Monday, September 10, 2018

Book Report - Three Great Reads


What Blooms From Dust by James Markert (which I received free from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review) is set in Nowhere, Oklahoma, during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s. Jeremiah Goodbye, the main character, is in the electric chair, condemned to death for the murder of several men, when a storm blows in and crushes the wall of the prison, killing the guards, and allowing him to escape. He was known as the Coin-Toss Killer, so, true to his nature, he flips a coin and decides to return to his hometown to settle a score with his twin brother Josiah. Along the way, he rescues a young boy, Peter Cotton, and they return to the town that is not necessarily happy to see him return. There are a host of great characters in this book, including Josiah's wife Ellen, the twins' father Wilmington, and Rose, a journalist from New York City who has been investigating the murders Jeremiah was accused of committing.

Many residents of the town are on the verge of giving up after the Black Sunday dust storm, but Peter begins a project that saves them by helping them see why it's worth continuing to fight for life and the town. This is a good read about redemption, relationships, kindness, struggles, and finding hope in the midst of darkness. I definitely recommend this book, particularly for fans of Frank Peretti and/or historical fiction.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi was recommended by new friends we met at Camp Denali on our Alaskan Adventure this summer. This story begins in Africa and alternates between the stories of two sisters who never know each other because they are born in different villages to different fathers. One sister is married off to a white British slave trader while the other is sold into slavery and sent to America. The books begins in the mid-1750s and continues through the early 2000s. Each chapter is the story of a person from the next generation. [For example, chapter 1 is Effia's story, chapter 3 is Quey's story (Effia's son). Alternating chapters are Esi and her family's stories.]

This is a very well-written book dealing with tribal and family dynamics, rituals and customs (especially in the African tribes), slavery, racism and poverty. It's an ambitious book covering a vast span of time and eight generations, yet each chapter tells a personal story about one character. Many of the stories are sad and have unhappy or difficult endings. I found it somewhat arduous to jump back and forth between the families of Effia and Esi and am tempted to re-read the book following first one story then the other. I highly recommend this book!

I first read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in 2009 for a book club discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time and was excited to learn that there was a Netflix movie based on the book that came out last month. Robbie and I watched and enjoyed the movie, and I re-read the book. There were quite a few changes for the movie, but the overall story is still there.

The narrative of the book is written completely in letters. Juliet, a writer in London, receives a letter from Dawsey, a man on Guernsey Island, who mentions being a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This peeks Juliet's interest and she begins to correspond with Dawsey and other members of the Society. She learns that the Society was formed during the German occupation of the island during World War II. (The story takes place a year after the end of the war.) There are a host of fantastic characters in this story, and the letter format is easy to read and follow. I highly recommend the book and/or movie for a story that is delightful despite the hardships faced by the characters during and after the war.

Which of these books are you adding to your to-read-soon list?


  1. I just noticed the Guernsey movie on Netflix and have added it to my queue. I loved the book when I read it several years ago. Homecoming has been recommended by another friend of mine, and I will look What Blooms From Dust as well.

  2. I enjoyed The Gurernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and watching the movie is on our bucket list. Homegoing was recommended to me by another friend as well, so it's on my very long "to read" list! (Just read Susanne's comments and realized that mine are just about a duplicate of hers!)

  3. I have The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on my list of books to read

  4. We've just watched the film version of TGLAPPPS and enjoyed it, but by the end I did feel I needed to reread the book. Dawsey … sigh!

  5. I've "recommended" that my library get What Blooms from Dust. I already have the other two on my library list---which keeps growing! Never enough time...


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