Book Reviews

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

Five Stars

I chose to listen to the audio version of this book because of the title and because I had work to do. I started just before Christmas, took a few breaks at the beginning of January, and finished during what has to be the coldest week on record. I listened, and I knit gifts. I considered the title as I pondered the story, and, to be honest, I’m still trying to figure out that part. But, I know why. Because it’s a Steinbeck novel.

Like other Steinbeck novels I’ve read, this is another of surprising revelation. Readers may be able to figure out some of the plot before the end of the story. But, the true reveal is not what happens to the characters. It is how they react to what happens. Steinbeck understood the human condition, and he understood that this condition determines our dreams, our motives, and our ultimate decisions. He knew what every enduring writer knows–how to create characters that live and breath within his readers regardless of profession, gender, or generation. His books are like mirrors. We may not like what we see (or hear or experience), yet we cannot turn away even after we turn the final page (or in my case, turn off the app).

All Steinbeck books seem to linger unforgotten on the bookshelves of the mind. I smile, thinking I almost have the meaning of the title determined. Then the idea grows cold again, and I trudge on while pondering a while longer. And I realize I can’t help myself. I’m still smiling.

Note: There is a fair amount of language and adult situations. Listen at your own discretion.

Book Reviews

Casting Off by Nicole R. Dickson

Five Stars

If you are looking for a good yarn that weaves characters from across seas and generations on a Ireland coastline or if you are inspired by anything related to knitting, you will love this book. The character development is well-structured and all the stories are bound together by common threads. These are people you wish you could share a cup of tea with at the end of a hard days’ work.

Book Reviews

The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Five Stars

I bought this book at a local writers conference for Christian authors. I’ve read several books about happiness in the past year. But, I liked the approach this book takes in matching our sense of intrinsic happiness with our personal style and by exchange how we can understand one another better through seeing someone else’s personal style. This book also gives a Christian viewpoint for a mainstream topic trend that I appreciated.

Book Reviews

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Five Stars

The Call of the Wild by Jack London calls to me every time I read it.  Seeing life through the eyes of animals has always intrigued me, and understanding Buck’s perspective is truly an analysis of human nature at its best and worst. This story inspired me to write my own literary short story based about a cat that will appear in an anthology next year. It is a story to learn from both for its characters and for its writing excellence.

Book Reviews

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Four Stars

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is an unfolding of perception through the main character over a span of decades. It’s one of the books that makes the reader wonder what in life has been misconstrued as fact within a particular person’s fiction. I caution readers about the first part since it contains self-involved, explicit inferences. Otherwise, I found it to be quite readable and an intriguing analysis of human perception.