Tag Archives: BookLIGHT

Randy’s Reviews: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

 

Randy’s Reviews: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (Randyjw; August 3, 2017

 

FIREFLY LANE. Copyright 2008 by Kristin Hannah. St. Martin’s Griffin; St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10010.

 

Firefly Lane is a fictionalized account of female friendship, which could deftly stand-in for the bonds formed in our own lives. Kristin Hannah relates a sisterhood which would be familiar to many women, as they read along through the decades of Tully Hart’s and Kate Mularkey’s interactions and emotions.

 

The two girls meet at age fourteen in the decade of the nineteen-seventies, becoming fast friends despite drastically different expressive styles. Their upbringing is also at opposite poles, inspiring “grass-is-greener” envy by both girls for the other’s lifestyle.

 

They swear fealty forever in friendship, and form a pact to follow the same career together, but maturation and life events effect reconsideration and change in later plans. The inner roiling of the girls’ thoughts as they deal with these repercussions and their impact on their relationship elicits sympathies of the reader on many levels. It did the same for me, as well, as I thought back on the same kind of situations and, even, actual details, which reminded me of female friendships shared with my own best friends.

 

Given these coincidences, the book really resonates with me. Based on the fact that it made a bestseller’s list, it apparently held appeal for many others, too. I did think the material-culture references too overdrawn, but also often nodded in appreciation of their nostalgic mention.

 

I’m afraid to encounter the seemingly wistful conclusions alluded to in other reviews, as I’ve not yet reached the end. I’m rooting for these fast, forever-friends to pull through.

 

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Randy’s Reviews: Chandra, by Catherine Coulter

 

 

 

Randy’s Reviews: Chandra, by Catherine Coulter (Randyjw; July 9, 2017)

 

I still have two pages left to finish this book, which I hope to do later this evening — but, I thought I’d write and post this review beforehand, nevertheless. This is another of those well-timed messages that seem to pop-up out of nowhere, perfectly attuned to your own peculiar situation and personality, lending it great resonance to your life at the specific time. And so it was with me, with regards to this particular book.

 

Chandra, the main character about whom the novel revolves, is a teenaged girl growing up in a patrician world, where women are expected to willingly tend to all household duties in their arranged marriages to bridegrooms chosen by their fathers. But Chandra’s tomboy tendencies, indulged by her father, clearly clash with others’ expectations for her, especially of the man who wishes to wed her (who is, also, thank goodness, her father’s pre-arranged choice).

 

The novel is set in medieval England during a period of active monarchy and feudalism, with all its attendant treacheries amongst the knighthood — the backstabbing, the clannishness, the alliances of convenience, like marriage, as appropos as any war strategies to expand land holdings and power.

 

Chandra’s headstrong, feminist tendencies lead to many adventures, and some troubles, as she learns how to negotiate her way in a male-oriented world. I find her quandary as relevant today, as they were in the days, centuries ago, of the timeframe which this novel portrays. Some of the issues are very disturbing, and the content is aimed for a mature audience. Because of that, I almost did not do the review. The way the issues are presented is as if seen through the lens of the century in which it falls. For instance, child marriage is seen as a more commonplace occurence. Women treated as chattel like objects, through trafficking and slavery, placement in a harem, and subservient to men is also some treatment themes addressed throughout the book, as are stereotypical depictions of the Muslim rulers fought against during the Crusades, written about as through the English, Christian perspective taken here.

 

I found that the style of the written language lent itself to far greater civility than our present structural usage employs and was, indeed, quite lovely in its romantic interludes. There was a beautiful poem in this style, for which more I’d hoped to be scattered throughout the book. There were, additionally, some rather descriptive page lengths of love scenes written out that would have steamed up my glasses, had I been wearing them.

 

Author Catherine Coulter’s biographic pictorial photo and her character, Chandra, were well-relatable to me, and I appreciated her usage of the name, Chandra, for her heroine, as I feel it gives a tributary nod and thoughtful gesture — much needed — for a poor girl, Chandra Levy, murdered recently, as all murders are, under suspicious circumstances.

 

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Exodus

 

guarding-the-gan

Photo: “Guarding the Gan” (Randyjw; 2017)

 

 

Exodus (Randyjw; February 23, 2017)

 

Kitty is my feral friend and sometime snugglepuss. I like the name Kitty, because it reminds me of the nurse of the same name in the movie, Exodus, and because she’ll think everybody is friendly, since they seem to already call her by name. She’s got alot of spirit, and is very sensitive and really sweet. She still lives a feral life, but has become more of an outdoor cat of the neighborhood, settling inside with me during inclement weather, for the most part.

 

In the movie, Exodus, the part of Kitty Fremont, the American nurse who falls in love with a Jewish man during the struggle of Jews to reach Israel (called “Palestine”, at that time) during the British Mandatory assignment period, is played by Eva Marie Saint.

 

The 1960 movie is based on the 1958 book by Leon Uris of the same name and is a fictional account based loosely on events during the period it portrays. I’ve watched the movie several times on television, as well as having enjoyed listening to the famous theme title to the movie.

 

Leon Uris was a war correspondent during those years, and writes extensively on Jewish subject matter. His books in that genre include: Exodus; Mitla Pass; Mila 18; The Haj; and QB VII. His style is in the manner of a historical fiction writer, others of which would include Trinity and Redemption. I really enjoy his books.

 

Wikipedia.org; “Exodus (1960 film)”:

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_(1960_film))

 

Wikipedia.org; “Leon Uris”:

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Uris)

 

 

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5 Recommended Authors and Their Books

 

5 Recommended Authors and Their Books (Randyjw; February 20, 2017)

 

Here are some of my recommendations from (mostly) popular authors and several of their books. I’ve listed them in my preferred reading order, not by when they were written. Most are very emotionally written, with gorgeous verse, and that is what makes these appealing to me. James Michener’s works converted me from hater, to lover, of history.

 

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1) Malika Oufkir —

 

Freedom: The Story of My Second Life

 

Stolen Lives

 

 

2) Amy Tan —

 

The Joy Luck Club

 

The Hundred Secret Senses

 

The Kitchen God’s Wife

 

The Bonesetter’s Daughter

 

 

3) James Michener —

 

The Covenant

 

Hawai’i

 

 

4) Khaled Hosseini —

 

The Kite Runner

 

A Thousand Splendid Suns

 

 

5) Saira Shah —

 

The Storyteller’s Daughter

 

 

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