Thursday, September 13, 2012
This was a tough one for me - so many great books I've loved but I've talked about so many of them, a great many of them are classics you're all aware of, or they're well known to the world. I couldn't settle on one, really it's like asking me to pick a favorite child. Instead I'm just going to refresh your memory on some books I blogged about a long time ago that I think need to be mentioned again and a couple I love but never blogged about.
It's been almost three years since I reviewed this book but it's one that has stuck in my memory. Beautifully written, vivid imagery, and a unique story combined to make this a winner. I loved the blend of historical fact and fiction and Blackwell managed to pull together a number of threads effortlessly.
The publisher's summary:
Set in southern Louisiana in the weeks preceding the great flood of 1927, this novel depicts a place and way of life about to be forever changed. On the verge of manhood and a stone’s throw of the rising Mississippi River, Louis Proby is pulled between his love of the natural world and the glittering temptations of New Orleans, between the beautiful Nanette Lançon and a father who no longer seems larger-than-life, between the simplicity of childhood and the complicated decisions of adulthood.
Louis comes of age at a time when the country is coming of age. In Louisiana, it’s a time when the powerful prove themselves willing to sacrifice the poor to protect their position. As the people of Cypress Parish go about their daily lives, bankers in New Orleans are plotting to alter those lives irrevocably. Like so many calamities, the one that befalls Cypress Parish has both natural and human causes.
In The Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White, published by HarperCollins
Just a few months after reading The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish, which introduced me to the leper colony of Carville, I picked up this book, White's memoir of his time in prison, in a compound at Carville that also housed the leper colony. White's memoir is unflinching and honest and heartbreaking.
I wasn't alone in my opinion of this one. My mom enjoyed it every bit as much (and you know how much I value her opinion). SouthernLitReview.comColorful characters provide a fast pace throughout this soul-searching tale, and White weaves a story that will stick with even the most judgmental reader. had this to say: "Colorful characters provide a fast pace throughout this soul-searching tale, and White weaves a story that will stick with even the most judgmental reader."
The Birth House by Ami McKay, published by Knopf Canada
I never reviewed this book (I read it before I started blogging) but I've mentioned it many times. It is the book that convinced me that the Omaha Bookworms was the book club for me. We had what still stands as the greatest conversation about this book we've ever had about any book.
"The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife's apprentice. Together, they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives.
When Gilbert Thomas, a brash medical doctor, comes to Scots Bay with promises of fast, painless childbirth, some of the women begin to question Miss Babineau's methods - and after Miss Babineau's death, Dora is left to carry on alone. In the face of fierce opposition, she must summon all of her strength to protect the birthing traditions and wisdom that have been passed down to her."
Amazing characters and a unique plot in a book that takes the reader through the gamut of human emotions. Really, you will laugh and cry. Chrisbookarama felt the same way. Booking Mama said " I read the entire book in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down -- I was hooked from the start."
If you've read McKay's The Virgin Cure and enjoyed it you absolutely must pick up The Birth House. As much as I liked the former, the later is even better. I only wish McKay wrote books faster - except just as well researched and wonderfully written!