Book Review: A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

Book Review: A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

Arts & Culture, Books, SLIDES
A Long Way Home Saroo Brierley Many Americans certainly know about and experience poverty and hardship here at home, but the desperate, frightening nature of the poverty in third-world populations can be more of an abstract concept, until one encounters a book like A Long Way Home. It’s the story of five-year-old Saroo, who lives in abject poverty with his family in central India. He and his siblings (brothers Guddu and Kallu and sister Shekila) face a hunger every day that leaves their bellies hollow and protruding, and they forage for food where and when they can. There aren’t social services in little villages in India (or even in the big cities), so they are on their own. Their mother Kamla loves them deeply, but their father is absent, save…
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The Chaperone

The Chaperone

Arts & Culture, Books, Uncategorized
A Book Review by Laurie Fundukian Laura Moriarty, who teaches creative writing at the University of Kansas, has written three other novels, but The Chaperone garnered the most critical and fan attention. It was published in 2012 and became a best-seller, but it wasn’t on my radar until my book club selected it this summer. Better late than never! The Chaperone follows the trend of books such as The Paris Wife, Loving Frank, and Z, which give a fictionalized narrative about real people (Hemingway’s first wife, Frank Lloyd-Wright’s mistress, and Zelda Fitzgerald, respectively). The Chaperone looks at the real-life characters of Louise Brooks, who was a silent film star in the 20s, and Cora Carlisle, and focuses mostly on Cora (a “matron” at age 36!), who has the privilege of…
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The Sandcastle Girls

The Sandcastle Girls

Arts & Culture, Books
A Book Review by Laurie Fundukian Chris Bohjalian, with his sixteenth novel, has managed to tell the horrific tale of the Armenian Genocide while maintaining a wonderfully plotted novel, complete with a sweeping love story circa 1915, and a glimpse into how modern Armenians view the tragic slaying of their people—a story that almost no one knows about today. We know about the Holocaust, and we know about the slave trade, but somehow 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered after World War I, and it is a piece of history that is buried in the sand, so to speak. “The women look like dying wild animals as they lurch forward, some holding on the walls of the stone houses to remain erect. She has never in her life seen people so…
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Fat Girl Walking: Book Review and Interview

Fat Girl Walking: Book Review and Interview

Arts & Culture, Books, Uncategorized
By Laurie Fundukian   Brittany Gibbons is a woman who speaks her mind, and her mind is hilarious. She has decided to make people uncomfortable and change the societal mandate that fat women need to be hidden and put in their place. Agree with her or not, there is no denying that she is a terrific writer with a unique voice. She has built a career, relationship, and family, all while being fat, which I think she would like to not be her first identifier some day, but knows that day has not arrived just yet--but she's workin' on it. I had the pleasure of speaking with her about her book and life, and she is very funny, down to earth, and smart. When I asked her who her heroes…
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Book Review: Station Eleven

Book Review: Station Eleven

Arts & Culture, Books
  Book Review: Station Eleven Laurie Fundukian Emily St. John Mandel’s fourth novel, Station Eleven, begins with the ending of one person, and an ending of sorts for a whole society—an imaginary scenario, but not completely outside of the realm of possibility in the real world. The book is a tale of a post-apocalyptic world that manages to weave in Shakespeare into the plot—a major bonus. Onstage one night in a Toronto theater, while performing the title role in King Lear, 51-year-old Arthur Leander has a fatal heart attack. While this event is a shock to the theater world, a bigger shock is coming in the form of a major pandemic, the Georgia Flu, which has arrived via airplane from Eastern Europe and decimates Toronto (and the world) in days.…
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Book Review: The Girl on the Train

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

Arts & Culture, Books
Paula Hawkins has caused some buzz so far this year with her thriller/mystery The Girl on the Train, which is being touted as the British Gone Girl. The comparisons to Gone Girl are apt, mostly because of the use of three narrators (though GG only had two), all of whom present as unreliable witnesses to the story, which is always an interesting construction. The reader only gets the male perspective through the female lens, however, which is where this book differs from Gone Girl, and carves out its own path. But yes, a girl does get “gone” in this story as well, and there is some suspense for the reader to shiver about. The main female character is Rachel, a young women who will make readers’ lives seem charmed in…
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