For your reading convenients below you will find all the have I got a story for you published in 2017
Happy 2017 book friends,
I canít believe it! 2017! I hope the new year finds all of you healthy, happy and with a list of books on your t b r list. Thatís to be read if you didnít know. I have a new twist for my part of the Blind Perspective for the coming year. Iíve wanted to write about short stories for a while now, but doing it in one article just seemed impossible. The short story covers so many genres, time periods, writers and reading lengths. So, I am going to do a couple of books each month and one short story collection. If you have a short story collection to recommend, write me and let me know. I know all of my reviews are positive ones, I donít write about books I donít enjoy. We all have those and I personally donít want to waste time writing about a book I didnít care for. You might love that book and it might spoil it for some of you. I am going to continue to write about books I feel passionate about. So, here we go into 2017!
Small Great Things
Written by Jodi Picoult
Reading time: 16 hours and 5 minutes
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than 20 years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders, or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and as a result is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family - especially her teenage son - as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others - and themselves - might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion - and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.
My comments: Jodi Picoult rips stories straight from the headlines and right from the heart. I am a fan of her books. I have heard from some readers that she is just too tough to read. I can understand that completely. For me, this one is a stellar read.
In a Dark, Dark Wood
Written by Ruth Ware
Reading time: 10 hours and 59 minutes
What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware's suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her nest of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn't seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not "what happened?" but "what have I done?", Nora (Lee) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
This gripping literary debut from UK novelist Ruth Ware will leave you on the edge of your seat through the very last tick.
My comments: Women really are the most dangerous enemies. I am looking forward to reading Ruth Wareís second novel, The Woman in Cabin 10.
My dear friend and fellow book junkie, Victoria Bartlett highly recommended the first short story collection of 2017. Thanks Victoria, I really loved this one.
Written by Helen Ellis
Reading time: 3 hours and 48 minutes
A sharp, funny, delightfully unhinged collection of stories set in the dark world of domesticity, American Housewife features murderous ladies who lunch, celebrity treasure hunters, and the best bra fitter south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Meet the women of American Housewife: They wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it's cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. They pump the salad spinner like it's a CPR dummy. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies out of the oven. These 12 irresistible stories take us from a haunted prewar Manhattan apartment building to the set of a rigged reality television show, from the unique initiation ritual of a book club to the getaway car of a pageant princess on the lam, from the gallery opening of a tinfoil artist to the fitting room of a legendary lingerie shop.
Vicious, fresh, and nutty as a poisoned Goo Goo Cluster, American Housewife is an uproarious, pointed commentary on womanhood.
My Comments: Ladies! Read this one! Laugh out loud, nod your head in agreement and sigh because you know someone just like her!
Iím not one who reads westerns, poetry or a lot of biographies. I could use a little help in these areas. If you want to submit a short review of something you have enjoyed, Iíd love to read it and consider it for my column.
Salutations book lovers,
I am thrilled at the response I have received so far for my requests for feedback on short story collections and biographies/autobiographies. I will feature one in this article. Please write me with any comments or suggestions at my address above.
This month I bring you a couple of books from the past and a readerís recommendation.
Life of Pi
Written by Yann Martel
Reading time: 9 hours and 58 minutes
Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2002
Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger.
Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story, so he tells a second one - more conventional, less fantastic. But is it more true?
A realistic, rousing adventure and meta-tale of survival, Life of Pi explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character claims, to "make you believe in God".
My comments: I challenge you to read this. Read it and write me with your original gut reaction. Everyone has a different interpretation of the story; all are correct in their own way. Mine was so different from my husbandís, but like my friend Jackieís, with a slight twist. This is truly a readerís book.
My short story collection for this month is All Creatures Great and Small. Yes, these stories can be stand alone or can be linked together. I love Herriotís writings and have reread all of his books. They are comfort books for me. Any of his works are wonderful, heartwarming stories.
All Creatures Great and Small
Written by James Herriot
Reading time: 16 hours and 53 minutes
James Herriot has now become firmly established and accepted as one of Darrowby's veterinarians. He's also married, and lives with his wife Helen on the top floor of Skeldale House. His former boss, now partner, Siegfried, lives downstairs with Siegfried's brother Tristan.
Herriot continues the rich and rewarding day-to-day life of a small-town veterinarian, and we journey with him across the dales, meeting a whole new cast of unforgettable characters - humans, dogs, horses, lambs, parakeets - all of them drawn with the same infinite fascination, affection and insight that made James Herriot one of the most beloved authors of our time. And all the stories are warmly, evocatively told by the world-renowned "voice" of Dr. Herriot.
David F. wrote me with the following book suggestion and very well said too David. Thank you so much. Iíve downloaded this one and have started it. Truly a winner of a book!
In Such Good Company: Eleven years of laughter, mayhem, and fun in the sandbox
Written and read by Carol Burnett
Reading time: 8 hours and 3 minutes
Comedy legend Carol Burnett tells the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.
Who but Carol Burnett herself has the timing, talent, and wit to pull back the curtain on the Emmy Award-winning show that made television history for 11 glorious seasons? In Such Good Company delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches, and antics that made the show legendary as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. Carol lays it all out for us, from the show's original conception to its evolution into one of the most beloved primetime programs of its generation.
Written with all the charm and humor fans expect from a masterful entertainer like Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company skillfully highlights the elements that made the show so successful in a competitive period when TV variety shows ruled the airwaves. Putting the spotlight on everyone from her talented co-stars to her amazing guest stars - the most celebrated and popular entertainers of their day - Carol crafts a lively portrait of the talent and creativity that went into every episode.
Here are some of the topics listeners want to know more about:
ē How the show almost didn't air due to the misgivings of certain CBS vice presidents
ē How she discovered and hired Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway
ē Anecdotes about guest stars and her close friendships with many of them, including Lucille Ball, Roddy McDowall, Jim Nabors, Bernadette Peters, Betty Grable, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gormť, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, and Betty White
ē The people behind the scenes, from Bob Mackie, her costume designer and partner in crime, to the wickedly funny cameraman who became a fixture during the show's opening Q&A
ē Carol's takes on her favorite sketches and the unpredictable moments that took both the cast and viewers by surprise
ē This audiobook is Carol's love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show, which won no less than 25 Emmy Awards! Get the best seat in the house as she reminisces about the outrageous tales that made working on the show as much fun as watching it.
Davidís comments: I stayed up much too late Saturday evening listening to it. Why, you may well ask. Well, I have fond memories of Carol Burnett and her zany cast of characters. Iíd sleep over at my grandmotherís on Saturday night, and sit near the large color TV and try to watch the goings-on. I could see a little back then and I do recall the animated bit that opened the show, an old lady with a mop. The book explained that this was the famous Burnett Char Lady. I remember Carol opening the show, usually wearing a glamorous Bob Mackie-designed evening gown, with auburn hair, taking questions from her audience, and often giving back as good as she got.
Famous for her Tarzan yell, how crazy, she described her love of musical comedy and even physical prat-fall comedy. Her story is rather amazing in that she seems to have quickly gotten a role in a popular musical of the 1950s; Once upon a Mattress, and appeared on ďThe Gary Moore ShowĒ as a regular, and then because of a five-year rider in her contract with CBS that said if she wanted to do a show they would have to allow her a full season, she got started with her iconic show. She, Harvey Korman, and Vicki Lawrence were originals, Tim Conway started by making guest appearances, and later became a regular.
Carol reads the book herself and includes recorded bits with Tim Conway, Vicki, Harvey Korman, and even Bob Mackie. There is an interview with Carol on ďThe Dick Cavett ShowĒ.
Itís interesting to hear her voice from that time. interview bits make the book personal in a way that a printed text simply is not.
To conclude, I think what I most took away from this book was that Carol was pleased she was in the right place at the right time. She insists that no way could one do today a show like hers the way they did it then. They practiced each show during one weekís time. They worked from about 10:00 a.m. to noon, and from 1:00 to 3:00 with additional time for other bits. She explained the show had twelve dancers, the regulars of her, Tim, Harvey, and Vicki, and their announcer, guest stars, many many costumes, a 28-piece orchestra, and elaborate dance routines. She said it was mostly filmed live before a studio audience, with a dress rehearsal, too. She thought just getting the copyright clearances today for the musical tributes and parodies would be impossible. I loved hearing about the famous sketches such as ďThe FamilyĒ which featured Carol as the forever cross Eunice and Vicki as the annoying mother, Thelma. The movie parodies were amusing. Who has not heard of the parody ďWent with the WindĒ with Carol, as Starlet OíHara, descending the staircase wearing a curtain dress with the actual curtain rod down the back.
I hope Carol is as nice in person as she appears to be reading her book. To steal her famous sign-off: Iím so glad we had this time together.
I write this article, but I feel it belongs to all of us, so please let me know your thoughts. Until March! Read on!
Hi Ho Book Lovers!
This monthís article is full of several things of interest to all readers. So, letís get right to it. I was flipping through most recent books added to BARD and actually squealed in delight when I saw the following book was available. I have read this one and all of Lawrence Anthonyísí books after enjoying this one so much. All of his books are true. I found them to be wildly entertaining, touching, and beautifully written. His passion for the animals, the land and his fight to save the environment is on every page. I highly recommend anything written by Lawrence Anthony.
The Elephant Whisperer, My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
Written by Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence
Reading time: 13 hours and 9 minutes
Audie Award Winner, Biography/Memoir, 2014
When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.
The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad account of Anthony's experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, it is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.
Speaking of the Audies, the nominees for this year have been released. You can find them on Audible or on Audio File Magazine.
Two great recommendations from readers. From Morey in Wisconsin; The Making of The African Queen or how I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall, and Huston and nearly lost my mind
Written by Katharine Hepburn
A very interesting little book.
From Mike in North Carolina: Three by Tennessee; Three classic plays by Tennessee Williams
You can never go wrong with Tennessee. Thanks for the suggestions guys!
Noir: Black in French. Also acquainted with dark films. In this case, itís associated with hardboiled crime short stories. This monthís selection is Chicago Noir. First let me tell you a bit about this wonderful series of books. Akashic noir is an independent publisher that has a line of area specific short stories. BARD has over 70 of their titles, they include Haiti Noir, Dublin Noir, Baltimore Noir, Richmond Noir, Prison Noir and many more worldwide locations. All of these stories are set in that city, country, or situations. . From a wide variety of mystery writers and edited by some of our favorite authors, these books bring the dirty, often twisted tales right to your neighborhood. I am using the Chicago Noir title as an example of this great collection of books.
Edited by Neal Pollack
Reading time: 9 hours and 9 minutes
Eighteen short mystery stories set in Chicago. In "Goodnight Chicago and Amen" a man newly released from prison is hired to kill a cop but is double-crossed. In "Marty's Drink or Die Club" a bartender learns about the existence of a strange bunch of alcoholics.
Chicagoís literature has rarely concerned itself with the vagaries of the upper and upper-middle classes. The cityís best writersóNelson Algren, James Farrell, Studs Terkel, Richard Wright, and so onóhave traditionally used working people as their palette. They accurately captured the rough streets and random cruelty of urban life, but for people living in Chicago, their stories meant something more. They shaped the way Chicagoans think about themselves, and about Chicago.
Check out the full line of these well-crafted books.
Until next month, Happy Reading,
Spring Salutations Book Lovers!
This month I bring you three wonderful writers and three very different books. My short story collection is a science fiction classic. So, on into spring and into great reading.
What the Dead Know
Written by Laura Lippman
Reading time: 11 hours and 2 minutes
Thirty years ago, two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found, and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who or what could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?
Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been, why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn't a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead-end: a dying, incoherent man; a razed house; a missing grave; and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.
In a story that moves back and forth across the decades, there is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth?
My comments; If you havenít read a Laura Lippman book yet, grab this one. It is one of her many standalone novels. She also writes the Tess Monaghan mystery series. What the Dead Know is a nail biter right up until the twisted end.
Written by Ann Patchett
Reading time: 10 hours and 9 minutes
The acclaimed best-selling author - winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize - tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families' lives.
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly - thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.
Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.
When, in her 20s, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.
Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.
My comments; I love Ann Patchettís books. If this one doesnít sound like the read for you, check out State of Wonder, Bel Canto, Run or The Magicianís Assistant.
There are a ton of science fiction short story collections out there for your enjoyment. In my opinion, this one is the father of them all.
The Illustrated Man
Written by Ray Bradbury
Reading time: 7 hours and 40 minutes
Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man is a kaleidoscopic blending of magic, imagination, and truth, widely believed to be one of the grand master's premier accomplishments. Collected here are eighteen tales, startling visions of humankind's destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin, visions as keen as the tattooist's needle and as colorful as the inks that indelibly stain the body.
My comments; Each tattoo on the illustrated man tells a story. They each one in turn come to life showing what may or may not come to pass in the future. There is something for everyone in this collection. This is why it is a classic.
As always gentle readers, you can contact me at my email address above, with any comments or suggestions.
Hello again book lovers,
This month we are getting edgy with three quirky recommendations. Keep an open mind and donít knock it until youíve tried it. First, a shout out and thanks to Leeanne for writing with a great suggestion. It really means a lot to us when we receive feedback from you, the newsletter readers. So, thanks for writing Leeanne.
The Bear and the Nightingale
Written by Katherine Arden
Reading time: 11 hours and 50 minutes
A magical debut novel for listeners of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman's myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year, and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind - she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed - this in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.
My comments; This story is based on a Russian folk or fairy tale. A look at life in the deep woods of 14th century Russia made for a very interesting read. Yes, it is fantasy, but go for it. It is a beautifully written story with wonderful descriptions of the land, the culture and people that inhabit it.
Lamb: The gospel according to Biff, Christís childhood pal
Written by Christopher Moore
Reading time: 16 hours and 37 minutes
The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his 30th birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years - except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in this divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work, "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more (except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdalan) and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.
This one has strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.
My comments: Christopher Moore is an irreverent writer. If you are sensitive, you may want to give this one a pass. For the rest of youÖI said edgy and I meant edgy, hang off the cliff edgy, tightrope walk edgy, but what a ride! This is a fun book.
This monthís short story collection;
For your edification, here is the definition of Steampunk:
a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy featuring advanced machines and other technology based on steam power of the 19th century and taking place in a recognizable historical period or a fantasy world.
Edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeere
Reading time: 14 hours and 32 minutes
Replete with whimsical mechanical wonders and charmingly anachronistic settings, this pioneering anthology gathers a brilliant blend of fantastical stories. Steampunk originates in the romantic elegance of the Victorian era and blends in modern scientific advancesósynthesizing imaginative technologies such as steam-driven robots, analog supercomputers, and ultramodern dirigibles. The elegant allure of this popular new genre is represented in this rich collection by distinctively talented authors.
Violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex.
My comments; I fell in love with steampunk. This is where the quirky comes in to play. These stories go from twilight zone feeling all the way to full blown science fiction. The steam power and the clockwork aspects are fascinating. Victorian England to space. You go just about everywhere with this collection of short stories.
Until next month, Happy Reading,
Hi Ho Book lovers!
I hope this newsletter finds all of you healthy and happy. I have 2 fantastic books for your consideration and a seasonal short story collection. In addition, there is a recommendation from a reader and I answer a very important question. So, off we goÖ.
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A true Story
Written by Douglas Preston
Reading time: 10 hours and 31 minutes
A 500-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world's densest jungle.
Since the days of conquistador HernŠn Cortťs, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God - but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Three quarters of a century later, best-selling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley, ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.
Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn't until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal - and incurable - disease.
Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the 21st century.
My comments; I love Prestonís fiction writing, but his nonfiction is even better, because itís true and itís first hand. I was turned on to his nonfiction when I read Dinosaurs in the Attic, An excursion into the American Museum of Natural History; DB25292. A wonderful book. Monkey God is fantastic, filled with adventure, mystery and new scientific discoveries. Preston has also written for National Geographic; he is one great writer!
News of The World
Written by Paulette Jiles
Reading time: 6 hours and 16 minutes
In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember - strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become - in the eyes of the law - a kidnapper himself.
Some violence and some strong language.
My comments: I loved this book! If you are from Texas, I urge you to read this one. It tells a lot of state history. Itís a powerful story told in a touching way.
Play Ball! Itís baseball time, so how about some baseball short story collections? I can recommend the following 2 books.
The Heavenly World Series; Timeless Baseball Fiction
Written by Frank OíRourke
Reading time: 13 hours and 2 minutes
Eighteen stories, written in the 1940s and 1950s, vividly portray baseball from the turn of the century to the fifties. These tales show O'Rourke's fictional heroes competing alongside such baseball greats as Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, and Leo Durocher while confronting the limitations of injury, age, and ambition.
The Essential W. P. Kinsella
Written by W. P. Kinsella
Reading time: 15 hours and 22 minutes
Thirty-one stories spanning the career of Kinsella, best known for his humorous baseball stories. Stories range from the fantastical to the mundane, with baseball certainly well represented. Includes "Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa," the basis of the film Field of Dreams.
Some strong language.
Morey writes to recommend:
One for the Road: Hitchhiking through the Australian Outback
Written by: Tony Horowitz
Tells the story of a newspaper man who gets the urge to find out. what it is like in the rough world of Central Australia. Meets the people, mostly all drunks, tries to learn their life styles, not much of anything, and learns how to enjoy the "Pubs" all along the roads. This is basically how they travel, from Pub to Pub, and do it again.
Meets other hitch-hikers, strange characters, and tries to find out their life styles, which is not much of anything.
Finds a secret, but not-so-secret US Communications Community, which patrols the skies over Australia for electronic chatter from other countries.
Book is 8 hours long, a bit of humor, drinking, a little fishing, and other things. Not a bad read if you want to find out about real people, and ways of life.
Thanks, Morey, great review!
Kerri from British Columbia writes to ask about the DB numbers and the availability of the books I write about. The DB numbers are the library call numbers for the Library of Congress or BARD. Most of the books I write about are available on audible as well as in the U. S. and BARD. I wish I had a way to check if the books are available in Canada or other countries. At this point, I just donít. I am sorry and if anyone can shed light on how to source other avenues, Iíd love to learn. Iím not a daisy or book share user either. Iím sorry, I wish I had access to all of these, but the audio book world is growing so fast, Iím sure you can find a book somewhere.
Remember, The Audis are announced the first of June, so weíll be watching out for those winners. No matter where in the world you are, no matter what format you choose, read on my friends!
Until next time, Happy reading,
Greetings book lovers,
Itís hot fun in the summertime. Whether you are on a beach, a cruise ship, in your own backyard or like me, inside in the air conditioning, nothing is better than a good book to enhance your summer pleasures. June gave us the Audie awards and some well-deserved honors were passed out. Find out all the details at Audio file or just google Audies. Now, we are off to Mississippi, taking a look at early lumberjacks and a collection of western short stories. Letís go!
Mother of Pearl
Written by Melinda Haynes
Reading time; 16 hours and 38 minutes
Set in small town Mississippi in the late 1950s, Mother of Pearl is populated by wonderfully rich and original characters with themes of identity and the true meaning of family interwoven throughout. The story revolves around 28-year-old Even Grade, a black man who grew up an orphan, and Valuable Komer, a 15-year-old white girl who is the daughter of the town whore and an unknown father. Their paths cross through Joody Two Sun, a seer, who becomes Even's lover. Both Even and Valuable are seeking the family, love, and commitment they never had, and their search ultimately takes both of them to places they never dreamed they'd go.
Strong language and descriptions of sex
My comments; This is a rich, deep story filled with wonderful people and settings. Itís hard to really describe because there is such a different type of story here. I guess thatís why itís a bestseller.
Daylight in the Swamp
Written by Robert W. Wells
Reading time; 7 hours and 38 minutes
Most of the lumberjack tales around which this book is built point up the essential truths about logging the white pine forests: life was lawless, unwashed, and filled with mulishly hard work. It was also lousy--i.e., covered with lice. Wells has combed the great north woods of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota for these 19th-century histories of indomitable Bunyanesque shantyboys (their name before the 1870s) against whiskey, Indians, forest fires, ladies-for-hire, evangelists, and lumber barons. Between descriptions of the fetid bunkhouses, monotonous diets, and heroic brawls, he's managed some rare glimpses of the rough-hewn beginnings of Escanaba, Mich., LaPorte, Minn., Chippewa Falls, Wis., and other timber towns in the Great Lakes states. Wrote one itinerant Englishman: ""Wisconsin is a place where man reverts without pain to his natural condition, which is little above the beast of the field."" The lumberjacks--variously classified as teamsters, skidders, road monkeys, and river pigs according to their tasks-are a foul-mouthed but congenial lot and Wells more than proves his case that their collective fortunes make ""an epic. . . comparable only to the days of the old and equally wild West.
My comments; I was fascinated with the story of the early lumberjacks. A look at a part of history and an industry that helped our nation get itís start. A really in depth look at a way of life that is gone forever. River Pig! I love that name! There is some rough language in this one. Yippy ky yai yea!
This monthís short story collection is written by a classic Western writer, Louis Lí Amour. My friend, Bob Bartlett suggested this author for a good short story read and he was spot on! Thanks, Bob. I donít usually read Westerns, but I really enjoyed this collection. In between the stories, L íAmour writes about historical events and people which was very interesting.
Written by Louis LíAmour
Reading time; 5 hours and 57 minutes
For the westerner trouble came with the territory. Long grass valleys, merciless deserts, sheer rock cliffs, icy streams, hidden trails, dusty towns. These were the proving grounds of daily life. At any time violence could explode and on the frontier there was no avoiding its sudden terrible impact. In this collection of his stories Louis LíAmour guides us to some of these untamed places where men and women faced the challenge of survival. And for the first time, LíAmour also presents a selection of riveting scenes from western history that are every bit as exciting as his stories.
As always I love getting feedback, suggestions and reviews from our readers. Until next month,
Happy reading, Carla jo
Hello again fellow readers,
Which is better? The book? Or the movie? For me, hands down the book. Or so I thought. Letís head down south, to look at 2 books, both highly acclaimed in both movie and print. But, both very different from the printed page to the silver screen. I personally was very surprised at the difference. What do you think?
So, grab your iced tea and a fan and letís go!
Gone with the Wind
Written by Margaret Mitchell
Reading time: 38 hours and43 minutes
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Margaret Mitchell's great novel of the South is one of the most popular books ever written. Within six months of its publication in 1936, Gone with the Wind had sold a million copies. To date, it has been translated into 25 languages, and more than 28 million copies have been sold.
Here are the characters that have become symbols of passion and desire: darkly handsome Rhett Butler and flirtatious Scarlett O'Hara. Behind them stand their gentler counterparts: Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton. As the lives and affairs of these absorbing characters play out against the tumult of the Civil War, Gone With the Wind reaches dramatic heights that have swept generations of fans off their feet.
My comments; Wow, the book was so different. So much more, more people, more settings, just more. I was very surprised. Margaret Mitchellís story in itself is fascinating. What a lady and what a story!
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafť
Written by Fannie Flagg
Reading time: 9 hours and37 minutes
Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel of two women in the 1980s; of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women - of the irrepressibly dare devilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth - who back in the '30s ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Woebegone offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present - for Evelyn and for us - will never be quite the same again.
My comments; Once again, quite a change from book to movie. The book came across harsher, but maybe that was the times then. This one does have strong language in it, but what a look at the past.
Stay cool fellow book worms and Iíll see you next month!
Hey There, Hi There, Ho There book lovers!
Wow! Itís September already! I bring you 2 interesting books and a reader writes in with her recommendation of a great book. Letís Go!
Dead Wake; The last crossing of the Lusitania
Written by: Erik Larson
Reading time:13 hours and 6 minutes
From the number-one New York Times best-selling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania, published to coincide with the one-hundredth anniversary of the disaster.
On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds", and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship--the fastest then in service--could outrun any threat.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their ways toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.
My comments; Erik Larson is a fantastic writer. He fills this tragic story with all the human emotions, excitement, fear, uncertainty and so much more. The humanization of the u boat captain has really stuck with me. These were all real people, these were all real events. Just a whirlwind of a book. History buffs will enjoy this one.
Lillian writes to recommend: I recently read The Magdalen Girls by V. S. Alexander which can be downloaded from BARD. The db number is: 87873. Give it a look and hope you will enjoy reading it.
Thanks Lillian, Iíve grabbed it, but havenít started it yet.
A House Among the Trees
Written by Julia Glass
Reading time: 13 hours and 45 minutes
In Julia Glass's fifth book since her acclaimed novel Three Junes won the National Book Award, she gives us the story of an unusual bond between a world-famous writer and his assistant - a richly plotted novel of friendship and love, artistic ambition, the perils of celebrity, and the power of an unexpected legacy.
When the revered children's book author Mort Lear dies accidentally at his Connecticut home, he leaves his property and all its contents to his trusted assistant, Tomasina Daulair, who is moved by his generosity but dismayed by the complicated and defiant directives in his will. Tommy knew Morty for more than four decades, since meeting him in a Manhattan playground when she was 12 and he was working on sketches for the book that would make him a star. By the end of his increasingly reclusive life, she found herself living in his house as confidante and helpmeet, witness not just to his daily routines but to the emotional fallout of his strange boyhood and his volatile relationship with a lover who died of AIDS. Now Tommy must try to honor Morty's last wishes while grappling with their effects on several people, including Dani Daulair, her estranged brother; Meredith Galarza, the lonely, outraged museum curator to whom Lear once promised his artistic estate; and Nicholas Greene, the beguiling British actor cast to play Mort Lear in a movie.
When the actor arrives for the visit he had previously arranged with the man he is to portray, he and Tommy are compelled to look more closely at Morty's past and the consequences of the choices they now face, both separately and together. Morty, as it turns out, made a confession to Greene that undermines much of what Tommy believed she knew about her boss - and about herself. As she contemplates a future without him, her unlikely alliance with Greene - and the loyalty they share toward the man whose legacy they hold in their hands - will lead to surprising upheavals in their wider relationships, their careers, and even their search for love.
My comments; Another beautifully written book by Julia Glass. Such great characters, settings, emotions and life situations. I really loved this one. Itís read by Mary Stuart Masterson and she does an exceptional job of it.
Until next month, Happy reading,
Hey There book lovers,
Here we are in October, where has 2017 gone? This month I bring you 2 new- to- me authors and a reader reviews a great book for us.
An Unspoken Art: Profiles of Veterinary Life
Written by Lee Gutkind
reading time: 6 hours and 44 minutes
Since James Herriot first began his practice almost a century ago, new technologies and the changing concerns of animal owners have dramatically altered the veterinarian's world. Through a kaleidoscope of contrasting portraits, Lee Gutkind introduces an equally impassioned lot of doctors and their sometimes eccentric patients. Animal lovers will love this journey from tony, expensive Manhattan practices to mucky farms, from cutting-edge animal hospitals to zoos and aquatic parks.
My Comments; I love reading books about vets, animals, conservationists and the like. If you are a fan of Lawrence Anthony, ďThe Elephant WhispererĒ, and the aforementioned James Herriot books, youíll love this one. I never thought about pet people in New York having a completely different set of circumstances, the certain problems of treating a large sea turtle and many more great stories. I really liked this one. It is nonfiction.
Written by Gin Phillips
reading time: 8 hours and 8 minutes
The book takes place in a span of a little over three hours.
An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she'll go to protect him.
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours - the entire scope of the novel - she keeps on running.
Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan's intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions - the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines - is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.
A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself - from its tender moments of grace to its savage power - Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?
My comments; This is my first Gin Phillips and it wonít be my last. I loved it. Fast paced, suspenseful, emotional, this book has it all. And a fantastic story too boot!
I received the following from a reader named LeDon, I liked it so much, I left it alone. Here is what LeDon has to recommend.
I want to recommend to you the book, Americaís first daughter. This is a captivating story about Thomas Jeffersonís eldest daughter, Martha, ďPatsyĒ, Jefferson, Randolph which was gleaned from thousands of letters, documents and historical sources. The book was written by two accomplished historians and award winning writers of historical fiction, Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. It is sometimes only through well research and written fiction that we can get a glimpse of the untold story behind the lives of some of the giants of history.
The book opens with Patsy sitting at her fatherís desk shortly after his death. She is reading the thousands of letters left behind by her great father. As she reads the letters some of them bring memories to mind and from time to time tears appear on her cheek. Occasionally she holds one of the letters to the flame of a candle. In this way she wants to mold what we will know of her family life. But the events of history lets us peak behind the Curtin of secrets and see what may have happened. I am wondering how Patsy will handle Sally Hemmings. As Patsy is reading the letters, Sally walks into the office and tells Patsy that she will take these few things of Jeffersonís with her when she leaves the plantation. And Patsy says that that will be fine. So now I know that Patsy will not ignore Sally in this telling but neither will she dwell on her. This will be Patsyís story. The story of a daughterís love and dedication to her great father.
She opens another letter and it takes her back to the time when her father and the whole family must flee from their plantation, Monticello to escape the British which will surely hang her father if they are caught. Letter by letter the events of her life are brought to her mind. She recalls the death of her mother and the promise her mother made her father swear to. She fondly recalls her life in Paris the daughter of the man who wrote the declaration of independence. She relives the birth of her eleven children and her troubled marriage. So now, I rate this book a 4.5 out of five. If you are a lover of history and historical novels you will really want to read this one. It is a long book but I didnít even notice that as I worked my way through Patsyís life with her. You will enjoy every page of this story and may not even notice that it is a long book.
This book is available on Bard the book number is: DB88020. Good reading.
Thank you for a great review LeDon. If you have a book you feel is share worthy, let me know please. Until next month, Happy reading,
Greetings book lovers,
I have a lot I want to cover this month, so letís get right to it!
We have lost a beloved narrator. Roy Dotrice, passed away this past week at the age of 94. He is known for narrating the Song of Ice and Fire series written by George R. R. Martin. I really enjoyed his work.
How to Find Love in a Book Shop
written by Veronica Henry
reading time: 9 hours and 50 minutes
The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart.
Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers - a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father's death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia's loyal customers have become like family, and she can't imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.
There's Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there's a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage - she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.
Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future - and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish.
My comments; I know, I know, this sounds like a total chick book. If you enjoy beautiful settings, very interesting characters, books, food, music and an intriguing story, you need to read this book.
Once again, the two books this month are written by new to me writers. I think this book is perfect for anyone. I also think it would make a wonderful book club selection. It just has a bit of everything in it.
The Clockwork Dynasty
written by Daniel H. Wilson
reading time 10 hours and 47 minutes
An epic, ingenious new thriller from the New York Times best-selling author of Robopocalypse, The Clockwork Dynasty weaves a riveting path through history and a race of humanlike machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries.
In the rugged landscape of Eastern Oregon, a young scientist named June uncovers an exquisite artifact - a 300-year-old mechanical doll whose existence seems to validate her obsession with a harrowing story she was told by her grandfather many years earlier. The mechanical doll, June believes, is proof of a living race of automatons that walk undetected among us to this day. Ingeniously hidden inside the ancient doll is a lost message addressed to the court of Peter the Great, czar of Russia.
Russia, 1725: Peter and Elena, two humanlike mechanical beings, are brought to life under the watchful guise of Peter the Great. Their struggle to serve in the court of the czar while blending in and to survive amid those who fear and wish to annihilate them will take Peter and Elena across Russia, Europe, and, ultimately, the centuries, to the modern day.
The Clockwork Dynasty is Daniel H. Wilson's masterful new novel. It seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings that live by different principles from humans but ultimately value loyalty. As June learns more about these beings, she is quickly drawn into a fierce battle that has spanned the centuries and will ultimately determine the survival or extermination of this ancient race. Richly drawn and heart pounding, Wilson's novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisite characters with breathtaking technology - and unmatched action. The Clockwork Dynasty is a riveting breakout novel.
My comments: This one is a bit edgy, but totally believable. Everything in this one could happen. I loved it.
National Book Festival
Each year states choose a book to represent their state at the National Book Festival. These books are then featured in each stateís booth at the National Book Festival, which is sponsored by the Library of Congress and took place September 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The festival showcases the importance of books and reading. Check it out at The Library of Congress website to see the full list.
I was pleased to see that Texas had selected News of the World by Paulette Jiles, which is a book I had written about in a previous issue. Iím going to check out the list and see which books were picked to represent each state. Again, if you have any comments, book suggestions or interesting book tidbits, please write me at my address above.
Greetings book friends,
This monthís article will be a bit different as I have recently had back surgery and am in recovery mode. My Neurosurgeon is a wonderful guy who recommended this monthís book. First let me give you some background. My parents were born and raised in Northern Mississippi. My Mother is the youngest of 8 children. I downloaded the book and read it while I was in the hospital. There is no sleeping at a hospital, there is only rest. I had to lay flat for 48 hours after surgery due to spinal fluid leakage, so bad headache, nurses checking on me every hour equals 2 nights of no sleep. I knocked out this book in that time. So, keep the above facts in mind.
The Girls of Atomic City, The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped win World War II
written by Denise Kiernan
reading time: 14 hours and 43 minutes
At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians - many of them young women from small towns across the South - were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war - when Oak Ridge's secret was revealed.
Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it - women who are now in their eighties and nineties - The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country's history.
My comments: I loved this nonfiction book. Kiernan takes history, real lives, hardships, politics and the human experience and weaves a knock your socks off story. My Mother who is 84 came to visit me in the hospital and I was telling her about this book and how much I was enjoying it. She turned to me and said, I know all about that, 3 of your Aunts, her older sisters, worked there. Wow, talk about bringing a story down the block, around the corner and straight to your doorstep!
Here is a book recommendation from a reader named Susan.
written by Dale W. Cramer
reading time: 12 hours and 58 minutes
Itinerant Harley arrives in the little town of Sutter's Cross. With the good deeds he performs and bearded appearance, he reminds the townspeople of Jesus. Jake Mahaffey befriends Harley and finds himself reevaluating his relationship with God.
Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2003.
Susanís comments; I was just captured by it, and couldnít put it down. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you Susan for writing to the newsletter. We all love any comments or feedback from our readers.
Be safe, be kind and love each other,
oh, and read a good book!
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