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Thread: January 2013 Books

  1. #1
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    January 2013 Books

    I hope I am not neglecting a previously started thread. I looked and I couldn't find one.

    I finished the House at Tynford which I thought was really good. Right now I am loving Amazon's "Daily Kindle Deals" I've picked up some cheap books for my Kindle that I wouldn't have ordered otherwise. I am reading Opal Fire a Stacy Justice mystery right now, its a trilogy and I am on book one. It would remind you a LOT of the Sookie Stackhouse series. It was $1.99 on amazon the other day but I think it is normally under $5.00 which is nice. I also picked up for next to nothing the Maze Runner which I've been wanting to read, Yesterday's News (apparently a top seller in Sweden - Chick lit from what I understand) and Child 44 (Book number one in a trilogy)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by katygirl View Post
    I am reading Opal Fire a Stacy Justice mystery right now, its a trilogy and I am on book one.
    After years of avoiding it, I started Life of Pi two nights ago. Shouldn't have waited because so far I'm loving it.

    I just finished Tiger's Eye, the third Stacy Justice mystery by Barbara Annino. I liked the first two but I have to say that the writer has really developed both her writing talent and her character's growth. #3 moved past the "pretty good" mark and into the "that was really well done" category.

    It was a nice little fluff read after finishing Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior". The writing was as usual amazing. The story- I'm not sure how I feel.
    With all of our running and all of our cunning, If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane...
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    I've just discovered Val McDermid! She is a best selling crime author from across the pond. I just finished The Vanishing Point and thought it was super! one of my favorite books so far in 2013. Have some more of her older ones on hold at the library now that feature certain characters (Tony Hill and Carol Jordan) that i discovered after reading The Retribution, which is the latest about them. I realize i've missed the whole backstory! The Vanishing Point was a stand alone book.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  4. #4
    Just started reading the "Soulless" series by Gail Carringer. This was recommended to me several months ago by my massage therapist. Fantasy involving vampires and steampunk I guess you would say. I'm only a couple chapters in, but so far I like it a lot.

  5. #5
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    These aren't new books at all, but I'm about to embark on The Brothers Karamazov and Man's Search For Meaning (nothing like a little light reading, eh?) Anyone read either of these, and what did you think?
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  6. #6
    Thanks for starting this thread!

    The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron

    Trolling the library shelves for something for DH, another novel by this author caught my eye. It happened to be the third in a series about Maine Game Warden Mike Bowdich. It's a crime/suspense/mystery set in Down East. DH liked it so much that I picked up the first two for him. He thought I might like it - I did - and now I'm reading the second one. DH thinks you don't need to read them in order - but I tend to see spoilers where he doesn't - so prefer to read a series in order.

    Mike is a young, new Game Warden w/ a troubled love life and a father on the run who is a prime murder suspect. Figuring he needs to mend fences w/ his wayward dad, Mike works to solve the killing while butting heads w/ every branch of authority. Pretty good yarn for a debut novel by the author who is the editor of Down East Magazine.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  7. #7
    I read a couple on the plane as we were travelling for the holidays.

    Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn: Very cute story; I enjoyed it immensely. It was a story based on the concept that Queen Elizabeth is a bit down on the dumps and ends up sort of sneaking out of the palace and heading incognito to Scotland to see the formal royal yacht, where she felt she could be truly happy and be herself rather than being The Queen. Some of her staff notices that she's gone and go to find her before it gets into the press. It reminded me a bit of Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Lady Detective Agency series for some reason, although I can't quite figure out why. There was also a bit of an "Upstairs, Downstairs" component. It was a very easy read and alot of fun.

    The Cost of Hope: A Memoir by Amanda Bennett. This was the story of a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and her time with her brash husband, through his life and death from a rare type of kidney cancer. It looked at the actual cost of medical care and how decisions are made through the process of illness. I have mixed feelings about it; it was interesting, but I felt that it was missing something.

  8. #8
    I quite enjoyed Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. She is a British writer and I had previously read her Ship of Bride which recounted the voyage of Australian WW II brides to England.

    This one is more in the vein of Jodi Picoult in terms of presenting a moral dilemma through its characters.

    This is an easy read in the sense that I was very much interested in the characters and what would happen but it's not a "dumb" read.

    ‘Me Before You,’ by Jojo Moyes - NYTimes.com

    When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it; I wanted to reread it. Which might seem perverse if you know that for most of the last hundred pages I was dissolved in tears. Jojo Moyes, the writer who produced this emotional typhoon, knows very well that “Me Before You” — a novel that has already floated high on Britain’s best-seller lists — is, as British critical consensus affirms, “a real weepy.” And yet, unlike other novels that have achieved their mood-melting powers through calculated infusions of treacle — Erich Segal’s “Love Story” comes immediately to mind — Moyes’s story provokes tears that are redemptive, the opposite of gratuitous. Some situations, she forces the reader to recognize, really are worth crying over.


    Phyllis Christopher

    Jojo Moyes

    ME BEFORE YOU


    By Jojo Moyes
    369 pp. Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. $27.95.




    “Me Before You” is a love story and a family story, but above all it’s a story of the bravery and sustained effort needed to redirect the path of a life once it’s been pushed off course. In the early months of 2009, Louisa (Lou) Clark, a 26-year-old working-class girl, lands a position as a “care assistant” to an intelligent, wealthy and very angry 35-year-old man named Will Traynor, who has spent the past two years as a quadriplegic after being hit by a motorbike. It is Will’s mother, Camilla (with whom he has a chilly relationship), who hires Louisa, and she does so out of desperation. She knows her son is miserable. She already employs a nurse to attend to his medical needs, but she hopes that somehow Louisa might boost his morale.

  9. #9
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    I just finished Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks. It takes place in 17th century England, in a small town that is affected by the plague...for a year!! I thought the characters were well-rounded and believable, and the story is based on truth, but is, of course, fictionalized.

    Here's the Amazon review:
    When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."

    Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing "an inspiring heroine" (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.

    Next up is One Thousand White Women, by Jim Fergus. The title was somewhat strange, I thought. Then I found out that it was because one of the Indian tribes asked for that many women to become mates of their tribe, so that the children would be American (they are a matrilineal tribe). I just started it, and don't really have an opinion, yet.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by LakeMartinGal View Post
    Next up is One Thousand White Women, by Jim Fergus. The title was somewhat strange, I thought. Then I found out that it was because one of the Indian tribes asked for that many women to become mates of their tribe, so that the children would be American (they are a matrilineal tribe). I just started it, and don't really have an opinion, yet.
    I started this but gave up about half way through because it was getting preposterous. The premise was quite interesting but the execution not so much.

  11. #11
    I'm trying to read Unbroken but am having issues getting into it. Part of that is lack of reading time, because I have been off work the last 2 weeks and pretty busy. Once I go back, I have my commuting time to read, so hopefully I will finish it. I thought the beginning was rather awkwardly written, I knew Louis Zamperini's story because he is one of my dh's boyhood heroes, but the first few chapters did not really bring out his personality.
    ______

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    Walking Towards Wellness, my personal challenge to walk 10,000 steps per day in 2014 while living with and managing a chronic illness. Walk with me.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by 1grl1by View Post
    I'm trying to read Unbroken but am having issues getting into it. Part of that is lack of reading time, because I have been off work the last 2 weeks and pretty busy. Once I go back, I have my commuting time to read, so hopefully I will finish it. I thought the beginning was rather awkwardly written, I knew Louis Zamperini's story because he is one of my dh's boyhood heroes, but the first few chapters did not really bring out his personality.
    Don't give up. I had trouble with the first part also but now consider that to be one of the best books I have ever read. I have never been all that interested in the history of WWII but this book really humanized it for me. Makes you just stop and say wow.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by amarante View Post
    I started this but gave up about half way through because it was getting preposterous. The premise was quite interesting but the execution not so much.
    Preposterous usually doesn't put me off, much. Since it's a book club book, I'll have to finish it, unless it's just really awful.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NancyR View Post
    Don't give up. I had trouble with the first part also but now consider that to be one of the best books I have ever read. I have never been all that interested in the history of WWII but this book really humanized it for me. Makes you just stop and say wow.
    Yes, please don't give up! I loved this book and also consider it one of the best read for 2012. Wow is right.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  15. #15
    Trespasser by Paul Doiron

    The second installment by Doiron about Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch finds him embroiled in another adventure that entails missing persons, murder and his own risky clandestine investigation.

    The author clearly loves his home state and it shows in the sometimes brutal, yet honest descriptions of the landscape and the inhabitants. I've just started the third novel that came out last summer and am already hoping that this series will continue.

    I would suggest that if you're interested, these be read in order as there are minor spoilers and characters that carry over.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  16. #16
    Afterward by Rosamund Lupton

    This was very, very, very good. The author (British and a former scriptwriter) has written a suspense novel that easily grabbed me from the beginning and kept me reading practically non-stop until the tear-jerking end. No spoiler here as I would have boo-hoo’d no matter which direction she had taken me to the finale.

    A poignant family drama revolving around a mother and daughter, unwitting victims of a horrible accident (or was it?) who are both in hospital, unconscious and completely unable to communicate with anyone (or can they?). But Grace and Jenny can see and speak to each other and take on the mission of finding the culprit. As red herrings and misdirection point one way and then another, time is running out, the police fumble and it’s up to Grace and Jenny to sort out what really happened.

    The book is narrated by the mother as she tells the story to her husband. The constant referring to him as “you” in the context of also addressing additional characters took a while to get used to. This is the second book by this author and her first is on hold for me at the library. I can clearly see this adapted for the screen and am picking out the actors I want to see in it.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

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    I am reading a biography of Diana Vreeland, Empress of Fashion, a Life of Diana Vreeland by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart. I love it...I am a sucker for stuff related to the world of fashion and haute couture, and I have always been fascinated by the major players in it.

    I love this book so much. It makes Diana into a human being: a mother who cries when her son goes to war, a wife who deeply loves her husband, a daughter whose mother can't stand her, a sister who loves her sibling even if she is always told she is ugly and her sister is beautiful. AND an incredibly creative, tough, original woman who drove everyone crazy. I love her grit, her determination to make herself into the person she dreams she can be.

    Highly recommended.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1grl1by View Post
    I'm trying to read Unbroken but am having issues getting into it. Part of that is lack of reading time, because I have been off work the last 2 weeks and pretty busy. Once I go back, I have my commuting time to read, so hopefully I will finish it. I thought the beginning was rather awkwardly written, I knew Louis Zamperini's story because he is one of my dh's boyhood heroes, but the first few chapters did not really bring out his personality.
    Stick with it - it's a great read! Tough to read in spots, but worth it.
    Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

  19. #19
    Before The Poison by Peter Robinson

    This was a very, very good book and it is somewhat hard to describe w/out divulging details that are essential to the continuous building of the story. Suffice it to say that it is a quiet and intelligent literary mystery that pleased me on many levels.

    It’s about Chris Lowndes, a musical score composer for films who has recently lost his dear wife to cancer, and has returned to his native Yorkshire to start the next chapter of his life. He has unknowingly bought a secluded house and property that he soon finds out was the scene of a supposed murder in the early 1950’s. The wife was accused, tried, and hanged for the cold and calculated murder by poison of her husband. Naturally curious about the incident, Chris starts to ask questions of the locals and hunts down what write-ups are available. The more he reads and hears of Grace (the accused), the more he believes she was innocent and railroaded by the moral laws of the time. He is driven to discover more about her and if her guilt was valid. His discoveries spool the story out slowly as the evidence dips and swirls inconclusively.

    The novel is paced rather leisurely, and music is an important background character – as are books, food and alcohol. I found this a splendid read and it’s made me want to read more about little known aspects of WWII.

    This author is best known for an extensive series of novels starring an Inspector Banks (that I have not read) and this is his first stand-alone that many reviewers say is a complete style-wise departure for him. I hope he has ideas for, and plans to write more of these types of mysteries.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosen View Post
    Trespasser by Paul Doiron

    The second installment by Doiron about Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch finds him embroiled in another adventure that entails missing persons, murder and his own risky clandestine investigation.

    The author clearly loves his home state and it shows in the sometimes brutal, yet honest descriptions of the landscape and the inhabitants. I've just started the third novel that came out last summer and am already hoping that this series will continue.

    I would suggest that if you're interested, these be read in order as there are minor spoilers and characters that carry over.
    Thanks for the recomendation! I am halfway through the Poachers Son and am enjoying it!

  21. #21
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    I loved this book. It's one of my favorites of 2012.

    Quote Originally Posted by rosen View Post
    Before The Poison by Peter Robinson

    This was a very, very good book and it is somewhat hard to describe w/out divulging details that are essential to the continuous building of the story. Suffice it to say that it is a quiet and intelligent literary mystery that pleased me on many levels.

    It’s about Chris Lowndes, a musical score composer for films who has recently lost his dear wife to cancer, and has returned to his native Yorkshire to start the next chapter of his life. He has unknowingly bought a secluded house and property that he soon finds out was the scene of a supposed murder in the early 1950’s. The wife was accused, tried, and hanged for the cold and calculated murder by poison of her husband. Naturally curious about the incident, Chris starts to ask questions of the locals and hunts down what write-ups are available. The more he reads and hears of Grace (the accused), the more he believes she was innocent and railroaded by the moral laws of the time. He is driven to discover more about her and if her guilt was valid. His discoveries spool the story out slowly as the evidence dips and swirls inconclusively.

    The novel is paced rather leisurely, and music is an important background character – as are books, food and alcohol. I found this a splendid read and it’s made me want to read more about little known aspects of WWII.

    This author is best known for an extensive series of novels starring an Inspector Banks (that I have not read) and this is his first stand-alone that many reviewers say is a complete style-wise departure for him. I hope he has ideas for, and plans to write more of these types of mysteries.
    As the arc of history bends towards justice, it's a new, more progressive day. --Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, 11-07-12

  22. #22
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    You have probably already discussed it; I'm always a couple of months behind since I wait for most books to be available at the library. I just finished The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I loved it and finished in four days... one of those all-consuming books.

    Next up is The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I've been waiting quite a while for this one, too.

    Kate

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate B View Post
    You have probably already discussed it; I'm always a couple of months behind since I wait for most books to be available at the library. I just finished The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I loved it and finished in four days... one of those all-consuming books.

    Next up is The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I've been waiting quite a while for this one, too.

    Kate
    I'm reading The Round House right now, and find it really gripping. I've never read Louise Erdrich before, but her work is very readable (and I'm a slow reader!) Her descriptions of life on the reservation make you feel like you're there. I'm particularly interested in this book since Erdrich is from North Dakota, and the book is set here. I know I'll be sad when I finish this one.
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  24. #24
    Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles

    This is the first novel by a London architecture and design journalist that is a wonder of perfect and precise writing. I laughed out loud many times and my jaw dropped in horror (more than once) as he just kept up the sophisticated slap stick executions of action one after another. I raced through it as I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going to happen next.

    In short – this is a very, very witty novel about a housesitting gig that goes incredibly, hilariously, horrifically wrong.

    The unnamed British protagonist agrees to housesit (in an unnamed Eastern European Bloc City) for his elegant, minimalist, musical composer, perfectionist, OCD friend Oskar. All he has to do is prevent the ultramodern flat from burning down, feed the cats, don’t touch the piano and don’t let anything happen to the priceless, spotless, new wooden floors. Within days, the house sitter has all but lost his sanity and the entire situation devolves from bad to worse to nightmare.

    Many gentle readers might find a couple plot points disturbing or far from politically correct – but it was definitely fun to read about such a non-stoppable train wreck so sophisticatedly written. I will always remember this book as I write up notes for future house and pet sitters!
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosen View Post
    Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles

    This is the first novel by a London architecture and design journalist that is a wonder of perfect and precise writing. I laughed out loud many times and my jaw dropped in horror (more than once) as he just kept up the sophisticated slap stick executions of action one after another. I raced through it as I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going to happen next.

    In short – this is a very, very witty novel about a housesitting gig that goes incredibly, hilariously, horrifically wrong.

    The unnamed British protagonist agrees to housesit (in an unnamed Eastern European Bloc City) for his elegant, minimalist, musical composer, perfectionist, OCD friend Oskar. All he has to do is prevent the ultramodern flat from burning down, feed the cats, don’t touch the piano and don’t let anything happen to the priceless, spotless, new wooden floors. Within days, the house sitter has all but lost his sanity and the entire situation devolves from bad to worse to nightmare.

    Many gentle readers might find a couple plot points disturbing or far from politically correct – but it was definitely fun to read about such a non-stoppable train wreck so sophisticatedly written. I will always remember this book as I write up notes for future house and pet sitters!
    I just put this one on hold at the library. Sounds like a good one! Thanks for the recommendation.

    I am having trouble putting The Round House down!

    Kate

  26. #26
    Bad Little Falls by Paul Doiron

    Going through the previous posts, I realized I neglected to say that number 3 in the series about Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch is just as good as the previous two.

    Mike has been relegated to the back of beyond and is trying to feel his way around locals that want nothing to do with a young, new warden in their midst. Not only is a mysterious someone playing animal-centric tricks on him… he’s also all het up over a lovely widow w/ a tween son who is wiser than his years. It’s winter, it’s cold, and as usual, playing a bit off the legal rule book is his main downfall.

    I just found out that there will be at least two more to this series and I think that’s great news.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate B View Post
    I am having trouble putting The Round House down!

    Kate
    I couldn't put it down either - I ended up staying up past my bedtime last night to finish it. And I woke up thinking about it this morning. Although it's pretty tragic, it isn't a three-hanky kind of story, but a very clear-eyed one (if that makes any sense). I will definitely be checking out Erdrich's other books.
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  28. #28
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    I just got back from my book club's discussion of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it. Everyone in my book club loved it.

    Book Description
    Release date: May 30, 2006 | Series: P.S.
    The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
    Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

  29. #29
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    I also finished The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey this week. Another excellent read!

    Book Description
    Publication Date: November 6, 2012
    Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

    This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
    Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Goin' Coastal View Post
    I just got back from my book club's discussion of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it. Everyone in my book club loved it.

    Book Description
    Release date: May 30, 2006 | Series: P.S.
    The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
    This was one of my favorites books as a child and Francie Nolan is every bit the great female heroine that Jo March (I also loved Little Women). I recently re-read it and it stood the test of time as I still loved it.

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