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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft

I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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Customer Comments

W S Krauss has commented on (51) products.

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd
A Duty to the Dead

W S Krauss, December 17, 2013

I loved the character of Bess Crawford, a nurse in WWI. She's a tough cookie, smart and brave. A dying soldier makes her promise to take a message to his brother. What she endures just getting back to England is amazing. Then, when she finally delivers the message, the brother reacts with seeming indifference. What follows is a brilliant mystery, with the backdrop of a small village in England during the war. The writing is lovely and the characters are well written. I look forward to reading other Bess Crawford mysteries.
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The Circle by Dave Eggers
The Circle

W S Krauss, December 17, 2013

The Circle is a tech company like Google or Facebook, where the employees young and tech savvy. Mae joins the company after working for a utility in her hometown, a job she hated. She was recruited to the Circle by her college friend Annie. Mae quickly fits into the company and her job in Customer Experience, where all of her transactions are rated immediately. She does well and begins to succeed, rising through the ranks of the company. She begins an affair with a mysterious man named Kalder, who is not on the list of company employees. She and Annie think he may be a spy. The Circle founders begins to talk about the need for "completion", where everyone is transparent and required to have a Circle account. Meanwhile, Annie gets involved in a project that uncovers some shocking news. We all see where this book is headed; it is no surprise when things go as we expect. Yet it was a good read and it does make you think about privacy and how much information is out there. We have been warned….
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Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Light Between Oceans

W S Krauss, November 21, 2013

This is a heartbreaking story of love, forgiveness and redemption. Tom Sherbourne, recently returned from WWI in Europe, takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on the remote island of Janus, a hundred miles off the coast of Western Australia. Before he leaves the town of Partageuse, from which he will be taken to the island, he meets a young woman named Isabel Graysmark and they begin a relationship that cuminates in marriage. Ultimately, Isabel and Tom move to Janus together to begin their married lives. After a series of miscarriages, Isabel and Tom are grieving. One day, they find a boat that washes up on the shore of the island. A dead man and a living baby are found in the boat. The decisions that Tom and Isabel make on that day impact them, and others, for the rest of their lives.

I was very uncomfortable reading this book at times. I had grown to love these characters and yet was appalled by their choices. However, without giving too much away, I felt the book resolved some of these dilemmas by the conclusion. It is not a storybook ending, however, and it is a novel of difficult themes. I will say that it made me think a lot about the lengths we will go to for those we love, and the balance of right and wrong with what is in our hearts. I will not soon forget this story.
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

W S Krauss, September 28, 2013

Bee Branch is a middle-schooler in a second tier private school in Seattle. Her mother, Bernadette, was an up-and-coming architect in LA until something happened that ended her dreams and future. Bee's father, Elgin, works at Microsoft, where he is considered a "rock star". After a series of hilarious events, Bernadette disappears. The story of Bernadette's disappearance and how she is found is told through Bee's narration, as well as letters, emails, FBI files, FAXes, transcripts and an emergency room bill. You don't have to be from the Pacific NW to appreciate the biting sarcasm and humor about Seattle culture. The characters are funny, complicated and often transcend their stereotypes. Semple has affection for her characters and ultimately leads them to an emotionally satisfying conclusion.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

The World without You by Joshua Henkin
The World without You

W S Krauss, September 14, 2013

This novel got good reviews. I think I liked the idea of the book more than the actual book itself. The story and setting were good ones. A family is meeting in Massachusetts for the one year memorial of the death of Leo, a journalist in his early thirties that died in Iraq. At their summer house, Leo's mother and father, his widow and his three sisters arrive, along with the husbands of two of the sisters and several children. Each character's relationship with one another is teased out and Leo's character is developed through the eyes of these family members. We see how the family is coping with Leo's death and to the unraveling of relationships within the family. Some of the characters are not well developed, such as the mother, father and one of the sisters. The idea is that when a family is struck with a huge blow such as a death, the members of the family each deal with it in their own way. Adjustments occur, not always for the better. They must learn to carry on in the world without the person who has died. The crux of the story is that changes occur in these characters and the event of the memorial serves to unveil a new balance in the way they relate to one another. While I admire the approach to the story, I didn't really like these characters very much and so did not feel much affinity to them. Without affection for the characters, I found myself not caring much how it turned out. And while it did have a hopeful ending, I wished the author had made me feel more emotion about it.
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