THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN/FAST TRACK/FAST READ

I agree with the NYT review.  Think Gone Girl when you get on board Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train.  Good writing  here but a map would help sort through the fast-moving scenes. A thriller for sure. A who done it? Absolutely. Find this book in your local library’s ” New Releases, Read and Return In Seven Days,” section.

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I have not seen the movie. Some have told me it was ” OK.”

 

Homegoing/ Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi details the beginnings of the slave trade as African  tribes  raid one another’s villages to gain riches by kidnapping  young men and women at the behest of  British slave traders. The Gold Coast of Africa became Ghana where to this day stands the Cape Coast Castle and the  “Door of No Return ” leading to the beach where the slave ships waited to sail to the Caribbean and America.

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Homegoing is a story of Africa and the havoc wrought  by British colonization.  The book tells a parallel  story of Africans chained together and cast upon the shores of America. Gyasi writes  in Homegoing of generation after generation of her people searching for identity in frightening and ever-changing worlds in Africa, the American South and the streets of present day Harlem. Listen to Gyasi’s  voice:

White men get a choice. They get to choose they job, choose they house. They get to make black babies, then disappear into thin air, like they wasn’t never there to begin with, like these black women they slept with or raped done laid on top of themselves and got pregnant. White men get to choose for black men too. Used to sell ’em; now they just send ’em to prison like they did my daddy, so they can’t be with their kids.

Homegoing is compelling, engaging, insightful and beautifully written The novel follows  generations of descendants seeking answers and understanding as to how their past became the present. Through it all, Gyasi never loses the thread, weaving back and forth taking the reader along on an emotional journey. There will be much more to come from this brilliant first time novelist.

 

 

 

 

MILLER’S VALLEY/ ANNA QUINDLEN

” But no one ever leaves the town where they grew up, not really, even if they go.”  In those key strokes Anna Quindlen, through the voice of  Mimi, Miller’s Valley protagonist, speaks for everyone who hails from small town rural America.

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Miller’s Valley reads with an easy cadence.  ” Oh, I get that, I know him he’s just like… she reminds me of…. ” I said to myself over and over, as Miller’s Valley unfolded  on pages that turned easily and eagerly.

In every small town there exists a mystery behind every doorway and in Miller’s Valley the secrets play out at kitchen tables, barns and where else but at the local diner. The book reads like a memoir. It is both predictable and unpredictable in a perfect blend.

Anna Quindlen was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist while at the New York Times. Her memoir Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake published in 2012 was a  number one New York Times bestseller.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NIGHTINGALE/KRISTIN HANNAH

There is little wonder why The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah has received acclaim.  The  novel  is a great read, indeed a page turner, reminding me of Doerr’s All The Light We Can Not See.

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The Nightingale translates the horror of German occupied France during WW II.  It is a hero’s worship of the French Resistance, of brave women and men fighting their occupiers against all odds. There are victories,  losses, triumphs and tragedies but throughout the pages evolves a love story, and a reconciliation between sisters, a father and daughter.  The war brings people together and simultaneously tears them apart. A tale of survival, brilliant  storytelling, riveting to the end.

As is my want  on this blog I will give no more detail about this story other  than to encourage you to enjoy.  The Nightingale is very much  another of  Gordon’s Good Reads.

A selection of additional books by Kristin Hannah include Fly Away, The Things We Do For Love, Once in Every Life, and A Handful of Heaven.

ROGUE LAWYER/PURE ENJOYMENT/CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

It took only three sittings to race through John Grisham’s latest novel Rogue Lawyer.  I wasn’t in a particular rush but like so much of his work it was hard to put down. I especially liked Rogue Lawyer because it added a few edgy contemporary issues.

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” A lawyer like me is forced to work in the shadows. My opponents are protected by badges, uniforms, and all the myriad trappings of government power. They are a sworn and duty-bound to uphold the law, but since they cheat like hell it forces me to cheat even more.”

The story of the middle of the night police invasion of a private home is frightening and carries a familiar ring of cable news.   Your mind may chill with images of  surplus Army tanks, Kevlar and night vision goggles on the streets of local communities. The book has a menu other cases, characters and  clients.

John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer is indeed a good read. For other great Grisham novels search gordonsgoodreads.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE JAPANESE LOVER/ ISABEL ALLENDE/ COMPLEX SOCIAL THEMES

Isabel Allende captures a complex variety of societal topics in her new novel The Japanese Lover. Allende weaves desperate themes in a story line encompassing aging, a burning love affair which transcends racial lines, the Japanese internment during WWII, human trafficking, child pornography and homosexuality.

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Allende hardly misses a social issue while telling a story surrounding the life of a well to do San Francisco woman from a prominent Jewish family who beginning in her childhood falls in love with a Japanese boy, the son of the gardener at their seaside estate. The story continues over hills and valleys Till death do us part.

It is always pleasurable to read Allende’s writing. Her novels touch reality  and the characters provoke thought and deliver insight but absent a lecture.  I also commend to you Allende’s Island Beneath The Sea and Daughter of Fortune. Search here at gordonsgoodreads for further details on these novels.

COMMANDER IN CHIEF- HOOKED ON TOM CLANCY NOVELS

It is another must read for all lovers of Tom Clancy Jack Ryan Novels.  Again, Mark Greaney carries on the great tradition.  Commander In Chief turns the Russo/American conflict from The Ukraine to Lithuania with a thinly disguised Russian President Valeri Volodin raising havoc in the Baltic’s.

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Jack Ryan Jr. returns in this novel with a large role and John Clark again proves he is invincible!  Add to the plot money laundering, Bitcoin and a new class of Russian submarines and Greaney has all the necessary ingredients for 718 pages of excitement.

No spoilers here!  Just get the book and anticipate a good read.