love and ruin1Fictional historical account of the daring foreign correspondent Martha Gellhorn and her tumultuous marriage to Ernest Hemingway, his third wife. The book’s time period centers around the Spanish Civil War, the home and lives they built just outside 1930’s Havana, and their exploits in China and Europe during WWII. While Gellhorn’s independence, strong will and determination are what Hemingway was so attracted to-in the end it was also these same qualities after marriage that Hemingway saw as a betrayal and ultimately destroyed her heart.  An insightful look into a slice of Gelhorn’s life, a talented, courageous woman far ahead of her time and in her own way as accomplished as Hemingway.

Bierce

Following service in the Union army during the Civil War, Bierce became a prolific journalist, short story writer, poet, and memoirist.

Bierce’s acclaimed collection of Civil War stories, In the Midst of Life, includes the well-known and widely reprinted, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”; while his collection of supernatural & psychological horror tales, Can Such Things Be?, remains one of the best of the genre. Second only to his contemporary Twain, Ambrose Bierce was a celebrated and acerbic wit in his own right—which is brilliantly displayed in his satirical lexicon, The Devil’s Dictionary. The book is an excellent introduction into the dark, witty and ingenious world of one of the great  satirists of America.

Later in life he returned to the Civil War in a series of memoirs, Bits of Autobiography, before mysteriously disappearing in Mexico during their revolution in 1914.

piece worldA Piece of the World  tells the fictionalized backstory of Christina Olson, the real-life model for Andrew Wyeth’s painting called ‘Christina’s World.” Christina suffered from a degenerative bone disease that left her so disabled that she was forced to crawl rather than to walk. The story portrays Christina’s efforts to live in her small everyday world and her friendship with Andrew Wyeth. Through Christina’s character, we feel the harsh realities of life on a farm without electricity or running water and the struggles of a family going through tough economic times, It is a beautiful, moving portrayal of one woman’s endurance and resilience in her piece of the world that she must maneuver through.

 A must read for those who love art history. You will never see the painting in the same way again!

less coverPure, delightful escapism! If you want a book to sink into for a few hours, forgetting about work, chores and the world, look no further. This Pulitzer-winner will have you smiling and sobbing for the titular character. Best of all it has a happy ending!

pearl brokeAn eye-opening novel about the women who have struggled for centuries and continue to struggle today in Afghanistan due to its repressive male-dominated culture. Rahima and Shekiba, the novel's protagonists, face their life situtations with courage and a strong survival spirit. After reading this heart-breaking story, I more than appreicate the opportunities and freedom we have in this country. While not a light read by any means, it is so enlightening to understand  that this kind of culture still persists today. Highly recommended!

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