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Showing posts from December, 2017

Reading Roundup: November 2017

A Disappearance in Damascus by Deborah Campbell

Before reading this book I knew very little about the effects of the American invasion of Iraq on regular people in the country. This book is a good look at the long-reaching effects of war on families and communities--and a reflection on the difficulty of being a reporter and foreign visitor in a region under attack. I would definitely recommend this book if you are at all interested in getting a peek at Middle Eastern politics at a personal level. 

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This was our book club pick for the month, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to go see the movie with everyone else (I still haven't seen it). The mystery is quite clever and somehow I managed to not foresee the ending.

The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky

It took me a while to warm up to the protagonist in this book, since she is a bit prickly and defensive. However, as the book goes on, my sympathy grew as more and more details about t…

8 Minute Memoir: Billboards

I've been sitting on this for a while, because I'm not sure I can write anything interesting about billboards. I even debated skipping this day, but I figured I might as well give it a shot. 

When I was little, the bank my mom went to was next to Rock Liquor. We would often wait in the car while my mom went into the bank, and I was always fascinated by two large murals on the side of the liquor store. There was a painting of a bunch of people eating lunch in bright, summery dresses, and a poster advertising dancing in French. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that the murals were reproductions of paintings by Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, and not just liquor ads.

The other billboards I remember spending a lot of time pondering were the ones I saw in Spain as a missionary. As missionaries we spent most of our day out on the streets walking around, or riding the metro or buses. We saw a lot of advertisements and billboards, and since I was learning Spanish, eve…

Reading Roundup: October 2017

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

How many contemporary mysteries are there that involve an unreliable narrator who can't trust anyone and who is personally damaged? And why do I keep reading them? I'm not sure what the answer to that question is, but I love mystery/suspense, and despite the flaws in this book, I mostly liked it. The main thing that annoyed me was the fact that the ending did the thing where it created a solution out of small detail that had not really been mentioned at all during the first three-quarters of the book, and once it was brought up, it made everything really obvious.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

I've seen this book on several "best of 2017" lists, and it definitely deserves a place there. I'm not very familiar with Antigone, which this book apparently retells, but it doesn't really matter because the book treats that connection fairly lightly. It tackles hard issues and difficult questions, and none of the characters get cut any sl…