Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Summer Wind




Monroe, Mary Alice. The Summer Wind. New York: Gallery Books, 2014.

Mamaw has convinced Carson, Dora, and Harper to spend the summer at Sea Breeze one final time before it is put on the market. Carson is the victim of downsizing and is seeking a job. Dora is in the midst of a divorce and has a child with Asperger's syndrome (Nate). Harper is well off financially but isn't very happy in New York City. Also present is Mamaw's longtime employee Lucille who is like family. Most off Monroe's books that I have read have an environmental aspect to them. In this particular installment, readers are made aware of dolphin rehabilitation groups through an incident involving Carson and Nate and a dolphin that became ensnared in a fishing line. Each character is dealing with hurt and each must be healed from the scars of his/her/its own situation. It's a good summer read, and Monroe has woven together a plot where all the threads compliment each other and create a multidimensional portrayal of what healing is. Although I loved all the characters and they are all well drawn, my favorite has to be Lucille. My only disappointment is that we really do not get to see the complete resolution for every situation. We do see progress. I suspect that Monroe will revisit one or more of the characters in a future book. I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written. There were a couple of misspellings in the ARC which I hope are corrected in the official version.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Long Way Home



Brierley, Saroo. A Long Way Home. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2014.

Saroo Brierley managed to get lost from his home in India by jumping aboard a train at the age of five. He traveled all the way to Calcutta with no identification, landing in an orphanage in that city. A couple from Australia adopted him. This is the story of his life and of his search for his family in India using the Internet, especially Google Earth and Facebook, to locate his home town. I don't want to provide spoilers so I'll simply say that the search illustrates how limited a five year old's vocabulary can sometimes be. Many memoirs can be rather boring and sometimes suffer from being poorly written but this one was a quick well-written read and managed to maintain my interest.  Persons interested in intercountry adoption or in locating birth parents will likely find it interesting. This review is based on an "Uncorrected Manuscript for Limited Distribution" received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Late Starters Orchestra





Goldman, Ari L. The Late Starters Orchestra. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2014.

Goldman, a professor of journalism at Columbia and former New York Times writer, recounts his studies of the cello at a later age in life and his involvement with the Late Starters Orchestra. He also discusses his son's studies in a Suzuki program for cello. The book is interesting in places, but bogs down in others. I loved the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. This book could be quite inspirational for older persons who have been contemplating studying a musical instrument. However, I suspect that many persons would be frustrated by the lack of opportunities in their geographic area. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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Friday, June 06, 2014

The Greek Yogurt Kitchen



Amidor, Toby. The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. New York: Grand Central, 2014.

Toby Amidor has provided a lot of options for those interested in substituting Greek yogurt for some of the less healthy ingredients found in many recipes. There are recipes for breakfast foods, for breads, for main courses, for vegetables, and for desserts included in the pages. The author provides many helpful tips along the way. He also quotes from nutrition literature about the value of Greek yogurt in the diet. Most people will find at least a few recipes that sound interesting enough to try. The author used plain yogurt in some recipes and flavored ones in others. He also includes a recipe to make one's own Greek yogurt at home and tells what equipment would be needed. He includes some recipes for creating flavors in the yogurt. The index was unavailable for review in the the galley. This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Biography for Beginners



Bentley, E. C. Biography for Beginners. Illustrated by G. K. Chesterton. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications 2014. (Reprint of 3rd ed., 1925)

Although this short book has been around for a long time, it is now being republished by Dover Publications. It consists of "biographies" of persons written in four lines of rhyming verse. The biographies generally focus on only one thing about each person. The illustrations are drawings done by G. K. Chesterton. Some of the rhymes are better than others. Some of the persons included are not likely to be recognized by a 21st century audience. The premise of the book is entertaining, and I'm certain that the audience at the time it was written laughed out loud at many of the rhymes. This review is based on an advance review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review be written.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Beginning with the Word



Lundin, Roger. Beginning with the Word: Modern Literature and the Question of Belief. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014.

Lundin takes a look at literature and compares it to theology. Several years ago while visiting a church with a family member, the Sunday School class was exploring poetry and other literature and comparing it to the Bible. I really enjoyed the approach that Sunday School teacher had taken and was really hoping that this treatment would be of a similar vein. Instead, this book focuses far more on a philosophical and theoretical approach to theology and literature and is full of jargon that bogs down the narrative. Instead of being something that is likely to get an undergraduate or lay person interested in the topic, it is probably something that only faculty in theology, philosophy, and literature would find interesting and perhaps some graduate students in those fields. The author appears to be enjoy Emily Dickinson's poetry quite a bit because the book includes quite a bit. There are sections where the advance review copy omits poems due to license restrictions. It is well-written, researched, and documenting. The indexing is fairly comprehensive. In addition to the end notes, there is also a works cited section. This review is based on an advance review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

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