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Tag Archives: Maggie Gust

Circling the Sun

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Paula McLain Ballantine Books (Random House) 2015, 384 pages Genre: Historical fiction   “For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, so dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.” – D.H. Lawrence Although Circling the Sun begins with the transatlantic solo flight of female pilot Beryl Markham, the title does not refer to her flying exploits. Instead, “the sun” is Denys Finch Hatton, the lover that Beryl shared with her good female friend Karen Blixen, names familiar to those who know Out of Africa. Shortly into the flight, a lightning bolt over ... Read More »

The Wright Brothers

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By David McCullough Simon & Schuster 2015, 303 pages Genre: Biography Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Gentlemen, I’m going to fly.” – Wilbur Wright to onlookers at Le Mans, France, 1908 All American kids learn about the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk in very early grade school. We think we know them and their importance to aviation. Turns out we know nothing. David McCullough brings Wilbur and Orville to life in his inimitable style, fleshing out the rather stern looking men in the old black-and-white photographs. This biography gripped me within the ... Read More »

The Truth According To Us

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Annie Barrows The Dial Press (Random House) 2015 491 pages Genre: Historical Fiction “Summertime and the livin’ is easy!” – Porgy and Bess Before you open this book, it would be wise to have a pitcher of lemonade or other favorite iced beverage at hand. Barrows’ description of the West Virginia sizzling summer weather will have you sweltering. Might help to have Miles Davis playing in the background as well. The time is Summer 1938 (three years after Porgy and Bess debuted). Miss Layla Beck has been shunned by her father, Delaware member of ... Read More »

Memory Man

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By David Baldacci, Genre: Suspense Grand Central Publishing, April 2015, 406 pages   A horrific scene is encountered by the reader at the very beginning of this latest novel from the prolific Mr. Baldacci. It is the memory of the murder of Amos Decker’s family in their own home – his wife Cassie, almost 10-year-old daughter Molly, and Cassie’s brother Johnny Sacks (is Baldacci a “Sopranos” fan?). Amos remembers coming home from work and finding the grisly scene that destroyed his life. He cannot not remember because he can forget nothing. For a few brief moments, ... Read More »

The Price Of Valor: The Life of Audie Murphy, America’s Most Decorated Hero of World War II

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By David A. Smith Regnery History 2015, 256 pages Genre: Biography “After the war, they took Army dogs and rehabilitated them for civilian life. But they turned soldiers into civilians immediately and let ‘em sink or swim.” – Attributed to Audie L. Murphy According to Army records, during the 20 months he served in the European combat theater, Audie L. Murphy was responsible for the elimination of at least 240 enemy soldiers, thus saving an untold number of American lives. He was wounded seriously enough to be hospitalized three times. In return, he received 33 decorations ... Read More »

The Stranger

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Harlan Coben, Genre: Mystery Dutton 2015 – 386 pages   Adam Price was at the American Legion Hall for the draft of his son’s lacrosse league, at the bar with a Bud in his hand when his world was fractured. The Stranger approached him, telling him that his wife faked her pregnancy and miscarriage two years previously just to get him to stay in their marriage. As proof, he referred Price to verify Visa card charges to “Novelty Funsy.” It might be a good idea to run DNA tests on his two sons to see ... Read More »

Blood On Snow

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By Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Jo Nesbo, Translated from Norwegian by Neil Smith Alfred A. Knopf 2015, 224 pages Genre: Mystery Collier County Public Library: Yes “When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.” – Victor Hugo   Since his earliest memory, Olav Johansen loved making up stories. With the soul of a poet, he seemed born to become a writer. Instead he became a hit man or fixer. When we meet him in late 1976 he has just carried out a “hit” for Daniel Hoffmann, an Oslo crime boss for whom ... Read More »

Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story

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By Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Ed Lucas and Christopher Lucas Jeter Publishing (Simon & Schuster) 320 pages. Genre: Biography Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.” – Yogi Berra   Well, sports fans, baseball is back! The first few weeks are always glorious because there are no deep disappointments yet and hopes are high. Boston won the World Series in 2013, so why shouldn’t Cubs fans think “Maybe next year” is THIS year? Did Back To The Future 2 writers get it right with “Cubs sweep Miami five games to ... Read More »

Inside The O’Briens

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Book Remarks By Maggie Gust   “The diseases which destroy a man are no less natural than the instincts which preserve him.” – George Santayana Boston PD officer Joe O’Brien is frantic. If he does not find his service weapon RIGHT NOW, he will be late for roll call and he is already in hot water with his sergeant. He looks everywhere, retracing his steps and finally into the kitchen where his wife Rosie is serving breakfast to their four children. The Glock is on the kitchen counter. Each of them denies seeing or touching his weapon even though he ... Read More »

A Spool of Blue Thread

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Anne Tyler Knopf, February 2015, 368 pages Genre: Domestic fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes   “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world, but a world lives in you.” – Frederick Buechner   On Bouton Road in Baltimore, Maryland, there is a house situated on a gentle slope, surrounded by tulip poplars, accessed by a flagstone walkway. The neighbors call it the “porch ... Read More »

When Books Went To War

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Molly Guptill Manning Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2014, 267 pages Collier County Public Library: Yes Genre: Historical Nonfiction “Books cannot be killed by fire.…..No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt This book is a nice little treat for history buffs and booklovers. It gives a heartwarming and personal perspective on our fighting men as well as some insight into life on the home front during the war years. After the US began ... Read More »

“Big Little Lies”

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Liane Moriarty, 460 pages Penguin Group, 2014. Genre: Mystery Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Perhaps it is only human nature to inflict suffering on anything that will endure suffering, whether by reason of its genuine humility, or indifference, or sheer helplessness.” — Honore de Balzac, Pere Goriot   “Big Little Lies” tackles some very serious issues but serves them up with a mega dose of humor. Moriarty’s characters are so artfully written that the reader can instantly visualize these people. By page 5, I was hoping that someone would make a movie out of ... Read More »

Deep Down Dark

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Hector Tobar Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014 309 pages – Nonfiction Collier County Public Library: Yes “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories Of 33 Men Buried In A Chilean Mine, And The Miracle That Set Them Free” is the complete title of this account of the August 2010 accident at San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. When the men of A shift report for work on Aug. 5, 2010, most of them are aware of the thunder-like noise and dust, or “smoke,” coming from the mountain mine. A few are even aware of the half-inch ... Read More »

Everything I Never Told You

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Celeste Ng Penguin Press, 2014, 297 pages Genre: Psychological Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes   “Family likeness has often a deep sadness in it.”— George Eliot   For all of her life, her mother, a high school home economics teacher, had been grooming Marilyn to be the perfect homemaker, with all the virtues to attract the perfect husband, the goal of many 1950s young American females. Marilyn, however, wanted to be different. She wanted to be a physician. James was raised by Chinese immigrants, both of whom worked at the school he attended. ... Read More »

We Are Not Ourselves

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Matthew Thomas Simon & Schuster 2014. 620 pages Genre: Domestic Fiction Collier County Public Library: Yes “We are not ourselves when nature, being oppressed, commands the mind to suffer with the body.” – King Lear   Eileen Tumulty is 9 years old when we first meet her in 1950, failing miserably at the Irish dance classes her mother enrolled her in. Like most little girls, she idolizes her father and is bright enough to notice that all the men around them respect and defer to “Big Mike.” Both parents, Big Mike and Bridget, ... Read More »

Leaving Time

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Jodi Picoult 417 pages, Ballantine/Random House 2014. Genre: Mystery/Suspense Collier County Public Library: Yes Rating: 4.25/5.0   I have read two previous books by Jodi Picoult but never considered myself a fan. After reading “Leaving Time,” I am a Picoult fan. This a must-read for anyone who enjoys suspense stories with a clever twist. Much of the story is set in an elephant sanctuary near Boone, New Hampshire. The care, feeding, social life, emotionality and research of elephants figure very strongly in this novel. The older female protagonist, Alice Kingston, was studying elephants ... Read More »

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In The End

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Atul Gawande Henry Holt (sold by MacMillan), 2014 300 pages. Genre: Medical Nonfiction “If end-of-life discussions were an experimental drug, the FDA would approve it.” — “Being Mortal.” The author is a general surgeon practicing in the Boston area, who has written previous books about medical practice (“Better,” “Complications,” “The Checklist Manifesto”). His name may be familiar to you. In “Being Mortal,” he is opening a conversation about how we deal with not just end-of-life issues but also debility and decline in our well-being. “‘Being Mortal’ is about the struggle to cope with the ... Read More »

The Children Act

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Ian McEwan Nan A. Talese/Doubleday 2014 240 pages. Genre: Legal fiction In 1989, the United Kingdom’s parliament passed The Children Act to ensure that when families and legal guardians fail the young the legal authorities are mandated to step in and protect them. As the title indicates, this book is about that law and how its implementation affects the lives of those touched by it. When I started reading this book, I knew it involved a judge dealing with the case of a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness with end-stage leukemia who, along with his parents, ... Read More »

Then Came Life: Living With Courage, Spirit and Gratitude After Breast Cancer

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com By Geralyn Lucas, Gotham Books, October 2014, 210 pages. Genre: Memoir   “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard   If the author’s name sounds familiar, it is because this is a sequel to her tremendously popular “Why I Wore Lipstick To My Mastectomy,” published 10 years ago. At the time of her mastectomy, she was 27 years old, enthusiastic, open and determined to enjoy every nanosecond of life. Now, 18 years later, she is in her mid-40s, graying, sagging, moving up in pants size, with a ... Read More »

All The Light We Cannot See

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   By Anthony Doerr Scribner 2014, 545 pages Genre: Historical Fiction   “A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, what human nature is and what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag   I resisted reading “All The Light We Cannot See” when it was published in May, thinking the world did not really need another novel about the second World War. Well, I was wrong. It is quite a vocabulary challenge to find the adjectives to describe this marvelous book ... Read More »