Wednesday, January 27, 2016

David Crockett: Lion of the West

This wonderful biography of an iconic hero by Michael Wallis was such an interesting read.  Wallis did a beautiful job telling the complete story of David Crockett against the more folk-hero image many of us have of "Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier."  So much of that image was based on legend, yet the real David Crockett was  fascinating and though not always sterling in character, was someone we can admire.  It's great to see the historic perspective more clearly, and to read about his life and times, and also about his death at the Alamo.  If we can remove Fess Parker and John Wayne from our minds as we read, the true person who became the legend becomes ever more clear.  Definitely recommend!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

All The Light We Cannot See

This book has been highly recommended, has a Pulitzer Prize, on the best seller lists. Can you guess which book I am talking about?

Yep, it's.... ta da.... drumroll please....

We have this guy in our book club here who is always coming up with books we "HAVE TO READ".  His track record is sort of half and half. Sometimes we like his suggestions, sometimes we don't.

But, this book. Oh my gosh!!

I hope you will put this book at the top of your reading list. I loved it.

Who would have thought that I would? Yes, I've read quite a number of books about WWII. And, this is another one! But, the way this man puts words on a page. I don't believe I have ever read a book that is written in this manner. There are sentences and then there are words that aren't sentences but you just don't care because it makes so much sense that he didn't stick to the rules.

Marie-Laure lives with her Papa in Paris. She is blind. Papa takes her with him everyday to the museum, where he is the keeper of keys. Hidden deep inside the museum is a precious jewel "The Sea of Flames". 

Werner and his sister, Jutta, live in an orphanage in Germany.  He finds a crude old radio in the woods and brings it back to his dormer room and begins to fix it. He and Jutta begin to listen to a broadcast of beautiful music and words from France. He gets very good at fixing radios and with the war progressing from Germany into other countries, Werner is given a scholarship to an academy training young men for Hilter's Youth movement. 

When Germany takes over Paris, Marie-Laure and her Papa flee to a seaside village where his recluse uncle lives. It was from this house that the mysterious music pouring through Werner's old radio had been broadcast from. In their escape from Paris Papa carried with him a small carving. There is something inside this carving that seems to be of utmost importance but Marie-Laure does not know why. 

The war rages on, Werner is now a soldier and he ends up in Saint-Malo, the city where Marie-Laure now lives. With the city under seige, it is here that the two unlikely young people meet. 

I am not going to tell you anymore. You must read this for yourself. This story gives you hope that there is good in this world regardless of how bad things get. It's well written. As I read each page, I viewed myself as someone standing in a corner watching every event unfold. It was fabulous.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Reading Block Ended

Ever had a reading block?  This was a first time for me.  I found myself slowing down on my reading in December but still managed to end with 69 books read for the year.   The last one was the latest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series entitled "The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine".

Then there was a big pause - a reading block.  I tried to pick up several books, started them, but closed them up.  Not what I wanted to read.  Even another Louise Penny mystery was just not enticing.  I went 15 days at least before I felt I could open another book.  

To break the block I had to find something light, fluffy, easy to read.  I stumbled upon a new book at the library called "Your Heart's Desire" by Melody Carson. Set in post WWII California, it was a love story involving a war widow and the heir apparent of a candy business.  Predictable, sappy, light - all of those, but it did the trick and broke the block.

Since reading that I have read another WWII book called "The Dressmaker's War" by Mary Chamberlin.  This one was not predictable, not light, not sappy but it drew me in to the heroine's life as a young woman with a dream of owning a house of couture.  WWII happened and she accompanied her "love" to Paris despite all the warning flags about him and the brewing conflict.  It's quite a gripping story.

Recommendations?  If you want a quick fluffy, feel good read, find the first one.  If you want to feel what life was like as a prisoner of war, read the second one.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter Is The Time For Home....

And reading.  If you are fortunate to have a fireplace, maybe curled up in front of the fire.  Our lives are often so busy, but I hope you are finding the time to read.  Here's another book review of a book I finished in the Fall...

It's probably one subject almost everyone finds fascinating, especially those of us who live here in the U.S. and remember John Kennedy's Presidency and tragic death.  We continue to be interested in him, and all the "possibles" his death brings up.  So, I wanted very much to read about Mary Meyer.  Not only was she one of his mistresses, she was basically unknown by the general public, and she was apparently a friend of his even after their ardor cooled.  Not only that....but she was mysteriously murdered right after John Kennedy's death AND her diary went missing!  There could be no more intriguing story!  So I read A Very Private Woman by Nina Burleigh.  It was a well-researched, well-written book.  I have to say I did not particularly care for Mary as a person.  I also do not condone the many indiscretions of our then-President.  But, the mystery of their individual deaths, and the general misogynistic attitude and atmosphere of "shady government" that existed in D.C. in the 60's is something that was like a train wreck for me on the pages I was reading....I was not happy about it, but I couldn't look away!  I am a child of the 60s, and have memories of a simpler, happier time (Viet Nam and free-love Woodstock not-withstanding).  I was too young to know that the movers and shakers of my world were not simple or innocent themselves, but actually quite diabolical and scheming!  Not a pleasant realization, but one that came to me after Kennedy's death and other events that followed in the years after.  I may have been aware of such things but of course found them confirmed by this book, and that isn't always a pleasant experience.  But,  truth  matters.  Better to understand such things fully, especially when it affected our entire lives.  So, the book was truly fascinating, and I do recommend it. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016


This is not a book review!!

Yesterday I got this hair-brained idea that I would check to see how many books I had read since I got my first Kindle back in Dec. 2010.  Since I was ordering my books from Amazon it was easy to check on. They keep a record of all that. Now, if only the library had a list of all I had borrowed from them BEFORE KINDLE, that would be something to behold, indeed.

I ordered by first book in Dec. 2010 and since then have read 215 books. If you are on Pinterest you can see them all listed on my "Books I have Read" board there.

And, the same with

I am just amazed that the number is, what it is. And, I am also amazed at the variety of reading I have enjoyed from books like "Lives In Ruins" and "Killing Patton" to books like "Two Chickens, Two Mules and Two Old Fools" and "Redemption" a fictional account of what the author thought might have happened to Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

I am proud that I am a reader. I was introduced to books at an early age. I went to the elementary school in town and after school let out, I walked one block to the library where I waited on my aunt to pick me up. She was a teacher at another school. What does a kid do when they are in the library? Read, of course!!

I just thought I'd share this new-found info with you today.

This year, 2015, I read 38 books. I would be curious to see how many books people usually read in a year. How about you? What was your total this year?

New Year's Resolution - -  Read More Books.