Thursday, October 29, 2015

Catching up on books, part 2!

I started the year with the best of intentions to share my book club journey with my blog friends, but I quickly fell behind. Now I'm working on getting you all caught up! 

So far I've already shared our thoughts on ...

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Steadman
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

And now, here are our next three books ...

In the author's own words...

*An Invisible Thread  is the inspiring true story of Maurice and me. We met on 56th street in Manhattan in 1986, when I was a 35-year-old single, successful ad sales executive, and he was an 11-year-old homeless panhandler. He asked me for spare change; I said no and kept walking. But something made me stop, and turn around, and go back to him, and that day I took him to lunch. We met the following Monday, and every Monday for the next four years, and hundreds of times after that.

Almost 30 years later, we are still great friends.

An Invisible Thread  is the story of how we changed each other’s lives forever.

Thoughts ... This book reminded us of The Blind Side. It is a true story that exemplifies how one decision can change everything and that one person can in fact make a difference in someone's life. And the author keeps it real. It's not a fairy tale where everything goes perfectly. We sometimes questioned Laura's decisions, but never her motivations. And we challenged ourselves to find ways to make a difference in our own little world. Overall, an interesting and uplifting read.

*Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by luck or chance. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship. 

Thoughts ... Orphan Train moves seamlessly through time periods to connect the lives Vivian and Molly in this touching story based on true events in American history. The orphan trains were designed to offer hope and an opportunity for a better life for children, but of course that was not necessarily always the outcome. This one was hard to put down and truly touched our hearts!

In August, we read Run by Ann Patchett.

*Since their mother's death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive, and ambitious father. As the former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard cares about is his ability to keep his children—all his children—safe.

Set over a period of twenty-four hours, Run takes us from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to a home for retired Catholic priests in downtown Boston. It shows us how worlds of privilege and poverty can coexist only blocks apart from each other, and how family can include people you've never even met. As in her bestselling novel Bel Canto, Ann Patchett illustrates the humanity that connects disparate lives, weaving several stories into one surprising and endlessly moving narrative. Suspenseful and stunningly executed, Run is ultimately a novel about secrets, duty, responsibility, and the lengths we will go to protect our children.

Thoughts ... Ann Patchett is the author of one of my all-time favorite books - Bel Canto. I can't even tell you how much I loved that book. Those characters have stayed in my head for years. It's a must read! Run on the other hand was a little uneven for us. The story takes place over a twenty-four hour time period, which is a very interesting concept, but it felt a little rushed. And we were a bit overwhelmed by the range of themes - race, religion, social class, politics, adoption, science and the meaning of family. Run was an interesting read and provided a great discussion. It wasn't our favorite Ann Patchett book, but her writing is always eloquent and definitely worth your time. 

In September, we had a very special guest at our book club gathering. 
Can't wait to tell you all about it!

*The synopsis of each book was taken directly from the author's website.


Laurel Stephens said...

I'm so happy you caught us up on your book club reviews today, Sharon. I immediately put a hold on the Kindle version of Orphan Train at my local library and am looking forward to reading it. Thanks, and happy reading!

Cassie Bustamante said...

my mom just told me about the invisible thread- it sounds really interesting! i am reading the daughter right now, and just finished big magic (and ann patchett was mentioned in it!). i have never heard of ann patchett and need to check out that first book you mentioned.

Calypso In The Country said...

I loved Bel Canto as well! I haven't read any of these books yet but Orphan Train has been on my list for awhile. I just finished Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner and LOVED it! I highly recommend it!

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

I finally read the Orphan Train and just loved it. I'm currently reading the Lost Wife and I recently finished The Paris Architect. I really love historical fictions, especially the ones that go way back to mid-evil times. I always have to have a book to read!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your opinions and book reviews -- These all sound like books I would enjoy reading, and am adding them to my list! Thanks again!

One More Time Events said...

Thanks for the party