From the day my first child was born we read together every night. When our second child arrived, he was instantly included in our reading ritual. Our nightly routine began after bath-time, with me nestled between two sweet cuddly boys reading as many books as they wanted until all three of us were asleep. We read hundreds of books each year and many of those were on repeat for weeks at a time. I miss those days, and I miss having the opportunity to check out the latest in children’s literature. That’s why I was thrilled to read an advance copy of The Very, Very Long Dog byJulia Patton.
Bartelby is a very, very long sausage dog who lives in a bookstore and (just like me) loves to read. He has a group of loving friends who like to take him for his daily walks around town. Bartleby never knows what his back end is doing until he finds himself in trouble. His friends are always there to fix the problem, until one day they can’t. It is then that Bartleby realizes he is the problem. He becomes very depressed and refuses to leave the store. His friends love him so much they create a noisy solution to his problem, so Bartleby always knows where he starts, and ends.
I loved this warm story about a group of friends who accept each other no matter what. The illustrations are simple and sweet, utilizing pastel colors which are as warm as the story. It’s such a lovely story that would be well-suited for babies through age 6. The Very, Very Long Dog is available beginning December5, and I will be purchasing a copy to give as a gift to a special little girl in my life. I hope she enjoys the ‘tail’ of Bartleby and his loving friends as much as I did!
I spent the last two weeks helping my mom recover from some surgery complications. If you’ve ever spent time sitting bedside, wishing someone you love back to good health, you can empathize with my need to periodically escape with a good book. Beartown:A Novel, by Fredrik Backman, provided exactly the diversion I needed.
The book has been on my 2B or Not2B Readslist for quite some time, so when I saw it on the library shelf I felt like I had just won the book lottery. I got home only to find I needed to get to my mom’s side as quickly as possible. I threw some clothes and Beartown into my luggage, hoped a plane, and two nights later finally found time to start the first chapter, which consisted of two succinct sentences. “Late one evening toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.” I was instantly transported, and hooked.
This is the second book by Mr. Backman that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed (read my thoughts on the first, A Man Called Ove, here). He has a talent for creating fully realized, believable, and relatable characters. In Beartown, Backman has fashioned an entire town of characters whose intermingling backstories and current relationships play out against the pursuit of a national hockey championship and a tragic crime that impacts every character along the way.
This book is sure to make my ‘Best Books of 2017’ list, and I am guessing it will make many other ‘best of’ lists too. Have you read Bear Town? Did you like it? Will it make your best of list? I’d love to know… .
I have not been a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction since reading The Road (which still gives me occasional nightmares) so I was surprised to find myself engrossed in ‘Bannerless(Bannerless Saga #1)’, by Carrie Vaughn, from the very first page.
After finishing Bannerless I decided if I survive some world-altering event I hope to end up in a Coast Road-like society, where conservation is king, tolerance rules, and government is low-key and localized. Individuals must earn the right to breed and crimes are primarily crop surplus or ‘bannerless’ pregnancy related. That is until a murder occurs, and Enid of Haven (our protagonist) is charged with figuring out what happened and by whose hand. Bannerless alternates between a coming of age love story and whodunit tale while exploring the meaning of family, responsibility, and shared history.
Ms. Vaughn is categorized as a YA fiction writer. Is it wrong that this Grey Goddess still enjoyed her tale? I hope not, because there are more Bannerless books to come and I want to read them all.
How about you? Do you like post-apocalyptic fiction? What are you reading now? I just began The Driver(by Hart Hanson, which I am also enjoying) and would love to know what books are keeping you up and reading late into the night…
Even though fall doesn’t ‘officially’ begin until September 21st Labor Day always marks the beginning of autumn for me. I am ready to put summer behind and embrace the fall – for me the season of football, oversized sweaters, hearty meals eaten fireside, and lots of reading. Here are a few of the books I am looking forward to reading before the arrival of winter…
It’s been some time since I made a ‘9 at a time’ book purchase. I’ve been relying on my local library to satisfy my reading needs, often with limited success. If you use your library then you can relate – the shelves don’t always offer the books you’d like to read, so you make ‘will do’ choices which aren’t always as engaging as the cover art and book flap accolades led you to believe.
Thanks to a very thoughtful – and completely unexpected- thank you Amazon gift card I just placed an order for nine books that I hope will take me through the dog days of summer and keep me from playing library ‘book roulette’ until the fall.
How about you? Do you prefer buying or borrowing books? What are you reading now? What are you looking forward to reading in the next few months. I’d love to know…
Do you ever have high hopes before starting a book but after beginning realize you’re already familiar with the plot, even if the cosmetic details like name, location, and time differ? I often find this is the case, especially since I tend toward books with themes of love and family in their many iterations. I count myself fortunate to have recently read a number of books with plots that are markedly different and excellently written (including Moonglow and The Book of American Martyrs). Now I can add another unique read to that list – The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti.
‘Twelve Lives’ central theme of family and love is told in alternating chapters voiced by Samuel (a very successful career criminal) and his teenage daughter Loo (a bit of a criminal herself). Watches, whales, and wounds all feature into the plot, along with Samuel’s brother-from-another-mother Jove and Loo’s boy/friend Marshall Hicks, and each propels the story forward until it culminates in Samuel’s 12th, and Loo’s 1st, life tale.
Have you read this book? I liked the story so much I am going to read Ms. Tinti’s The Good Thief next. If it is half as good as ‘Twelve Lives’ I will have yet another book to add to my 2017 favorites list! Keep reading….
If you’ve been following The Grey Goddess then you know I love to read. I always have a ‘current read’ book on my night table and a pile of future possibilities nearby. Check out my 2B or Not 2Be Readsand Books I’ve Read lists, where I detail my will or have read books. I like to save my TGG posts for books that really stand out in some way, such as my just-finished 5-star read – Moonglow by novelist Michael Chabon.
I can’t remember where I first learned of Mr. Chabon’s fictional memoir of his unnamed grandfather but the book has been on my ‘must read’ list for some time. Utilizing some of the most eloquently phrased sentences I’ve ever read, the author weaves a richly detailed multi-layered possibly true story about the joys and pains of love in its many forms. The reader feels the heat from a life-long ardor shared by his grandparents, understands the unspoken bonds shared by siblings, relates to pursuing one’s passions until death, and stands bedside while witnessing the friendship and love of a grandchild and grandparent. Moonglow is a beautifully written, sweeping blend of fictionalized truth that jumps between decades and characters but never leaves the reader feeling lost during the journey, only saddened when that journey ends on the last page.
Have you read Moonglow? I’d love to know what you thought of the book or what you’re reading now……
Did you know that the last Saturday in April is Independent Bookstore Day?
Amazon may be able to deliver any book to your doorstep in two days or less but can it provide you with the opportunity to meet & greet your favorite author? Does Amazon host reading clubs where you can discuss and debate topical books with strangers turned friends? Can you spend hours on a rainy day browsing the aisles of Amazon, fresh coffee in hand, reading snippets from whatever books catch your attention? No, no and no. Can you do all of those things at your independent bookstore? Yes, yes and yes.
Find an indie bookstore near you and stop in to raise your favorite book in a toast to reading and to the amazing independent bookstores that make that possible! If you live in Nashville, Miami, Philadelphia or Denver check out my favorite independent bookstores, including Parnassus Books, her bookshop, Books & Books, Wooden Shoe Books,Joseph Fox Bookshop, and Tattered Cover Bookstore. If you live somewhere else I’d love to know what independent bookstores you recommend. Happy Independent Bookstore Day…and Happy Reading!
I’m, back! After a week spent in South Florida (more on that in the days to come) followed by a week of work, sick pets, and tax prep I’m back to posting.
For the last two weeks I have been held in thrall by Joyce Carol Oates ‘A Book of American Martyrs’. Luther Dunphy (a poor, uneducated husband, father, carpenter and devout evangelical Christian) and Gus Voorhees (a middle class, highly educated husband, father, ob/gyn, and non-believer) represent both sides of the abortion debate still ranging in America today. It is a testament to Ms. Oates exceptional writing skills that her readers come to understand, and even emphasize with, how each man’s belief system leads to their resigned acceptance of becoming a martyr.
While the first third of the book focuses on Gus and Luther, the remaining story centers around their daughters; Naomi Voorhees, and Dawn ‘D.D’ Dunphy. Each girl’s journey from impressionable child to adult is dramatically impacted by their father’s actions and family reactions to the book’s pivotal murder scene. It is here that Ms. Oates eloquently and seamlessly weaves the many ways that an individual can kill or be killed into the storyline.
One thing that struck me about ‘A Book of American Martyrs’ is you never know which side of the abortion debate, if any, the author supports or wants you, the reader, to adopt. In our politically charged times I applaud Ms. Oates for taking an objective stance on a polarizing topic to produce a powerful, profoundly moving, thought-provoking book perfectly suited to today’s political times. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Let me know if you have read or plan to read ‘A Book of American Martyrs’. I am curious to hear your perspective on one my ‘top 10’ books of 2017.
I am reading the last of my holiday books (here) and am about to place the order for my next nine. I will be packing ‘Big Little Lies‘ and ‘The Mothers‘ in my beach bag and am looking forward to reading each as I soak up the sunshine at the Venetian Pooland Cape Florida State Park in a few weeks. How about you? What are you reading? Do you have any ‘beach read’ recommendations I can add to my next ‘9’ list? I’d love to know…