and friends, the terrors of learning to pilot their own plane and the injuries they sustained in a crash, the fear of that winding washed-out road, the joy of seeing clear, clean water gushing out of their much needed reservoir and so many other joys and fears. This is a must read for anyone who has or is thinking about going back to the land. Pick up any of Janes books, you will love them!

5).
Dance of the Gods - Nora Roberts

I have sent this book off to my sister, Stacey, so do not have the first paragraph to "read" to you. This is the second in Nora's "Circle" trilogy. I really enjoy most of Nora's books. They are easy reads, but not so typical as some other mass marketers. This trilogy is about a cirle of six who meet up past time and space to save the world from the vampire queen. We experience magic, mayhem and darkness in the quest to save the worlds. I didn't enjoy this trilogy as much as I have some of her past ones, but that could have just been my mindset at the time. Stacey, tell me what you think once you read them....

1 comment:

booklogged said...

Paula, Congratulations on finishing the challenge. Wasn't that challenge a great idea?

I added several of your suggestions to my TBR list. I did read The Time Traveler's Wife and was wishy-wasy about my feelings about it. The concept was clever, but there were things that bothered me.