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Recent books that refuse to leave my mind

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Recent books that refuse to leave my mind

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Recent books that refuse to leave my mind

Have you ever read a book...and couldn't put it down.....greedily turning the pages to get to the end so you can finally figure it out....and then closing it and just saying...wow...cause you just don't know what else to say or think and wishing you hadn't read it that fast cause now it's over?  That doesn't happen to me too often.  I like to read the free books on my son's Kindle (yes, I took it for myself) or the library (USAREUR library overseas has a great online catalog where you can get all kinds of books put on hold, even new bestsellers).....usually, I pick the wrong books....useless drivel I can barely turn the pages of, much less read...but every once in awhile...there is a hidden gem...that I even end up buying a lot of the time, cause I think it's that good.  And my family rolls their eyes as I try to get everyone and everyone they know to read it too.  So here are a few of those treasured books I hope you choose to encounter!


Hey, I know we all like to read different kinds of books.  My favorites are books that have some kind of mystery going on...either a who-dunnit or some big thing that needs to be solved.  In addition to that, I like books that are in some kind of historical setting.  I like authors who like to stay true to whatever time period they are writing about and who take the time to really study and get it right....what was it like for those characters in the book in their day-to-day life?  It's even better if the author weaves some historical event into the story that really did happen.  Even though they sometimes slather it on thick like peanut butter, it gets me to the next step to actually research the event myself, and many times, I am surprised that it did happen the way it was described.

Anyway, in no particular order, here are my current favorites:

  • "Berlin: A Novel" by Pierre Frei.  Now I must confess again before YOU roll your eyes.  I LOVE the city of Berlin and would move there tomorrow if you told me there was a spot for me there.  There is just something magical about a city that changes more than any other city in the world.  So, I was googling Berlin and came up with this book...read the reviews, and got it from my library.  It is fiction but in a historical setting of right before and immediately after the Fall of Berlin in WWII.  The author I later found out was very true to what life was like for the average Berliner in the American zone (those in the Russian zone did not have the same tale to tell...if you want to read about that, read the anonymous diary "A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City", which left me chilled to my bones and incredibly sad).  You'll follow snapshots into the lives of a half dozen different women...with a glimpse of their murder and then back into their lives right before the war.  Some of these women are fascinating in what they accomplished and others are everyday people that one of us might've been....all woven together and connected by this one killer.  The entire journey through this book, you are trying to figure out who is brutally killing these women.  You meet other characters along the way... those who are introduced and those you really grow to like...all there, during the occupation of Berlin.  You'll get clues along the way, and the ending was a little of a surprise for me.  It was not who I thought it was, and when you close the book, you get a true sense of the lost lives of each of those women.  I think I actually mourned one of them I thought it was such a great loss to humanity (man, do I really get into some books).  I still can't get it out of my head.
  • "Eleanor's Story: An American Girl's Story in Hitler's Germany".  Okay, so this one happens to be from the same era and place, Berlin...but only because we were getting ready to go to Berlin and like a good mother, I wanted them to "experience it".  So I somehow stumbled upon it.  Any tween on up who likes to read will enjoy it.  My 11 year old was fascinated by the story....read it twice through...and then had some deep discussions with me on the subject.  What a great book!  This is the story of a young lady, again in Berlin, and what a typical and happy life she had before the war, just like many teens today with all the challenges and highlights of teenage life.  I read the book too and felt like I could pass for a Berliner in the 1930s, as the book is very descriptive of daily life.  You then become horrified and scared for Eleanor and her family during the bombing raids and destruction, get hunger pangs reading about the their food forays, standing in long lines...and are sad with all that happens to them and their extended family...and again, wow, when you finish the book.
  • "The Bone Garden" by Tess Gerritson.  I wanted to cry when I finished this book, because I knew it was over, and I didn't want it to be.  I carried this book around with me for four days and tried to catch a sneak read whenever I could.  This book starts out like a typical murder mystery, old bones found in a backyard of an old home a divorced woman just buys.  Pretty soon, you are transported back to the 1830s and the life of a woman in Boston....poor Irish immigrant..and into the lives of high society and what it meant to be a doctor (men only).  My God, the state of healthcare and the process of childbirth...brutal, macabre, and it's a wonder any woman survived.  You also realize how you take things for granted in the healthcare industry today and what we know today...and didn't know then.  This was the era of doctors bleeding their patients and not washing hands, much less keeping things clean...eye opening!  It's a wonder anyone survived.  Tess then weaves these two unlikely stories together in the most intricate way, throws an amazing love interest into the mix that somehow seems to pop up in the present day, which I am still trying to digest and figure out...it's a lovely story, with some sadness thrown in from a few different directions.  I bet you'll like it too.
  •   Any of the books in the Outlander series from Diana Gabaldon.  A friend introduced me to this series and thought I was nuts that I had never heard of it.  Sometimes, I can just be so sheltered.  Every woman loves a good love story, and this is it.  It spans time like nothing I've ever read before.  You are immediately intrigued by this couple's visit to a B&B in Scotland and an encounter with a ring of magical stones....time travel, but like nothing you've ever read about...and her encounters and blossoming love story with a gallant, handsome young Scottish gentlemen (yes he wears a kilt with nothing underneath!).  And the best part for me was the weaving in and out of actual historical events, that made the story seem even more real.  I can see myself actually seeing this Claire Randall in person one day...she is that real.  This'll keep you up more nights than you want to be...but do it anyway!
  • Clive Cussler books.  I am probably the ONLY woman who likes his books and who will freely admit it in a public forum.  Yes, they are full of greatly impossible deeds that no human alive could ever accomplish and male egos and machoism about the size of New York City.  I mean, the heroes and heroines of this book do things that put James Bond to shame...BUT, Clive does an amazing job of taking a historical event and weaving a mystery into it.  He takes his characters to some exotic locales, and when he describes his characters, and what they drive, look like and where they live (even what they eat)...I'm sure it's all his fantasies of how he would like to be....but I would like to be that too!  His characters see and do some amazing things, and you can kind of live vicariously through them...and if you're a girl, you can discreetly read this stuff and no one will give you a hard time.  There's always an adventure in more ways than one.
Do you have any books you'd like to recommend?

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1 Comments:

Blogger tootie said...

To add to your German theme, you have to read The Book Thief. A wonderful story about a young girl in WWII. I flew through the book, and I couldn't stop thinking about the story when I finished.

Best of all - you can get the book for FREE from Military One Source.

October 22, 2010 at 7:41 PM  

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