May Book Club

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2015 is off to a slow start for my reading challenge.  I tasked myself with reading 30 books (down from my usual 40 or 50) and I’ve only read 6, so I’m 4 books behind schedule.  I am in the middle of another book but about two weeks ago I noticed vision issues so until those get fixed, I’m on hold for reading because it’s too annoying.

  • Madness, Miracles, Millions by Joseph Semprevivo and Larry Semprevivo
  • The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim
  • Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland
  • The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
  • David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Tempting Fate by Jane Green

I reviewed Madness, Miralces, Millions previously.  The Terrorist’s Son, Lisette’s List, David and Goliath and The Gift of an Ordinary Day were books for my neighborhood book club.  Tempting Fate was a chick lit book just for leisure.

Two of the books for my book club I loved.  The Terrorist’s Son was a great read.  It was written by Zak Ebrahim, who’s father planned the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.  This book was well written and the story was very personal, fascinating and interesting.  It was also a short book, which was perfect for reading during my son’s nap time.  The author wrote this book after giving a speech at a Ted talk back in March of last year.  You can view the video here which gives some insight into the book, but I honestly thought the book was much more poignant than his talk because he went into more detail than he was able to do in a 9 minute talk.  I definitely recommend this book.

Lisette’s List was another one of my favorites.  Unlike Ebrahim’s story, this book was much longer.  It is set during WWII and follows the story of Lisette, newly married, who moves from Paris down to southern France to help her husband take care of his ailing grandfather.  As the story unfolds, her husband is sent off to war and the grandfather passes away but not until after the grandfather relishes stories of his dealing with famous French painters.  Lisette also inherits several famous French paintings that are hidden during the war and she must try to find them.  I really enjoyed the writing and I loved the story.  I’ve always been a big fan of French artists like Manet and Renoir so it was cool to read about them, even if it was a work of fiction. I also took French in high school so I enjoyed reading some French that was thrown in from time to time.  This story kept me captivated and I also recommend this story.

The other two books for my book club, I didn’t care for that much.  The Gift of an Ordinary Day was a sort of long book that seemed to ramble on.  It was the story told by the mom/wife in the family and how her family sold their house and bought an old farm house that they ended up having to tear down and rebuild.  She reflected on their lives during the two years it took to build the new house.  It had some good quotes and some good stories but I felt she repeated herself a lot and could have been much more succinct with her storytelling.  David and Goliath was the other book and while I have enjoyed Gladwell books in the past (like Outliers), this book didn’t resonate as much.  I did enjoy the beginning of the book when he talked about David and Goliath but then he goes on to tell other stories that were supported by research but I questioned the validity of the research.  One study was done by evaluating only 700 people and I felt like he should have used a bigger sampling size based on what he was trying to prove.  Some stories were motivating while others weren’t and I feel like someone could read the book and take the wrong message away.

The final book was Tempting Fate.  This is another book I would recommend but with a caveat.  It delves into martial affairs and I typically don’t like stories, whether in print or in film that deal with affairs.  This book, however, was an exception.  I felt like Green did a good job of covering a difficult topic while still making it light hearted and enjoyable and I liked the outcome of the story.  Overall, I would recommend this book as a nice beach read.

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