Monday, April 04, 2011

Turn the Page....Tuesday

It's once again time for Turn the Page...Tuesday hosted by the fabulous fantastic Adrienne at Some of a Kind.

My first choice this month is a book that my sister, Stacey, sent to me and one I have seen some great reviews on and really wanted to read.  Thank you, Stacey, for passing this one on to me.  It was wonderful!

'Old Henry Lee stood transfixed by all the commotion at the Panama Hotel.  What had started as a crowd of curious onlookers eyeballing a television news crew had now swollen into a polite mob of shoppers, tourists, and a few punk-looking street kids,  all wondering what the big deal was.  In the middle of the crowd stood Henry, shopping bags hanging at his side.  He felt as if he were waking from a long forgotten dream.  A dream he'd once had as a little boy.'

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is one of those exceptional novels that, once read, will stay with you forever.  A powerful story of young love lost but never forgotten;  of lives torn apart by war.  So much has been written about WW II, but so little about the Japanese Relocation Camps right here in our very own country. 

Living in Cody, Wyoming for many years, I drove by the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp between Cody and Powell so many times that it became just a part of the landscape.  But take a moment, pull off the highway and up the hill to those old buildings.  Get out of your car, walk quietly and peek into the long, low-lying rooms.  Listen and you will swear that the long gone voices of the residents of this remote camp in the high desert still echo throughout those concrete walls.  It's haunting - heartbreaking to think what was done to Japanese Americans right here in our own, their own, country. 

Mr. Ford's novel is about so much;  the issue's between a father and son, the rivalry and cruelty of young kids, a country tearing itself apart during war-time.  We experience Seattle's China and Japantowns during the 1940's and touch on the vibrant Jazz scene there before moving into the Seattle of the 1980's.  In this book, I connected and fell in love with so many of the characters -  Henry, Keiko, Sheldon and yes, even Mrs. Beatty - that I was not at all ready to let them go when I turned the last page.  Like dear old friends that you miss when they go back home. 
I do believe that more of Jamie Ford's work will find it's way to my shelves.  And soon.

This year, Adrienne challenged each of us to read books that have been languishing, unread, on our shelves.  I am trying to do that each month, so for March I picked Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery.   Now, I love the Anne of Green Gables series and had heard that the Emily series was somewhat autobiographical about the author, so when I found "Emily" at out local thrift store awhile back, I brought her home.   I started reading right at the beginning of March, but it took me nearly the whole month to turn the last page.  Not because I didn't enjoy the story, I did;  but with so much going on in our lives this month, I found it particularly hard to read this book.  L.M. Montgomery had a very flowery and very descriptive writing style and I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to read her.  I just kept falling asleep everytime I would pick the book up, but I did enjoy meeting Emily and the story was sweet, innocent and fun.  I will pick up "Emily Climbs" sometime and add it to my reading stack, for a nice lazy summer day, methinks. 

From the back cover:
In this sensitive, heart-warming story we meet Emily Starr for the first time.  Spirited, irrepressible Emily, left an orphan when her father dies, finds she is really not alone.  An unexpected world of family and friends is waiting for her at New Moon Farm.  There Cousin Jimmy encourages her emerging talent for writing, stern Aunt Elizabeth teaches her a surprising lesson in growing up, and Emily's own special way of understanding solves a mystery that gives a lonely man the chance to love again.

Pop over to Some of a Kind to see what others are reading, and join in the fun if it suits you!
Where has your reading taken you this last month?


~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I can't tell you how many times I've picked up "On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" -- I just haven't read it yet. Shame on me.

Adrienne said...

Fabulous! Fantastic! You are too kind ;-) I have had On the Corner on my to read list **forever**. Me thinks it's getting bumped up to the top! I've never heard about 'Emily' - I know what you mean about sometimes you just have to be in the right frame of mind to read a book - good for you for meeting the challenge (even if it did make you sleepy - ha ha)

Charlie said...

Thanks for reviewing that book - I've seen lots of good reviews and will be adding it to my list of wanna-reads.

Stacey's Treasures said...

"On the Corner of Bitter & Sweet" is one of my favorite books. I knew you would like it.
I have never gone to look inside those buildings between Cody & Powell. But can just imagine the hard life these people lived while there. The wind constantly blowing, such cold nights & hot Summers days. To leave your life & belongings behind and live in a primitive camp.

Yolanda said...

I love the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It would so make a great movie.