Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Uprooted

Warning: ahead be spoilers. Continue at your own risk.

I was looking for a book that was a good October read (fantasy or something equally unique) that wasn't a series, a fete increasingly hard to accomplish. I had begun listening to it a few months ago, and it was interesting, so I gave myself a reason to carry on.

I am so glad I did. That was one rocking, rollicking ride!  Every time I thought a storyline was resolved and wondered what in the world could come next, Naomi Novik came up with something totally original, logical to the story, and fantastic. 

It felt like an Old World fairy tale, and the audiobook reader had a Polish accent - which, after reading the afterward, made total sense. I also thought it was brilliant to include Baba Yaga, the European witch of lore, and introducing Jaga was a very subtle move to provide that element and make it feel as old as that tale.

As much as I love the first line — indeed, the first paragraph — the story started out a little slow for me, which is why I set it aside the first time. I am a firm believer that books should contain only the "good stuff," and the beginning felt like it wasn't doing that. But it was, I saw when I started it again, and the writing was clever and interesting, and the characters were rich and full-bodied, and the dialog was conducive to the story and true to the tale/characters/timeframe.

Our heroine, Agnieszka, is an amazing, strong character. She respects the Dragon, but allows her fear to ebb and even dissolve when she needs to. Her power she discovered in the Wood was brilliant: almost a "knock it off!" power. I like her when she's angry, and when she needs to solve issues on her own, and when she puzzles through a problem. It's her love of her home and the people in it that saves her, and them, and ultimately the Dragon.

The women in this book were well-written characters, sometimes literally strong enough to carry everyone else. The strongest Wizard, the warring monarch, the most flexible Witch, the townsperson who could ask for help ... all amazing women and robust characters.

My heart hurt when the story of the Wood-queen came to light. Like Agnieszka and the people of the land, I saw the Wood as evil, when it was so much more tragic and complicated than that.I loved Agnieszka's natural solution, and how she became the best of the girls who left the castle: she was no longer of the people, but she was their advocate and protector. 

At times, I was exhausted by the story: what else could possibly move it along? What other plot complication was worthy and logical? What else could I face as a reader?  The chapters were not all cliffhangers, which was nice; that is an exhausting trick to pull on readers, Γ  la Lianne Moriarty (of whom I am now a fan). I followed Agnieszka's logic: okay, Kasia's safe and we can save people, so what now? okay, so we saved the Queen, what now? So, the Queen is pure, what now? We found the bestiary, what now? Crap, war, well, okay, darned Wood, but — wait, who is in on this? Why? What now, Ms. Novik, can you possibly trot out with any success? oh, fine, you win, and I will follow you and Agnieszka as far as you take me.

I somehow pictured the Dragon as Gandalf rather than Aragorn, so the initial magical lust between the Dragon and Agnieszka sort of freaked me out. However, their relationship was wonderful: he was all " discover your power, Grasshopper," and she was all "you may be the Dragon, but I know I am right and you'd better recognize." and the moment when he revealed why he put her in the heavy "princess" gown? Priceless. (I thought that's what all girls want.) And she was so much more practical. Talk about preconceived notions!

The ending was perfect. While I didn't need the sex scene, it made sense, moving them past teacher/student into equals and mutual adults. However, for me, the joining of their powers for spells was very intimate and trusting and loving. The Summoning for Kasia was such a loving and generous act, and changed them forever. Their relationship at the end was so well-suited for the: she remained a mess and open, he remained neat and gruff, but they were perfect for and accepting of each other. They respected and valued each other, and were powerful and fulfilled apart and together.

I am still glowing from that book. Crazy, but true. I discovered that listening is much slower than my own reading, so I need to factor that in when necessary. I don't want to listen to every book, or even listen exclusively rather than read it myself — but some books I want read to me, and this fairy tale fit the bill.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review: Origin

I love Dan Brown. From Angels & Demons to The DaVinci Code, he was on-point. I'll never forget the early excitement and thrill of the chase with the brilliant Harvard swimmer — er, professor.

But my love for Robert Langdon and his adventures thins out in subsequent novels, and Origin doesn't revive it.

In fact, I stopped reading Brown's latest novel about a quarter of the way through.I feel like I kept reading a lot longer than I wanted, but I was trying to get to the "good part" before I surrendered.

Origin made me start counting how many ways smiles could be used as adjectives. The villain nearly twirled his big black mustache every time he appeared on the page. The villain was so much like Silas, deep in his misguided faith in his boss and his deity, I kept expecting references to albinism.

I appreciated Brown's patient, thorough, and loving description of the Guggenheim Bilbao; someday, I may return to the book just to see to what other geographic locations he spreads the love.

If the Robert Langdon series remain as formulaic and tedious as Origin, perhaps Brown can branch out and consider taking up travel writing, or write art catalogs; everyone wants to visit a place or view art someone else loves, and Brown obviously loves his locations, and the museums and art in them.

What I don't appreciate is Brown's repetitive story elements. Robert Langdon's claustrophobia. His athletic swimming abilities, and how that keeps him trim and youthful-looking. His ability to attract perfect specimens of femininity, and for them to have an instant, perfect, and lasting attraction. That aspect of his character is very "daytime drama," falling deeply in love with every beautiful, toned, and brilliant heroine with whom he shares an adventure, then having to explain away the deep, true love in the next novel because he's destined to fall in love as deeply and truly with yet another perfect woman. I've grown tired of the perfect physicality and intellectualism of Langdon and his partners, and the perfect villainy of Langdon's foes.

Somehow, other series I read don't inflect this tedium. Stephanie Plum, Flavia de Luce, Encyclopedia Brown, and Jackaby all seem to be fresh and new (though, to be fair, I'm not sure I can take Stephanie's love triangle much longer). I understand some familiar story elements needs to be re-introduced, or at least referred to, in each book to clue in new readers. However, it isn't supposed to seem to readers as if the author globally replaces words in an old manuscript to create a new book.

Robert Langdon doesn't have to save the world from God yet again. Maybe he doesn't have to save the world at all. Like Indiana Jones, who also doesn't know how to retire, maybe it's time for the Pilgrim to hang up the Mickey Mouse watch. Being a cranky professor who can recite his lectures verbatim from memory isn't a good look for such a dashing adventurer.

Have you read Origin? What did you think? Am I wrong? Comment below or email me!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Summer Reading: Did You Make It Count?

Happy autumn! 

It's been a busy reading summer. I tried to keep the pages turning relatively consistently as the summer progressed, but at times battled reading ennui

However, I refused to be thwarted, and managed to get a couple dozen books under my belt under the summer sun — or in the summer air conditioning. Either way, I read.

I didn't beat my personal best — that would be summer 2015 — but I read widely and bravely. Plus, I read multiple books at a time, so my TBR shelf continues to groan from books begun in the heat of summer.

I re-read The Magicians, because the author will be at this year's Fall for the Book Festival When I originally read it a few years ago, I really wanted to like it. This summer, I can honestly say I liked it, and have just begun reading the second novel in the series. 

I discovered some great graphic novels, including one about a young girl with cystic fibrosis and her older sister's understanding of loss. In contrast, I did not like a new-to-me graphic novel by Neil Gaiman — which may sound heretical, but is completely true. Graphic novels also taught me a little more about love, patience, and dementia.

As always, many — okay, most — of the books were not on my original summer reading list. I don't mind so much this year, in part because it was more important to me that I read, rather than read specific tomes. I wandered the library as an antidote to my self-diagnosed reading ennui, and I reminded myself the books I didn't read yet will be there when I'm ready.

Here is the list of the books I read for the 2017 Summer Reading Program between Friday, May 26 and Sunday, September 24:
  1. The Magicians πŸ“²
  2. Ghosts πŸ“²
  3. Gwendy’s Button Box πŸ“²
  4. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? πŸ“²
  5. Yesternight πŸ“–
  6. Paws and Effect πŸ“²
  7. My Cousin Rachel πŸ“–
  8. Murder Under Cover πŸ“–
  9. The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Vol. 2 πŸ“–
  10. Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire πŸ“–
  11. Other Wordly πŸ“–
  12. Wrinkles πŸ“–
  13. The Clockwork Scarab πŸ“²
  14. Star Wars: Jedi Academy 1 πŸ“²
  15. The Case Against Sugar πŸ“²
  16. Pride and Prejudice πŸŽ§
  17. The Handmaid’s Tale πŸ“² πŸŽ§
  18. Forgotten Bones πŸ“–
  19. My Best Everything πŸ“–
  20. The Lies That Bind πŸ“–
  21. Anna Karenina πŸ“–πŸ“² πŸŽ§
  22. Big Little Lies πŸ“–
  23. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life πŸŽ§
  24. Speaking From Among the Bones πŸ“–
  25. The Burning Page πŸ“²
  26. Ruined πŸ“–

I mixed up my media, spending time on the page via print (πŸ“–), e-book (πŸ“²), and audio (🎧) — and, in one case, all three with a single book.

Only two books were read totally audio. I will always love the lyricism of Benjamin Ailres SΓ‘enz's prose, and I suspect Jane Austen was written to be read aloud.

The books I enjoyed least were, surprisingly enough, written by my favorite authors. I think Cat Winters really misstepped in her "adult" novel, and Forbidden Brides was, in my opinion, not one of Gaiman's finest stories.

I adored spending time with teenagers in the company of novelist SΓ‘enz, whose characters showed great maturity and restraint. Alas, Sarah Tomp's teens didn't show the same maturity, which may serve as a lesson as to what moonshine is capable of doing to reasonable people.

I got a few more classics under my belt, including a story that remains creepily prescient three decades after its original publication — and others that remind us that, in the words of a modern poet, love is love is love is love is love.

I tried steampunk and found it little gritty and weird. I didn't realize how important the "steam" was to steampunk, so I learned something new.

As always, my reading will help others: Main Street Child Development Center will receive $5 per book, and my public library will receive three new books.

How was your summer reading? Did you read more than you expected? Were you surprised by the novels you liked the most or least?  Do tell! Feel free to comment below, or send me your thoughts.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Summer Reading: August Reads

August was my month away from most social media (and a few other distractions), so I finished quite a few books.

I got into a groove with a few graphic novels. I laughed, I cried, I coveted the skill of illustration. (My stick figures frighten children, so I don't doodle. I take copious notes. Seriously, people, even my less than stellar handwriting is better than my doodles.)

I met a few characters I never knew, including relatives of daring adventurers pressed into service in a steampunk world and an impetuous man-child who really needed the very role model he lost.

I indulged my new interest in mystery novels with a couple of ridiculously fun novels that featured smart women and their cats. (I could have done without the romance, but at least one of the series isn't too sappy about it.)

I read a new novel by an old favorite author — and hated it.

I read a book I read once before, a few years ago, and all the while kept wondering why it was so familiar.

And, just hours before August began, I finished listening to what I think may have become one of my favorite books. A second Desert Island Book. What a treat!

Of course, many of the books on my TBR pile remain there, but I am okay with that. I enjoyed what I have read, and I can't wait to tell you more about my summer reading.

What have you been reading? Where did you get your books? Would you recommend any of them to others? Do tell!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Gone Reading!

August is Summer Reading Program go-time!

Looking for a good book? E-mail me for suggestions, or pick a title or two from my summer reading list:

  • The Descent
  • Wolf Hall
  • Bone Season
  • The Keeper of Lost Things
  • The Book of Harlan
  • The Clockwork Scarab
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter 
  • The Sixth Extinction


See you in September — let's compare our reading list successes then!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer Reading: The July Update

My summer reading is progressing deliciously. I continue to savor the wonderful Pride and Prejudice, days after the final words were spoken to me by the lovely Rosamund Pike.

I loved that book not just because the audio version was wonderful, but the book itself was amazing. I knew the story from various resources, but each different performance could nowhere nearly match the magic of the original. I suspect I shall re-read this classic more than once in the coming years.

Additionally, I think I found another Desert Island Book.

But Darcy Love aside (and I mean Elizabeth), I am enjoying the summer. I stay up much later than I should and choose books based on my whim.

To date, I have finished the following:
  1. Ruined
  2. The Burning Page
  3. Speaking from Among the Bones
  4. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
  5. Big Little Lies
  6. Anna Karenina
  7. The Lies that Bind
  8. My Best Everything
  9. Forgotten Bones
  10. The Handmaid's Tale
  11. Pride and Prejudice


I am currently reading:
  1. Star Wars: Jedi Academy
  2. The Miniaturist
  3. The Clockwork Scarab
  4. The Fall of the House of Cabal
  5. The Reluctant Fundamentalist


Yes, I really am reading five books at a time. I will need to restart (again!) my final Cabal book because it's a little slower-moving than the previous ones. Jedi Academy is way too cute to postpone, and I am on the fence on whether I appreciate steampunk London. I read the first two chapters of #6 as soon as it arrived in the mail, and I can't wait to return.

I do not expect to break any reading records this summer, but I am fine with that. What I want to do is enjoy a few books, and I have been able to do so thus far.

How goes your summer reading?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Listening to the Classics: How They Were Intended?

What if we are meant to listen to classic novels?

I asked myself that as Rosamund Pike thrilled me this evening with her reading of Pride and Prejudice, a well-known romance novel with a timeless plot and enjoyable characters. (My personal favorite re-telling is set in India with a cast that included the former Miss World. And elephants. And hijra.) 

As I listened to the actress who played Jane in a Hollywood version reading (and appreciate the stuffy and breathy Mr. Collins all the more because of her), I realized the cadence and presentation of the language easily lent itself to audio enjoyment. (Thanks, Audible!)

I also thoroughly enjoyed Juliet Stevenson reading Sense and Sensibility last year — so much so that I purchased the book to enjoy again. 

I have listened to Anna Karenina being read by Maggie Gyllenhaal (but only snippets so far), and was transfixed by the throaty tones of the reader and her obvious affection for the work.

David finished The Picture of Dorian Gray with the assistance of Simon Vance, another favorite narrator.


I have to admit, I was very skeptical about audiobooks until my friend Melanie began listening to them, and Caitlin Moran wooed me with her self-narrated memoir How to Be a Woman.

To be fair, I have not found all audiobooks to be enjoyable, usually when I was not in the mood to listen to them. However, every classic novel I have read I have enjoyed, and the luxurious language has been delicious when delivered directly to my ears by a favorable reader.

Are you inclined to listen to a classic novel via audio? If so, which have you enjoyed? If you haven't ventured into the world of audio classics, which would you choose to start your journey?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Reading: How is it Coming Along?

Summer is in full swing now, and so is summer reading. 

Well, it can be. 

It should be. (I mean, it's summer!)

So, how is your summer reading coming along?

My summer reading is ebbing and flowing. When we last met this intrepid reader, I was experiencing a surprising level of book ennui. I could not find my groove. I looked, I skimmed, and yet nothing launched me into the book frenzy I sought.

I have completed eight books in seven weeks. Not bad, but I have done better.

What am I reading now?


  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I read it when it was first released 31 years ago, and it chills me as much — if not more — now than then. This time, I am listening to Claire Danes read it to me, and I am enjoying her narration. When I read the book without her, I still hear her in my head. (Thanks, Claire!)
  • The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes. He makes his case, relentlessly. It's an interesting book, but I think he's trying to trim a bonsai with a power saw. It may be me, but I'll keep on keeping on.
  • The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede. I love the musical Come from Away and am intrigued about how a small town managed to host 7,000 strangers during one of the most stressful times in recent history. Full disclosure: I want to know how (or if) the municipal government managed it. It will be a slow read: I get to the comments about what a stunningly beautiful day it was, and I have to stop and think about that stunning day. Wish me luck.

What is on deck?


  • A Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason. Karen gave this to me, and I am totally intrigued!
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. My book club will follow this with a tour of the graveyard from this book. The tome seems daunting, but I shall try.
  • Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens. My friend Carole and I are reading "weighty tomes," and this is the latest tome. We just finished Anna Karenina, so why not a little light reading about poverty in Dickens' England?
  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. I have this in print and audiobook, and I will read it this summer no matter what!
  • The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. He will be at Fall for the Book this year, so I have to catch up!
  • Exit West and The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. Another Fall for the Book author, and the narrator the second novel mentioned captured my attention.
  • The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead, or maybe The Noble Hustle. Guess who else will be at Fall for the Book this year? It is going to rock again this year!
  • The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden. A quick review of her books shows that readers seem to prefer her fiction that focuses on family life, and I want to know why. Plus, four words: Fall for the Book.

Of course, by listing them, I have put the Reading Whammy on them, which means I will read entirely different books beginning today — but, hey, you never know.

What's in your TBR pile?

Don't forget: it's never too late to join the summer reading club! And it's not too late to start your summer reading!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Library Loot: Bones, Bookbinding, and a Mystery

When it comes to Library Loot, I'm a slacker.

Upon reviewing the last few Library Loot articles, I discovered I did not read those books in their entirety. If anything, my eyes are too big for my bookshelf.

At any rate, I persist. And who knows: I may read at least one book from this recent looting!

First of all, book displays were meant for me to loot. I don't care who the intended audience is, when I'm intrigued, I take a book. The slim volume of Forgotten Bones will be an introduction into slave burial sites — this one in New York. Our past is never very far behind us, and this is an excellent reminder.

I also can't wait to delve into the Roanoke settlers mystery — I read about this new book, and about a recent finding announced in the Smithsonian, which makes me very excited.

David is a fan of comics, and I thought he'd like to learn more about comic books.

Finally, I needed to visit Brooklyn Wainwright again. This will be the third try at reading the third book in her bibliophile mystery series, so let's hope it's the charm. I don't mind skipping it if it doesn't tickle my fancy, which is why I also picked up the ninth book in the series, the one I saw at the bookstore that made me ask, "Wait, a cat and books on the cover? I must find out more!"

Of course, I also spent a few hours at a used bookstore today, and that may impact how long it takes me to read these delectable books, but we shall see.

Thanks to Linda (Silly Little Mischief), Claire (The Captive Reader), and Mary (The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader) for originating the Library Loot column. Check out what they're checking out!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Discovering a Wonder-Full New-to-Me Bookstore

I have tried to expand my resources for books. I am a sucker for used books, but it's not always easy to find a reliable, interesting, and affordable used bookstore in the real world.

Oh, we always have the online behemoth, and a few other Web favorites, but sometimes you just need a room full of books you haven't yet purchased or borrowed.

So began the adventure: choosing the new-to-me bookstore within driving distance. We discovered the lovely Hole in the Wall on a whim, so why not meet Wonder Book and Video?

When I walked in, I knew I came to the right place. This was similar to Acres of Books, may it rest in peace, and Hole in the Wall Books, with narrow corridors of bookshelves. Wonder Book featured lots of narrow corridors that lured book lovers deeper and deeper into the labyrinth.

"Chris?" I heard David call once.

"Hey honey, I'm in Modern Fiction. Mostly hardbacks and trade paperbacks. To your left." Moments later, he peeked down my row, relieved. With me, he could never tell: he has lost me in smaller bookstores.

"You know, the classic literature is back that way," he said, gesturing over his shoulder.

"Yeah, I saw that. I'm looking for Fall for the Book authors, in case they're here." (Spoiler alert: I didn't see any books by authors scheduled for the 2017 event, but I found plenty of books by authors from previous festivals.)

I bonked my head once or twice as I stepped back to peruse titles and discovered a few odd-shaped books sticking out of the shelves, but one expects that. I just adjusted my stance and kept reading.

I was surprised that the only Connie Willis I found was a mass paperback, but that just meant she was not long for the shelves.

I found a few classics for the local Little Free Library, which is in heavy use during pool season (its neighbor, and the most brilliant location in the neighborhood). Doesn't everyone want to read about romance and monsters in the summer sun? Happy reading of Frankenstein, Emma, Wuthering Heights, and Home Front, neighbors!

David found a few books for his studies on gems and healing.

Me, I mostly stuck to modern fiction — with a dip into Lillian Hellman's classic plays. I also found the first of the Persia Wooley series on Guinevere, which I intend to own as I come across the books.

Lastly, but not leastly, I found a jolly Christmas bookmark and David found a couple of music CDs.

As we checked out, David talked me into what was the most delicious chocolate soda I have ever tasted. I'm sure it wasn't the result of just spending an hour or two in an old, dry building full of books and discs that made it so tasty, but it was.

I will continue to shop Wonder Book both online and in person. The other stores under this name are farther afield, but I can think of at least one other book lover who may join me in an adventure. I'll take back the reusable bag they gave us and find a few more gems, no doubt.

How do you find your new-to-you bookstores: online, word of mouth, driving until you encounter it? What was the last gem you found, and what gems did you find in it?


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Library Loot: Roy, Tolle, Fellowes, and Knots

This week's library loot experience took me to a rarely-visited branch of my library system for a book not for myself.

My husband David wanted to read a book by Eckhart Tolle, which was available at a branch of the library he passes in his travels every week. Apparently I never took him into that library, which I find hard to believe, but it could happen. (In a strange alternate universe, but still.) We resolved that issue immediately.

I took a lap around the lovely little library, checking out the "new books" section, the audiobook shelves, and the "Friends of the Library Book Sale" shelves. My audible gasp caused at least one patron to turn toward me (sorry!), but as I reached for Arundhati Roy's new release, I couldn't help it. It's a 14-day book, so heaven help me finish it on time, but I'll give it the old college try.

(Full disclosure: I began listening to The God of Small Things last year, but stopped after a very short time. That was about the same time I couldn't get into Uprooted, so I will call that timeframe "my bad.")

On the book sale shelves, I found a lovely hardback copy of Belgravia, which has intrigued me since its publication. The buzz hasn't been off the charts, but one cannot make all the people happy all the time, so I'll check it out.

David also was lured to the used book sale, but by fly fishing. There were two books, and one caught his eye. It was the knots, I believe.

All in all, it was a very successful trip to the library.

What treasures have you found at your library recently?

(Shout-out to Clare, the Captive Reader, for the original Library Loot column, and fabulous logo.)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer Reading: Book Ennui

Entire weekends of reading! Long nights of nothing but book time! It's summer! Woo hoo!

Well, don't spill your lemonade, but this year's summer reading is starting off very slowly for me.

You'd think that I'd have more than two book under my belt after three weeks of summer reading.

Nope, just two. A whopping 461 completed pages. A fabulous 461 pages that includes a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, but still a paltry sum of pages and books.

Oh, don't get me wrong: I'm reading. My nightstand reading stack is dwindling, somewhat. I am nearly halfway through Anna Karenina, and I can see the end of Speaking From Among the Bones (which I began months ago — yes, months).

I'm just not tossing back the books at a breakneck speed as intended.

I will continue to plug along, and pick up interesting books along the way. I won't break down, but I will limp along a little slower than anticipated. Wish me luck!

What do you do when you experience book ennui? Do you dial back the reading to give your psyche a rest, break on through to the other side no matter what, or wallow the ennui until it dissipates?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Library Loot: Three Print Books and an Audiobook

I went to the library this week and got some loot: I borrowed two books and purchased a third, only one of which is on my original summer reading list. 

(Like that's a surprise. We all know I make the list, I chuckle, and then a I reach for whatever I darned well please. Hey, it's summer reading: no rules, just reading! Plus, can you blame me if I stray with so many great choices?)

I shall read at least one this weekend, possibly two (if I am ambitious). 

I am excited that one is Ruined, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by a playwright new to me, and the others are by authors I know and enjoy. I have encountered Lynn Nottage in numerous articles lately, so it's really a sort of sign that she is in my loot today.

I also am excited about listening to Eric Weiner's new book. I so enjoyed his Geography of Bliss and I can't wait to see what he has to say about "genius."

As for Cristina HenrΓ­quez's book, I almost didn't leave the library before starting it. Her novel made my Favorites of 2014 List, so I am very hopeful about this tome.

The book I purchased at the ongoing Friends of the Library book sale, Being Mortal, is one I'm rather intrigued to read. I have read Atul Gawande's  The New Yorker articles and enjoyed them immensely. I heard his interview on Fresh Air about aging and medicine. 

Thanks to Clare, the Captive Reader, for such an inspirational column! I love my library, and what it gives me, and it's nice to share that love.

So, tell me: what did you get from the library this week?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer Reading Has Begun!

Summer means reading — and summer reading club! 

Remember back in the day, when reading came with rewards? In my local library, readers would have their names posted with the number of titles read during the summer. One year, I read 4o books. My librarian was skeptical — then she remembered how I sat in the library for hours at a time, reading. Forty it was.

Getting a shout-out From One Book Lover may not be as cool as having your name posted on the Norwalk Library children's section activity board, but it's still not bad. 

Visit your library (public or private), your local bookstores and thrift shops, yard sales and online book suppliers, friends and family, and choose what books look like they need to be read this summer.

So here's what I hope to consume this summer between the Memorial Day weekend and the first weekend in autumn. This year, that date is Friday, May 26 through Sunday, September 24.

First of all, please take a moment to think about Memorial Day, and understand what it really means, 149 years after it began as Decoration Day in an Illinois town. May we strive for peace, and love, and the things that bring us together.  

In that vein, we may want to add a book to our list that reflects Memorial Day, and an article published by the Los Angeles Times may be a good place to start. 

My list is more a "wish" than carved in stone, but here it is, in no particular order:
  1. Hamilton: The Revolution
  2. Evicted
  3. Anna Karenina
  4. Lady Cop Makes Trouble
  5. The Burning Pages
  6. Dark Money
  7. Map of the Sky
  8. The Intuitionist
  9. Ready Player One
  10. The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books
  11. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
  12. Me Before You
  13. Yesternight
  14. The Fall of the House of Cabal
  15. The Descent
  16. The Book of Harlan
  17. At the Water's Edge
  18. Thank You for Your Service
  19. The Glass Sentence
  20. The Keeper of Lost Things
  21. The Lost City of Z
  22. Wicked
  23. Bone Season
  24. The Gun Seller
  25. Wolf Hall
  26. The Lowland
  27. And the Mountains Echoed
  28. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter 
  29. The Sixth Extinction
  30. Revival
  31. Bellman and Black
  32. Just Mercy
  33. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits
  34. Redeployment
  35. The Handmaid's Tale
  36. The Case Against Sugar
  37. The Magicians
  38. The Unbanking of America
  39. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
  40. Welcome to Night Vale
  41. Hidden Figures
  42. Speaking from Among the Bones
  43. Ruined
  44. The Bear and the Nightingale
  45. Uprooted
I suspect this list will change. As soon as something looks or sounds good, it will be on the list. I can't help it!

Join the Summer Reading Club and put yourself in the running for a new book. Read as much as you wish from Friday, May 26 through Sunday, September 24, and if you read the most books, you will win a book of your own.

To join the club, just send me an e-mail or leave a message below. Then, at the end of the summer reading period, send me a message or include your reading list in a blog comment. If you read the most, congratulations! If not, you still are a winner because you spent your summer reading.

I've already had a few e-mails from eager readers, and I can't wait to read your list!

I make sure summer reading is beneficial to my community. As I have done in years past, I will  donate $5 per book I read to Main Street Child Development Center (minimum $150) (I know, no sweat, right?), and I will buy three new books for the Fairfax County Public Library from its Amazon Wish List


Hopefully, reading club members also will find a way to help their communities through their reading, or to help share the love of reading with their communities. It's not a requirement, of course, but it certainly is a worthy effort. It doesn't have to be financial support, either — think of what the community wants and needs. Every reader can determine what is within her or his power to bestow.

Even if you don't join the reading club, I still would love to know: what's on your summer reading list? Tell me!