Cultural book reviews

Sometimes I get a wonderful surprise in the mail and find myself reading and reviewing a book on the spot. That happened last weekend when a parcel arrived containing Children of the Tipi from Wisdom Tales. Suddenly I'm so glad I'm a book reviewer!

Of course, given how far behind I am with everything, I only wrote the review on Saturday and didn't post it. But it will appear below in a list of reviews of thoroughly enjoyable books filled with cultural references and evocative prose. Grab a coffee and enjoy!

Children of the Tipi, edited by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, is aimed at children aged four and up--or perhaps at all ages from four and up since I loved it so much. Authentic photographs are nicely laid out on the page to intrigue and entice. Simple text reveals the words of the wise and invites mother and child (or grandmother and child) to share their own thoughts. Well-chosen topics cover children's toys, life on the plains, the need for stories, and more. And the whole is just a gorgeous, beautifully absorbing, deceptively simple book, highly recommended. Enjoy with a perfectly balanced, full-flavored 3-star coffee.

The Seamstress, by Maria Duenas, is a novel for adults, in the style of Woman of Substance perhaps, but set in Spain at the time of the Civil War, and stitched together seamlessly. Beautifully evocative with great characters and haunting scenery--enjoy this rich elegant novel with a rich elegant 4-star cup of coffee.

Next comes Sarah and Gerald, by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson, a novel of the Lost Generation in the 20s, with artists and writers gathering by the sea in France, trips to the Hamptons and Hollywood, relationships both restrained and free, and a beautifully evocative well-tuned writing voice. Another richly elegant tale, in the style of the Great Gatsby perhaps, enjoy this with another 4-star coffee.

Finally, The Secret Keeper, by Sebastian Barry, takes readers to the poverty and asylums of Ireland, where a middle-aged doctor tries to evaluate why his elderly patient was locked up, and whether she'll cope in the real world when the asylum closes. There are many secrets hidden behind these walls, waiting for reader to guess and characters to learn. A dark but well-structure and well-balanced novel, enjoy this with a well-balanced 3-star cup of coffee.


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