Saturday, December 31, 2011

Faith by Jennifer Haigh

Published in 2011. 318 pages.

Excellent writing, with a story replete with thought and emotion: What is faith? What is family? What is love? How do humans, with their innate brokenness, become whole? Given that we all transgress, what role does forgiveness play in each of our lives?

Here is a favorite passage:

It was a thing I'd always known but until recently had forgotten: that faith is a decision. In its most basic form, it is a choice.

Faith was reminiscent of one of my favorite reads of 2010, Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood. I was also reminded of some of Anne Tyler's characters, people with whom I have little or nothing in common but for whom I can feel a good deal of empathy, simply because of their real-ness, their humanity.

This is the second of Haigh's books that I've read. Mrs. Kimble was the first, back in 2004. When I really like one book by an author, I'm sometimes hesitant to read another one for fear of being disappointed. Faith did not disappoint at all! (I guess I now ought to read Baker Towers and The Condition.)


Friday, December 30, 2011

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel
by Louise Murphy

Subtitled A Novel of War and Survival.
Published in 2003. 297 pages.

Louise Murphy has written a clever re-imagining of the classic fairy tale to illustrate the brutality of war, particularly in the lives of children. At the same time, the novel provides a message of hope and love.

The members of my long-time book club seem to favor novels about World War II. Among those we've enjoyed together are Sarah's Key, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and Skeletons at the Feast. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel was another great read, with an excellent discussion over delicious food.


Friday, December 09, 2011

Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry

Published in 2011. 305 pages.

Acceptable Loss is the seventeenth of the acclaimed William Monk mystery novels, set in Victorian England. In addition to the murder mystery, several characters in this book consider what it means to love someone, to be loyal to them. Anne Perry is a great storyteller!


Little Princes by Conor Grennan

Subtitled One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal.
Published in 2011. 294 pages (including Index).

Melissa of my long-time book club raved about this book last spring - and then chose this for the group to read for our first meeting in the fall. I'm so very glad she did!

Conor Grennan's story is both a page-turner and an inspiration. It is a testament to what one person can do to make the world a better place - even if his deci to work at an orphanage in Nepal begin simply as a way to attract women. I love, love this line:

Despite myself, I had become a parent to these kids - not because I was qualified, but because I had showed up.

I also love something that Conor's friend Liz says, "Things that are broken can be made whole."

By the way, Joy of Thoughts of Joy - who gave Little Princes five stars - says that the audiobook version is "awesome." I totally believe that - as it is read by the author himself.

For more information about Conor and his work, see his website and the website of his non-profit organization Next Generation Nepal.