Belinda’s Book Nook Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer


Title: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Copyright:  May 6, 2014
Genre: non-fiction
Format: book Pages: 545

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

My Thoughts:

I heard so many people praise this book on booktube and was thrilled when my bookclub chose it for one of our reads in February. I decided to read it in January since it was a rather large book and I have big book phobias.  I always look at big books and keep walking when I am in the book store. However, with my e-reader, I find that I can read them and that much of it is psychological. I also have spoiled myself with my Nook because I don’t have to worry about trying to hold a big book when I read in bed. Which let’s face it, is not the most enjoyable thing because I like to lay down at night and read and it’s not happening with this book. However, for some crazy reason, I decided to buy the hardcover that was on some crazy ridiculous sale at Barnes and Noble. I was thinking I might want to mark passages I want to discuss while at book club and it’s easier with a physical copy than an ebook.

I saw the author of this book being interviewed on television before reading this book and I was really impressed with him and the amount of research that went into writing this book. He also said that the two main characters would meet around page 400.  So I had a little clue before going into the book.

I was so impressed with how the author captured so much essence of the sense of a blind person when he wrote about Marie Laure. How she used all of her other senses so keenly to absorb her surroundings and make sense of them. It makes me realize how having sight can dampen the beauty and richness of all of the other senses. I think because we use our sight to classify more than experience fully. Life for Marie Laure was not easy but she remained strong beyond her years.

The story moved back and forth between Marie Laure and Werner in each chapter. Sometimes it would stay longer with one more than the other. The author used short chapters so it helped when I needed to put the book down I could always complete a chapter first.  I was curious about Werner’s story at the orphanage with his sister  and heartbroken when he was recruited to Hitler’s Resistance. Werner was so talented and unfortunately he had no control over his life with limited options (mining with high risk of desk or joining the war effort). It made me so sad to know that he never was able to dictate his life and be able to see his potential fully blossomed for good.

The supporting characters were also very richly described and interesting.

Did I like the book you ask? Yes, I did find the story was very interesting. Did I think that the length was fine? Nope. I think he could have easily shaved off 100 pages and the book still would have been great.

Even with the excruciating length I would give this book 4 butterflies.



Belinda’s Book Nook: Top Ten Favorite Heroines from Books/TV/Movies

toptentuesday1Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers.


heriones1At first I wasn’t going to participate because I hadn’t really thought about heroine’s and it seemed a bit daunting. Then I went to GoodReads and looked through some of the books I’ve read, and picked some. I am not listing them in any particular order here.

Dana (from Kindred by Octavia Butler) – I read this book many years ago and can’t recall all of the details but I do remember thinking how strong this character had to be to be thrown back into slavery time from our present day. I can’t even imagine what I would do. But I felt that Ms. Butler made her a strong character throughout the book.

Claire Randall (from Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon) – This series has even been made into a great TV series and I like the actress in the series as well. I remember how absorbed I was with this book. Surprisingly I never went on to the others in this series but just might one day.  But again another heroine that time travels and remains strong in face of many adversities.

Rei Shimura (from Zen Attitude (Rei Shimura mysteries by Sujata Massey) – Anyone who reads this blog, knows the special place in my heart for Rei. I have had an interest in Japan since childhood and this series delivers. Rei never waivers and faces on some pretty tough adversaries in each mystery while I get a healthy dose of Japanese culture.  I love the way Rei takes charge of her life and doesn’t cower from it.

heriones2Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat,Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert) – I know there are some out there that hate on this book. But I’m not one of them. I truly enjoyed this book and loved watching her life journey unfold on the pages. I even enjoyed the movie. Don’t hate.

Julia Beckett (Mariana by Susanna Kearsley) – I pretty much  enjoy all of Susanna Kearsley’s female characters are in her books. This was the first one I read and loved it. I liked how Julia didn’t shy away from the “impossible” in this book. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it but I really enjoyed this book and it’s heroine.

heriones3Nitta Sayuri  (Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden) – I read this a really long time ago with a book club. I remember we made sushi and then discussed the book at one of my girlfriend’s house.  This girl had a tough life with little choices and she kept pushing along.  The movie adaptation was stunning.  I watch it every time it comes on cable.

Nell Sweeney (Still Life with Murder by P.B. Ryan) – I stumbled across this book as a free read on my Nook a few years ago. I took a chance and fell absorbed in the story and couldn’t get enough. I read all the books in the series and was so sad to see them come to an end. Talk about book hangover.  Nell figured how to take her life from poverty to a better life.  I loved the stories because they were based locally so I could enjoy them even more.


heriones4Olivia Pope (Scandal the TV Series by Shonda Rhimes) – Well where to begin. I first started watching this show as my guilty pleasure at lunch time. Her naughty relationship with the character that is the president on the show aside, I like to see a strong black women on a television show.  I think Shonda Rhimes strikes a nice balance with Olivia’s strength and her take charge attitude with her softer more vulnerable side. I typically DVR the show because if I watch it at showtime, I get all pumped up speculating the next week’s show and take forever to go to sleep. Of screen, Kerry Washington is a force. She is not just a pretty face and her dedication to humanitarian issues are on point.

Constantine & Aibileen (The Help by Kathryn Stockett) – I enjoyed the book and the movie was great. I loved these two characters and the way they handled such a difficult situation. These two actresses really brought the characters to life and made you feel and think more even after the credits rolled.

Who are your favorite heroines?


Belinda’s Book Nook: Book Giveaway and My Top Ten Book Related Problems I Have

toptentuesday1Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers.

At the bottom of this list I have included information about my first book giveaway.

The Top Ten Book Related Problems I Have:

  1. Buckling Bookshelves – Too many books, no place to put them. I even set up a space in my craft room to put books and now they are outgrowing that shelf. Can I get a collective sigh? hmmm…
  2. Book piles – All around my house I have little piles of books. I start reading some or pull a few I plan to read and then they end up left at that spot in a pile.
  3. Reading all that I have purchased/Too Many book hauls – Growing up, I used the library most of the time and as I began making my own money, I started buying more than one book at a time. It’s not like the books are going to sell out but let’s face it, a box delivered to my doorstep full of books is the happiest time ever for me.  But I read entirely too slow for my book buying habits.
  4. GoodReads TBR overload – I love GoodReads and always tell people about it. It’s a great idea – a place to share your love of books with others, join online bookclubs, find great reads by reading the reviews, and the best part, a place to keep track of what I have read and what I would like to read. Well I didn’t have a system when I started using Goodreads so I would put all books I was interested in on my TBR and the list grew. I now have learned that you really need to filter yourself and don’t let impulse push you to add books that you most likely won’t read. So now I have started to rethink and am slowly going through the list to remove books I really won’t read. This will take away some of the guilt from my TBR. –
  5. Stingy with sharing – I hate to admit it but I am one of those people who doesn’t like to lend out books. I like to think I am nice and that I like sharing. But I fear that my book won’t come back to me in the condition they are lent out or that I will have to manage the return of my book.  So I rarely lend out my books.
  6. Nightstand tower – I can’t help it but I always have a “tower” of books on my nightstand.  Sometimes, ridiculously high and close to toppling over. Many I “intend” on reading and only a few that I actually might be reading.  In contrast to my neat husband that has only one book at a time on his nightstand, I am a mess. It’s something about having my books close to me, that is a comfort before I go to bed. I know that doesn’t make sense. Don’t judge.
  7. Cover Love – I am so guilty of falling in love with a cover and buying it based more on it’s beauty than it’s content. What? I know, what am I thinking? But let’s face it, the covers of books help sell them. They catch your eye and then you read the back. I also have started collecting Susanna Kearsley books because not only the covers are amazing, but the spines match and are so lovely. I can imagine them all on my shelf one day.
  8. Hard to say goodbye – Purging old books by donating them is difficult for me even after I have read the book and know I will not be reading it again.
  9. Goodwill Binging – I love going to used bookstores and finding new and old books at great prices. The problem is it is a total binge. I buy way too many.  I justify the low prices into reason to buy many.
  10. Guilty reading – Sometimes there are books that “everyone” says you absolutely have to read. Somehow I convince myself they are right and sometimes I even go as far as buying the book only to find I never read them or I do and don’t care for them at all. The beauty of reading is the variety and I am also feeling more and more comfortable with my choices. I enjoy pleasure reads that I don’t learn anything, I just go for the ride. I also enjoy books that I learn while I go for the ride, particularly historical fictions and non-fictions. But I don’t and won’t just read one genre of books. I want the variety and know I don’t have to answer to anyone.

That’s my list. What’s your book related problems?

Book Give away!!!

fairest-3I also wanted to share with you an opportunity to win a book on my first book giveaway.

I pre-ordered the latest book from Marissa Meyer, called “Fairest” which is a more in-depth look at Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles.  I have an extra copy to give away to a lucky winner. I have to limit this to the US only since mailing elsewhere will be a bit too much.

fairest2So if you would like a chance to win, leave a comment below and let me know who your two favorite characters is in The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, or Cress)? I will put all the entries in a bowl and let my son pick a random name out. On Tuesday, February 24th  I will announce a winner and then we can exchange mailing info so I can mail you this beautiful book.

Happy Reading!


Belinda’s Book Nook: Top Ten Books written by African and African American Authors I Want to Read


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week, they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. This week, I chose to list ten books written by African or African American Authors.


Death of a King by Tavis Smiley – This book I actually heard about on television when someone was interviewing the author, Tavis Smiley. I like how he said that this is the first book to deal with the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. The strength he had to continue when so many had turned against him. I definitely want to read this one.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo – I heard about this author in a Wall Street Journal article about African Authors.  It is about a girl’s experience moving from Zimbabwe to the US. So I quickly added it to my TBR (To Be Read) list.

Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akapan – I saw this book on Oprah and added it to my TBR. It is a collection of stories about African children from various countries and their experiences.

Mother Poems by Hope Anita Smith – I never heard about this book but I came across it on BookOutlet and the price was amazing so I ordered it. It is about a young girl who loves her mother and the pain she feels when her mother dies. Having lost my mother almost 8 years ago now, I am still working through the pain and look for comfort in this book that deals with the death of a parent.

Belle by Paula Byrne – I have mentioned this book in earlier posts and still haven’t read it. It is a story about the first mixed-race girl introduced to high society England and raised as a lady.

Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad by Betty DeRamus – I bought this on BookOutlet too and again a book I never heard about so I like going into books without too much hype so I can gain my own opinion.

The Black Girl Next Door by Jennife Baszile – This book is memoir about coming of age as a black girl in an exclusive white suburb in “integrated,” post-Civil Rights California. This should be an interesting read.

Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson, Marina Tamar Budhosa – When this award-winning husband-and-wife team discovered that they each had sugar in their family history, they were inspired to trace the globe-spanning story of the sweet substance and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. This book just sounds fascinating to  me.  A must read this year.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi – This debut novel by Helen Oyeyemi is a retelling of an old fairy tale with a twist dealing with identity in this case an African American that is passing for white.  Sounds very intriguing.

Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah – This book deals with postwar life in Sierra Leone following two men who return to their town to try and rebuild but faced with many obstacles. I know very little about Sierra Leone so I look forward to learning more through this novel.

Hopefully I will get to read at least half of this list this year.

Happy Reading!



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