Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger ISBN 978-0156029438 – Read by William Hope (Reader), Laurel Lefkow (Reader)


Have you ever listened to a book which was a little confusing in audio but thought that if read from a page would have made much more sense?  I do not know about anyone else but this book fell into that category for me.  I really enjoyed the book and the lovely twists and turns and back and forth; the idea of love that transcends time and place.  Maybe my confusion was something that every reader felt, but I believe that this is one book to be read.

cover art from The Time Traveler's Wife

cover art from The Time Traveler’s Wife

Each chapter opens with a time date and age of Henry and Clare.  The audio book has two readers – one reads Henry perspectives and the other reads Clare’s.  They are excellent readers and my complaint has nothing to do with the readers, but unless you have an eidetic memory, very few people as they are driving down the road can remember “Christmas Eve 1991 (Clare is 20, Henry is 28)”

Henry has a condition.  With no control or planning he will all of a sudden leap from this life into a scene from the past, usually a scene with great emotion.  He has seen the car crash where his mother died on any number of occasions, he goes back to when he meets Clare for the first time.  As he ages, the condition is worsening and he has less and less control.  He has found a doctor who is trying to help and found a friend who concocts drug combinations to try and help him stay in one place; but there comes a point when nothing helps.

Clare is a studio artist and Henry is a librarian in a special collection.  A fitting occupation for one who travels through time.

Henry takes nothing from one time to another and arrives naked. So he has had to adapt — find clothes quickly, be able to pick locks and has a loose moral code to allow himself to survive.  Though I may not agree with theft, I might think otherwise if I continually ended up in a strange place in winter with lots of snow on the ground.

This is first and foremost a love story.  Henry and Clare are truly an amazing couple.  Yet this is also a story of fantasy and the magical “what-if”.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys literature with a hint of romance and fantasy.  It is a very well written work with some great characters.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This highly original first novel won the largest advance San Francisco-based MacAdam/Cage had ever paid, and it was money well spent. Niffenegger has written a soaring love story illuminated by dozens of finely observed details and scenes, and one that skates nimbly around a huge conundrum at the heart of the book: Henry De Tamble, a rather dashing librarian at the famous Newberry Library in Chicago, finds himself unavoidably whisked around in time. He disappears from a scene in, say, 1998 to find himself suddenly, usually without his clothes, which mysteriously disappear in transit, at an entirely different place 10 years earlier-or later. During one of these migrations, he drops in on beautiful teenage Clare Abshire, an heiress in a large house on the nearby Michigan peninsula, and a lifelong passion is born. The problem is that while Henry’s age darts back and forth according to his location in time, Clare’s moves forward in the normal manner, so the pair are often out of sync. But such is the author’s tenderness with the characters, and the determinedly ungimmicky way in which she writes of their predicament […] that the book is much more love story than fantasy. It also has a splendidly drawn cast, from Henry’s violinist father […] to Clare’s odd family and a multitude of Chicago bohemian friends. […] It is a fair tribute to her skill and sensibility to say that the book leaves a reader with an impression of life’s riches and strangeness rather than of easy thrills.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles ISBN 9780802798237

cover art from Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
cover art from Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

This book is literally a page-turner and I couldn’t put it down and so it was 4AM when I finally went to bed that night. I know I could have figured out what happened and could have forced myself to go to bed at a reasonable time however it was just a perfect storm of what will happen next that I preferred to stay up almost all night as opposed to wait.

Alex’s father died in a gang shooting and he is the “man” of the household. To protect his family he has also joined the same Mexican based gang that his father was in and so does what he can (no drugs and no killing — he is a collector). He is the infamous “bad boy”, but he may be the first in his family to finish high school.

Brittany is picture perfect. She has all the right clothes, she has the right boy friend, she has the right drive to go to college — this is what she lets people see. What she is hiding is an absentee father, a mother on the brink of a nervous break down and a sister who has cerebral palsy. She may have the perfect home but no one sees her home for she has no visitors.

This is the ultimate Romea & Juliet story — two worlds collide in Chemistry class. Well actually they almost collide in the parking lot when Brittany tries to park her brand new BMW in the parking spot that Alex’s motorcycle already resides. She has a hard time finding reverse in her new car and later that day — Alex offers driving lessons. His friends tease him about his chemistry partner and he starts a bet that by Thanksgiving he can get into her pants. By Thanksgiving he has decided that he actually likes her and wants to treat her better than that, but all he** breaks loose and they learn what true friendship needs to grow.


From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—Told in alternating narratives, Perfect Chemistry portrays a romance between two unlikely lab partners. Brittany is her Chicago high school’s “golden girl” but few of her friends know that her parents are totally dysfunctional and that she is highly invested in caring for her physically and mentally disabled older sister. Alex is a member of the Latino Blood, but he wishes he could leave gang life and pursue a college career. The plot thickens as Alex accepts a bet from a friend that he cannot bed Brittany by Thanksgiving. Smoldering doesn’t quite do justice to the romantic banter that sparks between them. As the story unfolds, Alex is incarcerated and later hospitalized. Raw language and Spanish phrases that Anglo readers might feel obligated to investigate further are peppered throughout. The pace picks up too quickly at the end, leaving readers wondering if they missed something as time that has previously been marked day by day begins to clip along in five-month increments. Overall though, this is a solid romance that’s suitable for reluctant readers.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

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Indemnity Only: The First V.I. Warshawski Mystery by Sara Paretsky ISBN 0385302606

I first heard of Sara Paretsky in library school when a fellow class mate put together a list of female detectives for a mystery author list.  A readers advisory, “If you liked ____, then you might like ______.”  Though in the years since then I have passed by Paretsky’s novels everyday that I worked and only recently decided to pick one up.

V.I. is a tough woman of the 1970’s — strong, able and smart.  She has to be tough and prove herself in a then predominantly male line of work.  She has a law background because her back story includes years as a public defense lawyer.  She has wonderful friends on the police force (her father had been an officer and she still goes to Thanksgiving with his partner) and a doctor who has a clinic in a not so good neighborhood of Chicago.

This mystery revolves around murder, missing persons and insurance fraud.  V.I. is hired and fired so many times you don’t know who she is ultimately working for but she is also a bull-dog set on the bone of mystery and nothing deters her from her selected task … hired thugs, car chases or phone threats cannot stop her from her investigation.

All in all a wonderful read about a detective that holds her own against the evil in her small part of Chicago.


“The Chicago writer  whose name always makes the top of the list when  people talk about the new female operatives.”  — Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times  Book Review. — Review –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Description

The vice-president of a Chicago bank hires V.I. Warshawski to find his son. She’s pleased. The head of the International Brotherhood of Knifegrinders hires her to find his daughter. She’s not so pleased. Who’s the boss in this dangerous game of insurance fraud, murder contracts and gunmen? –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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