Book Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

Book Review: A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
Pages: 462
Published by Viking
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel   With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

My Takeaway  “After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or…

Book Review: The Book of Unknown Americans

Book Review: The Book of Unknown AmericansThe Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henriquez
Pages: 286
Published by Knopf
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
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A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.

My Takeaway  “I know some people here think we’re trying to take over, but we just want to be a part of it. We want to have our stake. This is our home, too.” Cristina Henríquez, The Book of Unknown Americans Although this book was published in 2014…

Book Review: Small Great Things

Book Review: Small Great ThingsSmall Great Things
by Jodi Picoult
Pages: 470
Published by Ballantine Books
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
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Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

 My Takeaway  “You say you don’t see color…but that’s all you see. You’re so hyper aware of it, and of trying to look like you aren’t prejudiced, you can’t even understand that when you say race doesn’t matter all I hear is you…

Short & Sweet Book Reviews

Book reviews in 100 words or less – so you get busy reading!  All is Not Forgotten is an intriguing and intelligent psychological thriller. It is about a 15-year-old girl who is brutally attacked and raped at a party. Her parents agree to a controversial treatment that erases…

Book Review: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

Book Review: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and LongerAnd Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
by Fredrik Backman
Pages: 96
Published by Atria Books
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

My Take  “But the universe gave you both Noah. He’s the bridge between you. That’s why we get the chance to spoil our grandchildren, because by doing that we’re apologizing to our children.” Fredrik Backman, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer “Are we…