Tag Archives: Bookclub

Little Mercies- Heather Gudenkauf

littlemercies

“You have to look for the little mercies, the small kindnesses and good that come from the terrible.”

For those playing the home game, you know that I love Heather Gudenkauf! I won’t bore you with what I said in my latest post about Little Lies, if you’re interested you can pop back a couple posts and check it out.

Once I figured out how to borrow ebooks from the library I quickly put all of Ms. Gudenkauf’s books on my wishlist and was alerted that Little Mercies was available. The problem was that I had already committed to finishing The Big Library Read, which didn’t take me that long to finish. I sometimes feel like I’m cheating on my goodreads reading challenge because I’ve been reading shorter books, but reading is reading I suppose.

Little Mercies is about Ellen Moore, a mother of three who is also a social worker taking care of the kids who don’t have a voice in unstable homes. One day everything turns around when Ellen is in a rush and doesn’t hear her husband yell from the porch an important detail that will plague her for the rest of her days. It is also about Jenny a ten year old girl who is living with her father paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes not even that.

Ultimately this book is about what we do for children; not only our flesh and blood but every child. Like the rest of her books that I have blogged about it is hard to discuss this book without spoiling the jaw dropping twists and turns that I have come to love from Ms. Gudenkauf. I’m waiting for her other books to become available on my library network so stay tunes for more blogs about this author. I hope she keeps at it because I will always pick up her books. You truly have a die hard fan over here Ms. Gudenkauf. Keep ’em coming!

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American Gods- Neil Gaiman

americangods

“So, none of this is happening. Such things could not occur in this day and age. Never a word of it is literally true, although it all happened, and the next thing that happened, happened like this…”

I had picked up this book ages ago and put it down shortly after finishing the first chapter. I wasn’t in the right mindset and I, surprisingly, hadn’t met anyone who had read it. Fast forward to about a month ago and everyone I talk to has read it and loved it! So, after finishing Into the Wild I went in the completely opposite direction and picked up the epic fantasy that is American Gods.

Let me start out by saying, I liked it. I really did. Do I think the middle lagged a little bit? Yes. All in all though it was a great story and the characters in it were endearing; well, most of them anyway. I felt like Gaiman had too many stories in his head and tried to make them all fit together, come hell or high water (no pun intended).

The story focuses on Shadow Moon a man who is imprisoned for robbing a bank. He’s quiet. He does his time and he is about to be released in to the loving arms of his wife. When the warden calls him in to his office he knows it’s bad news, maybe they’ve decided to keep him in longer and parole was just a huge joke. He’s wrong. The warden informs him that he will be getting out early because his wife was killed in a car accident the night before. So starts the journey. On his way to her funeral Shadow meets a man named Mr. Wednesday who promptly asks Shadow to be his right hand man. After some mead and a bout with a leprechaun Shadow agrees.

After this Shadow meets all kinds of gods, demi-gods, spooks, and haunts. None of which seems to phase him in the slightest. Not even when one of them bets him his life at a game of checkers. Nope. All of this seems perfectly normal to good ol’ Shadow. The only “normal” part of the book, and Shadow’s life it seems, is when his hiding out in a town called Lakeside in Wisconsin. He lives in a decent apartment, meets his neighbors, befriends the old guy whom everyone knows, and even gets in good with the local police. That’s when he hears about the child disappearances. Not so normal now.

It’s hard to describe what happens next. A lot happens. No, I mean a lot happens and doesn’t happen. When I finally made it to the end, which I loved (no spoilers here), I thought he could’ve achieved the same effect in a short story or a couple of short stories. Enter Fragile Things. It’s a short story collection by Neil Gaiman and there are a few in there about Mr. Wednesday and the whole AG crew. Maybe I will get more answers in there.

All in all I did enjoy it. A little long and a little sweeping in my opinion but I did enjoy being with Mr. Wednesday and his band of gods. I’m interested to see how they’ll pull this off as a mini-series next year. I still refuse to watch The Magician’s.


Fates and Furies- Lauren Groff

12185576_10101351024338677_6429960017375743742_o.jpgParadox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.

I picked this book up from the Lucky Days collection from the library about a month back. Now, you’ll remember that you have seven days to finish a book in the collection; and since I was in a deep dark Breaking Bad hole, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. [What household needs five streaming applications, I ask you?] I gave it back, sadly, to the library. Then I was at a Target buying curtain rods when I happened upon it and realized that I hadn’t bought my “treat yo’ self” gift of the week. So enters Fates and Furies.

Fates and Furies tells the relationship and backstories of Lancelot [Lotto] and Mathilde. Two young lovers that have a whirlwind romance and marriage and end up spending the rest of their lives together, something you don’t see working out too often. In Fates you get the backstory of Lotto a poor little rich kid from Florida with an eccentric mother and doting Aunt. You also get the beginning of his acting career and the beginning of his marriage with Mathilde. While I liked Lotto’s side and it really does help put things in perspective, it was Furies that really grabbed me.

In Furies you come to understand the magnitude of the things that are unsaid between two people. The things that we keep hidden and keep just for ourselves alone, and that is what the novel is about. The bits and pieces of ourselves that we keep locked away, things that no one needs to see, because it makes things easier if they don’t know. Also, the things we do for the ones we love. How we keep them a float and ourselves be damned.

The part that really got me, though, was the end. Yeah, I cried. It was when she talks about the everyday of marriage.

All those ordinary afternoons, listening to footsteps in the beams of the house and knowing the feel behind them.

Because I know the sound of my fiance’s steps and the creaks that he makes in the floorboards, and it is those little things that I cherish as well.

This book will not leave you quickly, nor should it. It begs for a re-read the second you finish the last chapter. Wanting to go back and see if you can piece together the things you may have missed the first time through. There are two sides to every story. This one is no different.