51jldonpogl._sy400_.jpgThe Heart of Henry Quantum by Pepper Harding is a novel about a young man named Henry who lives and works in San Francisco. Henry has a tendency to daydream — often! He is married to all woman who works in real estate. The spark in their relationship has died.

While out shopping last-minute for a bottle of perfume for his wife for Christmas, Henry runs into his old girlfriend. Actually, she’s a woman Henry had an affair with. We also come to discover Henry’s wife is having an affair of her own.

I really enjoyed the beginning of the story and could relate to Henry’s long trains of thought. However, as the story progressed and switch from one perspective to another, I lost my interest in it.

I did finish reading the book and, as I said, liked parts of it.  It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it’s certainly not the worst. If any of my followers have read it, I’d love to hear your take on it.

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51ltiepka7l._sy400_.jpgThe Last Days of Night by Graham Moore is a wonderful historical fiction based on events which occurred in the late eighteen hundreds.

In this story, we find Thomas Edison at war with George Westinghouse over who has patent rights on light bulbs.  Westinghouse claims he invented a better light bulb than Edison’s original one. When push comes to shove, Edison sues Westinghouse who in turn hires an unknown young lawyer named Paul Cravath to defend his case.

The story is told from the point-of-view of the lawyer and I thought it was fascinating. Moore is an excellent writer and although some of the facts and timeframes have been altered, the story was new to me. Edison in no way appears to be a nice guy as portrayed in old movies. In fact, few of the players in this saga are anything but ruthless.

I really liked this book and I think you will as well. Next year, it will appear on the big screen. It is true that fact is often stranger than fiction!

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Top Books 2016

the-best-22.jpgIn 2016, I read 16 books which in my opinion, were top notch. Here they are listed in the order in which they were read:

41ml21dgwil._sy400_.jpg1. Lily and the Octopus




51yczui5ojl._sy400_.jpg2.  A Gentleman in Moscow




51p955itjjl._sy400_.jpg3.  News of the World




51aimeqpbgl.jpg4. Old Records Never Die




41xgkh4kbkl._sy177_.jpg5.  My Name is Lucy Barton




41n2rwiutgl._sy177_.jpg6.  No Dogs or Indians




51cbu76ho8l._sy400_.jpg7.  Rules for Old Men Waiting




515b12fq1l._sy400_.jpg.jpg8.  My Father and Atticus Finch




51zrzcccbul._sy400_.jpg9.  America’s First Daughter




51ze3bfhtzl._sy400_.jpg10. All Over But the Shoutin’




51qfbmwlzl._sy400_.jpg.jpg11. The Empress of Tempera




08louisa-cover-articleinline.jpg12. Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams




9780525427377.jpg13. 100 Days of Happiness




lost-and-found-brooke-davis.jpg14. Lost and Found




9780812996722_custom-65eaf8f14b02c3425f43fe675a775b43893a4610-s300-c85.jpg15. Thirteen Ways of Looking




71rt14ox3xl._sl1500_.jpg16. Love in Lower-Case

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81jqznuvy4l.jpgA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman finally came into my hands after a long wait in the library que. I am happy to have read this touching story. It was worth the wait.

Ove is a 59-year-old man living in Sweden who one might describe as a cantankerous curmudgeon. After the death of his wife and the loss of his job, Ove sees no reason for living and decides to kill himself. There’s just one problem however, every time he tries to take his life, he is interrupted by circumstances beyond his control which postpone his date with the Grim Reaper.

This is a delightful story filled with colorful people who are clearly defined and lovable. Even Ove who is a chronic complainer with OCD, is lovable – quirks and all.

It is apparent to me why this novel is so popular. It epitomizes the old adage of even dark clouds have a silver lining. Enjoy!

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The Other Side of the Fence

51sh-ruzl._sy177_.jpg.jpgGlory Over Everything Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom is thematically similar to a book I reviewed not long ago about a light-skinned African-American woman passing as white. This excellent book is set in the early eighteen-hundreds prior to the Civil War. The protagonist is a young mulatto male who was raised on a plantation by his white paternal grandmother without knowledge that his birth mother was a slave.

Jamie has been raised as a privileged white male in the big house. As the story begins, we find him running away from the only family he has ever known to Philadelphia where he intends to begin a new life passing as a white male. Being raised by prejudiced whites who owned slaves, his adult life unfolds in ways which force him to acknowledge his parentage and to painfully become aware of the equality of all people regardless of their race and in deference to the beliefs of his kin.

I think this is a fabulous story with an important message. The end of the book was beautifully written and heartfelt. This is another book I highly recommend!

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Red Ball

41ml21dgwil._sy400_.jpgLily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley moved me from laughter to tears. I knew absolutely nothing about this novel other than its catchy title and popularity which further increased my astonished reaction to it.

When Ted, a forty-something gay man discovers an “octopus” affixed to his beloved dachshund’s head, he remembers when she was just a pup and the story goes from there to poor Lily’s inevitable decline and eventual death. I cried like a baby.

This is a terrific book about love and the bond between owners and their pets. I loved this book. In addition to being heartfelt, is so very clever and funny. I ran the gamut of emotions reading it. It brought back memories of the many pets who have shared my life. I treasure them all, and as the author writes in this novel, will love them forever. This is a touching novel worth reading.

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Wandering Exiles

5162du9btml._sy400_.jpgI began reading The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa on the anniversary of The Night of the Broken Glass.  It was coincidental, not purposeful. I finished the novel on Armistice Day. The timing was perfect and the book quite good.

This is the story of a young Jewish girl named Hannah who lives in Berlin with her parents during the rise of the Nazis. After they make the decision to leave their homeland, the Rosenthal family secures passage on a luxury liner headed for Cuba where they believe they will be able to escape persecution. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan and tragically, the family becomes separated.

Many years later, Anna, the Rosenthal’s great-granddaughter, is living in New York City with her widowed mother. They are dealing with a tragedy of a different nature when a package of old photos arrived via Canada from a relative in Cuba.

The novel flips back and forth in time leading to an unexpected journey to Cuba and a reunion with Anna’s great Aunt Hanna.

I liked the fresh perspective on World War 2 and the telling of it by Jewish people who escaped to Cuba prior to the war only to become victims of the Castro regime years later. This is an interesting history which I found quite sad, but worthwhile. Freedom is a precious gift never to be taken for granted.

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