It started off strong but lost me after a senseless act of violence. Everything afterwards just frustrated and confused me.
I‘m probably going to settle in for a long winter‘s nap - after starting my new read. 😴
I‘m probably going to settle in for a long winter‘s nap - after starting my new read. 😴
Stunning prose highlighting grief, life, and finding ways to move on in the face of absolute tragedy. I liked this book, but it is not an easy read. If you‘re looking for something thoughtful and beautifully written, or something to channel strong emotions through that‘s outside of your own life, this is a great pick. I read it for a #Storygraph reading challenge and didn‘t regret it even though it has all the features I avoid period pieces for.
Finally, completed my first #bookspinbingo!!!
This book was on my TBR a long time. Beautiful, albeit melancholic writing. Some parts were brilliant, others I found cliched (predictable plot twists, cartoonish villains).
I picked this on a whim after finding it on sale. I'm so glad I did. Harris is an author to watch. His debut novel is so moving as he frames his story around the end of the civil war in America and the implications for a small community in the South.
Catching up on reviews this morning before my day starts.
This book was such a wonderful surprise. I read it because it was on several best-of lists and I can certainly see why now.
It's a slow burn of a story full of rich characters and beautiful settings. I was drawn into the vivid descriptions, the small town, and the big heart of a family who chose to do the right thing even when it meant standing alone.
This assured, emotionally rich debut is one to savor & take your time with. Set in the South, in the town of Old Ox, during the last days of the Civil War, this is a story about finding your courage & losing it, about cruelty—intentional, causal & unintended, about family, broken & whole, about love, & at its core, it‘s about hope. Whether George Walker is foolish or brave, what he sets in motion takes readers for quite a ride. Excellent.
A post civil war novel about the struggles of people recently freed from slavery, but also about white Americans with different loves and priorities from the majority. I found this lyrical and insightful, very impressive for a first novel. Some parts of the story are a little idealistic, inspiring a belief that a fairer society is possible, but also not quite believable. But the narrative is beautifully constructed and really drew me in.
Sorry about not posting for a couple of months. Dealing with some personal stuff.
New month, new book! Please join us in reading this month‘s selection. Zoom will be posted later in the month.
Questions? Ask @Bookworm83 or @Graciouswarriorprincess
It took me a little while to get into this book (or maybe it‘s because I haven‘t had as much downtime to focus on a book). I eventually found my stride & raced through the rest. It was an interesting story about a possible outcome of a small southern town post the Civil War. Each character provides a richness to the story & you feel connected to their struggles & their plight. It was a beautifully written story about difficult subject matter.
This took me a while to get into, but once I engaged with Isabelle, I was hooked. It's a tragic and inspirational story that's told softly. There's little about the writing that is overwrought, and yet it packs multiple gut punches. I also haven't read much fiction set in reconstruction era South, so I appreciated that aspect. This was my February #Bookspin @TheAromaofBooks
13 Dec 21-3 Feb 22
Booker Longlist #9
Set immediately after the end of the Civil War, this is a story of one family working to help two newly freed men and the repercussions for all of them. It is not a happy story, yet neither is it heavy or dark. It does not preach or generalise but tells a simple narrative.
I enjoyed it, more than many of the Booker nominees this year. And in the end it did feel as though good triumphed over evil in some way.
I loved this novel about a small town in the post civil war south. The characters were intriguing and different and it was a generally positive story of good triumphing evil. This definitely was a fictional feel good color blind story but I did enjoy the read. 4/5
Well-drawn, memorable characters. Georgia in aftermath of Civil War. LOVE the 3rd-person omniscient narrator with ATTITUDE. Like Tolstoy, compassion but w/ humor & some snark. Lyrical, straightforward prose. Keen detail. Beautiful depictions of natural world. Grief, courage, emancipation, familial love, violence, integrity. Young author w/ voice like an old master, amazing sentence-level craft. Authoritative, intimate. Confident & knowing. 2021
This was a better month than August because I finally finished three really long books and felt free to move on. (I eventually finished seven books this month.) It was a month of good, not great books. But it included this new charming oddball novel, which I really enjoyed on audio.
Why I always carry my Kindle. Queuing down the street for my booster. Maybe I can finish in time for book club tomorrow!
Found myself a sunny spot for some afternoon reading.
Getting started on our December Gladstonerds read. 😊
Thank you #Gladstonerds! Picked up this months book at work this afternoon, and came home to your very lovely postcard, with everyone‘s messages. I am SO sorry I didn‘t get there!
@squirrelbrain @TrishB @CGainor3 @jenniferw88 @julesG @Leniverse @scripturient @Oryx
Oh, this one is good. The incredibly rich characters, the increasing complexity of the story, and the gifted storytelling make this Reconstruction-era tale super engaging. I wasn‘t expecting the white characters to be so central, and while I‘m sure the redemption story wasn‘t so true-to-history, it‘s pleasant to think there may have been good souls like the Walkers.
Great audio narration took this strong debut up a notch for me, too.
The story takes place immediately following the Civil War. The author covers a lot of territory and for the most part I feel he does a good job outlining how people reacted to their new way of life. Critics seem to think the idea that there were white people who would work alongside former slaves was far-fetched, but I prefer to imagine it happened. I felt very connected with the characters and liked the story a lot.
Much like The Five Wounds that I read recently, I find myself thinking of the characters in this story when I‘m at work. I worry about them and wonder how they‘re doing. I was thinking about how this book, like The Five Wounds, reminded me of Luis Alberto Urrea‘s storytelling. Then wouldn‘t you know it! Just like he did for The Five Wounds, Urrea has written a recommendation for the back of this book.
Sweetness of Water: 3.75 stars
I‘m always a touch wary of the emotional toll that is sometimes exacted when a story deals with slavery. This one had some unexpected champions battling the predictable foes. A constant theme in this book was understanding what defines bravery. Should it be determined by whether you stand your ground or concede defeat? There is often strength in both.
Strange is the wrong word, but I thought it had some oddities. The dialogue is colorful and quietly dynamic, except when it's not. The prose in contrast is straight-forward and plain and clean. The contrast, exaggerated on audio, is kind of endearing. I enjoyed this.
My second from the Booker list, a novel on the immediate aftermath of Civil War, beginning days after surrender in Georgia.
There‘s lots to be commended in this debut novel, it‘s emotionally affecting and engaging storytelling. In lots of ways it reminded me of Kristin Hannah‘s Four Winds in that so much happens. At times I felt that Harris wasn‘t able to do justice to all the elements of plot and characterisation because there are so many. In the end, I felt it was probably more Oprah than Booker fare- but it was a good read regardless.
My next audio/Booker longlist book. Not a fan of the title. It has an unusual start and I‘m enjoying it so far. But, as with several other longish contemporary novels I‘ve read recently, it lacks some kind of strong hook upfront to draw me in. So, again, just good enough so far to keep me involved.
An extraordinary debut novel with lots to recommend. A novel about hope and courage in a variety of forms. But for me the reach was just too broad which meant the novel was unfocused. That‘s not to say I say did don‘t learn a lot. I had never really thought about transitioning to freedom in a racist society and the problems that would bring. But I would have liked more on that topic.
I‘ve had a ‘finishing off lots of books‘ kinda morning, so get ready for a few reviews….
I loved this #bookerlonglist nominee, particularly the audio narration. I think there is a slight issue of rose-tinted glasses in how George and his family would have behaved but it‘s a great story, captivating, life-affirming and sad all at the same time.
Will be on my Booker shortlist for sure.
The Sweetness Of Water .. All the stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There are some lovely books on the long list .. this is my favorite so far. The characters feel so real & there is a richness to all of it. I won‘t be able to think upon these characters without welling up for some time .. George ❤️ what a character. All of them ❤️ written with huge heart
Now he faced reality. That it was him. Alone. The thought was a bolt of fear, but he knew that he would come to know this new life as he'd learned to know all those that had come before - for every step in life had been an obstacle, yet here he was, still standing day after day, ready for whatever might happen next. The shred of hope felt like salvation, and it drew him toward a deep slumber.
#BookerLonglist2021 book 11
Wow for a debut novel this really packs a punch.
Parts of this are too violent and tragic to make it an enjoyable read but I did appreciate it.
Landry and Prentiss will stay with me and we could all learn a thing or 2 from George and Isabelle.
The notion of true emancipation had always seemed so fantastical that, were it to occur, Prentiss had expected the heralds of a bugle, rows of men in lockstep who would descend upon Majesty's Palace like angels brought down to serve the aims of God himself. In the actual event it was nothing but a few young men in blue uniforms as scraggy as the clothes that Prentiss and Landry had on themselves.