It was really great month of reading!
Ink and Bone the Great Library #1 by Rachel Cain is a YA read, but of course was super enjoyable as an adult read. Sometimes I think more adults would be happier if they read more YA books. Most of the YA reading I do has some fantasy mixed with reality and this book had both of those. It also reminded me a little bit of "A Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood (totally different plot/story line, but it had that whole "fight the establishment" type of gusto). The main character Jess comes from a family of thieves- thieves who basically run a "black market" on selling original books. The current world Jess lives in doesn't allow people access to "real books" only what they call "blanks". Jess grows up a "runner". Literally the one who "runs" the original/contra-band books from point A to point B and disposes of the book to the person paying lots of money to get their hands on the original. He is somehow chosen to attend the Great Library of Alexandria's training center to become one of the chosen few who works within the library system. Of course is family, especially his father and brother, are overjoyed with this admittance to the Library training program for they think Jess will be able to help them with their black market book business. As usual there are a cast of characters who were all well developed and stood out in their own unusual ways. Jess befriends many of the other trainees, but of course not all and this is the start of the "story" so of course the book leaves you hanging on at the end to tease you into racing out to find #2. So as soon as I was done I plugged The Great Library #2 into Goodreads and proceeded to check at local libraries and eventually ended up at Barnes and Noble, desperate to start reading the next part of the story... well would've helped if I had looked at the publishing date on Goodreads for the #2 book doesn't come out until July 2016. So I wait- not a bad thing to be waiting for the "rest of the story". Read it if you like well developed characters, stories with mystery, fantasy and reality all tied into a neat little book.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein was a book I have somewhat avoided because I really am not a dog person. Well low and behold I loved this book. It was really a beautiful, somewhat heart wrenching story about this man and his dog Enzo and the life the man had which included his furry pal. Stein's ability to weave several different topics together was seamless: race car driving, dog health issues, people health issues, love, family struggles- specifically custody battles, and death. Read it you'll be happy you did and if like me you'll want to meet Enzo on the street someday soon.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes was something I came upon as I was checking out the new nonfiction book shelf at the local library. I liked the sound of the title and thought why not give it a try. I was not disappointed and found this book to be very motivational and real. Shonda Rhimes is mainly known for creation of Thursday night TV shows: Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. This book has a little of that part of her life in it, but what really hit me hard was how honest and open Shonda was about life struggles, even for a hugely accomplished, well to do, powerful woman. Not surprisingly many of the issues we all deal with no mater what our social status or our career paths was talked about in this book: weight loss, public speaking, dating/falling in love, and being a mom. This book reads very fast and yet has great content and powerful message.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was part of our January reads for book club. This book went along with reading Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" ,which I read and blogged about last month for my December reads. "To Kill a Mockingbird" was to be read if you hadn't already read it. I couldn't for the life of me remember reading this book, but because of my love for old/classic movies I had of course watched Gregory Peck stand as Atticus Finch, many of times on TV in the comfort of my own home, defending Tom Robinson. So I picked it up and read it and loved it and thought it was so amazing that Harper Lee had not written more or at least published more. I wonder how many other authors out there have the same story- one big time classic novel and then many years later another one (July 1960 To Kill a Mockingbird to July 2015 for Go Set a Watchman- publish dates). This is a great story and should continue to be told and read by children, young adults and adults for as long as racial issues persist- so basically forever.
Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland is a great historical fiction story about Clara Driscoll who is one of Mr. Louis Comfort Tiffany's glass artists and head of the women's division of his studio. Not surprising and less hard to believe is Clara is likely the mastermind behind many of Mr. Tiffany's famous glass lamp creations. This is really her story and Mr. Tiffany, rightfully so, is just one of the many cast of characters in her story. The reader not only learns about what Clara and the women in her division at Tiffany's art studio endured, accomplished, and fought for, but you also get a great feel for life in beginning of the twentieth century for an unmarried, business woman. Susan Vreeland knows how to write historical fiction. It is not boring or feels tedious with those important historical data, but has the flow of a great novel. It was an enjoyable read, yet at the same time very educational. I have read other books by Susan Vreeland and will continue to put her books on my "to read" list for those two reasons: great story teller and great educator.