Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

2023 Challenge: Book I Bought Second Hand: Twelve Patients: Life And Death At Bellevue Hospital

 Book: Twelve Patients: Life And Death At Bellevue Hospital

Author: Eric Manheimer

Pages: 368

This is my 18th read for the year

This is a non-fiction recounting of the author's time as a medical director at Bellevue Hospital.  He tells the story of 12 different patients he cared for - from dignitaries to prisoners.  He delves into their families, their personal back stories and their lives after the hospital to spin the side that is often missed with medical personnel.  These are real people with real problems and families that love them.  When he becomes a patient himself, he talks about his struggles to still care for his patients while he also needs to care for himself.

This was a pretty good book.  I have been wanting to read this one because they based the TV show "New Amsterdam" on this hospital and Dr. Manheimer.  The author does a good job at recounting the lives of the patients he stories and puts a human spin on even the prisoner from supermax.  He is heart felt and caring for everyone that walks through his doors and it shows.  I did look Dr. Manheimer up after I read this book, and he is alive and doing well - even after a serious cancer diagnosis.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book By A First Time Author: Tell The Wolves I'm Home

 Book: Tell The Wolves I'm Home

Author: Carol Rifka Brunt

Pages: 384

This is my 17th read for the year

This is the story of June Elbus.  She is a 14 year old girl in 1987 who feels like the only person who understands her is her Uncle Finn. Finn is a renowned painter who has been painting June and her sister each Sunday afternoon -trying to get the portrait just right.  While June's sister wishes that Finn would hurry up so she could get back to her life, June hopes that the painting never ends.

However - when Finn dies, June feels lost.  The painting of the girls becomes famous and makes the news, so June's parents secure it in a vault - telling June and her sister they can go and see it anytime they want.  June discovers that Finn had someone else in his life - and she feels betrayed that she wasn't the most important person in his life.  As she gets to know Toby, their mutral love for Finn brings them together.  As June and her sister start to rebel Finn's life with Toby and even before as his life as a brother to June's mom- come to light.  And June does not know where that leaves her.

This wasn't a great book.  I did finish it, but should have quit about half way through.  Weak characters that I never really felt drawn to care about.  June and her sister Greta's relationship is so up and down it will make your head spin.  I found the relationships between June and her Uncle and Toby disturbing.  

I just couldn't get into it.  Not for me.

Stars: 2

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book About A Family: The Latecomer

Book: The Latecomer

Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz

Pages: 448

This is my 16th read for the year

This is the story of the Oppenheimer family.  A wealthy New York family where parents - Salo and Joanna - are trying to start a family.  Salo - always a little stuck in the past due to an accident he caused that killed two people - he is never quite in the same place as Joanna as far as family. After several failed IVF attempts, the final one results in twins - two boys and a girl.  Joanna finally feels she has the family she always wanted.  However - as the children grow, and never becomes close (Even growing to greatly dislike each other) and Salo withdraws further into his art collection and his past, things start to fall apart.  An affair, the reveal of family secrets, and a late in life baby finally bring the Oppenheimer family to the breaking point.  

Told from the view of the fourth child - a child born 17 years after her siblings - as she grows, she tries to bring her fractured family back together and get the family she wishes she had all along.

This was a pretty good book.  It started strong, and I was very invested in figuring out how the triplets came to hate each other so much.  I did not care for two of the three triplets - Sally and Harrison were awful.  When Pheobe - the 4th child - entered the picture, the book got a bit better, but the writing seemed to peter out and the book ended kind of quickly.  Just left me a little unsatisfied as far as the characters and story.

Stars: 3.5 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book With Just Text on the Cover: Quiet - The Power Of Introverts In A World That Just Can't Stop Talking

 Book: Quiet - The Power Of Introverts In A World That Just Can't Stop Talking

Author: Susan Cain

Pages: 352

This is my 15th read for the year

This non-fiction novel explores the topic of introverted people and how undervalued the author thinks they are. In a world that expects people to be extroverted to get ahead, Cain explores all the people who have gone on to do great things (Einstein, Gates, etc) who were truly introverted people. The author researches and explores people who prefer listening over talking or wish to work alone instead of a group, and what that means for them socially and professionally.
This was a pretty good book. I live with two introverts, so I could relate to quite a bit in this book relevant to my husband and youngest daughter. Both are painfully shy when it comes to being social - crave intimate relationships and quiet evenings at home instead of parties and large groups. I have come to appreciate and accept their comfort level. If you have introverts in your life - or are one yourself - check this book out.
Stars: 4

Saturday, February 4, 2023

2023 Challenge: Shortest Book On Your TBR list: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

 Book: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Author: Stephen King

Pages: 128

This is my 14th read for the year

This is the story of a prisoner named Andy Dufresne.  Convicted of killing his wife and her lover, he ends up in Shawshank prison on a life sentence.  His story is told by a fellow prisoner named Red who has been in Shawshank for a long time by the time Andy arrives.  In a story that Red writes about Andy and his time in prison, we learn how Andy spent his time in Shawshank and how he ultimately escapes.  

I will leave it right there because my guess is that most people have seen the movie at this point.  It is one of my favorites, and being a King fan, I don't know what took me so long to read this Novella.  There are differences between the book and the movie (for one Red in the book is a white Irishman) but not too many.  I did like the ending of the movie a bit better than the ending of the book, but overall it is well written and a great read.

Stars: 5

Friday, February 3, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book About A Vacation - Headhunters On My Doorstep

 Book: Headhunters On My Doorstep

Author: J. Maarten Troost

Pages: 272

This is my 13th book for the year

In Troost's newest installment, he is headed back to the South Pacific.  He has struggled with alcoholism and after rehab and getting himself sober, he set out on a vacation to reconnect to what he loves most - travel.  He falls the path of Treasure Island author - Robert Louis Stevenson and lands himself in the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti, Kirbati and Samoa.  He meets several other world travelers, and people from all walks of life as he takes us on a journey through the history of this part of the world, and how Stevenson ended up here.

This was another great book by Troost.  I have read all of his books and find him charming, enlightening, educational, and very funny.  His travels and his tales make me long to get back out there and start traveling regularly again.  I was sad to hear he had fallen on hard times, but glad to read that he was in recovery.  He is a great author, and I look forward to reading more of his travels in the future.

Stars: 5

Thursday, February 2, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book With A Color In The Title: Purple Hibiscus

 Book: Pruple Hibiscus

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 336

This is my 12th book for the year

This is the story of Kambili.  She is a 15 year old girl living with her parents and brother in Enugu Nigeria.  Her familyis wealthy - and they want for nothing.  She is shielded from the troubles around her.  However - behind closed doors, her family is not a picture perfect unit.  Her papa is a tyrant - and life is suffocating for Kambili and her brother.  When Kambili and her brother are sent to visit her aunt, they discover that there are homes filled with laughter, and books, and rancous discussion.  Their eyes are opened to how suffocated they really are.  When traged strikes, Kambili must do what she can to hold her family together.

This was an okay book.  I am a fan of this author - Half Of A Yellow Sun is one of my favorite novels.  This one just missed the mark for me.  For one - I found it a bit rambling.  It was mundane overall and just lacked life.  I didn't really connect with the characters.  And I am not a fan of stories about domestic violence.  I always struggle with these books - often quitting them.  I stuck with this one - wanting to see if a story outside of that developed.  It did - but it wasn't interesting enough to give this book more than 3 stars.

Stars: 3