Winter of the World

winter of the world

It took me about a month and a week, but I’ve done it, I finished the 943 page behemoth seen above!  I got this book for Christmas 2012 and FINALLY got around to reading it.  Now I’m a bit sorry that I waited as long as I did to read it.  Why?  Because so many of the people/characters from his previous book, Fall of Giants appeared in this book as well.  If not the exact same characters, then the direct family members of the characters…. and I’d forgotten a lot of them.  Follett has a way of bringing it all back, reminding you ever so gently of who did what to whom.  Winter of the World  starts in 1936 and works and winds it’s way through the war years of 1939-1945, then finishes up in the late 1940’s.  I will admit that the first 250 pages or so were a struggle for me, but I KNEW it would be worth it to take the time to get reacquainted with the characters and families.  I was right, it was SO worth it.  If you’ve read my book reviews through the years, you’d know I am crazy for books set just before, during, and just after WWII.  It’s my favorite era, and the funny thing is that it’s been my favorite era now for years.  Since this book is quite detailed about armies and war plans and the like, you had better appreciate the WWII era, or at least be a history fan to completely enjoy this one.  Personally, I loved it.  Feel free to read my not quite as stellar review of the first book in the trilogy here. One of the complaints I had regarding the first book were the unlikely meetings of main characters.  While I expected that would happen again in Winter of the World, it didn’t.  In my opinion, all the chance encounters of the main characters were much more believable this time around. As mentioned in that review, the final book of the trilogy will be apparently about Vietnam and other events that happened towards the end of the century.  I’m still thinking I’ll skip that one, but I’m reserving the right to change my mind! My biggest beef about this novel is that it was heavy and bulky to tote around, and nearly impossible to read in bed (which I love to do).  It may be time to accept the inevitable, and just get books as big as this one loaded onto my easily maneuverable Kindle!

Be on the lookout for another review soon – I’m nearing the end of a Kindle book I can’t wait to tell you about!

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The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

In my last book review, I said something about being in a bit of a “reading rut” – albeit a GOOD rut.  Well, I’ve done it again, read (actually listened to) another book by Ms Chiaverini- the author of all the Elm Creek Quilt books.  This one was obviously set in Hawaii and since it was readily available at our local library, I gave it a try.  You know, part of the joy of this book was listening to the narrator/reader Christina Moore.  She is nothing short of excellent!  Another thing that made this book EXTRA enjoyable for me was that it was set in Maui.  She mentioned places like Lahaina, Kapalua, and even the Old Lahaina Luau!  Having been on that beautiful island of paradise just recently, I was instantly connected to this book.  It was all about one of the original Elm Creek Quilters who moved to Maui for 6 months to help a friend of hers start “Aloha Quilt Camp”.  The story wasn’t particularly riveting, but it was certainly enjoyable and made my hours behind the steering wheel of my car simply fly by!

On a similar note, I’ve now started reading two VERY LARGE books.  It may be a while until my next book review!  I’ve started “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett – a monster sized family saga book set in England, USA, and Europe prior to and during WWI.  This book grabbed me in the first 30 pages!  I understand it’s the first of a trilogy of novels that Follett has in mind.  The second big book is one I’m listening to, entitled “Sing You Home” by Jodi Picoult. The unabridged audio version has 14 CD’s and that will take me a while to finish.  This book has received mixed reviews and is chock full of plenty of controversial subjects, but it sounded interesting to me and I know that all of Ms Picoult’s audio books are ultra-professionally narrated.   So be looking for my humble opinion on those books in the future.