Tag Archives: Book Review

Hannukah In America- This Candle Did Not Last Eight Days

On a whim, I decided to take out from the library, Hannukah In America, Diannes Ashton’s book about the history of the celebration of Hannukah in the United States.

She explores not just the celebration within the United States, but the origins of the holiday in Ancient Israel. The story of Hannukah is the story of the Maccabees, religious Jews who led a rebellion against the Hellenic invaders and reclaimed the temple for their people.

This book could be interesting. The story of the celebration of Hannukah is the story of the Jews in America, how they survived and thrived. I found the book to be boring. There is a way to write a history book that appeals to the reader and brings the history to life. Ms. Ashton does not do this. It reads like a college history book, the type of reading that is done because it has to be done, not because the book is interesting to the reader.

I was hoping that this book would be enlightening and interesting, but sadly, it is not.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books

Northanger Abbey Review- I Wouldn’t Mind Visiting This Abbey

Classic novels are classic for a reason. In what they hope will be an easy book to write and have published, some writers may try to take a classic novel and bring it into the 21st century.

In the most recent cases of the modern reboots of Sense and Sensibility and The Age Of Innocence, the writers did little more than transfer the language, technology, clothing and transportation from the original time period to our time.

Thankfully, Val McDermid’s new novel,  Northanger Abbey, based upon the Jane Austen novel of the same name, does not belong in this category.

This story is the same as the original novel. Cat Moreland is 17 years old, from Piddle Valley, Dorset, England. A, sheltered, bookwormish minister’s daughter who was home schooled, Cat, is invited by her parent’s childless friends, Mr. and Mrs. Allen to Edinburgh (Bath in the original novel).

As in the original novel, she meets the brother/sister duo’s of John and Isabella Thorpe and Henry and Eleanor Tilney. I won’t give the story away (I highly recommend reading this book if you haven’t), but one sibling duo turns out to not be so trustworthy and the other does turn out to be trustworthy.

Northanger Abbey is not one of my favorite Austen novels. This original novel is very much a transition book for Austen, as a writer.  Her writing is starting to contain elements of later, more mature novels, but there are still traces of  her early Juvenalia works.  As to this modern reboot, the middle section was a little slow, but overall, it was a good read.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

The Sisters Weiss Book Review

There is always something about an ultra-religious insular community that always seems to intrigue the less religious, more modern secular world.

Naomi Regan has made a career of writing about women in the ultra-orthodox Jewish communities of Israel and New York. I’ve read Jephte’s Daughter, Sotah, and the Sacrifice of Tamar, but it’s been a few years since I’ve delved into the her novels.

Her latest novel, The Sisters Weiss, tells the story of two sisters and the very different paths their lives take.

Growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the 1950’s, Rose and Pearl Weiss are raised in a loving ultra-orthodox family. At the beginning of the book, Rose is the good girl, favored by her parents over her  younger trouble making sister. When Rose meets Michelle, she is exposed to the outside world and begins to slowly rebel from her parents and her community.  The night before Rose is supposed to marry a boy chosen for her, she runs away, affecting everyone in her family, including her younger sister.

40 years later, Pearl’s youngest daughter, Rivka is eager to experience the world and runs away. Her mysterious and unknown Aunt Rose seems to be the best person to run to. Rose has been exiled from her family. Because of Rivka’s actions, both Rose and Pearl must not only deal with the world they were raised in, but also the consequences of their actions.

Since it’s been a number of years since I’ve read Ms. Ragen’s books, I’ve forgotten what an incredible writer she is.  These characters could be very stereotypical, but they aren’t.  The relationship between the sisters seemed real, no different than any other sibling relationship.  I could understand Rose’s rebellion, but I also understood Pearl’s need to cling to the life and the beliefs that she was raised with.

You don’t have to be religious or Jewish to enjoy this novel. I highly recommend it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Reviews

The Book Thief Review

It’s not difficult to find books and movies about Nazi Germany. A good majority of these stories focus on the victims of the Nazis.  A few take a different standpoint, telling the stories of the ordinary Germans who, whether they liked it or not, were forced to live under Nazi rule. 

Markus Zusak’s book, The Book Thief  is about an ordinary young lady and her life during World War II. Liesel Meminger’s brother has recently died. Taken from her mother, she is given to Hans and Rosa Hubermann to raise as their foster daughter. 

She soon learns to read and begins stealing books.  Her foster parents are hiding a Jewish man.  While externally following those around her, her internal growth and beliefs are contrary is what is being taught around her.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I enjoyed this book. It is a little slow, but when it gets going, it’s really good. 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Reviews