Midnight in Broad Daylight: Book Review

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Title: Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds

Author: Pamela Rotner Sakamoto

Publish Date: January 5th, 2016

Genre: History/Biographical

Reading Format: E-book

Summary (Publisher):

Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II. An epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption, Pamela Rotner Sakamoto’s history is a riveting chronicle of U.S.-Japan relations and of the Japanese experience in America.

Review:

I love history but oddly I don’t love to read about history.  I often find them to be a bit boring, or filled with too much information but no story to it.  I can count on one hand the number of Nonfiction books I’ve read that I’ve actually finished, Midnight in Broad Daylight being one of them and I loved this book.

It tells the story of the Fukuhara family. Parents born in Japan and immigrants to America, who raise their 5 children in a mixed cultural upbringing filled with the traditions of Japan and the modern aspects of America.  The book closely follows the lives of two of the brothers Harry and Frank.  Harry is the 3rd child and Frank is his younger brother.  After the death of their father and the start of the Great Depression in the United States, the boys who have spent their whole lives in America are moved to Japan by their mother, along with their 3 other siblings, to be closer to family.

Harry vows to return to America the moment they are forced to move and does after he finishes school.  He comes back to find that the town he grew up in and the friends he left behind don’t have a lot of interest in him any more, nor does the small town have any jobs to offer during the depression.  Moving to Los Angles, Harry bounces from job to job before moving in with a middle aged couple as their house boy.  The couple, who have no children of their own, treat Harry as though he were their son.  They even take in his sister, Mary, and her young daughter when she shows up after escaping her alcoholic and abusive husband.  Then after Pearl Harbor, Harry and Mary are sent to an interment camp until Harry is able to join the United States Army as a translator. Mean while Frank is still in Japan.  He is admitted into an elite school where he learns the ideology that heavily influences Imperial Japan. Frank and one of his and Harry’s other brothers, Pierce, are drafted into the Imperial Army.

Reading the Fukuhara story opened up a whole new world of curiosity for me about Japan, World War II, and cultures here in America.  This family’s story was heartbreaking and hopeful all at once, and presented a timely read even though it was experiences the Fukuhara’s went through nearly 75 years ago.  As an American I’m often surprised by how our society can be xenophobic because we are a rare group of people as our country is also not our ethnicity but rather built from many different ethnicities.  I alone can rattle off a long list of where my heritage comes from just like many others, but somehow we always tend to ignore that when it comes the the new immigrants who make their way to the United States.  Midnight in Broad Daylight shows the nastiness of xenophobia but also displays the strength of a family who attempt to move forward even when those around them want to hold them back because of who they are.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Book Review

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Title: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epoct, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 2nd Edition (Because the title wasn’t long enough already!)

Author:  Susan Veness

Publish Date: April 3rd, 2015

Genre: Travel

Reading Format: E-book

Review:

So I’ve mentioned this a time or two before but I love Walt Disney World and all things Disney.  I figure The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World would be a quick and mildly insightful book to read.  It got me closer to my goal of reading 35 books this year while also providing some new information.  The most interesting  part of this book were the small sections from the Imagineers who worked on different parts of the parks.  It’s amazing to see how much detail they put into each attraction, ride, and restaurant at the Disney parks and resorts.

While there were a lot of things I have read before (thanks pinterest!) on Disney World, I did learn some new things, such as, the fountain in Epoct when it first opened was filled with water from around the world and the Magic Kingdom has changed and expanded since it first opened in 1971 several times.

It will be interesting to see if a newer edition will be written in the next couple of years as the parks change even more with the additions of Pandora, Star Wars Land, and Toy Story Land.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Happy Reading,

Meghan

 

TBR Thursday: The Age of Daredevils

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The Age of Daredevils by Michael Clarkson

I’m not often one for nonfiction but I do love history especially history that chronicles events that aren’t the usual war, birth of nation type stories. When I say the cover of this book I almost didn’t need the description to tell me that I would be adding it to my TBR list. As I’ve noted in past posts I can be quite shallow when it comes to covers and have at times bought several books based on the cover alone.

The Age of Daredevils chronicles a time in which individuals willing got inside of a barrel and plunged over the edge of Niagara Falls. More specifically it focuses on the father-son duo known as the Hills who in the 1920s and 30s participated in the daredevilish act.  Personally I hate heights and have a mild fear of water, so being placed inside a barrel to tumble down a wall of water sounds like a torture device but to a daredevil it would just be merely a challenge.  It is because of this that I will most certainly be reading The Age of Daredevils, and read how others dared to live.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Rainbow Comes and Goes

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Title:  The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss

Author:  Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

Genre: Memoir/Autobiography

Date Published:  April 5th, 2016

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Summary: 

On Gloria Vanderbilt’s 91st birthday her son, journalist Anderson Cooper, starts a series of emails asking about details of her life. These events include the very public custody battle for her between her mother and aunt; the many famous love affairs she has had; and the losses she has experienced from her father to her husband to her son.

What did I think about the book?

One of my favorite books of all time is the Memoir Anderson Cooper wrote back in 2006. I have literally read it at least half a dozen times. When I saw that he and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, had wrote a book together I knew immediately that I was going to read it.

For the most part I knew nothing about Gloria before reading this book. Outside of the fact I knew she was Anderson Cooper’s mom, I was old enough for her designer brand jeans or when she famously date Frank Sinatra or Howard Hughes. And I think because I didn’t know any of these things it made the book all that more interesting. Though I’m sure even if someone did know something about Gloria Vanderbilt you’d still enjoy the book.

I really liked Gloria’s writing. She paints pictures with her words and you can understand her emotion when she was retelling a story to her son. While the book does focus mainly on Gloria you do get the see the dynamic between Mother and Son as book goes along. And it made me want to start a conversation not just with my mom but my grandmother as well. I think there is value in knowing who they were just as much as who they are now.

 

Who would I recommend this book to?

Besides anyone who loves either Gloria or Anderson, the book would be great to read with a parent. It also great for anyone who loves history especially history set in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Gloria Vanderbilt not only comes from a well known family but she has certainly blazed a trail herself as both a young and older woman.

Who would I not recommend this book to?

To be honest I’m finding this question difficult this time around. But I also might be bias about one of the authors. I suppose I wouldn’t recommend this book to someone who doesn’t like nonfiction or has no interest in the two people I have mentioned multiple times by now.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Sparkly Green Earrings

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Title: Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn

Author: Melanie Shankle

Genre: Memoir/Humor/Nonfiction/Christian

Date Published: February 8th, 2013

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Summary: 

Author Melanie Shankle’s book Sparkly Green Earrings is a memoir about motherhood. More specifically it is a collection of tales about her adventures in raising her daughter Caroline.

 

What did I think about the book?

I really liked Sparkly Green Earrings and actually liked it better by reading it after Antelope in the Living Room even though this book is her first memoir published. I will say however that I favor Antelope in the Living Room more than this book though.

But what I enjoyed most while reading  this book was the author’s sense of humor. The tone of that humor is through out the entire book and had me laughing several times. I also liked the fact that the stories were still relatable and entertaining to me even though I have not yet experienced motherhood. I think if a writer is capable of making the reader able to relate to the stories even though they have not personally experienced it themselves, then that is a great quality to have because the theme could have been easily isolating to anyone who isn’t a mom or a parent.

All-in-all Sparkly Green Earrings was a quick read that I would gladly pick up again.

Who would I recommend this book to?

Ideally I think this book would be a great mother’s day gift but seeing as that has come and gone Sparkling Green Earrings would be a great beach read. It is only a little over 200 pages so it might be a great travel read to, something that’s easy to read on a plane or on a road trip (that is of course if you are not driving and don’t get car sick).

Who would I not recommend this book to?

I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who has an issue with Christian themes or stories about personal religious views. Much like in my review of Antelope in the Living Room I will restate that the author is known for having a Christian Living themed blog so fair warning is being made if a reader might be interested in this book but don’t like this genre.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Book Review: Antelope in the Living Room

The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life

Title:  The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life

Author: Melanie Shankle

Genre: Memoir/Humor/Marriage/Christian

Date Published: February 4th, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Antelope in the Living Room is written by an author who is also is a blogger. She chronicles her 16 year marriage with husband Perry in a version of short stories within each chapter. Melanie Shankle’s sense of humor is written in every word and truly made this book highly enjoyable to read.

 

What did I think about the book?

I don’t really have anything negative to write about Antelope in the Living Room except that some of the stories can seem randomly woven together at times. Other than that it met my criteria of being entertaining and I didn’t find myself wanting to do something else while reading it. I also bought the book for my mom she has been enjoying too.  She uses pop culture references throughout the book and it does tend to read like a blog but she is blogger so all is forgiven. It’s a good lighthearted book that perfectly jump started me to start reading again after nothing seemed to grab my interest for the past two months. That alone gives it a 5 out of 5 for me.

Who would I recommend this book to?

I would recommend Antelope in the Living Room more of a female audience though any guy might find it funny too, I feel as though it may be more appreciated from a woman was it is a woman’s perspective on her marriage.  I would also recommend this to a group of friend as it could be a great book to read together. And for obvious reasons this would anyone getting married or is married may enjoy it too.

Who would I not recommend this book to?

Someone looking for a serious read may want to steer clear this won’t be your book. Anyone who doesn’t like Christian or Religious aspect, the author is a Christian blogger and her books are sold in the Christian living section (I only note this because people still wrote negative reviews on this simple fact and I’m not really sure how they stumbled across the book if they don’t like that genre.)  It may not also be of interest to a reader if a collection of stories instead of one streamline read is not your style.

Happy Reading,

Meghan