Blog Category: Book Sketches

Posted by JGranatino on Fri, Apr 28
In the late 1800s, Chinese immigrants who were no longer welcome for their service building the railroads and cities of the northwest coast were persecuted and deported back to China. Liu Mei Lien was born in Seattle, and after her mother died, her father supported the family with a small grocery store in a largely Chinese district. Mei Lien and hr grandmother created elaborately embroidered purses and cloth as well. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Geary Act of 1992 resulted in hundreds...
Posted by JGranatino on Sun, Apr 02
A Life in Parts is a vulnerable and hilarious memoir and a real life coming-of-age story by Bryan Cranston. People may know him from Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle but his talent Cranston discusses his childhood, teenage years, one life changing road trip with his brother, and an inside look into the acting world. His determination, drive, and passion especially come through in the audiobook as he narrates it himself.  A Life in Parts is an inside...
Posted by BHanley on Sat, Apr 01
The story takes place in two countries, France and UK, and centers around two families. It begins with a bombing of a British student tour bus in Calais, France. A suspended cop’s daughter is on the bus and survives. The cop reunites with her and quickly discovers that his detective skills are required when the bombing rapidly becomes an international incident. A student, related to a family involved in a London bombing some years prior, has gone missing shortly after the attack. The story...
Posted by BHanley on Fri, Mar 31
Paulette Jiles' new novel News of the World will please readers who enjoy a good old-fashioned Western. 71-year-old Jefferson Kyle Kidd makes his living in 1870 Texas by reading newspapers to paying audiences in the various small towns along the road. He is asked to take a young girl back to her family in San Antonio, hundreds of miles to the south.  She had been kidnapped by Kiowa several years earlier, was 'rescued' by white soldiers, had forgotten English, and seriously wanted to go...
Posted by BHanley on Mon, Mar 27
Don’t let the unusual title fool you. This is the warm, humorous, and transformational story of Mr. Fikry, an island bookstore owner who has lost his reason for being. You’ll initially get to know him as a middle-aged curmudgeon. His wife died, his store is not doing well, and he rages against people and any books that he dislikes. Various people, including, but not limited to, the police chief, a publishing company’s sales rep and an abandoned baby who is left in his store, gradually help him...
Posted by JGranatino on Fri, Mar 10
Mention the name of a familiar Golden Book – The Pokey Little PuppyScuffy the Tugboat or Five Little Firemen – to a Baby Boomer and it may evoke surprisingly misty-eyed and sentimental reminiscences of a particular favorite. Author Marcus notes that these inexpensive books, which were often sold in supermarkets for as little as twenty-five cents, brought children’s literature to the masses. The publisher assembled some of the finest illustrators of the time, making...
Posted by JGranatino on Fri, Mar 10
There was a flurry of excitement in the literary world when a handful of unpublished poems by the Chilean Nobel Laureate, Pablo Neruda, were unexpectedly discovered in 2014 at the Pablo Neruda Foundation in Chile. Often described as “Whitmanesque,” Neruda is one of the greatest poets of the 20thcentury. His poems convey his deep passion for his wife Matilde and his gift for close observation of nature, objects, and people. They demonstrate his skill in choosing arresting and highly original...
Posted by JGranatino on Wed, Mar 08
Insurance investigator, Ryan Monahan is on the job again. This time he is looking for a reason not to pay on the 5 million dollar double indemnity life insurance policy Ana Bacon took out on herself. Ana was married to Tom Bacon, who was working as a stock trader when he made a horrible mistake that cost him his job. Her administrative assistant position was not pulling in enough money for them to maintain their lifestyle. And yet somehow, they are on a cruise to the Bahamas and Ana falls...
Posted by JGranatino on Tue, Mar 07
Globetrotting author Christine Toomey traveled 60,000 miles in the course of two years, from San Francisco to Kathmandu, in order to interview women who have chosen to be Buddhist nuns. Though they have adopted different forms of Buddhist practice and may live either in monastic settings or in the wider community, they are united in their dedication to pursuing enlightenment for themselves and all beings. In telling the inspiring journeys of these women from widely-varying backgrounds and...
Posted by JGranatino on Tue, Mar 07
In 1971, an arranged marriage brought Sabeeha Rehman from Pakistan to New York City.  From her charming descriptions of Pakistani marriage customs and traditional family life to her lively -- and often funny -- tales of her adjustment to American life, her memoir is a page turner. Rehman’s timely account highlights the difficulties immigrant families face in trying to remain faithful to their most cherished cultural and religious values while integrating successfully into their adopted land. At...

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