Literary Sojourn 2015

Sojourn 2015 Authors and Bookies

Authors at Sojourn 2013Bookies who attended
Lily King
Judy Bush
Dinaw MengestruSheryl Davidson
Mary Doria RussellNora Ruppert
Richard Russo
Diane Ackerman
Jim Shepard

2015 Book Reviews by the Bookies

AuthorBookBookie GradeReview
Diane AckermanThe Zookeeper's WifeJudyBThis was an interesting story, but the telling of it was a little dry. The characters were interesting and well-drawn. Too much flowery description of plants and animals.
Lily KingEuphoriaJudyA-Well written and interesting story. I learned a lot about anthropology, and some native tribes. I didn't like the main characters, but I still have to give the book a good grade.
Dinaw MengestuAll the Air We Cannot BreathJudyCA terrible book. One long depress-fest! The characters were ALL selfish, small-minded, mean and weak. No one learned. No one got better, and the story seemed interminable! The lies went on and on, till I thought I would scream! The author can write well and has a good imagination, but no sense of judgement how much pain the reader can absorb!
Mary Doria RussellThe SparrowJudyBI gave the book a higher grade the last time I read it. Although the book had many interesting parts, it seemed to go at a slower pace and not have had the impact at the end. I was just glad it was over finally.
Richard RussoNobody's FoolJudyB-I hated this book. I hated the characters in it. They were supposed to be loveable losers. They were just losers. It was painful to read about their bad decisions and continued stupidity. I thought perhaps the end would redeem the book. It was just more of the same. The writing style was good, however, which kept the book from getting a C.
Diane AckermanThe Human AgeSherylBI enjoyed her skill of writing, imagery and metaphors that were very acute to my senses. After reading this book I wanted to try another and was happy that I did.
Diane AckermanA Slender Thread: Reciscovering Hope at the Heart ofCrisisSherylBShe seems extremely sensitive to her surroundings and has a curiosity of not only the human nature but animal behavior and the world around her. She seems to have a heart of gratitude, and I could feel the "heartbeat beneath her words." I agree with her thoughts that crisis in our lives provides the turning points for necessary change (I should know, huh?) I learned a lot about the goings on in a Cisis Prevention Center and the strength it takes for both Caller and listener. I feel like she researches extensively for her work and I was glad to become better informed on so many different subjects in both books!
Dinaw MengestuAll Our NamesSherylBThis tale of the two men was enlightening and educational into the African diaspora in America. It spanned friendships, relationships and continents. I enjoyed this novel and was anxious to meet the author.
Richard RussoNobody's FoolSherylCIt was an oddly confusing story, but I thought the writing was well done. Not really confusing, just that it seemed the characters could never get anything together well enough to get ahead--a little time spent on examining why the character Sully just couldn't make his life better when the desire was there. I guess I learned that resources available to myself are always there but sometimes without grit and hard work it just stay the same.
Mary Doria RussellDreamers of the DaySherylAI really enjoyed this trip in history of two women's introduction to Lawrence of Arabia, Winston Churchill and Gertrude Bell. What a fun journey and learning of the places in history as well as the characters' observations was truley interesting. This book was a joy to read and I could appreciate Ms. Russell's extensive research of the facts. It was very thorough and accurate. A well told story!
Jim ShepardNone (MC)SherylAI really enjoyed Mr. Shepard's wonderful wit and sense of humor. I am looking forward to reading The Book of Aron. His encouragement to "would be" writers was inspiring, genuine and motivating. I don't believe I'll start writing tomorrow, though!
Jim ShepardNone (MC)NoraDidn't read anything by him, but was in awe of his use of language and phrases. Talked about the Book of Aron, his latest. "When it comes to the holocaust we're all children," meaning that we can't understand or make sense of it.
Lily KingFather of the RainNoraBLily talked about her writing process which didn't interest me much. I enjoyed her book, though wondered how much victimization one should abide, even from a drunk father.
Dinaw MengestuAll Our NamesNoraBThe book was enormously harsh--Mengestu mentioned that there have been 180 coups in Africa since decolonization. Hard to find a silver lining there! Also talked about his journalism in war zones in Africa.
Mary Doria RussellDreamers of the Day and A Thread of GraceNoraALove Thread of Grace and liked Dreamers of the Day--both historic settings. The common thread through her novels, she mentioned is that she writes about people being unfairly maligned. Had no idea that Italian resistance saved as many lives.
Richard RussoBridge of SighsNoraBKing a a ho hum presentation. Book was interesting as a little autobiographical, and the people are redeemed by their ultimate decency.
Diane AckermanThe Human AgeNoraCWon't be reading her again--what is she on about? Good thing she was a no-show!