Monday, June 1, 2020

May 2020 in Books

Well quarantine life is clearly interfering with my ability to read lots of books!  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  We've been getting a lot done around the house, I'm catching up on scrapbooking, and we're spending a lot of time doing family things (including binge watching all five seasons of Psych).  Anyway, only five books this month.  My favorite was Pachinko.  Here's the rundown on what I read:

Through The Bookstore Window
- Bill Petrocelli - fiction -  four stars - This was a really interesting book.  It's about Gina Perina, a woman who escaped the Balkan war years ago, but is still looking over her shoulder.  She finds out that her old enemies have been asking after her, and also learns that someone she has been searching for has been found.  This story bounces between the past and present to tell Gina's story, and there was a pretty unexpected twist as well.  I thought it was a pretty good book, although I feel like the story itself was a little far fetched, but still a decent read.

The Wild Robot Escapes (The Wild Robot, #2) - Peter Brown - juvenile fiction - five stars - We LOVED the first Wild Robot book, and this one was just as good, Carina even said it was better than the first book.  In this book, Roz has been reconditioned and is purchased by a family who owns a farm to help out around the farm.  Roz has managed to retain her memory, and is determined to get back to Brightbill and her friends on her island, but she also does her best to help out her new farm family.  This was such a good book, Carina and I were reading it together, a few chapters at a time in the morning, but then she decided she didn't want to wait and just flew through the rest of the book by herself.  A must read for kids!

The Daughter's Tale - Armando Lucas Correa - historical fiction - four stars - The story of a Amanda Sternberg and her two daughters who must flee Berlin.  One daughter is sent across the Atlantic to her uncle, the other stays with her mother and flees to France, to a family friend and her daughter.  Of course, the Nazis eventually end up in France.  Amanda must figure out how to save her youngest daughter.  This was a great story, but so twisted in terms of how it ended, and how her daughter and friend's daughter survived.  I really didn't like how it ended, and didn't understand how the girls could allow it to end that way. 

When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History - Massoud Hayoun - memoir - three stars - This was a really interesting book.  It's about a Jewish family, originally from Egypt and Tunisia, and how though they identify ethnically as Arab, that designation has essentially be taken from them.  I found the parts about their story fascinating, especially how Arab Jews are discriminated against in the mainstream Jewish world (which prioritizes European Jews), but are now also were ostrasized and unwelcome in the Arab world to a large extent because of the formation of the nation of Israel.  This was a difficult read though, there was a lot of deep diving into historical details that I thought detracted from the overall story, and a lot of random commentary that just seemed unfocused.

Pachinko - Min Jin Lee - historical fiction - five stars - I really loved this book.  It follows the story of a Korean family living in Japan from pre-WWI through present day.  I love these kind of epic generational stories, and this one was really good.  There were definitely parts of the story that frustrated me, but the personalities were so well developed and the book did such a good job or illustrating the discrimination that the family faced from the Japanese and the difficult decision to stay in Japan, or return to something completely unknown in Korea.  This is a must read.

I'm currently finishing up Hunting the Truth, Memoirs of Beate and Serve Klarsfeld, and next up are the last two of the books I borrowed from the library in my last minute visit:  The Great Flowing River, and Clara's War.  I'm hoping by the time I finish those, the library will be opened for pick-up orders.  Would love to know what you've been reading this month!

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