Saturday, April 29, 2017

April (fourth week) 2017 Reads

Not much online stuff this week, just the search for the Queen of Hearts--which was fun. The short story this week was one in a collection I own, so I read the entire collection. The novels are a mixed bag and I enjoyed them all for very different reasons.Read one library book, three others in my stack but I may not finish them next week.

 “Deal Me In 2017!”
This weeks story: This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila (in This is Paradise)
A young tourist in Hawaii is observed by three different groups of island residents: young women surfers who see her at a club; some slightly older career women who view her in a hotel lobby; and a group of housekeepers waiting to clean her hotel room. Like many locals in tourist areas, each group has reasons to resent the visitors' rosy visions of being in Paradise. Then something bad happens and each group wonders if they could have done something more to prevent it.

I really liked this story so I read the other five stories in the collection (which was on my "owned-but-unread" shelf). All six of the stories deal with universal themes with a particular Hawaiian viewpoint. I almost didn't read Wanle because it involves cock fighting, but it is more about revenge. The Road to Hana is about young couple on a weekend trip, she is an Hawaiian who was born in Las Vegas; he is a white was born in Hawaii. So what does it mean to be Hawaiian? Thirty-nine Rules for Making a Hawaiian Funeral into a Drinking Game is very much about what it is to be Hawaiian. In Portrait of a Good Father a girl questions her family relationships and in The Old Paniolo Way a gay man ponders whether he should come out to his dying father.

A very good collection which I won some time ago on the blog Guiltless Reading

This week's card: Queen of Hearts. I couldn't resist this delightful teapot which I found in a collection of amazing  Sculptural teapot tempests at one of my favorite websites.

The pot, titled 'The Queens Tea Yara' is by Meryl Ruth (photo by Robert Diamonte). Follow the link to find out more about this one, then explore her site for more ceramics and she also does Fiber Art  

from my "owned-but-unread" shelf...
Day In Day Out by Ter├ęzia Mora; translated from the German by Michael Henry Heim
A strange novel, part picaresque, part hallucination, and sometimes it almost makes a whole lot of sense. Able Nema's main skill is learning languages. Officially he knows ten. His only other skill seems to be a sporadic ability to pass himself off as normal. We follow him for ten years that he spends as a refugee (in Berlin ?) from an unnamed Balkan country. He has various adventures meeting colorful characters who are almost as weird as he is. I read this in small doses, it was excellent that way.

Cover design and illustration by Milan Bozic

On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe
Four African women have been lured to Europe to work in the sex trade. Each has had a traumatic childhood and the promise of a better life has led them to accept becoming prostitutes. When one is killed, the other three bond and reveal their real life stories. The difficult subject matter is dealt with in a rather straightforward, almost journalistic, manner.

Jacket design by Kimberly Glyder
Jacket photo by Debra Lill

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
Lilian is a widow with two young daughters. She has an alcoholic mother, a bossy sister, and a decent job as an illustrator. Through a gardening class she takes because of her job, she meets an assortment of interesting people and there is some bonding among the group which stretched my ability to suspend disbelief. Still, there was enough substance and sarcastic dialog to keep me reading. There is a snarky comment about Meg Ryan, but, really, this is her kind of role. A pleasant, light read.

from the library...

Celine by Peter Heller
Celine is a tough old broad. A sixty year old private investigator who, in spite of her emphysema, travels in the Rockies to track down a man who went missing 23 years ago. It's a well told story with plenty of well developed, interesting characters. The relationships the missing man had with his two wives and his daughter are revealed as the story unwinds. Celine's own backstory explains some of her actions. Mostly I liked this book, but there were a couple of things that bothered me. One was a showdown Celine has with a motorcycle gang. It really didn't add to the narrative and seemed to have been thrown in just to show her toughness, but it was unnecessary--we'd already figured that out. (Actually this bit could almost stand alone as a short story.)

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