Friday, August 13, 2010

Turning the Corner of Bitter and Sweet


In recent years, my mother has developed a rather useful habit of making a mark on the front page of every book that finds its way into her library. Immediately after reading a given novel, she assigns it a rating of 1-10, so that anyone looking through her tomes for something worth borrowing will not be disappointed. I find her system both convenient and reliable, with the number she assigns being a fairly predictable indicator of how much I will enjoy the book(s) I choose.

Today I am assigning my own number, an unqualified 10, to "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet," by James Ford. Not because it is seamlessly written (though it is) and not because it takes place in one of my favorite eras, WWII (though it does), but because the combination of simplicity and depth that permeates the pages of this book makes reading it a rare and rewarding pleasure. It's all there...love, loss, hope, loyalty, betrayal, redemption...the whole of human experience, deftly set in my favorite frame: the family. And, oh, the artistry of it.

How so much emotion can be penned with such a light hand escapes me, but it certainly hasn't escaped Mr. Ford, who tells a compelling and occasionally heart-wrenching story in the most effortless way imaginable. No heavy-handed drama here, and yet a wealth of emotion is written into every page.

And the end is simply beautiful, a gift.

(I hope you will do yourself the favor of opening it...)

=)

18 comments:

Jackie said...

Thanks Sue, I'll check it out!

KC Mom said...

What a great system for your mom to come up with! I wish I had heard and done that years ago with my books. I'm looking for a good new read!

Jill said...

You have me convinced. I'm looking for this one today!

Cherie said...

Thanks Sue I am looking for a new good read.
I LOVE your mom's system - that is genious. I am going to start doing that with my books too!

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Oh I love a good book review! Thanks, Sue. This seems like a good one. The WWII era is one of my favorites as well.

:)

GrannySue said...

I absolutely agree. This book was a suprise to me and I really enjoyed it.

Michelle said...

I love good book recommendations. Thanks!

Jess said...

Ooh- just what I need now that girls camp is over and I actually have time. Thanks for the review

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

That is a great idea! I sometimes like to go back and read books after a few years, so it would be helpful to know how much I liked them the first time around..lol..given that it's unlikely that I would remember.

This book looks like one I'd really like..I'm looking for a new read, so I guess I'll just have to stop at B&N on the way home...

Jamie Ford said...

Sounds like a great book, I'll have to check it out. ;)

(Thanks for the great review!)

Best,

Jamie

Sue said...

The author himself visits!

Pretty cool.

=D

Darlene said...

Well, all I can say is that I have started the book snd I can hardly put it down. And you tell me it just gets better and better!

I am so impressed with this author. As you say, he is really smooth, his writing is so smooth, especially when he transitions from 1942 to 1986. This is not always easy to do, but he does it so perfectly that it just flows.

Wow! I am also impressed by the comment the author himself wrote on this blog. After I finish it, I'll give you my rating from one to ten. Incidentally, I'm so glad that many of your readers like my system. I, too, love to reread books I've read and I can gaurantee that one doesn't always remember just how good the first reading was. I can't do that so much now as I am always reading books you have supplied me on the kindle you gave me as a gift, (one of the best gifts you have ever given me, I might add.

I am so looking forward to reading Jamie Ford's next boook!!

karen said...

I'm always looking for a good book. Kindle? (I'm hoping so!) You must know this author? How cool is that!

Sue said...

Nope. That's what's so cool about it. I don't know the author. He just showed up!

=)

BECKY said...

Wow, thanks, Sue! This sounds like my kind of book!!

Melinda Cornish said...

I gotta read this one......

Amy said...

I always love a good book. thanks for the referral.

Melinda Cornish said...

I read it, and it was wonderful....I especially enjoyed it because I came to Utah after living in Seattle and on whidbey island for five years.....I have been to the fairgrounds and will never look at them the same way again.....Great book.

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