Reading Wrap ups February and March 2016

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The House at Tyneford by  Natasha Solomons

Elise is born to an elite  Jewish family in Austrian  family  but the  impending Nazi occupation takes her  life takes from riches to rags when  she is sent to Tyneford  in Britain to work as a domestic servant . She hopes to reunite with her parents, sister, brother in law and housekeeper once they obtain their visas.  This is a coming of age story that has the usual teenage upheavals and not to mention “upstairs-downstairs” relationship Ms. Solomons examines the little  known history of   daughters of aristocrats who were sent to Britain as hired helps to save them  from the impending  Final Solution  under the Nazi regime.

I stole this  book from little sister and was  able to read in a day  just for the mere fact that it was set in WWII. I enjoyed the references to Austria and got a  broader perspective on how people dealt with Nazi occupation.If you enjoy  WWII historical fiction and dare I say Downtown Abbey, you might  enjoy this  book.  By the way,  US readers  might  find the same book under the title The Novel in the Viola

The Memory of Love by  Aminatta Forna

This book is  about a psychologist, a surgeon, two university professors and a whole load of love triangles. The story line was a bit confusing  since the main protagonist kept on shifting  between  past and present scenes (using first and third person narration) and then the inclusion of other characters and I didn’t get to see how they are interconnected until I was  halfway through. (This is what  happens when the back cover blurb carefully).   Nonetheless, I appreciated her  detailed descriptions and how she contextualised the characters when she discussed the nationalist movement in Sierra Leone, the subsequent civil wars as well as other global events.

Reading The Memory of Love made realise how unfamiliar I am with Western African history… Well if you went through 8-4-4  you would probably recall studying cramming the names of all those kingdoms, migration patterns  and even the ECOWAS countries. That said, I am excited about my current mammoth of a read.

The Volunteer Revolution by Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels explores the importance of lay people  being more active in the church activities by  delving into various reasons why people volunteer and others and the reasons why some people give up  along  the way. To be honest,  it was a quick read with very digestable language and  he had numerous anecdotes sprinkled  throughout the book to support his arguments.

I bought this book a couple of years ago and but quickly DNFed it. This time round I decided to see it through  especially for my 2016 KE Bookworm reading challenge and also showing some shelf love by reading books that I already owned. Personally, I do not feel that I learned anything new and some point I struggled to finish it. But I will end this review with one quotable quote about self-sacrifice:

…Radical self-sacrifice  requires radical self-care. It’s true. If you have been neglecting yourself, thinking you can be a hero and defy the realities of life, you are in dangerous territory. Self-care is not an option, It’s antidote to exhaustion, broken relationships and burnout and a necessary component in the life of a joyful, effective, long-term servant of Christ who will one day hear the words, :”Well done, my good and faithful servant.” pg.132

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One Tuesday Morning and  Beyond Tuesday Morning By Karen Kingsbury.

The book based on the chance meeting of firefighter Jake Byran and businessman Eric Michaels meeting on 9/11 and how they lives were inevitably changed forever. This is my first encounter with Kingsbury’s writing and I enjoy it. The storyline took me back to 2001 when I was finishing primary school  and completely oblivious  to what was happening and the only thing that that occupied my  mind was passing KCPE.  Like most major tragedies, I was  made to reflect on the prioritise various relationships in life.

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

Irene discovers that her husband Gil has been  reading her  red journal so she decides to  continue fabricating lies to feed his curiosity  while keeping her  true journal in a safety deposit box. All the while,  the couple struggle to keep their  marriage together for the sake of their children.

This is  one of the books that you regret for buying on a whim. I struggled with this book because I felt like I was casually observing a (difficult) marriage  and kept on skimming through some parts. In short,I will be giving away this  book.

The Reckoning by Edith Wharton

This Little Black Classic hosts two short stories on  about a widow  grappling with loneliness and the other about a woman on the brink of divorce. I empathised with the characters in the two stories and  I felt that Edith  Wharton wrote from her own personal experiences. I am looking forward to  reading her more lengthier works.

So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ

Please see the full review here

Note: All book pictures are  courtesy of Goodreads and collage made using Pic Monkey

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About Lillian

I am a proud student of the human experience which provides me with the perfect excuse for being a bibliophile (read: book hoarder) and the unofficial patron of Nairobi Inama bookshops. But in my past life, I was a recorder player. You can also find me on Medium (@lillianyamongo) where I discuss sustainable finance.
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