Clara and Mr. Tiffany

2011 Book Reflections

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Personally, 2011 has been a wonderful book year! I always enjoy keeping track of what I’ve read, rating books, and sharing recommendations. Similar to Word Press’ daily post, goodreads encouraged readers to set a reading goal for 2011. Mine wasn’t as daring as other readers, but I completed and read beyond my goal. I’m now going to share my favorite books from 2011. These aren’t full book reviews, instead just mini highlights.

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

True this book was huge, but it’s been on my ‘to-read’ list for a very long time. I’ve always enjoyed the movie and since the book is normally better, I decided to conquer the book. Well, I can’t watch the movie anymore since it doesn’t give the book justice. There’s a little of everything: romance, revenge, suspense, murder, and more. The book took me about a month to read, but it was highly worth it. I also listened to the book, which added to the excitement.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I would describe The Shadow of the Wind as a book lovers book. Many scenes are within an old bookstore where all the books have a soul. The book is full of suspense and mystery. I don’t want to share too much, but this is a book that I couldn’t put down and I was sad when it was finished.

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Perhaps I was attracted to the book, since the black Labrador on the cover is similar to my own dog. The entire book is from the dog’s perspective how he tries to please his owners with a purpose. The book had me laughing aloud and crying. I enjoyed A Dog’s Purpose so much that I’ve already read it again. If you’re hesitant to read this book, since all dogs in dog books seem to die I’d reconsider this book. It has an interesting twist.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This book is a coming of age story about a girl living in Brooklyn, New York. She experiences struggles and takes comfort in reading. She’s very curious about her world and wants to gain information.

 

 

 Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

This book takes place the turn of the twentieth century in New York City. It is the true story of a woman’s relationship with Louis Comfort Tiffany and stained glass.

 

 

 The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

I first read this book, because my library had a community reads together. It is the true story about a young boy living in Malawi, who deals with poverty, famine, and daily struggles to survive. He’s forced to leave school, since his family can’t afford the tuition. He continues to read and learn from the library. He desires to help his family and community and creates a windmill to produce electricity. The story is very inspirational and makes you want to keep trying to reach your goals.

New Authors: A new and enjoyable author that I read this year is Lisa See. I read Shanghai GirlsDreams of Joy, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Her books focus upon family relationships, historical fiction, and Chinese influences.

 

 

Another new author I discovered is Carl Hiaasen. I read Scat and Hoot. These books were for middle school age that were mysteries focused upon environmental issues.

In 2011, I purchased a kindle and I never thought I would read from an electric device. I read about twenty books on my kindle, but I still enjoy ‘real’ books.

I also started this blog in the middle of 2011, which encouraged me to read more diverse books and write reviews. It gives me great pleasure to recommend books for others to enjoy. I’m always looking for new books, so please feel free to share your own recommendations. Hopefully, 2012 brings more wonderful books to enjoy!

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Book Review: Clara and Mr.Tiffany

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Clara and Mr. Tiffany

by Susan Vreeland

Historical Fiction, 432 pages

Clara and Mr. Tiffany takes place in New York City during the late 1890s. Clara Driscoll creates and designs leaded glass lampshades and stained glass windows under Louis Comfort Tiffany. Clara desires recognition, since none of the artist names are mentioned when featured at the Chicago World’s Fair or in Paris. Tiffany has a strict policy: He doesn’t hire married women. In a sense, Clara is married to Tiffany himself since she works closely with him getting creative feedback and strives to please him. She suggests the idea of  a new glass lampshade, which they keep as a secret. Clara is head of the women’s department or the ‘Tiffany Girls’. There are different men in Clara’s life, but she’s committed to her artistic aspirations and knows that if she marries she can no longer work at Tiffany’s. Throughout Clara and Mr. Tiffany there are struggles between the men’s and women’s department. The women’s work isn’t always appreciated and they’re not in a union. Eventually, Clara must decide who she’s most devoted to. The book highlights New York City changes with skyscrapers being built and the subway. At times, I thought the book was slow. Often, I wanted to shake Clara since she was so attached to Tiffany. The book was enjoyable and I gave it four stars. Clara Driscoll’s life is highlighted with more details in the afterword.