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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch

Bestselling author, Donna Tartt, brings to life an array of complex, deeply flawed characters in her Pulitzer Prize winning novel.

Deserted by his father, Theo Decker lives alone with his mother in New York City. An explosion during a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art leaves Theo motherless. Although Theo escapes the worst of the blast, he carries with him lasting emotional scars. He also carries away a famous painting, The Goldfinch. In the ensuing years, Theo attempts to cope with his grief as various people, including his father, take him into their homes. His actions lead him into some dangerous, self-destructive territory. Meanwhile he can’t seem to bring himself to return the painting he stole.

This is a great book detailing a teenage boy’s agonizing yet often humorous journey into adulthood and the healing properties of art.

Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron

Sister Mother Husband Dog

"Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.)" is another great read from Delia Ephron. Delia, an author and screenwriter, is the sister of Nora Ephron and the two sisters collaborated on a number of terrific books and movies, such as; You've Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants so you’re guaranteed a great read.

This book is really fifteen glorious essays wrapped up in a beautiful memoir. Delia writes about her famous sister’s cancer and then death from myeloid leukemia in 2012 and how she misses her and their sisterhood connection. She discusses the Ephron family dinner table. The girl's parents were movie screenwriters themselves and hearing the words "that's a great line" or "that’s a great title" were commonplace. If you own a pet you know they are a member of your family. There’s a short story about Delia’s dog, Honey who has been chewing her tail. Why is she doing that and exactly how long has that been going on? Sometimes we see things in our everyday, ordinary lives and can’t really remember when they started. Don’t worry, Honey is okay. There is another story I loved where Delia discusses a banking problem and found myself shaking my head and agreeing with the way she handled the problem. And really, who doesn't love the smell of a bakery? Well, there is a great little story about that too. There are stories about her mother, her husband, fashion, girlfriends, food, vacations and more.

This book is full of funny, poignant short stories that will make you laugh out loud, shake your head in agreement and reflect on the moments that change our own lives. I highly recommend it.

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

Fannie Flagg is back with her wonderful storytelling and funny, quirky characters in "The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last
Reunion".

The book moves back and forth between two stories. Fifty-nine year old Sookie Poole accidently discovers that she is adopted. We follow Sookie’s journey in finding her birth mother and family which has some funny up and down moments. Flagg also tells the back story of Sookie's birth family. Along the way, we learn the source of the book’s title and the many important roles women played during World War II.

I am a fan of Fannie Flagg’s books. Her books describe everyday people’s lives with a touch of humor. I highly recommend "The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion" if you love these kind of books.

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd

Paris

From Edward Rutherfurd, the grand master of the historical novel, comes a dazzling epic about the magnificent city of Paris. Moving back and forth in time, the story unfolds through intimate and thrilling tales of self-discovery, divided loyalty, and long-kept secrets. As various characters come of age, seek their fortunes, and fall in and out of love, the novel follows nobles who claim descent from the hero of the celebrated poem The Song of Roland; a humble family that embodies the ideals of the French Revolution; a pair of brothers from the slums behind Montmartre, one of whom works on the Eiffel Tower as the other joins the underworld near the Moulin Rouge; and merchants who lose everything during the reign of Louis XV, rise again in the age of Napoleon, and help establish Paris as the great center of art and culture that it is today. With Rutherfurd's unrivaled blend of impeccable research and narrative verve, this bold novel brings the sights, scents, and tastes of the City of Light to brilliant life.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan

The Valley of Amazement

This is as much a historical novel as it is a family story about the profound connections between mothers and daughters. In addition to the family story, the reader learns about the finer points of life as a courtesan in early 20th century China through the eyes of Violet, the precocious "Eurasian" daughter of Lulu Minturn, who runs a very successful courtesan house in Shanghai. Sadly, at some point in the story, Lulu is forced to leave Shanghai and shockingly leaves her daughter at another courtesan house. Jumping from bustling Shanghai to an isolated village in rural China to San Francisco at the turn of the 19th century, the epic story follows three generations of women pulled apart by outside forces. For years, Amy Tan with much success has been writing novels of cross cultural conflicts as a result of cultural upheavals.

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