The giveaway for Matched by Ally Condie ended last night. The winner has been chosen and notified via email.
Mel U from The Reading Life is the winner!
Thank you everyone who visited my blog and participated in the giveaway!
"My husband died, my life collapsed."What a great experience reading this memoir was! Many aspects made this book worth being read by all but probably the most important is the quality of writing. To me it almost seemed like a refresher course in what English written language should really be and what many contemporary writers seem to forget. I'm talking about basic rules of grammar, construction of sentences and even meaning of words. I read A Widow's Story as an ARC, which means its editing and proofreading isn't finalized and ready for publication, and still there were very few errors, if any at all, and the whole book was in a better shape than many books served to us after being corrected and edited by others. I realize I may sound as a snob in this regard and I don't really care. It's important to me to know that someone who calls him/herself a writer knows the basic rules of grammar at least and has enough respect for the language to learn and check what they don't know. Joyce Carol Oates is a writer who exudes such respect and it's a pleasure to read what she writes. Shelf Awareness published a great interview with Oates's longtime friend and editor, Daniel Halpern. He states a lot more clearly what I mean about Joyce's writing.
On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected him to be released in a day or two. But in less than a week, even as Joyce was preparing for his discharge, Ray died from a virulent hospital-acquired infection, and Joyce was suddenly faced—totally unprepared—with the stunning reality of widowhood.
A Widow's Story illuminates one woman's struggle to comprehend a life without the partnership that had sustained and defined her for nearly half a century. As never before, Joyce Carol Oates shares the derangement of denial, the anguish of loss, the disorientation of the survivor amid a nightmare of "death-duties," and the solace of friendship. She writes unflinchingly of the experience of grief—the almost unbearable suspense of the hospital vigil, the treacherous "pools" of memory that surround us, the vocabulary of illness, the absurdities of commercialized forms of mourning. Here is a frank acknowledgment of the widow's desperation—only gradually yielding to the recognition that "this is my life now."
Set on the coast of Maine over the course of four summers, Red Hook Road tells the story of two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, and of the ways in which their lives are unraveled and stitched together by misfortune, by good intentions and failure, and by love and calamity.Red Hook Road is a wonderful novel. Exactly the type of contemporary American fiction that I appreciate the most. The writing is like a song, flows easily and beautifully, despite the many descriptive passages. There is a lot of them, mostly as insight to people's thoughts in the wake of a terrible tragedy that forces all those affected to be more introspective. Although it's not really mentioned, the closest family of the couple got a 'wake-up' call on how short and unexpected life really is. In face of that fact, how each of them tries to go on is very engaging, especially for someone with a little bit of voyeuristic nature like me.
A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter’s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin. As she writes with obvious affection for these unforgettable characters, Ayelet Waldman skillfully interweaves life’s finer pleasures—music and literature—with the more mundane joys of living.
In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the disconnected Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. In the simple and isolated Outer Banks house, they see their deepest desires manifested in dramatic ways.This was my first book set in the post-Civil War time and even though it sparked my interest to read more, as it sounds like a difficult but fascinating time in American history, The Outer Banks House didn't really 'start the fire' for me. It is an ambitious subject, or many subjects, Diann took on in this book, including the Ku Klux Klan, the fate of freed slaves, even the change in status for plantation owners, who now have to deal with no free workforce and inevitable loss of money, prestige, so on and so forth. It's plenty of issues to write about and the book is only 300 pages. In my opinion it's not long enough and as a result some of these things felt superficial or slightly neglected.
Nolan Sinclair, the once wealthy and powerful planter from Edenton, North Carolina, is fearful of losing his plantation in the Reconstruction aftermath of the Civil War. In a desperate act of assertion, he moves his family and servants to the unusual house on the sand. There, on the porch of the cottage, his 17-year-old daughter, beautiful, book-smart and boxed-in Abigail, is encouraged to teach her father’s fishing guide, good-natured, ambitious and penniless 19-year-old Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. The two come to understand, and then to love each other, despite the demands of their parents, the pursuit of prim and proper medical student Hector Newman, and Ben’s longtime relationship with sour-tongued net-mender, Eliza Dickens.
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.And below is the photo of an actual copy one of you will win. I am posting it because since it is an ARC, it looks nothing like the finished product and I don't want any of my readers ending up disappointed when they open the package. This could also ruin your reading experience before you even open the book and I certainly don't want that.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.
1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge
They say Jerusalem is haunted by Mrs Whichcote's ghost. Frank Oldershaw claims he saw her in the garden, where she drowned. Now he's under the care of a physician.
Desperate to salvage her son's reputation and restore him to health, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs her own agent - John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts, a controversial attack on the existence of ghostly phenomena. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts the uneasy status quo. He glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr Carbury, ever could.
But Holdsworth's powers of reason and his knowledge of natural philosophy have other challenges. He dreams of his dead wife, Maria, who roams the borders of death. Now there's Elinor, the very-much-alive Master's wife, to haunt him in life. And at the heart of it all is the mystery of what really happened to Sylvia Whichcote in the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem.
Why was Sylvia found lying dead in the Long Pond just before a February dawn? And how did she die? Indeed, why was she at Jerusalem, living or dead, in the first place?
Starting as a childhood passion that bloomed into a life-long companion, reading has been Conroy's portal to the world, both to the furthest corners of the globe and to the deepest chambers of the human soul. His interests range widely, from Milton to Tolkien, Philip Roth to Thucydides, encompassing poetry, history, philosophy, and any mesmerizing tale of his native South. He has for years kept notebooks in which he records words and expressions, over time creating a vast reservoir of playful turns of phrase, dazzling flashes of description, and snippets of delightful sound, all just for his love of language. But reading for Conroy is not simply a pleasure to be enjoyed in off-hours or a source of inspiration for his own writing. It would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that reading has saved his life, and if not his life then surely his sanity.