Tag Archives: Mary Robinette Kowal

4 brief reviews: Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston; Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert; The Calculating Stars – Mary Robinette Kowal; Before Green Gables – Budge Wilson

I am late with this group of four books I read for the 52bookClub challenge. There has been a lot going on for me, and I get quite tired, but here they are.

Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Author: Zora Neale Hurston

Published: May 30th 2006

This is an interesting story in which Janie, a beautiful Black woman, tells her story to her good friend in later years. The reader gets to go along through her life as she finds her own voice and strength while living through three marriages. She was ill-treated and not respected because she was a woman, but her third husband – the love of her life – showed her more freedom and a way of living she had not experienced before. The ending of this story is not what I expected as I was so pulled into the story that I forgot how it had started.

I read this book for the 52books in 52 weeks challenge, and for now I am using it for the prompt “An ending that surprises you.” I am also using it for the Feb mini-challenge in 52 Books, for prompt “a great platonic relationship.”

Title: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Published: September 22, 2015

This is one of those books which I only read a few pages in, and that took up space on my shelf. Later, because of a reading challenge, I found it is a book I should have read long ago! But yet, perhaps this is exactly the right time.

Elizabeth Gilbert encourages the creative reader to grab inspiration when it visits and see where it leads. In many short and interesting chapters she tells it like it is as she helps one to see creativity with new understanding and the possibilities with boundless acceptance. She urges to leave fear behind and trust the process; to stop limiting and judging oneself, and to let the treasures hidden inside come out.

I read this book for the February mini-challenge in the 52BookClub reading challenge and used it for the prompt “related to the word magical.” It is a book I will likely refer to many times.

Title: The Calculating Stars

Author: Mary Robinette Kowal

Published: July 3, 2018

I enjoyed this book and had chosen it for the 52 Books Club challenge, prompt “An alternate history novel.”

The time is 1952, and a meteorite hits and obliterates the eastern coast of the US and Canada, including Washington, DC. At first, the world is in a panic, but as time goes on passivity settles in – except for those whose training tells them Earth has not much time left.
This story centers around one couple – Elma who was a pilot in WWII and is now a mathematician working as a computer (a person who does the computing of numbers before electronic computers took over), and her husband Nathaniel who is a rocket scientist. It is determined that climate change will drastically change over a very few years, and it is time to colonize the moon and other planets besides earth. Elma badly wants to be an astronaut and to be selected to go, but women are not being considered, so Elma – encouraging other female pilots – sets out to change that.
Great story, although Elma was rather whiny at times. The story gets tense over mental health issues and an officer who hates Elma and does what he can to keep her grounded.

Title: Before Green Gables

Author: Budge Wilson

Published: March 1, 2008

I loved this story! I wish I had read it earlier so that I could have told the author so when I’d written her a letter months before. At a little over half way through this story I learned of Budge Wilson’s passing the day before – March 20’21. She was a very talented award-winning author, and someone I am glad I was able to meet and correspond with for awhile. I had chosen this particular book simply because I was interested, but upon learning of the author’s passing I am using it for 52 Books challenge and the prompt “an author that is deceased.”

This is the life of Anne Shirley before she met the Cuthberts and became part of their household. Anne’s life was very difficult after she was orphaned. The families who took her in treated her more as a servant to help with babies and housework. All in all, this is a marvellously told story, true to the character of Anne, and such a wonderful lead-in to Anne of Green Gables.

Another excellent book, Budge, and thank you for your friendship and inspiration.

On that note, let people know you appreciate them!

Have you read any of these books? Any opinions?

Thanks for coming by, and .. Blessings on your day! 🙂