Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Friday, January 22, 2021

Read The World - Syria - Damascus Nights

 Book: Damascus Nights

Author: Rafik Schami

Pages: 264

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: YES

I have visited: NO

This is my 5th book for the year

From Amazon:

Upon this enchanting frame of tales told in the fragrant Arabian night,the words of the past grow fainter, as ancient customs are yielding to modern turmoil.  While the hairdresser, the teacher, the wife of the locksmith sip their tea and pass the water pipe, they swap stories about the magical and the mundane:  about djinnis and princesses, about contemporary politics and the difficulties of bargaining in a New York department store.  And as one tale leads to another, and another, al of Damascus appears before your eyes, along with a vision of storytelling - and take - as the essence of friendship, of community, of life.

This was a pretty good book.  I loved the stories that were told throughout the book - intrigued as always with short stories within a novel.  The main character - Salim - has lost his voice and requires 7 stories from his 7 friends to bring it back.  The book takes place in Damascus in 1959 when Syria was part of a pan-Arab nation.  The storytelling was not prohibited speech, so it was a way that Salim and his friends could get together and talk without chancing prison.  The book will draw you in so it is well worth a look.  Check this one out.

Stars: 4


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Read The World - Venezuela - The Haciedena

 Book: The Hacienda

Author: Lisa St. Aubin de Taran

Pages: 352

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: NO - but she lived there for 7 years with her husband

I have visited: NO

This is my 4th book for the year

This is the author's own story of her time in Venezuela.  She spent 7 years on her husband's family's Hacienda.  She was in her teens when she married a man in his 40s.  Her husband has fled the country as a political criminal, and once he was able to return, he wanted to run the Hacienda himself.  However - due to mental illness, or what could just be lack of care, he never did run the Hacienda.  Lisa barely saw her husband, and when she did, he usually had a fit of rage.  She spent 7 years trying to help run The Hacienda,and raise her daughter, before she finally escapes.  

This was a pretty good book.  I found it well written and was very intriqued with the story.  A very young girl who was swept away by an older man who chased her constantly to marry him and then just leaves her to fend for herself.  The trials she went through and the conditions she lived in will leave you bewildered and shaking your head.  I cannot even imagine sticking it out as long as she did considering what she was dealing with.  She didn't have the greatest upbringing or parental remodel so that could be part of it.  I also wish she would have written more from when she left Venezuela and her life after her escape and how she recovered.  But she didn't.  So it left me wondering.

Stars: 3

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Read The World - Turkmenistan - The Tale of Aypi

 Book: The Take of Aypi

Author: Ak Welsapar

Pages: 170

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: YES

I have visited: NO

This is my 3rd book for the year

Here is what Google has to say about this book:  "The Tale of Aypi follows the fate of a group of Turkmen fishermen dwelling on the coast of the Caspian Sea.  The fear of losing their ancestral home looms over the entire village.  This injustice is being made to look like a voluntary initiative on the park of the fishermen themselves, while the ruling powers attempt to confiscate their land.  One brave fisherman from the village rises up to confront them and fights for his native shore, as a response to an act of cruelty inflicted on a defenceless young woman centuries ago.

This was a short, well written book.  It is told through dialogue of the characters, which did make it a bit jumpy and since my mind is all over the place right now with our move - it made it hard to focus.  I had to re-read parts several times.  It was fun getting to know the characters in the fishing village.  There is a bit of magical realism as well - with a ghost of the young woman.  The book examined old vs new ways of living, men vs women, and human powerlessness when it comes to government control.  

I am glad I found this one.  Widdling down the last of my Read The World books has been harder than I thought, but this was a good one.

Stars: 4

Friday, January 8, 2021

Extra Book - Between Sisters

 Book: Between Sisters

Author: Kristin Hannah

Pages: 480

This is my 2nd book for the year

This is the story of sisters Meghann and Claire.  Meghann - who is quite a bit older than Claire - practically raised her little sister in their younger years.  Their mother - an actress that was gone more than she was home - left Meghann to figure out how to feed Claire and care for her.  Gone usually just a few days, their monther once disappeared for a much longer period and food ran out.  Meghann panicked and called Claire's father, Sam, to come and help.   Feeling more like a burden than a daughter, Meghann leaves Claire with Sam and disappears from their life.

Year's later, Claire calls Meghann because she is getting married.  Their strained relationship has a chance to be rekindled with Claire agrees to let Meghann be involved in the wedding plans.  Meghann begins to open up becoming a sister again to Claire, an aunt to Claire's daugher, and even finds love herself.  When tragedy hits, Meghann is there to take charge and save the family she has now come to realize she cannot live without.

This was a good book.  I enjoy most of Kristin Hannah's book, so this was no exception.  She is a talented writer.  The story kept my interest - I liked most of the characters.  Only a few eye rolling moments near the end of the book as Hannah tries to neatly wrap up the story.  It does have a great epilogue, which I always appreciate in a book.  Love to see into the future of the character's lives, so that was a redeeming quality for the story.

Check this one out.  I listened to it to help pass some time while we settled into our house, and I looked forwarded to listening to it each day.

Stars: 4

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Extra Book - The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

 Book: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

Author: Kelly Harms

Pages: 328

This is my first book finished for 2021!

And I didn't start with a read the world book - I should have.  I need to get that finished.  However - when driving a million miles back and forth between our rental and our house, audio books it is.

This is the story of Amy Byler.  Her husband left her and their two children 3 years ago - said he couldn't take it anymore.  Moved to Singapore - only sending the kids checks and money here and there.  Amy had to get a job, manage a house that was too big and too expensive, and tried to hold it all together.  Then one day - her ex-husband shows up back in town wanting to get re-acquainted with the kids.  Amy decided to let him back into their lives and when her ex asks her if he can spend the summer with them, Amy lets go and heads to New York City with a friend to have some much overdue alone time.

What it becomes is a life changing trip for her.  She starts to reinvent herself - become someone besides "someone's mother" and starts to live.

This was a pretty good book.  Kept me entertained.  It was humorous enough.  Her "momspringa" was overdetailed.  I didn't need to know about every food she ate and every man she dated in great detail.  There were relatable parts - a woman who had settled into a comfortable clothing lifestyle - becoming someone who put her children's needs before her own.  But it did stretch a bit into a fairytale beyond was a normal "mom on holiday" might experience.

Fine read for passing the time, though.  Light and didn't take a lot of concentration to keep up with the story line, so great for long drives.

Stars: 3 1/2