Saturday, April 9, 2016

Paper in the Wind: Peeling back the lifespan of autism in the wake of tragedy by Olivia Mason-Charles

Paper in the Wind: Peeling back the lifespan of autism in the wake of tragedyPaper in the Wind: Peeling back the lifespan of autism in the wake of tragedy by Olivia Mason-Charles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I downloaded Paper in the Wind to my kindle and read it quickly, but I found the writing to be awkward at times, and the characters are stereotypical. Written in a format that suggests it is a true story, this book describes a single father raising a young daughter with autism. The story covers the struggles that he and his daughter face dealing with her autism, but I felt the story over simplifies many of the issues that families face when dealing with the reality of autism spectrum disorders.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Coal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Coal RiverCoal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Coal River. I have read previous books from this author, and her stories are full of hardship and heartaches and this book was no exception. The central character Emma endures unfathomable struggles, first watching her younger brother die in the river as a young girl, then having her parents die in a fire as a young woman, which leaves her only option to return to Coal River and live with her Aunt & Uncle. Emma is horrified by the conditions in the town for the mining families, especially the rampant abuse of children as mine laborers. She quickly discovers that in a coal town, the mining company has all the power. Emma tries to help the mining families, but her actions lead to disaster. The plight of coal miners is a subject that has been written about by many authors, but this book focuses on the specific issue of child labor through Emma's fascination with the 'breaker boys' who work in dangerous conditions, without any safety equipment, and often get hurt or even killed by the large machinery. The characters are well developed and the author has done a wonderful job of making the reader feel empathy toward Emma and her fight to help the breaker boys and coal families. At times the descriptions of the scenery do get lengthy but overall the book is well written and the story moves along at a fast pace. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid by Alex Lichtenstein

Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of ApartheidMargaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid by Alex Lichtenstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As most of my friends know, I love learning about history so I was thrilled to win a copy of this book through Goodreads. A detailed looked at the work of famed photographer Margaret Bourke-White, this book details the travels and work of Bourke-White who worked for Time magazine from its first edition. Bourke-White offers an incredible look at the reality of Apartheid South Africa. The book explores not only her work in Africa, but shows her development as one of the prominent photographers of the 20th century. From her coverage of the poverty in the deep south of America in the 1930's, to the German surrender and liberation of Buchenwald Concentration camp at the end of World War II, Bourke-White was a witness to some of the most brutal events in recent history. Although the writing was a little dry and academic at times, I thoroughly enjoyed this look at the life and work of an amazing woman.

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

The Life We BuryThe Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chosen by my book club, I really enjoyed this book. The story instantly draws you in with the main character Joe Talbert, who is a likable college student dealing with more than his fair share of struggles in life. Joe winds up in an english class in college that requires him to wrote a biography. He decides to stop at a local nursing home to find someone to write about, and there he meets Carl Iverson, a convicted murderer who is dying from cancer. Joe and Carl begin to develop a relationship, and as Joe does more research to learn about Carl for his assignment, he begins to believe in Carl's innocence. Struggling with a selfish, alcoholic mother, a younger brother who is autistic, and a beautiful but distant next door neighbor, Joe and Lila, his neighbor, begin to unravel clues in the decades old case that may be able to clear Carl's name before he dies. Although I had a strong sense of where the story was headed, the book is fast paced and has a few twists and turns, which kept my attention. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

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