A new contributor, RobinB reports, "I recently read Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. It was a prequel of sorts to her memoir The Glass Castle which was the story of her trainwreck of a childhood. I enjoyed Castles more. I like reading about people who are more messed up than I am.
"I very much enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Interesting diary-style book written by characters who were all black servants to rich white folk in the south in the 60s.
"I am reading The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell right now (see February 18th). I thought I would love it because of the similarity to the Millennium Series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)...but I only like it and am ready for it to be over."
About Half Broke Horses from Goodreads.com:
"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith in Jeannette Walls's magnificent, true-life novel based on her no-nonsense, resourceful, hard working, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen she left home to teach in a frontier town—riding five hundred miles on her pony, all alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane, and with her husband, ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.
Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds—against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa or Beryl Markham's West with the Night. It will transfix readers everywhere.
About The Help from the author's website:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.