Can’t seem to get all of my blogging ducks in a row lately. I have blogs planned in my head. But getting them from there down through my fingertips onto to the keyboard and into a post on WordPress has been a struggle.
The title of this post is the perfect example of my troubles. I read the book for September’s Book by Book reading challenge prompt but couldn’t seem to get the review written before it was time to write the review for October’s prompt. So here I am, combining the two. Which works I guess until I can get my act together. Don’t know how some gals, some bloggers seem to get it all done. Living life and blogging about it.
Since I am sharing two book reviews in one post, I won’t go into all the details that I have shared in past reviews. Otherwise we could both be here until it’s time for November’s post!
Once There Was a War
4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon
3.88 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
If you have forgotten what the war was like, Steinbeck will refresh your memory. Age can never dull this kind of writing. ~ Chicago Tribune
September’s prompt was ‘a book written in your birth year’. It took all I had to keep from picking The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss for this assignment. Decided I needed to challenge myself, though, so went with Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck instead.
Originally published in the New York Herald Tribune as essays written by Steinbeck during his stint as a World War II correspondent, then published in book form in 1958. Yup, I am that old. This book was part history, part human interest story. While reading, I alternated between blinking back tears and stifling giggles.
Bob’s Hope for Our Soldiers
Steinbeck examines war from multiple perspectives, my favorite being that of the soldiers with whom he was embedded. As a little girl and then a teenager during the Vietnam War, I was always touched by the televised USO shows Bob Hope put on for our troops. When Steinbeck recounts the impact of a visit by Hope and his USO troupe on the soldiers, I was whisked back in time. Back to my childhood home, sitting in front of the console TV watching the black and white images of Joey Heatherton and Ann Margaret crooning to boys not much older than I.
Once There Was a War isn’t a book a would have picked up on my own but that’s the great thing about these reading challenges. They encourage readers to expand their reading horizons. This book did that for me.
A Spark of Light
3.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon
3.74 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
This is Jodi Picoult at her best: tackling an emotional hot-button issue and putting a human face on it. ~ People
October’s prompt was ‘something scary’. Most reading challenge participants probably went with something in the horror genre or maybe sci fi or even fantasy. But I tend to believe that real life can be more horrific at times than the scariest book. A Spark of Life by Jodi Piccoult was the book my virtual reading group chose as our 5th read. I didn’t intend to use it for October reading challenge book until life got away from me and I realized I hadn’t read something scary. Or had I?
A Spark of Life was the first book I’ve read by Piccoult. Avid fans of the author in both our book club and reviewing the title on Amazon and Goodreads, seem to agree that this was not her best work. The story revolves around about a dozen characters, ranging in age from teen to senior citizen, who are involved in a hostage situation at an abortion clinic. The medical personnel at the clinic, patients, the hostage taker, the police force hostage negotiator, and pro-life protesters. Attitudes toward abortion and the right-to-life are examined through the eyes and experiences of each of the characters.
Boing Boing Boing
I felt like I was watching a tennis match or a pinball game with the story line bouncing from here to there, from this character to that one. It was hard to juggle all of the characters and their back stories. Add to that the reverse chronology in which the story is told and you have one difficult read. Or listen, as I ‘read with my ears’ via Audible. The book seemed to be told in only a handful of chapters, too. So there was no pause or break, just a hop from one character or point of view to the next. Exhausting.
Book by Book for the Rest of the Year
I have two more prompts in the Book by Book reading challenge before the year is out. This month we are supposed to be reading a ‘vintage novel’. It’s mid-November and I haven’t started. Ah oh. Next month we are reading ‘something free,’ which could have several interpretations. Maybe I will be gifted a fabulous book for December’s prompt.
Our virtual book club just voted on and picked our sixth read. We are beginning The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris this week.
If you are interested in joining us, please let me know. I can add you to our Facebook and email group. Would love to have YOU!
What are you reading these days? If you have a book to recommend, please share in a comment below. Always looking for great books to add to my to-read book shelf.
Speaking of reading, thank you for reading my post! Should have written a Wellness Wednesday post today so hope you will come back tomorrow for Wellness Wednesday on Thursday. The weekend is in sight, girls. Hallelujah!
Hugs and kisses,