Tag Archives: book diva blog

Reading, Reading and Reading Some More

I am so behind on my blogging. And, the main reason is that I have been reading, reading, and reading some more. Most of what I have read this past week are books I could not put down once I started them. Of course some of the reality of life’s moments have kept me extremely busy, also.

The books I have finished reading, this past week are:

And The Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

Children of the Ghetto: A Study of a Peculiar People, by Israel Zangwill

The Loves of Judith, by Meir Shalev

The First Lady of Fleet Street

The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases From a State Hospital Attic

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Sunday News – June 2, 2013

shore calm iStock_000002005894Small

Here is a list of summer reads from the Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times has its own list of summer books.

I anxiously await Thomas Keneally’s new book, The Daughters of Mars: A Novel, due out in August 2013.

Speaking of Thomas Keneally, take a look at the impressive list of books he has authored.

Coming soon, in June
.

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Book Diva Review: Benevolence and Betrayal

benevolence and betrayal cover Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism, by Alexander Stille is intense, compelling and extraordinary in its details and depths.

The stories within this compelling book revolve around five Italian Jewish families preceding and during World War II, and their plight, idealism, their commonalities and their differences. Put together the stories read like an intriguing and profound historical novel, rather than five separate accountings of Italian Jewish families whose lives are affected in different, yet similar, ways.

Benevolence and betrayal
, the title of the book, stems from the fact that the Italian Jews and fascism seemingly coexisted for almost two decades before the antisemitism and its roots dug deep into the skin and earth of the Italians, gripping like a vine, and causing some to betray Jews, and others to rush to help them.

Although the families come from different backgrounds, social classes, occupations and geographical areas of Italy, their stories are strong and vivid, and each one represents a part of the whole, in the Italian-Jewish structure.

From the accounts of the lives of a Jewish fascist family and an antifascist Jewish family, a Jewish family living in the ghettos of Rome and a family in Genoa, and finally to a family whose members were deported to Germany, the book is a revelation on the actual issues and almost unknown situations that happened to occur in Italy during World War II.

Alexander Stille’s book is more than compelling, it is a profound and historical accounting of events in Italy leading up to, and including, World War II, and it is eye-opening, heart-wrenching, mesmerizing and absorbing read. I was astounded by what I read, and realize how ignorant I had been about the Italian Jewish factor during World War II. I read Benevolence and Betrayal straight through in one day.

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Filed under Book Diva's Book Reviews, General, Italian History, Jewish History, Non-Fiction, World War II

Book Diva Review: 11/22/63

11 22 63 king Gripping, intense, a page-turner, vivid, are just a few of the words I use to describe 11/22/63, By Stephen King.

From the first page until the last, I could not put the book down, and that is saying a lot, because the book has almost 900 pages!

The story line revolves around the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and how the protagonist, Jake Epping, becomes involved in the past in ways he never imagined. He is privy to a wormhole of sorts, that is located in the back of an old diner, owned by a man named Al. Through this portal, he is able to transcend time, from Maine in the present year of 2011, to September 9, 1958.

He initially decides to go back in time in order to right a wrong, the massacre of a janitor’s family, by the janitor’s father. This journey leads to another one, and Jake is convinced by Al, to fulfill a mission, that of stopping the Kennedy assassination.

The novel relays, step by step, how Jake tries to stop the Kennedy assassination through his travels within alternate realities. He transitions, emotionally and mentally with each passage back in time. He could be gone for hours or days, but when he returns to the present in 2011, only two minutes have passed by. When returning to the present things take on a different perception. Varied layers and subtleties occur during those two minutes.

During his travels he meets Sadie, and they eventually fall in love. This love will haunt him in both the past and the present, in ways the reader can not imagine.

I was intrigued with how Jake became involved with Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated Kennedy. It was fascinating to read about some of Oswald’s background, as far as residences and his daily comings and goings. I remember reading newspaper articles, and watching the TV to garner more information on the man.
Since that time period, much more has been learned about Oswald, the assassination, and the events preceding it. King goes further, and more in depth on Oswald, and his research shows his impeccable attention to detail. Things we take for granted, such as a fence, are enhanced in an exceptionally defined form. Even the most minute element is greatly illuminated into a brilliant word-visual.

King takes us on a journey, not only through time, but through tragedy, with his extensive and exhausting research. He leaves no stone unturned in defining daily life during that time period, from architecture to town squares, from clothes to style, societal mores to social stigma, it is all masterfully depicted within the pages. Some of what we read is extremely insightful of the mood of the nation, before the assassination.

The Jake is a realized character, and this reader found him believable in his depiction, his aspiration and his sense of urgency. This is due to King’s sense of humaneness, and individual struggles of good over evil, for the sake of humanity.

King writes masterfully, and with clarity and cognizance. This is one novel that is not a horror-based one, but rather one that tackles an age-old question. King leaves us to ponder, to question, to envision what our world might look like, today, if we could actually go back in time and change the course of history. By changing the course of history, what would the present be like? Would it be better or worse? Would the positives outweigh the negatives, or vice versa? If you change one aspect, it affects the entire world. One event is just a small measurement or particle of the whole, the entirety of the planet.

I highly recommend 11/22/63, by Stephen King, to everyone!

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Book Diva Thoughts

I have not been blogging the past few days, as the news regarding Boston kept me pretty much glued to the TV, the internet, and other avenues of news gathering. My words would have been inadequate, as far as a book review goes.

Today I decided to blog, but my post is short, and doesn’t contain a book review.

I have not been motivated to read until last night, when I began The Innocents, by Francesca Segal.

I have a couple of books on my night table to read:

The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty

The Language of Flowers
, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

That is it for today. Thanks for the visit.

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Sunday Book News – April 7, 2013

Bridging individuals a Book at a Time

Bridging individuals a Book at a Time

I am in the middle of reading Provenance, by Ronald Florence.

I bought Bristol House, by Beverly Swerling and will start is today.

Book news:

World Book Night is April 23, 2013.

Americanah, is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new book. Read about it!

Outside the Wire: American Soldier’s Voices from Afghanistan, by Edited by Christine Dumain Leche, looks to be a very compelling read.

Books-The New York Times

L.A. Times Books

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Books I Want to Read

These are just a few of the latest releases and soon-to-be released books that are on my list to read:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking looks to be an intriguing read.

For Maeve Binchy fans, her latest book, A Week in Winter, was released last week.

Maurice Sendak’s last book, finished before he died, has been released…check out My Brother’s Book.

Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller will be released on February 26, 2013.

The Dinner, by Herman Koch, sounds like an interesting story line.

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