Beth's Book Review

March 10, 2019

Educated by Tara Westover (Random House, 2018)   Close your eyes for a moment. Picture yourself sitting at your desk in the first grade. Did you like your teacher? What were you learning in school? Did you look forward to being with your friends in class and at recess? When each September ...

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Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case that Propelled him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams and David Fisher. (Hanover Square Press, 2018)   The point of view from which a novel is told influences the reader’s perception of events, until we decide whether or not to trust the narrator. I wouldn’t ...

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. (Harper, 2018)   Twelve million civilians died in the death camps in Europe during World War II. Six million victims were of the Jewish faith; the other six millions were comprised of political prisoners, gypsies, homosexuals, Catholics, and the ...

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All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner. (Atria, 2014). Jennifer Weiner has captured the angst and humiliation of a young mother who is trapped in a situation that many professionals in their 30s, 40s and 50s face. While balancing a demanding career with raising children and caring for aging parents, ...

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Tony’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani (Harper and Collins, 2018) When I was a teenager, dancing in my room to “Dancin’ Machine” by the Jackson Five or “Jungle Boogie” by Kool and the Gang, my father would, on occasion, poke his head into my room and query, “What are you listening to?” I knew that I ...

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Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown Publishers, 2018) Becoming by former First Lady, Michelle Obama, is an autobiography that exudes the grace of a woman who exemplifies everything that a female can aspire to become in today’s world. Throughout the book, Obama follows the theme that she sets out ...

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The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation  by Ian K. Smith, M.D. (St. Martin’s Press, 2018)   Dr. Ian K. Smith has written a delightful and easy to digest new book, The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation. Unlike many diet books that are mired in technical language ...

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Who Knew? 10,001 Household Solutions by Bruce and Jeanne Lubin (Castle Point Books, 2018)   “What’s this book?” my friend, Linda, asked me picking up my new copy of Who Knew? 10,001 Household Solutions by husband and wife writing team,  Bruce and Jeanne Lubin. Linda was paging through the ...

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All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani (Harper, 2015)   When I was a little girl, before there was colored television, sometimes I would watch a show where a beautiful, mature lady would enter a room through French doors, and greet her tv audience. The woman wore spectacular gowns ...

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The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (Harper Collins, 2018) Who would have thought that the “nymphet” of Humbert Humbert’s perverted fantasies in the famous Vladimir Nabokov novel, Lolita, published in the United States in ...

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Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine, 2013) Jodi Picoult is the Law and Order author of our times. She uses stories “ripped from the headlines” as seeds for her plotlines and, thus, presents readers with a framework in which to discuss important societal issues, such as school shootings, ...

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (Penguin, 2016)   For those readers who love thrillers, Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door, has the elements of a fine one. After all, stories about baby kidnappings are gripping as aficionados of the genre know. If the cops don’t get the stolen baby back ...

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The Liberators: America’s Witnesses to the Holocaust by Michael Hirsh (Bantom Books, 2010)   “It was bad. It was very, very bad,” said Jay Dakelman, a medic with the 3rd Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. He was describing to me the first moment that he stepped into a concentration ...

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Anchor Books, 2013)   Crazy Rich _________________. Fill in the blank with almost any ethnicity on the face of the earth, and the story will probably be similar from culture to culture. At the economic apex of every society one can expect to have the ...

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The Race to Save the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport (St. Martin’s Press, 2018) On July 18, 1918, amidst the backdrop of the First World War and violent revolutions occurring within Russia, the entire Imperial Romanov family was executed while in captivity. As the 100th anniversary of the horrific ...

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The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (Bantam, 2016)   Just a few months ago I published a Retro-Review of In Cold Blood, written by one of the greatest 20 century American authors, Truman Capote. For those of us who remember seeing the more than eccentric writer, who was chased by ...

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The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation  by Ian K. Smith, M.D. (St. Martin’s Press, 2018)   Dr. Ian K. Smith has written a delightful and easy to digest new book, The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation. Unlike many diet books that are mired in technical language ...

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The Rooster Bar by John Grisham (Dell, 2018) Three law students, Todd Lucero, Mark Frazier, and Zola Maal, are about to start their final semester of the not so prestigious Foggy Bottom Law School in Washington, D.C. However, the shocking suicide of their friend, Gordy, who has been driven to a ...

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Gods of Wood and Stone by Mark Dionno (Touchstone, 2018)   The two protagonists of Mark Dionno’s brilliant first novel are as different as two men could be in most facets of their lives. Joe Grudeck is a recently retired pro-baseball player, on his way to the Hall of Fame; Horace Mueller is a ...

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The Outsider by Stephen King (Scribner’s, 2018) He’s the Boogeyman who hides under your bed or in your closet when you are a child. Sometimes he lurks in the dark attic of your home, so it’s a place that you avoid at night. He is Big Foot who skulks the woods in Alaska, or he is Grendl, brought ...

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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffen (Ballentine Books, 2018) How much is “too much” to give our children when raising them today? When we buy them the latest pair of sneakers, a cell phone when they are ten years old, or give them an expensive car when they turn seventeen, what are we teaching ...

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Camino Island by John Grisham (Dell, 2017) John Grisham is a very good story teller. His writing style is engaging, characters are usually well draw. But, somehow Camino Island, published in 2017, falls short of the rest of Grisham's work, and seems amateurish. The novel begins with the heist ...

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People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)   Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see ...

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Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)   If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is ...

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The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)   Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive ...

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Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson   Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of ...

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The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)   A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I ...

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When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015) Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with ...

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            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually ...

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            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in ...

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