Do you like a book that leaves you turning the last page only to find out the story has ended? One that keeps you up half the night because you cannot close the book for want of what happens next? I love these types of books! And I love sharing these stories and thoughts with friends and family.
My problem is finding that type of story that puts me on the edge of my seat. It seems to be hit or miss circumstances. However, I have started using www.GoodReads.com as a place to explore what’s new, what other people are reading and how they liked it. You can explore by genre, new releases, award winners or just type in the title or your favorite author.
www.LibraryThing is another website that offers guidance on what to read. Here you can find discussions on books of varying categories. Discover what is hot or what others are reading and what they think about the book or the author.
Sourcebooks may be a publishing company, yet their website can be helpful when looking for a book. You can find it at http://www.sourcebooks.com/book-club-favorites/. They do offer some great read-a-likes opportunities. They even have paired what to eat and drink while discussing some of your favorite books! Not bad when you are hosting a book discussion!
So what am I reading right now? The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yes, it is a tear jerker. Yes, there are characters in it that you could really want to get to know. Have you read it yet? Let us know what you think of it! If you have not read it, then What ‘cha Reading?
I found this statement in one of my emails:
“Start the discussion. Pose this question to a friend at your kids’ soccer game: What if we woke up tomorrow and there were no printed books–how would that change our lives? Then tell that parent to get their kids a copy of The Book Thief. If they haven’t read it yet, they’ve been missing out.” –Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers
I did read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and told everyone I knew along with their mother, brother and sister to read this fascinating book. During World War II, Liesel, a foster child placed in a home outside of Munich, has developed a longing to steal books. Book burnings by the Nazis do not even stop her from taking a book from the burning pile.
She and her foster father share their loathsome taste of the family's daily intake of pea soup and their joy of stories. She begins to share her collected stolen books with her foster father who in turn secretly teaches her how to read in the basement. The bomb raids go off and she finds herself sharing her collection of books with neighbors and the Jewish man hidding in their basement.
Death is the narrator for what is happening to Liesel and her family members. War time is busy for Death, but Death is compasionate about this little girl, her foster family and all that surrounds her.
This is not just a story of Liesel and her love for books. It is her desire and the love and fear all around her that moves Liesel to try to protect what she holds dear. This is a story where Death describes humans as being so ugly and so glorious.
Another book that I found interesting about people’s enthusiasm for books is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. There are some people in the world who cannot read, yet possess a love for the story. Some hide their illiteracy and find ways to get others to feed their lie. The truth, many times, comes home in ways we never expect it to appear.
In The Reader, a 15 year old boy finds himself in love with an older woman. They have a ritual after he arrives from school. One part of that ritual involves him reading and reading to her. Eventually, she disappears from his life. Many years later, as a law student, he runs into her again – only this time she is on trial for war crimes. It is post World War II. He connects with her again through recorded tapes of his readings that he sends to her jail cell. This truth of her illiteracy will be reveiled in the end. This is a story of guilt, the Holocaust, love, abuse, and judgement that is told through the love of the book.
What good is the printed book? These books are based on a story of many printed books, yet the amazing thing is that they have both been made – or will be made into movies! Imagine that! What do you think about printed books versus electronic books? Which do you prefer?
Summer is upon us now. What do you plan to read and maybe share with friends and family? Have you read a book about other books? Or What ‘cha Reading?
There are times when I have this growing image of perpetual mowing in the spring. It is one where I finish one part of the yard and realize the part that I just finished a few minutes ago, now needs mowing again! Perpetual!
That is when I realize that I need a cozy mystery to read at night! There are many authors that will take you on an adventure, but not shake you up. M.C. Beaton with her Agatha Raisin mysteries will do just that.
Agatha Raisin is retired from her public relations position and has settled in the Cotswolds area of England. To keep herself busy and in other people’s business, she starts up a detective agency. In As the Pig Turns, Agatha finds herself in the midst of a murder and not the scheduled town pig roast. The copper that she and others have had run ins with, turns out to be a substitution for the pig – only without his head. Some believe that Agatha may be involved.
This is the 22nd installment of the Agatha Raisin series. Start off with the first, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death.
Another author along this cozy line is Laura Childs and her Tea Shop Mysteries. Death by Darjeeling is the first for this series. Enjoy a mystery and a recipe!
Do you know of other cozy mysteries that you could recommend? Let us know what you are reading – or What ‘cha Reading?
There are gardens of all kinds, sizes and colors. Some are crafted in the dirt, some from paper, and others could just be a real mystery!
Want to learn how to build an outside room of gorgeous color and flowers? Adrian Bloom can do this with his book: Bloom’s Best Perennials and Grasses. His designs are for the full year round gardens. This book shows great pictures of plants, when their blooms are of peak interest, and what plants look great together. Looking through this book will make the gardener want to get out and put their hands in their dirt.
On another level of flowering is the Quilled Flowers by Alli Bartkowski. One does not need to get outside in this recent burst of cold weather, but stay inside as Alli demonstrates how to create gorgeous flowers with paper. These flowers are showy in both frames and vases.
Kate Morton brings another garden to the picture, The Forgotten Garden. Her entwining stories revealing a century of family secrets moves from current day Australia to past times in England. Who is Nell? What really identifies us? Our parents or complex relationships?
Peter Turnbull pulls a real mystery in his The Garden Party. Detective Inspector Harry Vicary is to find out what happened at a garden party. What does the child-like scrawled note found in the hotel wall have to do with the burnt bones? Follow Harry through this investigative garden!
Have you read any garden stories lately? Or do you just like to get your hands in the dirt and garden? Let us know what you have been reading recently! Or What ‘cha Reading?
Did you know that March is International Listening Month? It seems that listening can be a major obstacle or a real blessing for so many stories and novels. Some story plots create multiple layers of conflict that escalate when two or more characters do not listen to one another. Then there are other books based on characters listening to each other, solving problems and creating a wonderful feel good tone to the story.
I recently read a Regency historical romance novel. Tracy Anne Warren’s The Princess and the Peer is one story where the characters do not listen to each other. The story develops an intensity through this family feud just because Princess Emma of Rosewald could not get her brother, Prince Rupert, to listen to her. He refused to change his idea of a dynastic marriage for her.
Since her brother will not listen to her, she wants one last fling as a free woman. She runs away to London and stumbles upon a handsome, caring, and vibrant Earl. Emma knows if she obeys her brother’s marriage wishes, she will never be happy. Prince Rupert’s lack of sensitivity towards his sister and his devotion to the state of their home country, leads Emma to break all rules.
However, there is one character in the book that seems to be listening and really paying attention to everything. Emma’s sister turns out to be fully engaged with all that is going on in the castle.
This is a fun book to read and Tracy Anne Warren is keen to the ways of royalty and historical romance novels.
On a more serious note, there is The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. This is a true story of a son and his mother, as they begin sharing the books that they have read, liked and that have had some type of effect on their life.
Will’s mother is ill. He is spending time sitting with his mother at the cancer center as she receives her chemo treatments. Their book club begins with a simple conversational question toward each other: “What are you reading?” (Hmmm… we are not the only ones asking “What ‘cha Reading?”) As they share and discuss and involve each other in their reading, they realize the power of books upon their lives and others.
What a wonderful way to rediscover relationships and memories. Yet, mostly, it is a wonderful way to delve into the spirit and true essence of a person you truly care about. Books are powerful! Just listen to them!
Have you read anything you have enjoyed or not enjoyed recently? Let us hear from you! Or “What ‘cha Reading?”
Two books that I have read recently speak boldly of compassion and people’s values and faith.
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore tells of two lives – opposite in interests, race, economic status – and how one woman brought them together. Ron Hall, a white man determined to make it big as an international fine art dealer in Fort Worth Texas, marries a woman with a strong tenacity to help others around her. Then there is Denver Moore. He would be considered your modern day slave. Born in Louisiana and worked the cotton fields for “the man” until he escaped and ended up in Fort Worth, Texas as a homeless man.
Ron’s wife persuaded him to join her at the mission to help serve a Tuesday meal to the homeless. Ron considered this to be a way to be helpful yet remain at a safe distance from getting involved. Well, his wife had other plans. She then wanted her husband to befriend one of the gentlemen at the mission who seemed to stand back away from everyone. This is where Ron meets Denver. Denver is hesitant to get close to Ron because when white men fish, “they do this thing of catch and release.” A black man would never think of throwing the fish back in. A black man would be proud of what he caught and then want to share it with family and friends. Denver wanted to make sure that Ron would not toss him back in the water when he was done with Denver’s friendship.
Their friendship grew over a short time. It became very strong during a sad and trying time for the two men. This is where the reader realizes the strength, compassion, and true grit of what two men shared. You have to read this book.
The other book, The Color of Water by James McBride, reveals the strength and faith of a white woman raising her 12 bi-racial children in a black neighborhood. She ran away from her Jewish parents, who saw faith as a strict discipline. This is a story about one woman’s strength and determination to raise her children with values, talents and an educated mind. James McBride, one of her sons, discloses her life and events alongside his own description of life growing up with 11 brothers and sisters and a white Mommy. Another thought provoking story of life and the strength of faith.
There are many other books out there to ponder over how precious life really is; no matter what color our skin may be, what political party we belong to or where we live. What have you read recently? Or What ‘cha Reading?
What did you set down in stone last year as your New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t know about you, so far my stones have had a tendency to turn to mud and wash away. I have tried to make colorful notations of my resolutions in my daily journal. However, I have found myself not wanting to open my daily journal! Somehow I need a way to keep and be mindful of my resolutions. They say simple daily readings will help. I found some great books for short readings!
As I looked at the first book, Making Every Day Count by Pamela Espeland & Elizabeth Verdick, the first entry mentions to forget about any idea of setting resolutions. (That sounded great!) Painting your hopes, dreams and goals on a “canvas” or actually making lists of your goals you would like to accomplish this year is much easier to actually accomplish than a New Year’s resolution according to the authors.
Wanda Brunstetter writes many fiction books describing the life of an Amish community. She has also written a book called The Simple Life: Devotional Thoughts from Amish Country which has short daily readings of ways to make your life focused around your goals and dreams. It also has simple recipes for simple food.
The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want, by Deepak Chopra, first describes that a wizard is “someone who can cause transformation.” As we find the wizard within us through these twenty lessons, you will be working to attain that inner joy and fulfillment. Chopra describes each lesson and how to live with or within that lesson. This is a more spiritual awakening and goal setting book.
In setting some of my goals for the year, I would also like to de-clutter my life of paper and things. I found a few books that looked interesting as I pursue a de-cluttered life and home. Give It Up! My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less by Mary Carlomagno. In giving up one desirous thing each month that she thought was important to her, the author , Mary Carlomagno, was able to recognize what really was important and to find an appreciation in activities and other people.
From de-cluttering comes organizing oneself! The Art of Organizing Anything by Rosalie Maggio and Knack Organizing Your Home by Emily Wilska are two great books for finding out what you need and where you can put your valuable items. Sometimes this task of organizing will need initiating with a change of thought processes and breaking the total project into smaller projects. Emily Wilska has some great ideas on how to go through the process of getting rid of items no longer needed and then how to store your items that are left that you do use.
After all that thinking and working to organize your life, one should reward themselves with a great dessert! Right? Well maybe. Actually, now would be a great time to get back to some basic cooking and enjoying the taste of your food. Yes, there are some great recipes in a multitude of cookbooks from each branches’ shelves. The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (2010) has pictured great ideas; some a little more healthful besides the classics.
The Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home only has 1000 recipes that one should be able to jump start any fabulous tasting. Ina Garten also has a wonderful cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home, that has great down home recipes with luscious looking pictures.
What will you read to fulfill your New Year’s resolutions? Or What ‘cha Reading?
In most of the animal stories I have read recently, the animals have to teach the humans how to behave humanly. Three of these great reads are Boleto by Alyson Carol Hagy, Love is the Best Medicine by Dr. Nick Trout and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.
Boleto, by Alyson Carol Hagy, is a modern day western story. I am not much for western type horse stories, but this turned out to be one fantastic book! The author’s penetrating description of the scenery near Jackson Hole, Wyoming makes one want to head west to soak up the scenery Alyson described. The story develops and draws one in through this smooth almost horse whisperer tone one minute and then lasso’s one in to all types of adventures and tight spots.
“Who are you today, Will Testerman?” Will has learned the tough yet exhilarating care of raising horses at their family ranch. During the summer months, he has been in charge of the horses at a local summer riding camp and learns to work with people of all ages and riding abilities. He has also experienced the rich life of the show horse. As he learned the grooming needed for show horses, he also learned there are different ropes in dealing with people with money. Now, Will has been offered a position in California to learn how to care for the competitive polo horses. Is this really a life-time experience he should take?
Will Testerman purchased a filly, a young female horse, with the last of his money from his latest quick jobs and his last escapade show horse job. To his father, this confirms Will’s irresponsible and senseless behavior. Mr. Testerman built their family ranch with grit, hard work and a love for the ranching life. However, Mr. Testerman has to work in town at the local print shop to make ends meet. Will is the last of his three sons whom he might have a chance to take over the family ranch, yet he sees Will as directionless. After a mindless interlude with a young equestrian show girl, Will had to high-tail out of the show horse company in Texas. He arrived home in time to care for his mother, who has just been diagnosed with cancer. He and his mother share an inner carefree way that has created a very close relationship between them. His mother sees the filly as a possible investment.
It has been his mother, an elementary school teacher, who has always encouraged Will into thinking and dreaming of being different from his older brothers. She would ask him each day as they drove into school together, "Who are you today, Will Testerman?" Most days, just to hear her laugh, he would answer that he was some big, historical, worldly, famous person. These are the words that stick with him no matter what part of the west his next job locates him, “Who are you today, Will Testerman?”.
Will has always had a special touch with the horses around the ranch. He has learned from watching others and watching the horses. In his restlessness, he wants to learn more about all the different businesses where horses are the basis for money making investments. He is not afraid of hard work and testing himself into learning the ropes of these trades. Through his family ranch experiences and various jobs caring for horses, he learns about people, money, and ultimately respect and trust from horses. Now he has an opportunity with a competitive polo horse company in California.
It is his filly who shows him what it means to be patiently groomed and trained. He takes her and his steady Appaloosa gelding, Hawk, to California. Will ends up working with trainers who do not trust him or like him and other ranch hands, who speak little English, who end up trusting Will. It is through the filly that Will finds his ticket, or Boleto, to growing up and understanding the workings of money, people and deceit. Like I said before, this was a great story!
Love is the Best Medicine by Dr. Nick Trout is tear jerking story of a couple dogs who teach their owners, doctors and veterinarians about life and the bonds that we form with animals. This is one book to read to appreciate some of the events that veterinarians go through.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen takes place during the depression years and the hardship of those trying to find meaning in their jobs and world around them. Yes, there is an animal, the elephant, in this story that emphasizes the emotions and realization of people’s relationships. This too is another great read!
Have you read a story about an animal that makes one think? Or, What ‘cha Reading?
Do you have a favorite story you read before turning in for the All Hallows’ Eve? Do you like them scary? Super scary?
I like to read a few chapters from Hoosier Hauntings by K.T. MacRorie. The disappearance of a set of helium-filled balloons from the Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, IN is a good story. Makes one think! How could helium-filled balloons travel down a hallway through a bedroom and wrap themselves around a dress on display in a wardrobe? Hmmm, sounds like a haunting situation!
Ever think about the bridge you are crossing over as you drive at night? Does it have a story? They say you can hear a woman’s grief stricken wails for her lost child from the Avon Bridge in Washington Township. How about a bridge in Mooresville? There is one where an arm appears from time to time. You hope it never comes pointing towards you!
Did you know the White House is haunted? There have been sightings and sounds from Abraham Lincoln, Abigail Adams, Andrew Jackson and even Dolley Madison. Dolley spooked Mrs. Woodrow Wilson’s gardeners, who were scheduled to remove the Rose Garden that she had planted. She spoofed them and the Rose Garden remains where it originally was planted. That is one determined first lady!
A new book of short stories, An Apple for the Creature, has gruesome stories by Charlaine Harris, Ilona Andrews, Mike Carey and others. Your worst school-day experience will not fare well with the stories of this book! Between telepaths, missing students, vampires and serial killers, these stories will have you feeling very creepy!
The Library also has a HUGE book of October or Halloween short stories! It is called October Dreams : A Celebration of Halloween and edited by Richard Chizmar and Robert Morrish. One story sticks out in my mind every time I shake someone’s hand: Halloween Memories by Christopher Golden. Be on the alert during Halloween if you shake someone’s hand. That hand may remain with you after the person is long gone!
Of course there are the Stephen King and Anne Rice scary titles, yet, John Saul writes many haunting books such as: Vespers, The Horning, House of Reckoning, Sleepwalk and many more! Scott Westerfeld also has a couple interesting titles, Peeps and Last Days. Check one out to get your frights in for the year!
Are you reading something scary right now? Who is your favorite Halloween author? Or What ‘cha Reading?
October is National Reading Group Month!
Good books do bring people together. I love it when someone asks me what I am reading...and then an hour later realize we have gone from the book I am reading to all the books that they have read and loved or hated. Books are a great companion!
What 'cha reading right now?
How would you describe your favorite romance novel or the characters involved?
Linda Howard, in Diamond Bay, has her hero wash up on a Florida beach. Kell, naked and unconscious, has been wounded. Rachel Jones, a former investigative reporter, strong from her swimming and gardening at Diamond Bay, knows she has to bring this man back to health, find out who he is, and then decide what to do with him. Reporting him to the sheriff or emergency crew will only alert authorities and draw his avengers back. But, what if he is a drug dealer, an escaped felon? Rachel calls on her friend and veterinarian to help address his gunshot wounds. Now Rachel is left with washing and caring for this strong beautiful man.
Days into this adventure, Kell is conscious and recovering. Rachel and Kell face their strong urges for each other as they are torn between their love and those who want Kell dead.
This is a story that will keep you on your toes and turning the pages. What will happen to Kell and his avengers in the end? Will Rachel find peace there at Diamond Bay? Diamond Bay is a must read of Linda Howard’s.
Carla Neggers, recognized for her romantic suspense novels, takes two FBI agents involved in illegal arms activity and a jeopardized Russian art collection, then entangles their investigations with their newly found love in Heron’s Cove. Colin, bold, tough, sexy, independent FBI Special Agent, and one of the Irish Donovan brothers, has just escaped being killed by two Russians selling illegal weapons. Emma, granddaughter and former employee of Wendell Sharpe’s Sharpe Fine Art Recovery, an FBI Special Agent in art crimes, beloved by many residents of Heron’s Cove area in Maine, is confronted by her past as she is immersed in a possible Russian art collection theft.
Before Colin has time to decompress, he is tossed into Emma’s past just as a former Sharpe Fine Art Recovery client shows up on the shores of Heron’s Cove. How can Emma keep the integrity of her family’s business, yet find how this rare Russian folktale art collection is integral to Colin’s revengeful killers?
Colin realizes this nightmare is continuing. He and Emma’s love is being challenged as they confront their secrets as FBI agents. Will they best work independent or together? What connects Dmitri Rusakov, Ivan Alexander, Pete Horner, Natalie Warren, Tatiana Pavlova, Father Finian Bracken, Emma Sharpe’s family and the Sharpe Fine Art Recovery? What will be left on the shores of Heron’s Cove?
Carla Neggers writes a page turning suspenseful love story; one that many of you will enjoy!
Do you have a suspenseful novel involving the love between two people that you would share with everyone? Or just What ‘cha Reading?
How is it that some authors can take a character, put them in difficult situations, and find ways the character becomes stronger and not a sour lemon? No, I am not talking about Joanne Flute and her cozy mysteries and all the yummy dishes she learns to create (although they are so fun!). I am talking about characters who are involved in a difficult situation and either become stronger individuals or turn their predicament it into a positive memory.
In Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson, a group of teens are involved in group disputes and drugs between Vermont to New York City. It does not help that their parents are fallouts of the 60’s Hippie Generation and still doping and rebelling. Jude, Teddy, and Eliza in one night become a threesome in search of revenge and a good time. Teddy dies that night of an overdose. Eliza becomes pregnant with Teddy’s child, and Jude is sent to NYC to live with his Dad to escape violence from another teen group. Johnny, who is Teddy’s step brother, steps in to remedy their predicament.
This story and the characters could end right there as some real-life stories do. However, Eleanor Henderson gives you a ride through these teen’s thoughts and events, as if touring with their rock band through 1988’s history of eastside NYC and a multitude of fanatics and cultures of the time. Pick the book up and take a ride through the late 1980s history. Sometimes heroes and strong personalities do not create the most positive life. If you read the book, who impressed you or made lemonade?
Caroline Gill is another character that becomes lemonade from a sour lemon situation. Kim Edwards, through her book, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, poses a situation, a question, or a debate. How does a physical or mental disability affect a family or a parent’s decisions? The story begins with a doctor delivering his own set of twins during a blizzard. The first child is healthy. The second child shows downs syndrome characteristics. As memories of his sister’s failing health come to him, the doctor hands his daughter to the attending nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her away to a special home. The family now has secrets that build bigger and bigger walls. How would you feel if you were Caroline? David, the father and doctor? Norah, the mother who was told she had one healthy baby and one child that died? Paul, the healthy first born of the twins? Is the situation really lemonade? Or is it in how you drink the lemonade?
Have a character from a story that amazes you? Let us know! Or let us know what you think of these characters above. Or, What ‘cha Reading?!
Ever wonder where that person grew up that owns the store you frequent, or that served you coffee and pie last night. How about your professor standing at the front of your classroom? Some people have an incredible history – an incredible story to tell. Sometimes the story is great. Sometimes you wish you could have guided them and told them “it would be better if you did this…”
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is an astonishing autobiographical story of a family wandering through adventures, homes, money, addictions and ultimately ending in total poverty. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you may yell. Janet’s father has this grand idea for a house with all the engineering and geological intricacies worked out in his head. Yet, no job, no money and no ambition to do it. Janet’s mother is an artist who enjoys the excitement of life through her world of canvases. Their four children learn to get along with and without their parents. Where does Jeannette end up? This is a story that will capture your heart – a real must read!
Frank McCourt was another interesting person, teacher and author. I both read and listened to his Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis and Teacher Man. They were fantastic biographical stories of a boy growing up in Ireland coming to America and finally getting a job teaching. Frank and his siblings had a tough childhood with little support from family or other grownups. His memories of his life in Ireland and up through to him immersing himself in troubles and poverty in America too will make you laugh, cry and maybe yell. He had a love for stories. He lived, he laughed and he taught. He left us with these moving stories.
Have a book about a person that is moving you to laughter or tears? Or What ‘cha Reading?
Some books take you along through the full life of a character; some books have a timeframe of a few years, some a few months; and then some books go through just one – full – day of a character’s life. I have journaled, yet never really documented all my thoughts throughout a day on all that I do. I find it is an interesting way to get to know a character or to "see" how a character or an event developes through the details of an event.
An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi, is one book that describes Clare Moorhouse’s events of a busy day as the wife of a British diplomat. As a reader, you get involved in Clare’s dealings of an irresponsible and stubborn teenage son, her preparations of a dinner for multiple diplomats and other highly regarded political individuals, her hidden and possibly damaging past, and knowledge of a possible terrorist suspect. The reader gets to know more about Clare as one is transported through the details of Clare’s preparations, errands, thoughts on how to handle various aspects of her son’s life, the upcoming dinner and her past involvement with the IRA. Clare gives the reader a glimpse of a diplomat's family along with what it does take to put on a prestigious dinner.
Another one – full – day of a character’s eventful happenings is Saturday by Ian McEwan. Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon, awakens to London’s day of anti-war protesting while heavy in thought about the prevalent war in Iraq. Henry goes about his usual Saturday events including a squash game with a collegue and a shopping list. He and his wife are planning a special dinner with their two adult children. However, there is a minor collision to his car by a confrontational man. He notices that there is something medically wrong with this person. As the family arrives that evening, the confrontational man shows up at Henry’s home to try to ruin Henry's life. How the author, McEwan, develops the detailed thoughts of war and peace, of everyday living, medical phenomenon along with how a family handles a stressful event brings Henry closer to the reader.
Anne Tyler also wrote a one – full – day in the life of a couple, Breathing Lessons. You get to know the characters and their family, the ups and downs and twists and turns of their marriage as they travel to and from a friend’s funeral.
These one – full – day stories and lives of a character or characters develop through their thoughts and events of the day. You get to know the character and many times develop a compassion or understanding of this character and what they are experiencing. Are they fast or slow paced? As always, it can depend. Through the character's thoughts on a given topic, they can go a bit slow, yet pick up during the action and suspense of the story. Some readers like this one - full - day and some prefer a longer timeframe and less detail to develop a character and the story. What do you prefer? Or What ‘cha Reading?
What draws you to a particular book? Is it the title? The cover? Or just your favorite author?
With some authors, their book covers are as different as different can be. Danielle Steel, John Grisham, David Baldacci, Martha Grimes come to my mind at the moment. However, some author’s books just have their own constant ambiance to them; Emily Giffin’s very simple pastel colors, Susan Vreeland’s famous paintings, Janet Evanovich’s bright cheery colors, Dick Francis’ horse and Maeve Binchy’s Irish green scenes.
Recently, there have been some intriguing covers. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy is simply very bold. Anne Perry’s historical and elegant Treason at Lisson Grove or Dorchester Terrace. Laura Hillenbrand’s anxious looking Unbroken. The homey feeling of Elizabeth George’s Year of Pleasures or Once Upon a Time There Was You.
One cover that I was not sure whether it displayed a mysterious or frightening set of eyes was Before I Go To Sleep by Steven J. Watson. I read some of the mixed reviews of it from Amazon and GoodReads. People either loved it or did not like it. Halfway through the book I was not sure where the author was taking the story. Christine awakens each day thinking she is back in her 20s. In the bathroom, the mirror reveals that she is missing a major section of her life. Her hands are much older. Every morning she has to be given clues as to who she is and the man she is living with is her husband. As her memory begins to heal, flashes of people and events go through her mind. Who can she trust? Who can she confide in? That set of eyes on the cover does reflect a mysterious and frightening story. I was completely drawn into the book through those eyes!
Do book covers pull you to check out a book? Let us know what cover has intrigued you to pick up a book and read it. Or What ‘cha Reading?
What makes reading of mysteries so thought catching? Is it the suspense? Is it the good vs. the evil? The inquisitive risk taking detective? How about the taunting mind of the killer?
I find all the above makes me want to read a mystery.
I love the funny outlook of Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Schulz. Goldy is a caterer in Colorado who gets wrapped up and foiled into all types of murders. As a side, you get involved in Goldy’s kitchen. Imagine the smell of her espresso, the mouth-watering taste of her Chicken a l’Orange, the soothing taste of pecans and chocolate in Lethal Layers - all while running into and chasing killers.
I still love my nostalgic Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Laurie King’s take of seeing Sherlock through the eyes of Mary Russell, Sherlock’s wife according to King, brings out his (and her) brilliance and mind provoking sleuth stories. As a side, they are beekeepers. Could there be a link there?
Harlan Coben and Michael Connelly are my go to page turners. Coben has a suspenseful way of immersing one into the fears of his characters. My most recent read of The Woods made me think back to what could have happened during my summer camp experiences. Connelly with his macho Harry Bosch, will take you on steady building adventures of serious crimes. The Last Coyote gives one insight into Harry as an individual while following him on a twisting and turning path of detective searching.
Now if you need a real hair standing, bone chilling, mysterious adventure, try The Snowman by Jo Nesbo. There were times I had to call my sister before listening to another chapter while driving home at night. Take a peak at this book from YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VogM6_PgfOI&feature=plcp.
Then let us know what you have been reading or…What ‘cha Reading?
There are self-help books with covers exhibiting time management symbols, people helping other people or a cute dog who is everyone’s best friend. Then, there are books with a fictitious character who makes you look at your life in comparison to their life’s events. Have you read anything that has made you think about your relationships, your family, why you work at the job that you do, or why you live where you do today?
I have read a few recently. Some of these books I would classify as historical fiction, yet they make you ponder your life and what you might do in certain situations.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is one book on my historical thought provoking list. This story is about a reporter in France who is trying to dig up sensitive information on the round up of Jews in France during July, 1942. Her search for facts uncovers a link to a young girl during this "Vel' d’Hiv’ Roundup". The reporter is torn by family members and other French families to drop her search on the Vel' d’Hiv’ Roundup. The past maybe painful but knowledge can be freeing.
Another book, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow is a Bellwether Prize winning novel. A single mom from Denmark, is raising three children in Chicago, a land that she knows nothing about. Rachel, the only survivor of this family’s tragedy, is sent from Chicago to Oregon to live with her paternal African American grandmother. Most teen years are tough with so many questions of what makes up one’s identity, yet Rachel has additional factors adding to her difficult teen years. She begins to work through why people look to her family and the color of her skin for who she is or is not. Wow! What a timely read as to what is going on in the news!
What have you read that makes you think? or What 'cha Reading?
Ever get that longing for something in these winter months?
I try to satisfy this "something"...While it is warm, I try a walk in the park. I call my grandmother. I fix my family a healthy meal. All this is good, it just does not satisfy that “something.” So, I try a piece of chocolate, but that inner voice reminds me of my New Year’s resolution of one serving a day.
What is needed is a new place to go.
However, the wallet is empty, or not functioning on the idea of travel. Gas prices are going up another 40 cents and the news mentions a continual move upwards. Ah ha, one could venture to the library and begin cruising the travel magazines and books!
I pulled out a few travel books. The Insiders’ Guide to Cincinnati. I was not aware they had a Sign Museum! I then head further south to Georgia, Georgia Curiosities has some interesting pictures on the cover. I run across an interesting publisher I’ve not used before: the Moon Travel Guides. I pull out the Florida Beaches. Ohhh, does the cover look relaxing and warm and so inviting. As I mingle over to the books on Italy, I find one called Italy Out of Hand: A Capricious Tour. From Milan to Bologna to Florence to Venezia…it is a capricious tour all wrapped up in a little book! Full of history, pictures, famous visitors and translations of what street names really mean! Totally capricious!
I got to thinking about a few mysteries I have read recently that take place outside of Indiana. Speaking of Venezia, or Venice, I recall a mystery that takes place in Venice. The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice by Chris Ewan describes the maze of canals he had to mingle through during and after his burglary adventures. The main characters really moved around through interesting areas of Venice!
Then there are the fun Diane Mott Davidson’s mysteries taking place in Colorado. Great eating ideas as you get to mosey around Colorado solving crimes and enjoying her teenage son’s views on life.
Heading west to California, there is Harry Bosch the LAPD detective and all his adventures created by Michael Connelly. Harry likes to visit interesting places and interesting people.
Mo Hayder’s Hanging Hill takes one across the Atlantic to Bath, England. Ohhh what a page turner! On over to Norfolk, The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths digs into history. You get involved in the lives of some interesting characters in an area rich in history and setting.
What have you been reading? Or What ‘cha Reading?
Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception
by Charles Seife
Mark Twain’s proverbial “lies, damn lies and statistics” are the
topic of this chatty book that looks at how media, the government, and
others manipulate numbers to promote their own agendas.