In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.
- Name: Maira Bundza
- Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States
I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (2015)
Rachel takes the train into London every day, though she has been fired from her job for being drunk and insulting and doesn't want to tell her roommate. She looks out the window and pays special attention to her old house, where her ex-husband lives with Anna and their daughter Evie. A few doors down she see what she thinks of as the perfect couple - she gives them names, but we later find out they are Megan and Scott. We hear the story through the voices of the three women - day by day. Mostly chronological, but hear the past of one, when we need to. Megan disappears and Rachel thinks she saw something that could be useful. She keeps bothering her ex-husband Tom and his wife Anna.
I did not like being in the mind of alcoholic Rachel, especially in the beginning. I drank a lot in my youth, but it was always for fun, with people, never to get away from myself or my problems. Well, maybe we did drown our sorrows once in a while, but it didn't feel like this. So I am not sure what makes it so disconcerting. Watching a Harvard professor lose her memory in Still Alice was difficult, but did not make me feel this uncomfortable. Megan was also struggling with various mental issues, and she too made me uncomfortable, though as an undergraduate psych major I used to be interested in what made people tick. I wrote the above paragraph while I was in the beginning of the book. We do get an explanation and that circumstances and life had made Rachel and Megan that way, which somehow mitigated my discomfort by the end of the book.
Dark Witch by Nora Roberts (2013)
Iona gives up everything she has in America and moves to Ireland, as suggested by her grandmother. Actually, other than her grandmother, there is not much keeping her in the U.S. as she never felt she fit in. Her only real love was horses; she was good with them and successful in competitions. Luckily there are horses in Ireland.
She spends her first week in a hotel in an old castle, but then moves in with her cousins Branna and Conner O'Dweyer. Turns out the three of them are witches descending from a strong witch from the past, who divided her power among three children instead of surrendering it to the evil guy. Looks like it is time to battle again, the three descendants reunited, but Iona doesn't really know how to control of work with her poser, so Branna and Conner teach her.
I liked Iona's relationship with horses. She gets a job in the local stable where she meets Boyle - and their connection is intense - you know the routine. Finn, the owner of the stables (an a man with power in his own right) brings in a new horse - Alistair, who ends up being Iona's familiar spirit and partner in magic.
To fill out the trilogy couples, looks like Finn is connected to Branna, but they have some old wounds to heal, and Conner probably will be connecting with Maura, an amazon horsewoman. The closed world Roberts creates around this six-some seems limiting and the magic too spectacular. I think there really is something other than what we see, but it is much more subtle, as is evil. But the book was still decent entertainment for a long drive.
Friday, June 12, 2015
The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat (2014)
Sunday, May 17, 2015
The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory (2013)
The main character is Anne, the kingmaker's daughter. Her father raised the royal York boys Edward, George and Richard, and when he didn't like the way Henry (the sleeping king, as Anne calls him) ruled, he placed Edward on the throne, imprisoning Henry. When he didn't like the fact that Edward's wife and her family had too much influence on him, he tried to put the second son George in his place, but lost that bid.
Anne's sister is married to George, at 15 Anne gets married off to old King Henry's son, her father thinking he can get one of his daughters on the throne and be grandfather to a king. Then Anne's young husband and her father get killed in battle. She ends up marrying Richard, the third York son. Her nemesis - real or imagined is King Edward;s wife Elizabeth Woodville, who is not only beautiful and fertile with 10 children, but skillful in getting her family into positions of power.
Oh, the constant machinations and bids for power, trying to disprove the rights of one or the other to be king or queen, calling marriages illegal, children bastards, praying for a male child, trying to rule through children, accusing people of bewitching them. And this struggle for power, at least through Anne's eyes, doesn't mention how one or the other could be a better ruler for the country, but who can hold the most elaborate Christmas feast or wear the most elegant dresses with silks, gold, and furs.
At times this all sounded so petty, but then we have our own ways of being petty, and I don't even want to start with the power plays in American politics. Even today we follow the lives British royalty - Princess Charlotte was just born to Prince William and Kate. I'm not clear who will be king after Queen Elizabeth, I've read that she will pass the throne on to Price William or maybe her son Prince Charles this year.
I think I have had enough of a dose of British royalty for a while, but it is an interesting read, especially the details of daily life.
Monday, May 11, 2015
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
Heartwishes by Jude Deveraux (2011)
Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso (2010)
Thursday, April 23, 2015
The Tsunami Quilt by Anthony Fredericks (2007)
I love these real life stories for kids. I fantasized about writing my father's or mother's story in a kid book form for my child. But...
In 1946 Hawaii was hit by a tsunami, and a whole school was wiped out on a peninsula. This boy's grandfather saved himself by climbing up high early, but lost a lot of his classmates. There now is a tsunami museum in Hawaii and a quilt for all those that were lost from this one area.
Monday, April 13, 2015
The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey & Mercedes Lackey (1992)
This was one of the books I found from my science fiction reading days and I
Seven-year old Tia lives with her archaeologist parents on a world that they are digging, when she feels ill with some virus that even the advanced medicine of the day cannot cure and leaves her paralyzed. She is considered too old to be transferred into a brainship to be its brain, but she is such a bright, flexible, adaptive child, that they do build her into a ship, and she becomes a brilliant, intuitive ship. She does need a human partner or brawn, and she finds a compatible partner in Alex. They supply archaeological digs and are especially adept at dealing with plague situations. A really intriguing and touching book. Remember liking it back when it came out and liked it again.