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New Book in our Online Book Club: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais


Welcome all book lovers to our Online Book Club

Today at Find The Treasure, our Online Book club, we have started reading a new book, The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. This book will soon be coming out in a movie starring, Helen Mirren. On the surface, the story is about a restaurant, however underneath it is about life and relationships.

To Join our discussion, please click on the page tab on the right. Find the Treasure – Online Book Forum, and then click on “The Hundred Foot Journey”

We hope you join us and we look forward to hearing all your comments and feedback.

Book details as outlined on Amazon.com

“Soon to be a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Juliet Blake, DreamWorks Studios, and Participant Media.

“That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist.”

And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life’s journey in Richard Morais’s charming novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey. Lively and brimming with the colors, flavors, and scents of the kitchen, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a succulent treat about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste.

Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps.

The boisterous Haji family takes Lumière by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais—that of the famous chef Madame Mallory—and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages—charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.”

 

Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Book Club, Drama

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The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Storyteller: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books; First Edition edition (November 5, 2013), 480 pages, ISBN-10: 1439102775, ISBN-13: 978-1439102770

The Storyteller is comprised of several separate and distinct stories that interconnect. Sage is a young woman who has a disfiguring facial scar, and she is battling an inner torment that disfigures her far more than the scar on her face. Josef is a 94 year old, healthy, German man who no longer wants to live because he is tormented by his past and the things he did as a Nazi commander at Auschwitz. He asks Sage to help him end his life. Minka is Sage’s grandmother and she is many things including a survivor of the Holocaust as well as a creative writer. Within is included a story that Minka wrote about a young woman who falls in love with a vampire.

Jodi Picoult has written 20 novels, including My Sister’s Story. The Storyteller is both a drama and a historical novel. The story is told in a first person narrative from the point of view of the character whose story is being revealed.

I enjoyed the story and I liked how the past and present combined to slowly reveal the truth. I thought the characters were well developed and multidimensional. My favorite was Minka; I enjoyed reading her tale. I thought she was a strong and resourceful woman, and I found it fascinating how her fictional story about Ania and the Vampire saved her life. It provided both a sense of hope, as well as entertainment to the other prisoners, because it was a metaphor for love and redemption.   The Storyteller may have been about the Holocaust, and parts of the story provided a heart-wrenching view into what it was like, but it was so much more than that. It was really about forgiveness, and not just for Josef, but for all of the characters and on many different levels.

I liked how the story unfolded, and I was surprised by the twist at the end. I recommend this book as a very good read, and if you enjoy reading about the Holocaust, both the horror of it as well as the triumph over it, then you will enjoy The Storyteller.

 

Favorite Quote

“Mary folds her arms. “I know I’ve told you how I left the convent, but did I ever tell you why I entered it?” she says. “My mother was raising three kids on her own, because my father walked out on us. I was the oldest, at thirteen. I was full of so much anger that sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night with the taste of it in my mouth, like tin. We couldn’t afford groceries. We had no television and the lights had been turned off. Our furniture had been reclaimed by the credit card company, and my brothers were wearing pants that hit above the ankle because we couldn’t afford to buy new school clothes. My father, though, he was on vacation with his girlfriend in France. So one day I went to see our priest and I asked what I could do to feel less angry. I was expecting him to say something like, Get a Job, or Write your feelings down on paper. Instead, he told me to forgive my dad. I stared at the priest, convinced he was nuts. ‘I can’t do that,’ I told him. ‘It would make what he did seem less awful.’

I study Mary’s profile as she speaks. “The priest said, ‘What he did was wrong. He doesn’t deserve your love. But he does deserve your forgiveness because otherwise he will grow like a weed in your heart until it’s choked and overrun. The only person who suffers, when you squirrel away all that hate, is you.’ I was thirteen, and I didn’t know very much about the world, but I knew that if there was that much wisdom in religion I wanted to be part of it.””

“She faces me. “I don’t know what this person did to you, and I am not sure I want to. But forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me. It’s saying, You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.””

(page 451)

This was my favorite quote because it sums up forgiveness and why it is important.

 

To Purchase The Storyteller from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Reverb by J Cafesin

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Reverb: 3 Treasure Boxes

Reverb is a story of redemption, healing, and love, with a twist of foreboding. The majority of the story takes place in Greece and revolves around James, a musician in hiding, and Elizabeth, a young mother recovering from the death of her husband.

The book captured my interest from the first page. The story was well told, and I liked all the characters, who I found to be well-rounded and complex. I enjoyed how the tale unfolded, and many parts I found original, although I did think the ending was a bit abrupt, and perhaps a tad too concise. Overall, I enjoyed the story and I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase Reverb from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The Invention of Wings is the next book in the Online Book Club


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is the next book in our Online Book Club. We are reading this book from February 22 until March 31. This should be a great book, because it is by the same author who brought us The Secret Lives of Bees and it is a story about two incredible women.  This looks to be an uplifting story, and if it is anything like The Secret Lives of Bees.

To join us in reading this book, or to share your thoughts on the book club, click on this link http://books-treasureortrash.com/find-the-treasure/

“A remarkable novel that heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman – slave or free. . .will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to find her power and her voice. . .Sue Monk Kidd has written a conversation changer.  It is impossible to read this book and not come away thinking differently about our status as women and about all the unsung heroines who played a role in getting us to where we are.”—Oprah Winfrey, O The Oprah Magazine

This is a summary of the book from Sue Monk Kidd’s website:

The Invention of Wings

Overview

  • Published by Viking, January 7, 2014
  • Selected for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0
  • A New York Times #1 Bestseller

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees: a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimkes’ daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Book Club, Book Review, Drama

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Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Revolutionary Road: 2 Treasure Boxes

Revolutionary Road is really well written, but I am finding it quite depressing.  I find it difficult to pick up the story to read it, due to the bleakness that emanates out from within the pages. Additionally, I do not really like any of the characters because I found them unlikable. Frank, the husband is cheating on his wife and for me this is a real turnoff. The story revolves around an unhappy couple.

The story addresses mental illness, and brings awareness to this issue. Revolutionary Road was released as a movie in 2008, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I saw this movie in the theater, so I knew what was going to happen, and because I knew where it is going I was not able to fully appreciate the novel.

The writing was amazing and I give Revolutionary Road 3 treasure boxes for the writing, however the story was depressing and I did not like any of the characters so I give the content 1 treasure box, which leaves me to give the overall book 2 treasure box rating.

I have written an interesting essay about Revolutionary Road called The Fragility of Masculinity. Please click on this link to read the essay.

 

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The Fragility of Masculinity

The Fragility of Masculinity:

Revolutionary Road Characterizes the Fracturing of the Male Identity in the 1950s

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates takes place in 1955, in the
suburbs of America, and examines the inner life of an unhappily married, middle-class couple—Frank and April Wheeler.  This novel highlights some of the key issues of this era; including the need for perfection within the American family, the shift to life in the suburbs, as well as the changing face of masculinity. Throughout the story, Frank purports to disdain the traditional American suburban lifestyle: where each family is expected to be identical, they dress the same, live in the same style of home, do the same things, and each aims to appear perfect. However, his outward contempt is actually a camouflage to hide his lack of confidence in his own masculinity and deflects his fear—his inability to fulfill his role as a man within the traditional family. Frank is insecure about his own manliness, but he is not experiencing this doubt in isolation; instead his reactions and responses reflect the prevalent uncertainty about masculinity during this post-war era. The suburban lifestyle and male expectations were encapsulated in television shows during this time with the longest running show being
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Both Frank’s and Ozzie’s struggles with their masculinity embody the changing face of masculinity in the 1950s.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet epitomize the lifestyle that Frank scorns because they depict the perfect, traditional, conservative American family where everyone appears happy. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Book Commentary, Drama

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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Fight Club: 1 Trash Can

The narrator, a man who suffers from insomnia, is continuing looking for meaning in his life. He starts going to various different support groups, like The Vctims of Testicular Cancer support group, The Parasitic Brain Parasites support group and numerous others, pretending in each one that he too is ill. He goes to a different support group everyday as a method of dealing with his life and his insomnia. In the process he meets another person, Marla Singer, who also attends these meetings faking illness. While he is stumbling through life, he becomes involved with Tyler Durden, a man who is even more emotionally and spiritually messed up than himself.

I read about half of the book and then I had to stop. I found that these people were sick and I did not enjoy sharing their twisted view of life. I have also seen the movie, so I knew where the book was going. I did not like any of the characters, and I did not think the writing was especially good. Instead, the main focus seemed to be how to disgust and shock the reader. I stopped reading shortly after Tyler was urinating in the soup. It was at this point that I realized, I did not care about these people and I did not want to read anymore.

I do not recommend this book, I thought it was a piece of trash. Perhaps there is a veiled message against consumerism, but overall it is not worth reading.

 

 

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Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Maya’s Notebook: 2 Treasure Boxes

Maya, a young woman turning 20, has made a mess out of her life and needs to hide away in a small village in Chili to avoid the FBI and the mob. Her ruminations during this time are reflection in Maya’s Notebook and include her conclusions about life, death and love. Maya may be a spoiled brat but still I cheered for her and I enjoyed the story. I recommend Maya’s notebook as a good read.

 

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The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Chaperone: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (June 5, 2012), Hardcover: 384 pages, ISBN-10: 1594487014, ISBN-13: 978-1594487019

It’s 1922 and women have only recently received the right to vote, so when a young dancer has the opportunity to go to New York City to study her craft, she needs a chaperone. Cora Carlise, an unhappy, middle aged woman with a secret past, decides to accompany the girl. In the process she finds what she has been seeking all her life.

Ms. Moriarty has written several novels, but The Chaperone is her first book in the historical fiction genre, it is also a drama.  The story is told in a third person narrative from the point of view of the main protagonist, Cora Carlisle.

The character of Cora, a middle aged woman and the chaperone of a wild and troubled fifteen year old girl, was really well developed. I also liked how Ms. Moriarty tied in Louise Brooks, but I would have liked more insight into Louise’s character. The story was primarily about Cora and spanned over her entire life with details sprinkled in a non-linear fashion. This made the story more interesting because her upbringing and experiences were slowly revealed. Cora was my favourite character, at first I thought she was stuffy, yet she showed her true self right at the beginning when she convinced her friend that the KKK was to be avoided. I thought that she blossomed as the book unfolded. She had many hardships that she had to deal with, but she dealt well with everything that she faced. She seemed at times to be judgemental, but as the story progressed she softened up. The subject matter was surprising, because it touched on homosexuality as well as child molestation. The story was nothing like I was expecting, but it pulled me in from the beginning, and I was never really sure where it would lead.

There were several surprises as the story unfolded. I also found the facts about the orphan trains surprising as well as upsetting. To think of all those little children, in the first half of the century, just sent off without any consideration of the people who were picking them or what kind of lives they would have to lead. It also made me think about why there were so many orphans, but I guess the combination of the great wars, the influenza breakout, and the great depression, caused many children to be left without parents.

This book fell somewhere between good and really good, and I gave it a 2 Treasure Box rating although I enjoyed the book, I was not obsessed with it, and had no problem putting it down

Favorite Quotes:

“Show me a mother with that much thwarted ambition, and I’ll show you a daughter born for success” (page 111.)

I just thought that this was an interesting quote about Hollywood mothers.

“As young as Lousie was, she was a grown woman, a modern woman, smart and fearless of judgement, a lovely sparkle on the blade of her generation as it slashed at the old conventions” (page 302.)

I loved this sentence, I thought it beautifully written and I loved the idea of cutting away the old conventions, which oppressed women.

 

Question to consider: Was this book an accurate portrayal of women during the 1920s? For example, Cora was afraid to show her own husband affection for fear that he would think her forward.

 

To Purchase: “The Chaperone” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The School of Essential Ingredients: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (January 5, 2010), Paperback: 261 pages, ISBN-10: 0425232093, ISBN-13: 978-0425232095

Food is required to live because it feeds the body, but to feed the soul, connection to another person is required and this is the true fuel. The School of Essential Ingredients provides both, and it is a slice of life story. It briefly introduces 8 cooking students and their teacher, Lillian, telling a little about each. Most of them meet for the first time at an upscale restaurant which holds a monthly cooking class.

Erica Bauermeister has written a few fiction books and has co-written a couple of reading guides. She released a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients in January, 2013; it is called The Lost Art of Mixing. This sequel is a continuation of Lillian’s story and revolves around her restaurant and the people who frequent it. The School of Essential Ingredients primarily takes place in Lillian’s restaurant and is told in the voice of a third person narrative with each chapter from the point of view of a different character. It falls into the drama genre.

The School of Essential Ingredients is an enjoyable book, although it does not have much depth. In many ways the story was like a recipe with the subtle flavours of the characters all mixing together to create a feast. The book tries to be more than what it is and would succeed better if Ms. Bauermeister shared as much about the characters as she does about food and ingredients.

There were lots of different characters, and the reader learns just a little about each one. The stories are generally uplifting and the cooking class helped each of them in just the way they needed.  Ms. Bauermeister effectively uses white spaces between the words creating a great effect. In many ways the book was laid out like a recipe book. Each section dealt with a separate person. Each person mixed with the others like the ingredients in a recipe.

The writing was great, and the story interesting, but it felt more like a mixture of short stories. I like a story that is big and full, one that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the last page. I also like a story with a bit more excitement. For me the overall story was just a little bit lacking, but I still recommend the book as a good read.

Favorite Quotes: 

 “Underneath the wand was an old photograph of her mother holding a baby Lillian, her mother’s eyes looking directly into the camera, her smile as huge and rich and gorgeous as any chocolate cake Lillian could think of making.” (Page 25)

                “There were so few occasions for a zester; using it felt like a holiday.” (Page 27)

 

To Purchase: “The School of Essential Ingredients” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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