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Tag Archives: book review

Homer’s Odyssey

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(not the Simpson)

How does someone who is allergic to cats…and quite frankly doesn’t like cats come to read a novel about a cat?

Well for starters it is a New York Times BestSeller, and I’ve come to read mostly books from best seller lists.

I had my qualms as I started to read(the book), not just a novel about a cat but really an Autobiography of the author and her life with the cat.   While I enjoy the occasional Autobiography, and/or biography of various people how could someone as young as Gwen Cooper really have anything that insightful, that interesting.

Throughout the book Gwen quotes “Homer, The Odyssey” and those quotes were well picked and placed at the start of chapters.


I finished the book in a few days so guess what?? It must have been good.

Let me share one, just one quote from the book.

Sometimes, I thought, you could end up resenting someone in direct proportion to how important it was to you to make them happy.  The resentment was second only to the devastation you would feel if you lost that someone altogether.

The book follows Homer from a few weeks old details his harrowing early life and how he became blind.

Just as the book follows Homer it follows Gwen, a young woman who has had cats before but never a blind cat.

From over-protectiveness to the love of a parent she mothers Homer and in some ways is schooled by Homer

From Florida to New York, from single-hood to married life, from scrimping to doing ok, and from peace to survival this book covers it all.

Homer has since passed on I learned on her website, you can read more about Gwen there

Gwen also gives some of her proceeds to charity and it says on her website:

I donate 10% of my royalties from Homer’s Odyssey to organizations that serve abused, abandoned, and disabled animals;

enjoy a little Gwen and Homer



Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

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If you are looking for a quick read, a low energy, low concentration book, with a smooth story line and little to focus on….

This isn’t it.

Jumping between memory and current happenings and back to memory again

Stegner’s Book is a wordy read.

Full of the academia expected of a renown professor/writer

but once you get passed some of the wordiness

and figure out

the story line and connections you have a a great story, that, in the end had just the right amount of words.

A novel about two couples how they meet, how they live, how their lives cross.

A novel that starts in the midst of the Great Depression and works through and around the lives touched by the two couples

Sid and Charity

Larry and Sally

Eventually, Births, near deaths, polio, cancer, arguments, and forgiveness, all find their way into this beautiful narrative.

Perhaps the most telling segment of the novel comes in these words from page 278:

“…We live as we can, we do what we must, and not everything goes by either Freudian or Victorian patterns. What I am sure of is that friendship–not love, friendship–is as possible between women as between men, and that in either case it is often stronger for not having to cross sexual picket lines. “

There is a Wallace Stegner Website you can check out: wallace stegner

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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An old novel

by an author that died in 1960

The Author was a woman

The Author Was Black

According to the forward by Mary Helen Washington

“In it’s early years the book got mixed reviews from critics, Black and White alike”

I am not Black, nor am I of an age that  lived during the times when slavery was a close memory

But that’s Ok

This book speaks to us in our humanity

Is it not true


“…Women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget.”


“…She had learned how to talk some and how to leave some…”

The Story is about Janie, her life, her ambitions, her loves,

It starts and ends in the same place.

Few things are fully resolved in the story, just as few things are fully resolved in life.

There are births, deaths, deaths of body, death of soul

There are triumphs too.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story that should in it’s essence, once fully read and digested, touch the hearts of all who read it.

Oprah made it into a movie info eyeswatchingodmovie

While she never head the song it made me think of her book

Fix My Eyes by King and Country

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, by James Patterson

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Although I have purchase James Patterson’s books in the past(that middle school series) and have looked at them at thrift stores, I have not been able to get in the stories so never purchased any of his “adult” books.

But I saw this one …at a thrift store for less than a dollar so I figured…”why not??”

It took me a while to start

but not long to finish

It is a fairly quick read

that will

I warn you

bring tears to your eyes

more than once

A jilted woman receives a package from her jilter(is that a word?)

and inside is a diary

by the Jilter’s first wife.

I really can’t divulge any more

as much as I would like to

create a more of a curiosity in you.

I could have done without the first part about the Jiltee

and preferred the Diary sections


in general a good read

nothing vulgar

mostly uplifting

a rainy day with nothing to do

pick up this book as a genuinely good way to pass the time

(better than laundry and dishes right!)

Patterson does have a website : James Patterson

you won’t find much there about “Suzanne’s Diary” easily.

and now for your reflective listening.

The Summer Guest, by Justin Cronin

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The following is an “add to the winter reading list” type of book.

why?? because you need to read it when you have time to sit and read every day till it’s done

picking it up once or twice a week doesn’t cut it

you forget details and find it harder to stick with the story

which to me really wasn’t “grab you keep reading till it’s done” till about the time you are 2/3 way through the book.

Not to say it wasn’t a good book…it was or I would not be talking about it here.

But it takes that long to start putting the pieces together and figuring out who everybody is and how they are connected.

If you are into the northern woods


stories about deserters crossing into Canada

and the way that affects their lives and the lives of those they love

topped off a hidden love triangle or two

you may enjoy this book

it spans the from world war to Vietnam and beyond

During this time we seen friendships develop

the waxing and waning of marriages and loves

life and death

the characters



Joe’s dad

their respective wives, children and friends

a campground originally bought and owned by Joe’s Dad

and really….perhaps ….you should get the book

you can learn more about Cronin by going to his justin cronin website

on his twitter cronintwitter he says he’s a pumpkin despiser  and I’m not sure how anyone cannot like pumpkins!!!!

spaghetti squash…that’s another issue.

the book made me think a little of this song

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

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Historical, realistic fiction of the deep south during the time of plantations and slavery.

That’s where you find yourself planted when you open up the pages of Kidd’s book.

This is not a “Gone with the Wind glamorization”

but a digging deep, into the history of a specific plantation and its family and its slaves.

Beyond that we learn about the slaves Hetti(Handful) and her mauma and how they have their own way about finding their freedom.

We fall into the lives of Sarah and Nina the daughters of a slave owner, Hetti a gift to Sarah on an early birthday.

Sarah, repulsed by slavery goes against all her family stood for.

The give and take between Hetti and Sarah is staggering, from friends, to owner/slave, to realization of what that means for both Sarah and Hetti.

Expect a raw, brutal read of the evils and  realities of slavery.

Detailed descriptions of a memory quilt follow the story along

but before I spoil it…perhaps you should go get the book.


watch a youtube of Kidd as she answers questions of her book here:

here you can find her website:

Sue Monk Kidd

and here a song to end your perusal of this page

I’ve read two other books by Kidd but have not reviewed them yet they are:

The Secret Life of Bee’s

(I really liked this one)


The Mermaid Chair

(Had a harder time getting into this book)

My Old True Love, by Sheila Kay Adams

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A circle of life type of story.

A mesmerizing account of an Appalachian family living in North Carolina before, during and after the civil war.

Sporadic folk songs flung throughout enhance the telling of love, and loss.

From Babies being born to death of young and old, all stages of life are painted on the pages of this book,

In language only heard in the mountains, reckoning, fiddling, and love,

As you read the pages will wet with tears, and you will laugh and scorn and feel deeply as the characters in Adam’s book.

If not…perhaps you are already dead.

of course the author has her own website

Sheila Kay Adams

and you can listen to some of this Appalachian  music, from her book on her site