“Owly Vol.1: The Way Home and The Bittersweet Summer” by Andy Runton

Pages:  160

Published: September 29, 2004

Format:  Softcover book

 

 

 

 

I chose to read this book because of it’s description as an “all ages comic book,” in order to help complete this year’s Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.  I was surprised when it arrived to see exactly how few words this book contained.  The animals make noises and occasionally there are words shown from a book one of the animals is reading, but that’s about it.    Conversations are conveyed through bubbles containing pictures.  Emotions are expressed by way of pictures. I found it pretty incredible that so much could be conveyed without words and with some fairly simplistic depictions.

This book is composed of two novellas, each in comic book style.  In the first, Owly, the charming main character, is out to help others and make friends.  He puts birdseed out for the birds.  He frees captured fireflies.  He rescues Wormy from nearly drowning in a puddle during a rainstorm and stays up all night making sure he is ok.  The next day he helps Wormy find his parents.  In the second novella, Owly and Wormy go out of their way to research and find the right food for two hungry hummingbirds.  Owly also must learn to let go in this story, as the hummingbirds must migrate south for the summer.   Owly’s good deeds do not go unnoticed and those he has helped become his loyal friends, destined to return even if flying far away.

These are truly heartwarming, enchanting tales of friendship and kindness.  I read this with my 4 year old daughter who summed the book up in one word, “awesome.”  I look forward to reading more of Owly in the future. 

Andy Runton’s website – contains teaching tools, coloring sheets, animation shorts and much more!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Unique Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week has a different theme.. all based around a top 10 list.  This week’s topic is the top ten unique books I’ve read.  Each of these is unique for different reasons.  This is a somewhat ambiguous topic, so I chose books that I felt stood out to me as having elements I’ve not seen in other books.  Did any of these make your list?  What did or would make your list?

  1.  Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  3. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
  5. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  8. Magic America by C.E. Medford
  9. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  10. Nicotine by Nell Zink

 

 

“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway

Pages:  293

Published: 1929

 

 

 

 

 

This book is incredible. I completely understand why it is a classic.  Hemingway is a masterful writer. There is so much to absolutely love about this novel. Hemingway paints the landscape and setting like a painter. Each setting is so beautifully and carefully described, recalling such detail. The humor and wit involved had me laughing aloud. He so articulately characterizes and ascribes characteristics to those within his novel. You can feel the personalities and love them as he must have in creating them. They are so alive and vibrant! They have characteristics and personalities we would typically think of per their nationalities. The war is seen as an absolute absurdity from any way you look at it, but he does not go over the top in driving this point home.  There is so much else layered within this book.   Yes, war is ridiculous. The whole endeavor is ridiculous. Who will win? The country that figures this out last. And the love story.. is to die for!!! It is so crazy at the outset, so real, so tender… so tragic.  It has to be one of my favorite literary romances of all time.

This fictional novel is told in first person. Frederic Henry is an American studying architecture in Rome when World War I breaks out. He enlists in the Italian army as an ambulance driver, prior to America even entering the war. This mirrors Hemingway’s life in that he too volunteered to be an ambulance driver in the Italian army, years prior to America’s entrance into the war.  In the novel, Lieutenant Henry develops close friendships with Rinaldi, an Italian surgeon, and a nameless priest. It is through Rinaldi that Henry meets Catherine Barkley, with whom he falls in love.  The war is ensuing with Austria and Germany.  The officers of Italian army at the beginning of the novel seem to be enjoying drink and brothels.  Henry even develops jaundice during a prolonged hospitalized for a wound to his knee.  Alcoholic hepatitis?  Possibly.  However, as war progresses, the men become demoralized.  There is not enough food.  They cannot stay dry.  They might be shot at by their own army.  Lieutenant Henry must navigate his men away from harm during the German attack on Caporetto.  In case you have not read this novel and plan to, I will say no more.. as I do not want to ruin the novel for anyone.

I listened to the audible version read by John Slattery, which I highly recommend.  I know prior to this novel being originally published, the profanity was removed.  However, in this audio version it seemed like there were gaps where the profanity should have been.  I would have preferred to have listened to or read the unedited version.  This was a huge  read for me!  What an amazing book detailing a very important point in history, as well as an incredible love story.

This was read as part of Book Riot’s reading challenge as a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in the United States. It has been frequently challenged as a “sex novel” and due to “language and sexual references in the book.” This book was banned in Italy, in 1929 until 1948, by the fascist regime in part for its description of the retreat from Caporetto and in part for its anti-militarism. It was also banned in Boston at that time. It was burned in Germany in 1933 by the Nazis as it was felt to be anti-war at at time when they were trying to drum up support.  It was also banned in Ireland in 1939.

Spark Notes Discussion Questions

LitLovers Discussion Questions

Study Mode Discussion Questions

“Woman No. 17” by Edan Lepucki

Pages:  320

Expected Publication Date:  May 9, 2017

 

 

 

 

This book had me cringing, yet I was intrigued and felt compelled to read to the end. The setting is Los Angeles and a great many themes are explored throughout this novel. The two main characters, are at such transitional points in their life, making rash irresponsible decisions. These two women grew up with “bad mothers,” however end up becoming their mothers, either inadvertently or purposely in the pursuit of art. They are brought together in this novel as Lady has separated from her husband and is looking for a nanny. “S,” as Esther is calling herself in her play-act of being her mother, responds to nanny position and is hired on the spot, without even a reference check.

It is about mothering, the different ways a woman may parent different children.  It is about bonds between mother and child and boundaries.  It is about identity, as a mother, as a daughter, as an individual.

It is about relationships between women and how quickly they can change.  The characters in this novel and their relationships with each other are incredibly well developed.  The reader experiences the shifts in the relationship as life changes or new facts come to light.

It is about bad choices in relationships with men that seem exciting, yet leave the women with emptiness.  It is about the possibility of good relationships with good men, that seem boring and easy to throw away.  These women, Lady and Esther, through whose alternating voices the novel is rendered, seem destined to self-sabatoge.  Esther, in becoming her mother, takes the color out of her hair, dresses in frumpy clothing, drinks herself into oblivion, and makes poor rash choices on many fronts. Lady plays with fire on several fronts.  Most shockingly, she revisits the father of her oldest son (whose identity she is hiding from her son) not just once but repeatedly.

It is about art and the subtle shifts that can change the entire tone of the piece.  The title of the book refers to a photograph taken by Lady’s sister-in-law, Kit Daniels.  It was part of a series of photographs taken of ‘regular’ women caught off guard, with clutter in the backgrounds.  Lady’s original photo had been altered for the publication, and the slight alteration made a tremendous difference in the way she presented.  Certain other details were hidden as well.

In the end, this novel is about learning to accept yourself and the life given you, your strengths and weaknesses, not trying to copy or imitate others’, but to work with what life has handed to you.

Even though, I was annoyed with the characters and their alacrity for self-sabatoge, from which they all seemed saved at the end, I do think the novel was incredibly well executed.  It is not a feel good beach read.  It is much deeper and more complicated.   The writing is excellent.  The author develops many themes and there is significant complexity to the novel.  It is intriguing and unique.  It would make a great book club book!  

Discussion Questions:

  1.  Discuss the significance of the title.  Would you have given the novel a different title?
  2. What scene resonated with you most in a positive or negative way?
  3. How do the “roles” of the various characters influence their various interactions?
  4. Were there moments you disagreed with the choices of the characters?  What would you have done differently?
  5. What past influences are shaping the actions of the characters?
  6. Do you think the ending was appropriate?  How would you like to see the ending go?
  7. What is the importance of art and perception in the novel?
  8. Did you relate to either of the main characters?  If so, which one and why?
  9. Discuss the significance of Lady and S each going by alternative names.  What is the meaning of their given names and what are the meanings attached to the names they are going by in this novel?

Edan Lepucki’s website

Review by Kaleigh Maeby at Book Stalker Blog

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’m Dying to meet

This weeks meme from the Broke and the Bookish is about authors you would like to meet.  To be more specific, these are 10 authors I would really enjoy getting to know a bit maybe over a meal.  Are any of these authors on your list?  Who is on your list and why?

  1. Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite  authors of all time.  I find her writing brilliant and her social commentary chilling yet spot on.  I felt like she was one of the first feminist writers whose writing I fell in love with.
  2. Elizabeth Strout is another favorite author of mine.  I love reading her novels and feeling like I have really gotten to know her characters well.  I find her writing brilliant and her character depiction one of the best out there.
  3. Kurt Vonnegut was a favorite of mine about 20 years ago and I devoured everything he wrote.  I would love to revisit his work with him.  This won’t be possible as he passed away in 2007 at the age of 84.
  4. Kate Atkinson is an author I fell in love with while reading ‘Life After Life.’  There was something so deeply affecting about this novel, how such small choices in life can have such large devastating consequences.  I listened to an interview with her, yet still have many questions of my own.
  5. Ernest Hemmingway is an author that sweeps me off my feet each time I pick up one of his novels.  His writing is beautiful and timeless.  I would love to meet this extremely charismatic man and get to know him more.  As he passed away in 1961 this won’t be possible, but I did have the opportunity to explore his home in Key West.
  6. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie blew me away with her novel ‘Americanah.’  She is a brilliant forward thinker who is doing tremendous good with her writing, bringing more thought and insight to not only race discussions, but also gender.  I hold her in the utmost esteem.
  7. Neil Gaiman is amazing.  I love everything I’ve read by him.  I would love to meet him, just to hear him tell me stories.. I have no idea how he is able to think up all of these incredibly fabulous fantastical tales.
  8. Mariana Enriquez is a young Argentinean author who recently published a collection of short stories, ‘Things We Lost in the Fire.’  These were horror stories that spoke to a horrific Argentinean recent past and to horrors in current society.  These stories have stuck with me and I would love to speak with her more about them and what her drive was in writing them.
  9. Trevor Noah, current host of the Daily Show, and author of ‘Born a Lie’ is hilarious!  His humor and social commentary is spot on.  I would love to sit down and share some laughs with this man.
  10. Malala Yousafzai is an amazing young woman who inspires women and girls everywhere.  Her struggle to fight for education in the face of the Taliban in Pakistan was incredibly brave and heroic.  Her memoir serves as a enormous reminder that women in many other parts of the world have a long way to go in their fight for access to education, let alone equality.

“The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti

Pages: 480

Expected Publication Date:  March 28, 2017

 

 

 

 

This was a beautiful story of a father – daughter relationship.  It tells of a past pertaining to the father, Samuel Hawley, from which he is trying to protect his daughter at all costs.  His past is Herculean, it is a time of it’s own, yet it cannot be separated from the present.  He has scars from  twelve bullets.  Twelve bullets are the equivalent of the twelve tasks of Hercules, the twelve hours on a clock.  Hawley’s past is shady, but he is a good man and wants the best for his daughter.  His job now is taking care of his daughter.  The chapters describing the circumstances leading up to each bullet striking him alternate with chapters about his daughter coming of age.  It is a unique intersecting of two lives, one in the past and one in the present.

The setting is Gloucester, Massachusetts, a fishing town that has a renowned greasy pole competition in the summer.  However, the author has renamed Gloucester, Olympus, giving it heroic proportions, suitable for the Hercules of this novel to tackle.  He tackles it with humility and for his daughter.  He does not enter the competition to win glory for himself.  The town is well developed in the novel.  The reader gets a sense of the determination and culture of the fishermen.  This is set against the environmentalists, embodied by Mary Titus and her ex-husband, who are fighting to protect against overfishing.

Hawley’s past is tainted.  It is rough and difficult, full of narrow escapes.  The daughter, Loo, is youthful, more innocent.  Their relationship is full of respect and love.  She doesn’t fully understand who he is and what his past is made of, but she is starting too.  She may be innocent, but even she carries pieces of his past within her without even knowing it.  She often feels that sour taste rising in the back of her throat driving her to violence.  In returning to her mother’s hometown, she is subject to bullying, but learns to fight for herself.  She falls for a boy.  She starts a waitressing job.  She is coming of age, understanding her father better and the world at large.

This is a beautiful book which I highly recommend!  I loved the intersection of an exciting shoot ’em up novel combined with a  coming-of-age story and the subtle shift in the relationship between father and daughter.  It was beautifully executed and seemingly timeless.  It was  tender and sweet plus keep-you-on-your-toes, exciting.   

 

Photo from obs-us.com

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from Boston.com

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion Questions:

  1.  The author states in the afterward that the 3 themes she is trying to develop are time, death and love.  How are these developed throughout the novel?  Which theme do you think is most important?
  2. In exploring the theme of time, how does the past influence the present and the future in this novel?
  3. Discuss the comparison between Samuel Hawley and Hercules.  How are they similar?  How are they different?
  4. Who are the heroes in this novel?
  5. What were your feelings toward Samuel Hawley?
  6. How does the grandmother feel about Samuel?  Why do you think she does not confront him with her suspicions?
  7. Why does Principal Gunderson become Loo’s ally?
  8. How is the backdrop of the fishing town important to the story?
  9. What elements do each bullet story all have in common?

Interview with Hannah Tinti conducted by NPR

Review by Ron Charles in the Washington Post

Review by Jo’s Book Blog

“Ill Will” by Dan Chaon

Pages:  480

Published:  March 7, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Unique, dark, suspenseful psychological thriller that cycles back and forth in time focusing on 2 separate sets of murders.  In the 1970s, Dustin’s parents and aunt and uncle were brutally murdered while he and his cousins slept in a trailer in the driveway.  It was his and his cousin, Kate’s, testimony that landed Dustin’s foster brother, Randy in prison.  As a result of this traumatic event, Dustin became interested in studying the psychology of Satanic cults and violence expressed through them.  He developed his thesis around it, testified in many cases as an expert, and currently works as a therapist.  In present day, Dustin’s life starts unravelling as the delicate tendrils that were holding it together gradually give way.  His wife dies of cancer at the age of 43, his two sons have graduated from high school, and his foster brother Randy has been released from prison with the help of the Innocence Project working on his behalf.  In current day, Dustin is drawn into investing a possible homicide cluster of drunk college boys who were determined accidental drownings by the police.

The books chapters are narrated by various different characters (sometimes in the first person and sometimes in the third) and they deeply reflect the mindset of the characters.  The characters become more and more isolated from each, so the reader knows more about what is going on with them than they know what is going on with each other or in some cases themselves.

The chapters from Dustin’s mindset are particularly troubling.  His thoughts and sense of reality seem to be losing footing.  He takes up drinking and smoking.  His thoughts are repeating themselves.  He trails off not finishing thoughts or sentences.   He wonders if he’s in a fugue state.   His cousins and foster brother describe the young Dustin as trusting and gullible.  It seems without his wife as an anchor, he has become so again, particularly with regards to his patient Aqil.  Aqil is obsessed with the “murders” of drunk frat boys that have drown in waterways while intoxicated.  Dustin becomes drawn into “investigating” these incidences with Aqil, presenting himself to others as an investigator or writer.  He confides in Aqil so much that it seems there is a role reversal.  In fact, he knows very little about Aqil, but has become emotionally dependent upon him.  Dustin has trouble seeing what is right in front of him.  His son is getting deeper into drugs and pretends to go to a college he never enrolled in.  Dustin becomes an easy victim once again, trusting and gullible as always, without a strong sense of self.

This book brings up many questions.  What are memories composed of?  How reliable are our memories?  Can a fictionalized statement in the past be remembered as a truth?  What defines us?  Is it our perception of ourselves or how others perceive us?  How does grief shape our thoughts and mental stability?

This is a long, dark twisted mystery delving deep into the psychology of its characters.  At points it’s hard to read as the writing reflects the altered and distressed mental states of its characters.  It experiments with writing in chart format, chunking bits of information together in little boxes,  letting the reader grasp that it is not making coherent sense with the character.  I enjoyed the story and the writing, although it felt more difficult to get through because of it’s style.  I felt the quotations at the beginning of each chapter were perfect for setting the chapter up for it’s intended purpose and were very thought provoking in and of themselves.   The last chapter begins with this quote: “In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation.” – Sacheverell Sitwell, For Want of the Golden City.  

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Wave tells Kate that she sacrificed them and that this is her reward.  What does she mean by that?
  2. What do you think happens to Aqil at the end of the novel?
  3. Who are the gibbeners and what do they represent in this novel?
  4. How is the self defined?  By those close to us or by ourself?  Why is Dustin so concerned that Rusty will change his son’s perception of him?
  5. How are these two sets of murders connected?
  6. How were Dustin’s parents and his Aunt and Uncle really killed and why?  Who is killing these boys and why?  What is Dustin’s role in each set of “murders”?
  7. Why do you think Dustin becomes wraps up in Aqil’s investigation?
  8. Why do you believe that Dustin’s reality is decomposing in this novel? What factors are contributing?
  9. Why does Wave stop speaking to Kate after Rusty’s trial?
  10. What is the meaning and importance of memories in this novel?
  11. Why doesn’t Dustin want to read the letter written to his wife that he finds in his son’s desk?
  12. Why is Dustin blind to his son’s heroin abuse?
  13. Discuss the meaning of the title?  Ill will toward whom?  From whom?  Why?
  14. Discuss the little mantras that Dustin is always spouting.  What meaning and importance to these have to Dustin?  What does it say about Dustin that he is always spouting mantras?  Which mantras stick out in your mind?

 

Ron Charles’ Review in The Washington Post

Review by Scott Bradfield in the Los Angeles Times

An Interview with Dan Chaon as conducted by The Millions

Dan Chaon’s website

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday will feature 10 books on my spring to be read list.   Next to each book, I will add the publication date (or expected publication date), a blurb copied from Goodreads’ description of the book and the reason why it is on my list.  This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Have you read any of these?  What is on your spring TBR list?

 

  1.  Hillbilly Elegy:  A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance – published June 28, 2016 – Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.

Why?  This is my book club’s pick.  So many people have asked me if I’ve read this, so I’m excited to get to this finally.

 

 

 

2.  The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti – expected publication date March 28, 2017 – Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.

Why?  I have never read anything by Hannah Tinti, but her books have been so well received in the past that I requested an ARC of this book from netgalley.

 

 

 

3.  We Shall Not Sleep by Estep NagyExpected publication date July 4, 2017 – Vividly capturing the rift between the cold warriors of Jim’s generation and the rebellious seekers of Catta’s, We Shall Not All Sleep is a richly told story of American class, family, and manipulation—a compelling portrait of a unique and privileged WASP stronghold on the brink of dissolution.

Why?  I read an article about what an amazing book this was, so I requested it from netgalley.

 

4.  Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Published July 7, 2015 – From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

Why?  This is not my usual genre and I will probably hate it, but I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.  I am intrigued by the ‘Sliding Doors’ aspect to this book.  This is my other bookclub’s pick.

 

5.   Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout – Expected Publication Date April 15, 2017 – Written in tandem with My Name Is Lucy Barton and drawing on the small-town characters evoked there, these pages reverberate with the themes of love, loss, and hope that have drawn millions of readers to Strout’s work.

Why?  I love Elizabeth Strout and want to read everything she writes.  I loved ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ and am excited to read this counterpart to it.

 

 

 

6.    Woman No 17 by Edan LepuckiExpected Publication Date May 9, 2017 – A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.

Why?  I have heard exciting things about this book, so I requested it from netgalley.  It is a little outside of my usual box, but I’m super excited for it!

 

 

7.  The Gift of Failure:  How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey – Published August 11, 2015 – Providing a path toward solutions, Lahey lays out a blueprint with targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. Most importantly, she sets forth a plan to help parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s failures.

Why?  One night a friend and I were discussing parenting dilemmas, strategies and favorite parenting books.  Shortly afterwards, she sent me this as a gift.

 

8.   A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway – Published 1929 – In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the war to end all wars. He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded, and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came A Farewell to Arms.

Why?  I chose to read this book for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.  It will fulfill the following requirements:  A book published between 1900 and 1950, A book about War, and a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.

 

 

9.   Ill Will by Dan Chaon – Published March 7, 2017 – “We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

Why? I’d heard great things about this author, so I thought I’d give his new novel a try and requested this through netgalley.

 

 

 

10. The Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Origins by Renae De Liz, Ray Dillon (illustrator) – Published December 13, 2016 – In the beginning, there was only chaos. But Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, saw a better future–and eventually, her daughter would be destined to bring that new world to life. Before her ultimate fate unfolds, though, Diana of Themyscira must learn the important lessons of an Amazonian childhood.

Why? This will fulfill the following requirement in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge:  Read a superhero comic with a female lead.

“All the Ugly and Wonderful Things” by Bryn Greenwood

Pages: 346

Published:  August 9, 2016

Literary Awards:  Kirkus Prize Nominee (2016), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2016), Book of the Month’s first Book of the Year Award (2016), Goodreads Best Fiction of Nominee (2016)

 

 

This is a book written by a woman who grew up in Kansas, the daughter of a “very successful” meth dealer who had his own private plane.  At the age of 13, she fell in love with a much older man.  This novel was not meant to be autobiographical, but it definitely draws upon a known past.

This novel has stirred much controversy about the nature of the relationship that develops between the two main characters in this novel.  I admit that as their relationship started to change,  I cringed at the idea of a romantic relationship between Kellen and Wavy, but I grew to love them together.  The book brings up so many questions about the nature of romantic relationships.  Is it better to first experience romance with someone you love and trust or as a fling at a party, like Rene and Amy?  Is engaging in a romantic relationship with a much older man who has been acting as your care-giver breaking boundaries of trust?  Is it morally reprehensible?  Was Aunt Brenda’s extreme reaction to the relationship between Wavy and Kellen due more to her guilt at not being there or true repulsion at the idea of this inappropriate relationship?

I loved Wavy in this novel. I felt she was an angel, a beautiful, bright and intelligent child, trapped in an ugly situation.  Her father is a meth dealer, with multiple girlfriends, not even living at home with her mother.  Her mother has extreme OCD and paranoia which she self medicates with substance abuse.  Wavy is left to her own devices, neglected, ignored, physically injured at times, witnessing the debauchery and reckless behavior of the adults around her.  She appears feral in part due to her neglect and in part due to her mother’s extreme reactions and instructions to her daughter.  Wavy will not speak to people and she will not eat in front of people.  This scares most people around her.  The teachers feel she is a lost cause.  When her parents are in jail, her Aunt Brenda becomes so frustrated by Wavy that she is made to leave.   Only certain special people are able to connect and get through to Wavy.  These include Amy, Donal, her grandmother and Kellen.

I felt so much truth, humanity and love expressed through this book. I loved that this book made me rethink some hard and fast rules that I have for behavior.  I think looking at everything as being black and white is dangerous.  There are always shades of grey.  Wavy and Kellen proved this.  This would make an excellent book club book.  There is so much to discuss and from reading other reviews, there are people with polar opposite feelings about this book!  

 

Discussion Questions:

  1.  Why did Liam treat Wavy so poorly?
  2. Why did Liam often turn his attention away from Wavy?
  3. Why do you think Liam has so much control over those around him?
  4. Why did Uncle Sean kill Val and Liam?
  5. If you had to clinically diagnose Val, what would her diagnosis be?
  6. Discuss the female role models Wavy had in her life and the effect they had on her.
  7. Discuss the title and it various possible meanings?
  8. How did you feel about the relationship between Kellen and Wavy?  Did your feelings about their relationship change over the course of the book?
  9. Did this book make you re-evaluate your belief systems?
  10. Compare and contrast Wavy’s first experience with sexual activity to Amy and Rene’s.  Which is the better?
  11. Discuss the reasons behind which Wavy does not speak initially and will not eat in front of other people.

 

 

Bryn Greenwood’s Blog

LitLovers Discussion Guide

Interesting Viewpoint from Nobody New Yorker

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Debut Novels I’ve Read in the Past 3 Years

This week’s top ten Tuesday will highlight 10 favorite debut novels (in no particular order) I’ve read in the past few years.  This meme is usually hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, however, they are taking a break.  So, this one is blogger’s choice.  I love reading debut novels!  It’s always a gamble, but it can be so satisfying to find a new author’s work to love.  Have you read any of these?  What are your recent favorite debut authors/books?

 

  1.  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – A family in Ghana divided by slavery, sweeping over 300 years.  (2016)

 

 

Yaa Gyasi, born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama.  She spent 7 years writing this novel which was published when she was only 26 years old and has won numerous awards for it.

 

2. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng– A Chinese American family searches for the reasons behind their daughter’s death. (2014)

Celeste Ng grew up Pittsburgh, PA and Shaker Heights, OH.  She graduated from Harvard and from the MFA program at the University of Michigan.

 

 

 

3. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld– A fantastical novel exploring death row and the humanity of an inmate there. (2014)

Rene Denfeld had authored several non-fiction works prior to this first fictional novel.  She is a death penalty investigator and a mother to 3 children adopted from foster care.

 

 

 

4.  The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker – A novel about the power of art to heal. (2017)

Kayla Rae Whitaker has received a BA from University of Kentucky and an MFA from NYU.  After living in Brooklyn for many year, she and her husband have returned to her home state, Kentucky.

 

 

 

5. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – A thriller with twists, so the less said the better.  (2015)

Clare Mackintosh spent 12 years working for the police, including time on the CID.  She left in 2011, and now writes full time.

 

7.  Red Rising by Pierce Brown – A dystopian novel of epic proportions.  (2014)

Pierce Brown grew up in seven different states.  He graduated from Pepperdine University in 2010.  He wrote 6 novels and face rejection from over 120 agents prior to selling Red Rising.

 

 

7.  Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – A magical, fantastical world set in England containing politics, romance and diversity.  (2015)

Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia, but currently lives in England.  She writes full time.

 

 

8.  The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson – A novel about the dangers lurking within in a wealthy Marin high school, particularly cyberbullying. (2017)

Lindsey Lee Johnson grew up in Marin County.  She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband.  She holds a professional writing degree from the University of Southern California.

 

 

 

 

9.  Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – A novel about the secret thrilling life of waitstaff inside one of NYC’s most famous restaurants. (2016)

Stephanie Danler waitressed in NYC after graduating from Kenyon college.  She later obtained a MFA at the New School and drew on her waiting experience in the writing of this novel.

 

 

10.  Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey  – A quirky, humorous mystery novel set in Brazil. (2016)

Idra Novey grew up in a small mining town in Pennsylvania, but has lived in Chile and Brazil.  She has translated the work of several Brazilian authors prior to publishing this book.

 

sharing a love of books

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