Some e book bargains for September 5, 2019

Some thoughts on today’s choices.  See covers below.

Me on Anna Karenina

Today we spent three hours talking about Anna Karenina in my class on Adultery in Nineteenth Century Fiction. Three hours was not nearly enough and yet the class has to move on to Jude the Obscure. I could talk about this book for several more classes.

I learned more about Tolstoy. As many of you may know, he was a Count and very well educated. He became religious in later life. Tolstoy despised the society of St. Petersburg. He had something like thirteen children with his wife and many other children through his liaisons. It took him many years to complete this novel and Tolstoy was most like the character Levin.

This is a novel of such incredible scope. There are of course the relationships-the marriages and the liaisons. Dolly and Stefan, Anna and Karenin, Anna and Vronsky, Levin and Kitty, Dolly and Kitty’s parents, who have one of only two happy marriages in the book. (The other happier relationship is a peasant couple.) There are themes of city versus country, accepting or not accepting the boundaries of marriage, doing what is expected/not expected of one in society, motherhood, aristocrats as compared to laborers, religion and, I am sure many more.

I have loved reading this novel. The scenes are beautifully rendered whether it is Anna and Vronsky’s first meeting, a ball, a wedding, hunting in the country, etc. The characters have depth and generally, like real human beings, have complex emotions and are not always consistent.

It is a big commitment to read AK. It has taken me the better part of a month. It has been time incredibly well spent. I remember that, as a child, for the longest time I thought the word Classic translated to boring. That changed when I read Little Women. If you think that classics are not for you, think again. This is a wonderful novel. I liked it much more than Madame Bovary which I previously blogged. Pick it up and see what you


From Booklist 

The Wicked Girls

*Starred Review* Convicted of murdering a 4-year-old girl when they were 11, Jade and Bel spent the rest of their youth in two separate British correctional facilities. Upon their release as adults, they are given new names and the probationary condition that they never have contact again. But a series of murders in the struggling seaside town of Whitmouth brings renamed journalist Kirsty Lindsay face to face with the woman now known as Amber Gordon, a janitor at Funnland, where the latest body has been found. The two again find themselves connected over a violent crime. Marwood, the pseudonym of a British journalist, intersperses the contemporary serial-killer story line and hour-by-hour accounts of what happened the day the girls met and killed a preschooler. This chilling debut is chock-full of surprises. If Tana French and Gillian Flynn stayed up all night telling stories at an abandoned amusement park, this is awfully close to what they might come up with. –Karen Keefe

From School Library Journal on The Mysterious Benedict Society

Starred Review. Grade 5–9—After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting “gifted children looking for special opportunities,” he finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure. The 11-year-old orphan is one of four children to complete a series of challenging and creative tasks, and he, Kate, Constance, and Sticky become the Mysterious Benedict Society. After being trained by Mr. Benedict and his assistants, the four travel to an isolated school where children are being trained by a criminal mastermind to participate in his schemes to take over the world. The young investigators need to use their special talents and abilities in order to discover Mr. Curtain’s secrets, and their only chance to defeat him is through working together. Readers will challenge their own abilities as they work with the Society members to solve clues and put together the pieces of Mr. Curtain’s plan. In spite of a variety of coincidences, Stewart’s unusual characters, threatening villains, and dramatic plot twists will grab and hold readers’ attention. Fans of Roald Dahl or Blue Balliett will find a familiar blend of kid power, clues, and adventure in Society, though its length may daunt reluctant or less-secure readers. Underlying themes about the power of media messages and the value of education add to this book’s appeal, and a happy ending with hints of more adventures to come make this first-time author one to remember.—Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Me on Still Waters

The trend for Scandinavian mysteries continues. My daughter pointed out an additional trend in these northern novels, when she observed that they include so many enticing food details and scenes of ordinary, daily life. I wanted to eat with Nora and to visit the island of Sandham where she lives for the summer.

Viveca Sten is an author I did not know. I just finished Still Waters and have immediately plunged into Closed Circles, the next in the series. In her own country, Ms. Sten has sold millions of books. I think that U.S. readers could also enjoy hunkering down with her novels. The main characters come fully to life in a way that makes me want to follow them through the next books. The final solution to the mystery is not the strongest part of the book but I did not mind as I so enjoyed everything else in this fun read. Highly recommended.

Me on The Recovering

The Recovering is, simply. an excellent non-fiction title.  The author, Leslie Jamison, also wrote The Empathy Diaries which was well received.

The Recovering is a hybrid book.  In parts, the author shares her own history of alcohol abuse and her candid thoughts about drinking, her efforts to stop and her life during these years.  At times, these sections read like a novel; the reader hopes for Ms. Jamison and keeps turning the pages to learn how she fares.

In addition, the author, who has a PhD, explores her thesis subject; she looks at the life stories of many authors who faced or did not face their issues with alcoholism; for example, there are sections on Raymond Carver and Jean Rhys.  There is also information about many treatment centers (some historical), types of treatment and attitudes towards addiction over the years.

If you would like to understand more about alcoholism, read this graceful and moving book.  Highly recommended.

Some other opinions:

A sprawling, compelling, fiercely ambitious book…Its publication represents the most significant new addition to the canon in more than a decade…Jamison’s writing throughout is spectacularly evocative and sensuous…She thinks with elegant precision, cutting through the whiskey-soaked myths…Jamison is interested in something else: the possibility that sobriety can form its own kind of legend, no less electric, and more generative in the end.”―Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

Masterful…beautifully honest…Essential reading…The most comprehensive study of the relationship between writing and alcohol that I have read, or know about…The prose is clean and clear and a pleasure to read, utterly without pretension. Although the subject is dark, Jamison has managed to write an often very funny page turner…In short, The Recovering is terrific, and if you’re interested in the relationship between artists and addiction, you must read it.”―Clancy Martin, Bookforum

Magnificent and genuinely moving. This is that rare addiction memoir that gets better after sobriety takes hold.”―Dwight Garner, New York Times

A remarkable feat…Jamison is a bracingly smart writer; her sentences wind and snake, at turns breathless and tense…Instead of solving the mystery of why she drank, she does something worthier, digging underneath the big emptiness that lives inside every addict to find something profound.”―Sam Lansky, Time



Anna KareninaThe Wicked Girls

The Mysterious Benedict Society by [Stewart, Trenton Lee]Still Waters (Sandhamn Murders Book 1)The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath







One thought on “Some e book bargains for September 5, 2019

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