Reading an old friend tonight..,
The mayor in my city wants to start a book club and has asked me for a list of suggested titles for adults that are “inspirational, self-help, and/or stories of personal triumph.“ So, Litsy Collective - can you share your favorites? Using this pic of this outstanding cat to get your juices flowing!
Favorite Color - any of the “royals” or jewel tones - blue, purple, deep red, green
Favorite Tarot Card - Queen of Wands
Favorite Crystal - moonstone or amethyst
Favorite Book - right now, The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman
Favorite Flower - Lilac; Favorite Herb - Basil
Favorite Candy - peanut clusters (no caramel, though!)
Favorite Essential Oil - civet
Just spent about 90 minutes watching The Bookshop movie with Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, and Patricia Clarkson. So, so disappointed in the ending! I can handle sad endings, but Patricia Clarkson‘s character *needed* her comeuppance! Still mad about it!
Holy Mother of God, is there an editor anywhere with balls enough to do their job and actually *edit* J.K. Rowling? I listened to this for 10 hours then checked to see how much remained. 13 hours, people! The print edition is 700 pages! For a mystery! Best thing about the audio was the narrator, who makes Strike sound like Hagrid.
Both, but I like my coffee hot and my tea iced!
Fiction, but some NF never hurts.
Dogs. Although I'd love a cat or a bun, I am, alas, highly allergic to both.
Tarot - the artistry in the card design always attracts me
I started reading this book several times and stopped because I could not connect with the characters. As I pushed through the book, I began to feel a sense of unreality, as if the author were deliberately including every single horrible thing that could have possibly happened to these sisters. But, this is where I had the pleasure of reading today, so it‘s all good!
I thought there would never be another author to equal Douglas Nicholas' Something Red series, but I found it in this haunting and lovely tale by Juliet Marillier. There's a little bit of everything here but mostly a quest featuring a feisty young female warrior, a prickly male counterpart, an otherworldly bard, an island of warriors, a pain-in-the-ass king-to-be, lots of faery folk, and druids. It's out in Sept - make your first Fall read!
The first book I‘m reading for #24in48 isn‘t in the database yet - Mayhem, Murder & the PTA by Dave Cravens. It‘s in the pic. FIL just went to hospital, so will be getting lots of reading done there today. Can you see the beagle watching me in the background?
I discovered Ann Cleeves a couple years ago and binged through all her Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez books. Now she‘s introduced a new detective, Matthew Venn, who struggles with his past while he builds a future with husband Jonathan. Fabulous story, great characters. Grab this one when it‘s published in September. #Netgalley
There is SO much going on here that I was reminded of the 1930‘s era madcap mystery movies where there are lots of characters, lots of motives & lots of movement. Ferreri does an excellent job of managing all the different strands and bringing some resolution to the two separate stories of the Crivelli paintings and the forged will. Full review at http://itsallaboutthebook.org
Well, the rest of them are finally catching on, folks! http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20190527-can-fiction-really-improve-your-mental...
This gorgeous book joins my Best of 2019 list, pretty darn close to the top. This is storytelling at its best, with characters who twine themselves around your heart and pull tight until you think you‘ll explode. The blend of Greek myth with a wholly original story about muses, memory, art, and love creates a narrative that leaves you emotionally spent. Image of Mnemosyne, Mother of Muses, from Wikipedia Commons.
A friend recently raved about Abbi Waxman so I picked up this ARC from #Netglley. The writing is chatty and witty, so I get the appeal. The story is a cute modern fairy tale where shy girl born to outgoing single Mom discovers family she never knew she had at the same time her trivia team loses, her bookstore is bought out, she finds love and, you guys! IT'S ALL TOO MUCH FOR HER! Snark aside, this is a fun, quick read. Out July 9.
Why do YOU read, Littens?
This book is a gift that I did not expect. The story is one of the most unusual and imaginative I‘ve read in years, and the characters by turns fascinating and exasperating. I first became interested in the properties of scent, particularly of how scent can trigger memories, when caring for an elderly relative in her last days. Scent was a trigger for her and she shared the loveliest memories with her family during those difficult days.
I have started to write this post about 10 times and simply cannot express the blend of tragedy and joy you will find in this book. Hoffman has taken the horrifying historical context of the Holocaust and distilled it into the stories of four women. It‘s about survival, disbelief, love, courage, and humanity. The best of the year for me. Image is a painting by Anthony Forster & what I imagine as one of the settings.
I was recently reminded of this brief and scarce little series from a favorite author and managed to get my hands on all three. Imogen Quy (rhymes with Why) is a character made for a Masterpiece series, and I cannot imagine a better job than the Wyndham Librarian! On to book 2, A Piece of Justice....
This book touched a nerve with me. I married into a family like Stella‘s, with a capo very like the men depicted here - autocratic, vulgar, and sly. As I read, I could feel my skin prickle and my heart pound as I raced through passages describing the utter hopelessness Stella felt in the face of the patriarchal familia in which she was caught. Needing to know how Stella‘s life turned out kept me going through the book, and I was not disappointed.
Littens, my TBR list has just exploded. Kroger and Anderson have written a *readable* and engaging piece of non-fiction that delves into all the kick-ass women who wrote sci-fi, paranormal, and speculative fiction from the 17th c. on. Many of them wrote using male pseudonyms, but others started their own goddamned publishing houses just for women! I‘m thinking about putting together a reading challenge around this. Stay tuned.
My main criticism of this book - it is definitely written from a place of privilege. There's little to no understanding by the author that many Americans live in food deserts, where they can't easily access fresh food & certainly can't afford to pay for some of the ingredients used here. That said, this will find an audience with the semi-affluent to affluent Moms who are trying to get their families to eat healthy. Image from prouditaliancook.com
People who love books, reading & authors will love this book. It‘s like a compilation of People magazine stories, but focusing solely on authors. There is information galore on famous feuds, who drank what & when, how & where certain authors liked to write, muses & obsessions, and just plain gossip. However, buried under the 21st century short attention span sections is some real, solid information about authors, writing, and reading. Out in June.
I have a soft spot for this bookish series from Kate Carlisle, mostly because I enjoy the occupation of main character Brooklyn, who is a book restorer. Set in San Francisco, the series follows Brooklyn & her ex-spy husband as they solve murder mysteries. In this entry, Brooklyn and Derek are caught up in some loose ends of an old spy escapade that involved some of Derek's oldest friends and a valuable first edition Ian Fleming book. Out in June.
One of the things I have enjoyed about this series is how the characters have grown. Each book has brought them farther along; eg - Conrad has gone from the stoned “gutter punk“ to a guy trying to get sober. Lily has grown from a suspicious, solitary witch to someone who values friendship and love, which is a theme that appears often in this book & which she ultimately embraces in the thrilling climax where she does, indeed, save San Francisco.
True crime fans will be fascinated by this fresh look into one of America‘s most notorious crimes. Here is a story that was very nearly lost to a shredder in Oklahoma when Harold Nye‘s wife emptied their home after his death. Nye was one of the lead agents who investigated the Clutter murders and who was befriended and interviewed by Truman Capote. Review at https://itsallaboutthebook.org/2019/04/14/and-every-word-is-true-by-gary-mcavoy/
The concept of a town librarian hearing books talk and giving the right book to the right person at the right time is the stuff of magic for people who love books. Pair that with a small town full of down to earth people who love each other despite their differences, and a set of main characters so appealing that it‘s impossible not to like this book. Review at https://itsallaboutthebook.org/2019/04/10/the-book-charmer-by-karen-hawkins/
Folktales have been told/retold for centuries & I am always up for reading something new. Often, the retellings are interesting but not very original. Erin Craig has produced an imaginative, lovely, original retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses which takes the kernel of the old story and builds a whole new world peopled by fascinating characters and customs. Review at https://itsallaboutthebook.org/2019/02/26/house-of-salt-sorrow-by-erin-craig/
Winspear's Maisie Dobbs is one of my favorite fictional characters and I recommend them in my libraries and on my blog. The American Agent signals the true beginning of a new chapter in Maisie's life, and is every bit as good as previous entries in the series. The mystery here is secondary to the bigger story of Maisie moving on with her life, although it is handled with the same cleverness and wit we have come to expect from Winspear.
Photos of the pack librarians of Kentucky have been all over library social media, so I was pleased to find a book about the service. While this story includes the service as a central element, the real story is Book Woman Cussy Mary, a member of Blue Fugate family. I was prompted to research the Blue Fugates because I‘d never heard of them and was fascinated to learn about how the family evolved. Trigger warning for violence against women, tho.
Enger specializes in writing allegorical stories rich in symbolism, and he does the same here. Took me some time to really engage with the story because it seemed to be going nowhere for the first few chapters, but it turned into a lovely story about life and love, growth and remembrance, and the power of friendship. Photo is of my Great Lake, Ontario, in zero degree weather, reminiscent of Enger‘s Lake Superior. Photo by John Kucko.
Libraries as social infrastructure? Hell, yes! Sociologist Klinenberg has examined what makes libraries an integral part of a community. Must reading for #LibrariansOfLitsy. Read my full review and essay at https://itsallaboutthebook.org/2019/02/18/places-for-the-people-by-eric-klinenbe...
Raybourn has delivered another rollicking mystery in the Veronica Speedwell series. The flirtatious relationship between Veronica & Stoker continues & moves into serious territory, all while they are working to solve a clever & villainous mystery in a spooky castle on an island off the Cornish coast, complete with a poison garden and a raft of prevaricating people. Really, all you need for a few hours of fun reading! (image is Veronica Speedwell!)
There have been so many books out lately that revolve around things that are lost and found and I didn‘t expect a much different story here. Silly me. Phaedra Patrick has given us a story about a middle-aged woman who never says no...until she does. What happens next is one of the most poignant stories I‘ve read in a long time. If you‘re looking for a light, gentle read, this is your book.
Howe‘s Physick Book of Deliverance Dane was a favorite of mine in 2009 so I was thrilled to get this ARC, which continues the story of Connie Goodwin and her search for truth in her past. Howe‘s writing is wonderful as usual, and the story isn‘t bad. However it‘s not as engaging as PBODD. The primary plot line is reminiscent of Practical Magic, but Connie‘s relationships with both the past and present do make this one well worth reading.
I am listening to this tonight because I just got the ARC of Howe‘s new book and wanted to refresh my memory. It‘s as good as I remember and now I don‘t want to go to bed. I may listen all night!
I ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ that this book won the Stonewall award during today‘s Youth Media Awards from the American Library Association. I find myself enjoying the “smaller” awards more every year and finding the Caldecott & Newbery less interesting. Plus, Julian is my current favorite character, so yay!
This book is racking up 5 star, essay-length reviews on Goodreads, rhapsodizing about the brilliance of it all. This was a solid 4 stars for me, mostly because the format of short, interview-like answers never allowed for good character development. Really, it read like a Rolling Stone interview more than a novel. Enjoyable? Absolutely. Ground-breaking? Nope. Final @24in48 book for me...
More @24in48 this time a food-related challenge. My current go-to, much-recommended favorite food related book is Salt Fat Acid Heat by the completely charming Samin Nosrat. I adore cookbooks that are more than a collection of recipes. Here, Nosrat shares her personal history entwined with the histories of saltfatacidheat in cooking. Just a gorgeous book, and the Netflix series is one of the best food shows I‘ve ever seen.
Is there anything more fascinating than the Dead Letters Depot where all the letters that go astray in the mail end up & where William Woolf works. All those letters to to Santa, God & Elvis. Those love letters with the incorrect address. The wedding invitations and birthday cards. All those lost words and feelings, collected and cared for by 30 Letter Detectives. What a smashingly cool job! Too bad the story didn‘t match the premise. @24in48 #2
I‘m late to the Litsy @24in48 party due to a cold, but I have been getting some reading done, like this new gem. This creepy, eerie and imaginative story grabbed me by the back of the neck and held on from first to last page. The plot is a refreshing take on the “monster in the woods” trope and features some sassy, kick-ass characters. Reminded me a bit of Katherine Arden‘s Small Spaces.