Novel Review

I don’t read a lot of novels, except historical ones occasionally. Over two days earlier this month I read a really good one based on the recommendation of several friends. The genre is listed variously as Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Coming of Age, Family Life, and Survival! Probably all of those apply to “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.

I was a little puzzled by the title since I’m familiar with crawdads and I’ve never heard them sing. On Crooked Creek, we called them crawfish, but they are the same thing and they don’t sing. Nevertheless, it was a great read. I immediately wondered why the book had not become a movie, but I learned that one is in the works to be produced by Reese Witherspoon. 

The book follows a small girl growing up alone after being abandoned by her entire family. She grew up in the marshlands in North Carolina learning to take care of herself. She only attended school one day because she was laughed at by the other students when she could not spell. Her only friend, a young boy, took the time to teach her the alphabet and she taught herself to read. 

I’ll stop here before I tell you too much, but the story goes on until this little girl dies in her sixties. It has a very surprising ending. I recommend this award winning book if you like novels. 

Books

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Cicero

I believe this quote is true. I cannot imagine life without books or a room without books. As you’ve noticed I have blogged a lot of book reviews over the past several months. I cannot imagine a pandemic without books! This past year of being locked-down would have been unbearable without books to read.

What books have been especially important to you over this year of inactivity? Please share with us how books have helped you get through the COVID months since March of 2020.

Photo by Pixabay

Here are some other book quotes to think about.

“Books are funny little portable pieces of thought.” Susan Sontag

“Every book is like a purge; at the end of it one is empty . . . like a dry shell on the beach waiting for the tide to come in again.” Daphne DuMaurier

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” Jessamyn West

“The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.” Katherine Mansfield

“Good books like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.” Louisa May Alcott

“Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful and permanently personal.” Lenore Hershey

“Truly each new book is as ship that bears us away from the fixity of our limitations into the movement and splendor of life’s infinite ocean.” Helen Keller

Photo by Pixabay

“The Call of the Wild”

Like most of you, I imagine, I read “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London years ago. I remembered the short book to be about a sweet dog who returned to the wild and lived happily ever after. This week, while riding the Beast, a.k.a. my Cardio Strider, I decided to listen to the audible version of the book. How could I have forgotten the cruel abuse this dog endured?

Buck was a one hundred and forty-pound St. Bernard and Scotch Collie mix who lived on a nice estate in California. A worker there stole the dog away from his owners who loved him and sold him to be used as a dog to pull sleighs in Alaska. Buck knew nothing about what was expected of him but he finally learned through many beatings by multiple owners. He eventually ended up in the Yukon area of Canada where the Klondike gold rush was taking place.

Again Buck learned cruel lessons from both the dogs he was forced to work with and from various men who owned him for a time. Finally, mercifully, he was rescued by John Thornton, an experienced frontiersman, who had a heart and a fierce love for Buck. They traveled the frozen country-side for a few years until Thornton was murdered by Native Americans. Buck was furious and savagely attacked the people until many of the Yeehat tribe were dead. Buck then followed his primordial instinct which had been calling him for some time, and he joined a wolf pack to live out his life in the wilderness and his wolf heritage.

The author, Jack London, published this animal fiction tale in 1903. He realistically gave this magnificent dog human traits and thoughts that were easy to accept as authentic. “The Call of the Wild” has been adapted into over one dozen films and remains an all-time favorite.

Book Review

“One Hundred Years Of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This is a difficult book for me to review. As so many of my favorites I’ve read it twice and still cannot say that I fully understand it. In 417 pages Garcia Marquez has presented one hundred years in the life of a prolific family living in a mythical town. His fiction is beautifully written and mixed with supernatural events and magical happenings that catch one off guard. The characters are on the other hand, all too real.

Garcia Marquez is a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was born in Columbia and spent most of his life in Mexico. His writing beautifully portrays life in the tropics. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” has been called “The great novel of the Americas.”

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Book Review – All The Light We Cannot See

“All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

This book has it all. It is filled with science and technology, mystery and poetry. It is a story of survival and love. “All the Light We Cannot See” won a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 and the author has received other awards too numerous to list. 

The setting is WWII in Germany and France. There are two main characters, a blind young girl in Paris and a small boy in an orphanage in Germany. The way their lives are entwined is brilliant and endearing. Both young people bravely face near impossible odds against surviving and one of them wins. 

This story was riveting for me and I rank it as one of the best books I have read.  

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.