In no particular order...
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I picked this one of my "to read" shelf from my reading room. I have had this book for awhile. I bought it at a second hand store because I read "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and loved it. This was described as the prequel to that book. The book takes place in 1920's Barcelona. The protagonist, David Martin writer who had gotten famous by writing under pen name, is approached by Andreas Coreli to write a book that has never been written before. This story is very dark and I found it not as enjoyable as "The Shadow of the Wind". It was readable and Zafon's writing is truly beautiful, even when he is describing dark subjects such as people being burned alive. However, I was disappointed- make the subject matter was too dark or the story just a tad to unbelievable.
Sara Paretsky received the Paul Engle award at the 2015 Iowa City Book Festival this past Friday. I heard when the book festival schedule was coming out that she was receiving the award and decided that since I hadn't read anything by Sara I should before it came book festival time. Most of her books are mystery genre. Her main character I knew before even knowing Sara's name- V.I. Warshawski. Kathleen Turner played V.I. Warshawski in the movie version of Sara's books. This was a good book. Very entertaining, and I loved the Chicago city setting being almost like a character throughout the story. V.I. Warshawski is a powerful, energetic, sexy female character who goes against some big "guys"-- Chicago Union, Chicago Life Insurance Company, etc. After reading this book and then hearing Sara herself talk at the recent Paul Engle award this past Friday I realized how seamlessly she was able to cover important themes throughout her mysteries, but at the same time keep the entertainment factor that makes mysteries so enjoyable to read. I also after hearing Sara speak Friday am truly looking forward to more V.I. in my reading life.
I picked this book up when visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Minnesota this summer. "The Heroines' Bookshelf: Lie Lessons from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder" by Erin Blakemore was a great reminder of all those literary heroines out in the world waiting to teach us about themes and qualities that occur in our lives. For instance, one chapter on Anne Shirley and her quality/strength of "Happiness" or Sarlett O'Hara and her quality of "Fight". I felt like I was walking back into some great memories of reading from my past. It was also a great reminder of qualities and strengths we hope and wish for in ourselves and other females.
"You're Loved No Matter What- Freeing Your Heart From the Need to be Perfect" by Holley Gerth
I use to not be a nonfiction book reader. Now a days one of my favorite places to go is the "New Nonfiction" shelf at the two libraries I most frequent. This is where I found this book. Why it caught my eye was the cover- 1st, the cute little bike with basket and streamers blowing from the handle bars was to cute to pass up. The 2nd was the title- "You're Loved No Matter What"- this title seemed to speak to me. I do a lot of dumb things and to think that "you're loved no matter what" is truly comforting. So I picked it up and went on my way. The book had more faith based theme then I expected, but I actually felt her writing flowed well with topic of God/Faith and Religion. Sometimes that sort of writing is too forced for me, but Holley knew how to intertwine the idea of letting go of our pressure and desire to be perfect and where faith fits into that letting go. Some of my favorite quotes from the book were the following...
pg 11 "And humans are messy, flawed, glorious and deeply loved. Jesus already knows all that about you. He can handle who you are."
pg 33 "you can deeply disappoint people while deeply loving them".
pg50 "Every time I make a list of all the things I feel guilty about, I discover each one offers ways to be grateful instead."
pg89 "Growth is a process not an event"
pg 133 "Excellence is doing what you can, with what you have, where you are, as you are."
This was our book club read for the month. Tim Johnston knows how to read one hell of an intense book. "Descent" was finished in three nights of reading, because a night longer would have been too much for my brain and anxiety level to handle. The story starts with two siblings going out for a run/bike ride while their parents slept in their beds in the hotel they were staying for their summer vacation. This morning outing with two siblings would be the cliff off which the story fell and I felt like the excitement and suspense really didn't change from there. I will say that the first 1/3 of the book Tim's writing style was bothersome to me- I felt he was very jumpy from person to person/topic to topic/setting to setting, which confused me at times. However, once I got past that writing style the story really grabbed me. Excellent book, minus writing style in the first part of the book.
This was my favorite read of the month. The main character Jean Perdu is an owner of a book shop, which just happens to be housed inside a barge which calls it home the Seine River in Paris, France. Now those who know me well know one of my life's dreams is to get to Paris, France someday. I also love any place that houses books- i.e. bookshops. However, this story is so much more than a story of a main who owns a bookshop. It is really a story of love, hurt, finding oneself, and these ideas are shown through not one, not two, but several characters. Jean Perdu is a man whose heart has been broken and at the beginning of the story I thought he would be a character who would start to wear on me for his "depressed" nature. He ends up being my favorite character. This story is truly beautiful. If you love books, travel and love "love" stories I highly recommend this book.
A couple of my favorite quotes from the book...
pg 175 'Saudade': "a yearning for one's childhood, when the days would merge into one another and the passing of time was of no consequences. It is the sense of being loved in a very that will never come again. It is a unique experience of abandon. It is everything that words cannot capture."
These lines and the word saudade were heart warming. I think we all can remember childhood and how time was truly of no consequence.
pg 323 "3 things that made you really 'happy' according to Cueno's worldview:
One: eat well. No junk food, because it only makes you unhappy, lazy and fat.
Two: sleep through the night (thanks to more exercise, less alcohol and positive thoughts).
Three: spend time with people who are friendly and seek to understand you in their own particular way.
Four: have more sex- but that was Sammy's Addition".
Some good books in the above... as always hope you are finding some good books to spend some time with. Would love if anyone as read any of these books and has a different take or different review for me to hear/read about. Happy reading Friends!