Books

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BOOK SHELF: Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

bernadetteThis one was a completely pleasant accident. My Mom forgot Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple at our place over Christmas so naturally I stole it and told her she couldn’t have it back until I was done.

 Oh how I love a complex rebel character and Bernadette has got that covered like  Zach Galifianakis  at the buffet.  For instance, she has such an aversion to the  pretentious parents at her daughter’s big bucks Seattle private school she accidently  causes a mudslide just  to avoid being with them.  High five!

When Bernadette’s 15 year old daughter Bee scores the perfect report card Bernadette and Dad, a Micosoft genius, have to buck up for a trip to ‘anywhere’ which turns out to be Antarctica.  This is a major problem because Bernadette has become a complete agoraphobic.  Why?  Because as a ground-breaking, modern, award-winning, ahead of her time architect she was mentally and spiritually devastated when her Magnum Opus was crushed…among other things.

 Then, as the $%&* is hitting the fan, Bernadette suddenly disappears.  Her oh-so-clever daughter Bee pastes together a trail of emails, documents and secret letters to figure out what could have happened to Mom?

 Where’d  You Go, Bernadette is about unbreakable family bonds, the unspoken understanding between Moms and daughters, following your gut and searching as far as you need to in order to find your destination.  It touched my heart and made me want to design my own house at the same time.

Completely loved this book!!

 *** ~ tara

Ratings System:
*wait for soft cover
**pretty good, like a mid-week red wine
*** Stay up past your bedtime

 

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BOOK SHELF: The Winter Palace (a novel of Catherine the Great) – by Eva Stachniak

 

the-winter-palaceBefore there was Facebook and Twitter and TMZ there were “tongues”.  These servants to the most royal courtiers in the world kept their ears and eyes open and their mouths shut.  Or did they?  When the humble and destitute Barbara becomes a chambermaid to the Empress Elizabeth in the Grand Russian Court her job is to spy on those all around and report back to her Queen.  

Right away Barbara becomes an expert at sneaking silently through the castle hallways listening through cracks and spying through keyholes for her Madame.  She is a clever study who learns the complicated ways of the court and uses them to her own advantage.  When Barbara catches the power bug herself she uses her skills, grace and influence to improve her own station.  Then long comes Sophie, a young naïve princess who needs a source on the inside. She and Barbara become loyal confidantes and friends…or are they just using each other in their quest for the upper echelons?  

If you like an overflowing gold trimmed bustier, sophisticated conniving, sex, power, whispers by candle light, wealth and politics The Winter Palace is for you.  This beautifully written, juicy historical novel about Katherine the Great’s climb to the top of the world’s most powerful court will keep you up long after your bedtime.

 

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BOOK SHELF: Who Killed Mom by Steve Burgess (A Delinquent Son’s Meditation on Family, Mortality and Very Tacky Candles)

Who Killed MomIt’s intimidating to review a book by a writer who you know will critique your critique.  I’ll risk it.  Who Killed Mom is a vulnerable and acerbic personal memoir-slash-momage by Steve Burgess.  In this witty love letter to his mother he manages to illuminate the quirky Burgess family history in a way that makes you smile and cringe at once.  Steve’s teen years alone are enough to make those considering children rethink the game plan.  

Among the laughs comes a more meaningful understanding of relationships with fathers and siblings.  We also take an amusing peek into 1970’s life in small town Canada complete with rumpus rooms and kitsch Christmas candles.    

At the bottom of it all lies a son’s deep love and affection for a tiny woman of impressive strength and character.  Moms of this generation sucked it up and suffered their roles silently.  This stoicism often resulted in disease. That’s what killed mom.