Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Nevermore: Widow of the South, Agippa, Accidental Millionaire, Norwegian Wood, Man Called Ove, You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

Reported by Laura

Our next reviewer loved The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks and thought it was a great book! It is based on the true experiences of Carrie McGavock, who witnesses the bloodshed at the Battle of Franklin, TN during the Civil War. She falls in love with a wounded man and dedicates her home as a burial site for fallen soldiers. Her front yard becomes a graveyard! This book had a lot of history and is well worth your time.

            Agrippina is a serious scholarly biography written by Emma Southon. Agrippa was the daughter of Germanicus in 1st Century Rome coinciding with the life of Christ. She rose above the stereotype of the time that women were expressly for childbearing and took on a role never held by a woman before. The great niece of Tiberius, sister of Caligula, wife of Claudius, and mother of the traitorous Nero, she stood at the center of power in the Roman Empire for three generations, rising from exile to empress. The reviewer enjoyed this book, but warned that the language was extremely risqué with an abundance of four letter words.

            The Accidental Millionaire is a true story written by Gary Fong. This is a very funny book that turns traditional self-help principles upside down. Mr. Fong relates the details of a hysterical childhood and chaotic life. When he decides not to care anymore, he is released from much of the stress in his life and begins to put his wonderful ideas into action. As a wedding photographer, he ends up revolutionizing the business by inventing popular new equipment. Eschewing goal-oriented approaches, he blunders his way to success. The reviewer enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

            Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is told from the first person perspective of Tora Watanebe, who looks back on his days as a nineteen year-old college student living in Tokyo. It is a nostalgic story of loss and burgeoning sexuality. Our reviewer enjoyed reading a story written through the eyes of a male protagonist as she felt it helped her better understand a differing perspective.

            A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman comes highly recommended. It is a heartwarming story of a grumpy old man, “The Neighbor from Hell”, whose life is changed immeasurably when a new foreign family moves in next door. This book is at times heartbreaking and others humorous, but always uplifting (Note: When I read this book, I loved it so much that I read every book the author ever wrote!)

            Our last book this week was You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers. The reviewer found this book to be very moving and felt it was well worth reading. This memoir explores the rare neurological condition, prosopagnosia, or “face blindness." Sufferers have trouble recognizing people by their faces, even those they know. Heather Sellers grew up in a difficult home, to say the least. Her mother was a paranoid schizophrenic and her father was an alcoholic cross-dresser who stole her nail polish and underwear. At times, he would bring home drifters and she would be forced to barricade her door. Growing up in such a disordered and fantastical household, while struggling herself to use clues to recognize familiar faces, Heather thought she must be crazy. With maturity, she is able to learn that embracing the past allows us to overcome it and that, even in the most flawed circumstances, love can still be found.

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