This year, creatively, I'm changing things up in the way I document what I've been reading lately. This year I am creating individual page(s) for every book I read and inserting them into a traveler's notebook. I love the size of a TN; it makes scrapbooking effortless, yet with a teensy measure of creativity. Plus, I can print the pages from home, which is a total plus because I can fill the TN as I read.
Not off to a grand start in number of books read this month, however, what I read was most enjoyable and a delight in some cases, and blown away by, at least, one.
Dear Fahrenheit 451, once I caught on to your snarky and playful humor you were a delight to read. Unfortunately, you made me cringe at my sorely lacking reading escapades, or at the very least I found it difficult to follow some of those reading reproofs because I have not read so many of the books. Okay, the majority of the books you mentioned. I said, 'so many'...
I did find your letter to the 'fancy bookshelf at a party...' particularly delightful and had me fist bumping, ah, myself - because I know for a fact your aren't talking about me. I mean, my shelves. Because my shelves - my shelves are simply adorable and filled to the brim with my favorite reads. And, your letter to "Dear Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln and just all of the Killings by 'Bill O'Reilly'" was hysterical! And, 'Dear Easy Rawlins Mystery Series by Walter Mosley'. Stop already. You're making my stomach hurt. Truthfully, I identified with your letters of love and empathized with those dear john letters. You might as well have sent a text because you tried just a bit to hard to sound forlorn and sorrowful.
And then I read Dear The Namesake and you made me sad. I heard your arrogance. I wondered if you are one of those click-ish, superficial books who 'click' with only their kind and who only asks you questions like 'how are you?' because you're the only two in the elevator and you try and sound interested in my life but in truth you can't wait until the elevator opens and you can get off and go to another bookshelf. Or you see that bestseller who just walked in and you just have to say hi. I'm truly disappointed you looked down your literate nose at all those who read but maybe, sometimes, just can't grasp the full depth of what a book is trying to convey. And then. Then, you slammed The Hobbit, too. And, that just doesn't sit well with me. At all. May I suggest you read it aloud next time to your twin teenagers and then see if you like it. Because it will be a memorable experience. And this is me sticking my tongue out at you: nah, nah, nah, boo-boo - I actually read To Kill a Mockingbird.
Redeemed. You made me want to read Matilda, Holidays on Ice, and An Education. Finally, some like-mindedness with - dear Fahrenheit 451! And, I had to laugh, again, at Dear Harlequin Romance Spinner Rack.
Dear Principles of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, did a writer check you out? It could have been my friend who is a CSI, that's a crime scene investigator. Just asking for Dear Fahrenheit 451 because it had no idea. Then, then you lost me. Maybe you lost track of time perusing all the stacks of books but you were neither engaging, nor with a sense of the humorous - and my eyes glazed over. Dear Fahrenheit 451 I finished you feeling less than taken by you and more disappointed, eager to move on to another. It's been too much of a roller coaster ride and you know I abhor roller coasters. Therefore, we are officially breaking up. 3.5 Stars
1/120 (I have a long way to go, read 120 books in 2019, and a short 365 days to get there but we're gonna' do what they say can't be done!).
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I am quite certain that Anne with an e of Green Gables will be one of my most favorite books of 2019. I confess, growing up I read mostly harlequin romances because those books were readily available in our home (my mother was an avid reader). My reading repertoire as a child and teenager, that I can recall never leaned toward classics, nor settled on new books. As an adult it has only been in the last 10 years or so that I have 'broadened my horizons' and begun intentionally reading new-to-me books, classics, new authors, books that are outside of my comfort zone, those books I would never have picked up at the library or a book fair if it wasn't for reading challenges and meeting reading goals. Over these years I have even landed on my favorite genre, Christian Non-Fiction. When I was a young adult with two girls I watched the Anne of Green Gables television mini-series on VHS and adored the series. But even then I never considered reading the books that the series was based on. But, with my new found love of reading 'most' genres, Anne of Green Gables has been on my to be read (TBR) list for quite some time. I'm thrilled I can not only check it off of my TBR but it also checks a box on the 2019 Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge - a book you've been meaning to read.
Enter many years past the age of 11, the age Anne with an e is, and I am reading Anne of Green Gables. I recently gave my granddaughter, who is 12, the entire collection of Anne books. Her momma, my daughter Elizabeth, mentioned she wanted to start a book club - and wouldn't Anne of Green Gables be a wonderful book to begin with. It is because of Ella and the fact she might one day soon read Anne of Green Gables that I ordered a copy for myself to read. We could be kindred spirits, if only for the shared experience of having read Anne of Green Gables.
As soon as I began reading and was struck numb with pleasure from a particular quote I picked up the first writing utensil I could get my hand on and began bracketing my favorites and making note of the page numbers. If I had book darts I would have been able to easily mark the pages for future reference. I even enjoyed reading aloud to my mother and daughter, Ashley those classic quotes as they also enjoyed the Anne series. I knew they would be fond of what I read aloud. Note to self: buy book darts. P.S. When I went to put book darts into my cart, low and behold, I'd already purchased said book darts. I found them tucked away in a basket of - stuff. 5 Stars
Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb. With only a month remaining before Robb's next In Death book, book number 48, hits stores, I wanted to read book number 47 in the series. I was surprised when I searched for a copy in stores that it had already gone to paperback. According to Amazon, "For the airline executives finalizing a merger that would make news in the business world, the nine a.m. meeting would be a major milestone. But after marketing VP Paul Rogan walked into the plush conference room, strapped with explosives, the headlines told of death and destruction instead. The NYPSD’s Eve Dallas confirms that Rogan was cruelly coerced by two masked men holding his family hostage. His motive was saving his wife and daughter―but what was the motive of the masked men?
Despite the chaos and bad publicity, blowing up one meeting isn’t going to put the brakes on the merger. All it’s accomplished is shattering a lot of innocent lives. Now, with the help of her billionaire husband Roarke, Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside both corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted."
Leverage began over the top exciting! But then so many characters later and more deaths that make little sense to the plot and are little mentioned by Eve who typically always knows her victims and I couldn't keep up with who was who and even why they were in the book. Unfortunately, the intricate plot in the beginning unraveled quickly and I kept putting the book down - in frustration. Eve and Peabody seemed disjointed. Eve and Roarke even more so. Often, throughout the book, I wondered if even Robb wrote this one. Not a shining testament for sure. That said. I loved the Rhoda character, security specialist who works in one of Roarke's building - very interesting character and I could totally see her as a potential love interest for Baxter who might curb his womanizing ways, and who might become a returning character. The storyline could have been really good.
While I am disappointed with this one, it is part of the whole In Death series and one misstep does not mean I'll in anyway give up on Robb. 3 Stars
We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. Revisiting my local library regularly after newly acquiring a PINES Library card which allows us to check books out from all over the state, seriously upped the availability of books and I only had to wait days for this extraordinary propulsive novel based on a true story, on the lives of one family who truly were the lucky ones. I was struck by the cover. A couple sitting on a park bench, seemingly reminiscing, in somber, hushed tones, finishing their story with, "We Were the Lucky Ones." I was left on the edge of my seat with each passing chapter, waiting with bated breath, for Hunter to tell me 'the rest of the story', rather she left me hanging in suspense one time too often. Truly, it only meant I couldn't put the book down. The setting begins with family life as Jews living in Poland before WWII, albeit one lone son, an engineer, living in France. A family and their individual stories and tramping's during the war, their harrowing trials that separate them from each other; yet they always have family in mind, and when, once again through their indelible spirit - and luck, they are reunited. I was awestruck by the Kurc family's propensity to endure life's challenges; their resilience is inspiring. Throughout the book I saw God's hand upon the entire family throughout their often dangerous, treacherous, heart-wrenching journey's that took some to Siberia, to Warsaw, to Italy, to Africa, to Brazil. I loved how Hunter began We Were The Lucky Ones with the family celebrating the Festival of Matzahs (Feast of Unleavened Bread), or the Passover, remembering God's deliverance of the Israelites, the Jews, from the Egyptians out of captivity. And, Hunter ends We Were The Lucky Ones with a celebration of the Festival of Matzahs, a time of their liberation, their freedom - from yet another captivity. 4.5 Stars
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst. A deep, rich blessing for my soul and my heart. Both of which need healing after a particularly gut-wrenching relational sucker punch. Perfect timing when Satan tried to weave his wicked ways into my struggles and send me spiraling out of control. Enter Lysa's new book who, over a three plus years, experienced more earth shattering, life shattering circumstances and shares how she was able to live assured, safe in God's hands, even when life doesn't turn out like we expected. Encouraged beyond imaginable I was able to apply truths from Terkeurst when I was caught off guard by a fairly recent trial in my life that shattered me.
The book covers what to do when you question God's timing, whether He is still God amidst difficult circumstances, and if you can still trust Him. Her book is truly a personal walk of faith that has been challenged, tested, sifted, and reformed and how to withstand. More specifically, how we can stop from being pulled into the throes of disappointment by discovering how to better process unmet expectations and other painful situations. How to train ourselves to recognize the three strategies of the enemy so we can stand strong and persevere through unsettling relationships and uncertain outcomes. One of the hardest to digest is when God actually does give us more than we can handle, but Lysa shows us how to be steadfast and not panic.
If you life is coming up roses right now this book might not be for you. But it might be for you if you have a friend who is in a brutal battle relationally, spiritually, physically, or emotionally. Because you could come along side them and lift them up. 5 Stars
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. Written in 1955, M. Dobbs, trade and personal investigator, is a uniquely gifted private investigator who conducts discreet investigations of any sort of matter. Her mentor and former employer of the same had been instructing Dobbs since she was 13, pulled out of indentured poverty to come along side him and learn the art of psychological investigating. Having assisted a new client, Dobbs stumbles upon a potential mystery and proceeds to solving said mystery. Because this is the first in the series, the entire center of the book takes the reader back to her early years, when she is given a chance at something else in life, attending Cambridge, going off to the Great War, which is an integral part of the story, falling in love but feeling the worse might happen. I was so intrigued by her investigating gifts such as being able to read people and - lead people to garner information. While I was reading, it reminded me of The Legend of Bagger Vance, and his unique gift to lead Captain Rannulph Junah back into the game of golf and finding his swing again. I enjoyed this book immensely, and I will be checking out the others in the series. 4.5 stars.
Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. I'm a transplanted southern girl. I wasn't born in the deep south but I've lived the longest length of my life, especially my adulthood, in the south. Oh, you wouldn't know it by my accent, but southern I am. However, I'm not suthern. Suthern living hasn't informed my entire life but it has Reese's and she enjoys sharing her southern life lessons and southern ways and southern style in her delightful book. This was an extraordinarily quick, yet enjoyable read. I think I expected more humor, but I wondered if that was fitting for a southern lady. The book offers a wide-range of pleasantries from her decorating sense, to party throwing, sweet tea, manners, holidays, and of course some southern recipes. Much of what she shares seem mostly for wealthy folks, but I love the idea of a book club and such. Worth the read. 3 Stars.
And, that is a wrap for January 2019 reading.