The Perfect Beach Book – Whatever that means

I am not typically a big fan of the largely acclaimed beach books. They are often overrated books that come out in late Spring/early Summer with a lot of marketing and fanfare. For me they often fall flat and are disappointing.  Below are some books that have better alternatives, books that were fine, and books that were super fun and you should read anywhere (even the beach).  And here’s to hoping better books get fanfare and the marketing Gods shine on them as well….Unknown-5.jpeg

  1. Tangerine by Christine Mangan: This book was really set up for great success.  The setting is Tangier, Morocco. The tension is between two old college roommates, Alice and Lucy, who attended the all girls school in Vermont a few years before.   Lucy shows up uninvited to Tangier where Alice is living with her new husband, John.  The question for the reader is what happened between them in Vermont and why is Lucy in Tangiers suddenly.  So, we have some really good elements at play. But truly the characters are stereotypical and either entirely lackluster or just ridiculously flagrant in their character flaws.  There are no unexpected twists or turns and even the interesting setting doesn’t help this book.  Think Single White Female meets Sheltering Sky meets The Talented Mr. Ripley but you also don’t care about anyone in the story. For a Book about friendship gone wrong in an interesting backdrop with suspense (it exists!) read instead: The Unforgotten by Laura Powell.  Quite honestly, I have not even finished this book  but it is again about two young women who have a sorted past with each other.  It is set in a small English fishing town where Betty lives with her bi-polar mother who manages a boarding house on the days she is herself and able.  Mary, her best friend, is constantly jealous of Betty seemingly unable to see how complicated her life is.  In the midst of their town, there is a serial killer and dead girls’ bodies keep popping up.  Every character so far is complex and trying hard to balance their better natures with their faults.  The setting is also interesting. The tension in the story is carefully built between many of the key players as they try to just get through their days, while the town is in disquiet around them.  There are multiple questions for the reader to contemplate which makes me feel like this writer might actually think we all have the ability to understand the complexities of life.  See, sounds better already right? Even if the end falls apart the rest of the book is far superior so I stand behind this partially read recommendation.
  2. The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy: This has been described (marketing Gods again) as an addictive thriller. That, it is definitely not. I am not even sure this is a thriller to be honest.  A group of new mothers who get together weekly in a Brooklyn park find themselves in quite a pickle (yep, I said pickle) when they go to a bar leaving their babies at home with sitters, spouses, etc.  Not only do they spend the night judging each other, but then one of the babies is stolen while the mother was at the bar and the sitter was at home napping.  Who stole the baby? Who is the mother? Do any of these new mothers really know each other? Who has cracked nipples? Is anyone sleeping through the night and if so, how are they doing it? All of that sarcastically said, I will give the book credit for looking at the crazy, awful, stressful, and psychologically damaging world that new mothers create for themselves and each other. I have been in that crazy upside world and I am happy I got out alive. But the other pieces of the book are pretty routine and not all that interesting – including the ending which I finished and then went about my day unaddictively and not at all thrilled.  For an Addictive Thriller read instead: I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara.   It is a very real account of the Golden State Killer. Sometimes truth is much better than fiction and here that is definitely the case.  I listened to this one on audible and it is scary and awful and intriguing.
  3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: This book has no “read instead” because I loved it.  It is a fun, interesting and crazy story about rich people so I was totally in.  Rachel Chu and Nick Young have been dating for two years while they both teach at NYU.  For their summer break, Rachel agrees to fly to Singapore with Nick so she can meet his family.  Nick failed to mention that his family is one of the richest families in Singapore and Rachel finds herself in the bizarre world of petty rich people – their expectations and all of their competitions.  There is really no deep lesson from this book (except I would like my own plane), it is just fun and at the time I read it that was exactly what I needed.
  4. The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka: I need to first say this author is from my hometown of Columbus, Ohio so I wanted to love this book.  I didn’t love it but I enjoyed it. There is a lot of potential here that I think will get better in the next book.  Roxanne, a woman with a sorted history of bad choices and daddy baggage, is hired to investigate a 15 year old case.  The parents of teenager Sarah Cook were murdered in their home and the body of Sarah Cook was never found.  The easiest suspect was the African-American boyfriend, Brad, who consequently has been in jail since his guilty verdict and has two months until he is executed.  Brad’s sister is positive that she saw Sarah Cook, presumed to be dead, at a gas station and wants Roxanne to find her to try to save Brad from execution. Lepionka’s story has some nice touches and some interesting twists.  I get the impression that it was not originally written for a broader audience because of the way she names places around Columbus with minimal explanation for an audience unfamiliar with our city (like what does living in Bexley mean?).  But, there are also some nice name dropping in the book like the restaurant Wings, which made me smile.  I would like the character of Roxanne to be fleshed out better so hopefully that will happen in the future. Just making her bi-sexual or the daughter of a flawed cop doesn’t make me care about her.  Her relationship with her brothers seemed very real though and some of her own personal issues are very relatable – hence the earlier referenced hope. The overarching story carried me through and had some really good twists.  So you should read it because (a) it is a pretty good book and (b) we should support our Columbus writers (even if you aren’t from Columbus, come on be a mensch).

Otherwise have fun at the beach, enjoy a gin and tonic or a martini, take deep breaths, watch a sunset, and read. Always read.

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June 29, 2018 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

Truth has its own path – “A Shout in the Ruins” by Kevin Powers

There is some debate about Kevin Powers debut book “The Yellow Birds.” I thought it was well written, particularly for a first novel, and did a great job of putting the reader right where none of us want to be but need to be to understand our complex presence in Iraq. So I really liked that novel but in his second novel “A Shout in the Ruins” Powers has taken his writing to a new, beautifully rounded level.

36204340.jpg“A Shout in the Ruins” follows a complex story of a multi-generational family and its slaves from the beginning of the American Civil War through the 1970s.  It is set on a plantation outside of Richmond, Virginia and the story weaves backwards and forwards chapter to chapter between the war, the Antebellum period, Jim Crow, and on and on. I cannot sum it up in a clear way because there are a lot of characters and a lot to unpack for even a quick blurb. Needless to say, it is also a lot to take on for the author.  I must admit to being a little tired of this constant lack of linear writing in the novels that are being published right now – every other chapter is a flashback or flash forward or different character (anyone else tired of this tread). BUT all of that said, this book is brilliantly done.

The novel does not gloss over the harshness of slavery, the pain of war and ruin, or the subjugation of women in the 1800s.  It addresses pride, revenge, hopelessness and the desolation of all of those things.  The characters are in some ways one dimensional but this does not hinder the story telling or make the path the novel sets seem shallow or lacking.

Perhaps most stunning, is the author’s set of truths that seem to place themselves within the story.  The most important of which seems to be how our own truths are merely ours but that does not make them any less and, in fact, they frame our entire lives, set our course and perhaps the courses of those who come after us.

This book pairs well with a fire pit and a starry night so you can contemplate some seriously deep things because this isn’t your standard beach book.   Happy Summer Reading Friends!

June 14, 2018 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

The “what if it really is Spring?” reading list

Let’s admit it has been a long, long snowy, cold and dark (did I say long) winter.   I believe this means we need to tip our customer service people more than usual because likely they are Unknowndealing day in and day out with the cranky lot of us.   But this also means I have been reading a lot of mysteries just to keep me awake in the evening and get my adrenaline going (the gym works too, but reading is usually more fun).

Here is what has kept me sane through this crazy weather of random:

  • A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch – This is the first in the series of Charles Lenox mysteries.  Lenox is a wealthy, upper-crust gentleman in Victorian London who also seems to have a good handle on sleuthing.  The mystery itself in this first book wasn’t what kept me captivated, though it was well done, it was the societal descriptions, the cups of tea, and the rules of priority that made this fun.  It is best enjoyed with a glass of sherry, if you can handle the stuff, or just admit that sherry is terrible and just have a glass of wine while you imagine gaslights and rustling petticoats.
  • Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker – I need to just throw it out there that I love Jane Eyre like the rest of you love Pride and Prejudice.  That is not to say that I do not love Austen (I absolutely do) but nothing has ever grabbed my imagination like Thornfield hall and poor, resolute Jane.  I say all of this because maybe this retelling of the story through Edward Fairfax Rochester’s perspective is not as good as I think it is.  I am pretty sure I would latch onto every retelling of this story and love it.   The critics of this book complained that it was slow but the way Shoemaker matches her style to Bronte’s, as well as the writing of the period, is really well done.   No, it is not exciting at every turn and no this is not a traditional mystery.  But Jane Eyre is one of the best gothic novel of its time and this retelling is just fun.
  • Arrowood by Laura McHugh – This is the second book I have read by McHugh and I like her style.  While playing outside on a summer day, Arden Arrowood’s twin sisters disappeared without explanation  and with only 7 year old Arden as the unreliable witness. After searching everywhere for the twins, the Arrowood family moves away from their family home in the small Iowa town to try to forget all of the terrible memories.  But as Arden comes to examine her life in her twenties she finds that she is directionless and again newly single.  So she returns to her family home and begins trying to examine her own memories of the day her sisters were lost.  As she begins piecing together things that as a child seemed unimportant, she finds that those same events reveal that there may be a way to find out what really happened. And Arden quickly realizes that finding these answers seems the only way to help her move forward in her own life.
  • The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton –  This book is everything I love in a quirky story.  Agatha Raisin has spent her life building her own firm in P.R. in London.  In her early fifties she decides to sell her firm and retire to a quaint cottage she has found in the Cotswolds.  Not exactly a warm and fuzzy person, Agatha finds that her neighbors in the village are not as easy to get to know as she had hoped.  In an
    effort to assimilate, she enters into the local quiche baking contest.  Of course, Unknown-2.jpegnever having baked a quiche in her life, Agatha trains up to London, purchases a quiche at the award winning bakery, and returns to the town to submit it as her entry.   The judge after eating a piece of Agatha’s quiche dies and the police discover that he has been poisoned.  Obviously, Agatha has to shamefully admit that she did not make the quiche but this leaves the interesting question of who wanted this small time judge of quiches, jams, dog shows, and flower arrangements dead? This book is just fun and should be read while also googling sales of Cotswold cottages so we can all dream about moving there but not entering into local bakery contests.  I already found my cottage and of course you can visit.

Don’t despair friends, as happens every year, I feel almost positive that warm weather has to be on its way. But until then I wish you warm cups of tea, sightings of snow drops and violets, and cozy reads.

April 15, 2018 at 5:23 pm 2 comments

The World that We have Created – “The Hate U Give” and “Between the World and Me”

I listened to both of these books back to back on a drive from Ohio to Missouri and then from Missouri to Ohio. There is a time when reading becomes more than an exercise in relaxation. Where you run smack into a book, or here two books, that resonant as strongly as a punch in the stomach and you continue with the book because you know there is something important in that feeling that is needed and even necessary to be a fully engaged member of our country, our community, our families, our today.

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas is the story of Starr Carter, who lives in the ghetto where her family is trying to stay engaged with their African American community.  But Starr has to balance the life of being a black girl in a black community and also being a black girl in the private white school that her parents have her attending.   It is a careful balancing act and Starr often finds her self split between the two worlds where on one side her failure to adequately create a tough exterior can make her vulnerable and the other where failure to properly fit the stereotype of being the appropriate level of black in a white world can make her vulnerable.  One evening she finds herself riding in a car with her childhood friend, Khalil, when they are pulled over by a police officer.  What ensues is what so often, too often, happens.  Khalil is pulled from the car and as the officer is walking back to his cruiser Khalil bends down to make sure Starr is okay.  And he is shot not once, not twice, but three times by the officer.  We know this story.  The cop blames Khalil, society questions who this kid is that was obviously shot for a reason, and Starr becomes the witness whose only power is in her voice and the truth she can tell.

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Neishi Coates is framed as a long letter to his son who at the time of the writing is a fifteen year old black boy.  It is a letter about the black body and how we have stripped, used it, beaten it, and forgotten it all to continue in our quest to believe our American selves to be righteous and exceptional. While all at the same time clinging strongly to our whiteness and pretending that our privilege is earned and deserved.   It speaks to our inability to see what we have created honestly and with the proper accountability. Because once we do, our world, as the white dreamers of our own construct will come crashing down around us and we will not recognize ourselves any longer.  Because how can we be defined if not by our own lies and creations of reality? And our expectations, or requirements, of those who do not fit our narrative and speak truth – truth of history, truth of how we have gained, truth of how we continue to thrive while others do not – are woven so tightly that they kill and strangle those who do not conform. And even conformity is not enough. We will still segregate our schools by a classist based suburban drawing of districts, turn a blind eye to the enormous number of black men incarcerated, and watch as grand jury after grand jury does not hold the police officers who kill black men accountable to the same laws that apply so heavy-handedly to those they have killed.

“So I feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not to give the police a reason. All my life I’d heard people tell their black boys and black girls to “be twice as good,” which is to say “accept half as much.” These words would be spoken with a veneer of religious nobility, as though they evidenced some unspoken quality, some undetected courage, when in fact all they evidenced was the gun to our head and the hand in our pocket. This is how we lose our softness. This is how they steal our right to smile.” – Ta-Neishi Coates

Coates writing is beautiful, harrowing and the best examination of our truth within the confines of race that we have created for America that I have ever read.  I cannot explain how important this piece was for me and I am still mulling it over.

Both of these authors created a space that left me bereft and with a feeling that I could not name for several hours. And then I recognized it and knew I felt shame. It is uncomfortable to be shamed. It makes us defensive, with the quiet, gentle chant of “not me, I am not racist.” But shame comes out of guilt and complicity.  As I too have bought into the dream of the stories we tell ourselves about our America.  I too forget what my whiteness has afforded me. I too forget the stories of those black bodies that we have broken.  Each and every one of them had a mother, a first step, a scary dream that woke them up at night. Each and every one had their favorite shoes or ice cream flavor or song. Each one lived and there is a time where, just like the white children we lose and cannot imagine how it happened, we should be just as shocked and enraged by the black bodies that we break and use and then refuse to become accountable to our actions but call names of drug dealer, welfare queen, disrespectful thug.

I find myself at the end of all of this at a loss for next steps.  I wish I could wrap this post up with a list of to dos that would make me feel better. But that is really not the point.  I, in my white suburban world and privilege, am not the point.  And for once that is just going to have to be okay.

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” – Angie Thomas

February 25, 2018 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

A Good Story lost in the crappy Future – “Future Home of the Living God” by Louise Erdrich

There is no question that Erdrich writes an amazing story with beautiful and sometimes stark imaginary woven into her writing.  So I begin there.  But, I also need to say that I am 34217599.jpgnot a huge dystopian genre fan.  The imagining of our future is often a remake of a previous novel in some form. Our dim, bleak future always seems to include some loss or gain of human cognitive functioning which results in some larger moral question and then there is always a burning need to control women’s reproductive systems.  All of this is always set within a journey of some kind – through torn up cities or burned fields or zombie filled ghost towns. But you must understand that in the case of “Future Home of the Living God” this is Erdrich’s book and so I thought “okay let’s give it a try, maybe the journey will be through a frozen tundra (have they done that already) or something just to mix it up.”

Here is the problem – there is a story here that has a lot of potential.  Cedar Songmaker is in her twenties and finds herself pregnant.  As a baby herself, Cedar was adopted from her Ojibwa mother by a white, solidly middle-class, bleeding liberal couple.  Her childhood was wonderful, her adoptive parents supportive, but Cedar feels like in order to understand her own child’s future she must get to know her birth mother.  And so Cedar hits the road (nope no zombies) and does meet her birth mother, her half-sister and her grandmother. It is such a wonderfully written storyline with a great deal of possibility and the characters are truly interesting.  In and of itself this is a novella or the beginnings of its own novel.  But instead, we have to add in some other elements that never really fold in well with Cedar’s story.

The world is changing. Animals are reverting back to earlier evolutionary forms, plants are changing, and food is unrecognizable.  Babies are being born with irregularities.  While Cedar is trying to take care of herself and her baby, pregnant women are being turned over to the state to be placed in institutions for observations and medical testing. There is a police state, streets are renamed after biblical verses. There is no internet and all communication must again return to letters through the postal service.

It is all the things you have read before but in less detail.  Erdrich leaves a lot of the details of this changing world up to the readers imagination.  She even writes that “the first thing that happens at the end of the world is that we don’t know what is happening.”  But alas, as a reader it would have been nice to be included in a bit more of the what is actual happening part so that everything wasn’t constantly a fog of guess-work.  This all made me wonder how these two stories (Cedar’s and our dystopian) were formed and came together.  It feels like two ideas were slapped together in a mismatched way and it left me confused. Erdrich plays with religion, culture, purpose, and the concept of motherhood throughout as well.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it feels forced.  Quite honestly, I think some of it went right over my head.

Overall, this book was exactly what I suspected. A journey into our dim, bleak future where pregnant women are rounded up and we all end up eating endless piles of twinkies and slim jims from convenience stores while wishing we had learned better survival skills in gym class.

January 12, 2018 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

Tiny House People – “Caroline: Little House, Revisited” by Sarah Miller

If you are a woman who grew up in the 70s or 80s the chances are pretty high that at Unknown-1.jpegsome point you read “The Little House on the Prairie” books.   So the fact that Miller has written a book revisiting the story from the viewpoint of Laura’s Ma (Caroline) is pretty exciting for those of us who are LHOP fans.  And the book really didn’t disappoint.  It is a study of pioneer life as a mother, wife, and woman just like the LHOP books were a study of pioneer life of a young girl as she goes through all the stages of childhood to adulthood.

More specifically, this book follows the life of the Ingalls family as they make the trek in a covered wagon from Minnesota to Kansas.  To further complicate life, Caroline finds out she is pregnant right before they begin their journey – so, if life in a wagon sounds amazingly comfortable then just imagine it pregnant with two smalls kids in tow.

Miller’s strengths are in her thorough research of the topic and her detailed descriptions.  Her insight into the life of a pioneer family from the stitching of the cover for a wagon to the sweetening of bread over a fire with molasses to how to halt a prairie fire is certainly  insightful and in a lot of parts is interesting.  Unfortunately, where Miller tends to lose momentum, is in the story itself and connection to the narrator.  Caroline seems cold and removed even with the soft edges Miller tries to give her and the day-to-day detailed tasks start to feel as tedious as they likely actually were.  I was reminded as they started building their one room house on the Kansas prairie that there are a lot of shows based on this premise of tiny house living.  And as I suspected, this insight into tiny house living with two small children is nowhere in my life plans.

There is some momentum towards the end of the book, but as all LHOP fans know (SPOILER HERE), the Ingalls family winds up moving back to Minnesota after all of that  work setting up a homestead in Kansas which just seems to deflate the story like a balloon.  Ending the novel on that note left me feeling disappointed and like I had also made a lot of cornbread with molasses for nothing.  In truth, I wish I liked molasses more than I do.

 

 

January 3, 2018 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Expectation is the mother of something – My year end book round-up thing

IMG_5512.jpgI read an unusually large amount of books this year (72 to be exact).  The only way I can really account for this large number is an entire Spring, Summer and Autumn of evenings on our new porch.  The space is peaceful – even with my children and dog tumbling through it.  I found that even when I have worked a long day I just needed reading time in that space. So I guess what I am saying is that I am the shallow person that needs pretty spaces while I read and if that happens then 72 books are totally within my grasp.  IMG_5515.jpg

In all of those piles of books I read this year there were great finds, disappointments and just plain ridiculousness that made me wonder how the author landed with any kind of book deal let alone was acclaimed by some list or carried some kind award winning stamp of approval.  Here is my list.

Favorite Books that made me think: 

  1.  Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI by David Grann – This book covers the history of the Osage tribe as well as their systematic murders by the white people in their community wanting their wealth.  It is a story that is shocking in and of itself, the fact that it is true is devastating.  This book made me realize how very little I know about Native American history even just in the last one hundred years but also how few books there are that cover that period of history.
  2. The Round House by Louise Edrich – I have not read anything by Edrich before and this book was beautiful, sad and compelling.  Edrich chronicles Native American life but perhaps most importantly reservation life.  The story is told through the eyes of a boy, Joe, who learns that his mother has been savagely attacked and raped.  After the crime, Joe watches his parents try to return to some normalcy while failing miserably.  Between the tribal justice system (which includes Joe’s father) and the white justice system (which does not seem to care), Joe decides that the only way he can find out who attacked his mother is by investigating the crime himself with his friends.   There are a lot of books about boys trying to solve something that has changed their lives but this book is something more.  It is a deep look at Native American culture, white culture has hindered any hope of a future and how even in the most vulnerable moments for our children parents will fail them.
  3. We Crossed the Bridge and it Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Perlman – Before we made any decisions about how to handle refugees from Syria we all should have read this book.  It is akin to where we tell a story about someone who sounds like you living through war and having to leave everything but then say but they are actually Syrian.  It is lawyers, scholars, mothers, students, it is you and I living through something harrowing and expecting the world to care.  But we didn’t.
  4. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – To me this was the best book I read this year. It is a three hundred year history of a family in Ghana that at one point splinters into tribal royalty and into slavery.  It is brilliantly written and, even though the characters change frequently, there is a connection from generation to generation that keeps the reader invested.  I absolutely loved it.

Favorite Suspense Books: 

  1.     The Dry by Jane Harper – I was hesitant to read this one because of all of the critical acclaim but Harper earned it. This is the story of Aaron Faulk coming home to a painful past in his Australian home town while wrestling with the appearance that his childhood friend has murdered his family and killed himself.
  2. The Good Daughter by Karen Slaughter – If you like suspense books you just should read Slaughter. Her books are just well done all the way around.
  3. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg – I am new to Lackberg but her novels set in Fjallbacka, Sweden have that wonderful blend of likable characters that find themselves dealing with a murder in their small town and suspense. These character driven mystery novels have become my favorite blend in this genre.

Books that me wonder why they were considered so amazing:

  1. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – This book was everywhere. Acclaimed, talked about, chased after.  But I really didn’t like it, didn’t find it enlightening and was really frustrated by it.  I sometimes wonder if books about such a tough topic that receive critical acclaim make it hard for readers to just be honest about how it resonated with them, instead of just nodding and saying “yes, so deep and insightful.”  Let’s just admit here and now that even the great Toni Morrison has a miss now and then and it is okay to not love everything that examines our nation’s painful past and current race relations. Just because it attempts to create a space for discourse does not render it quality or literature.
  2. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger – This book made some good points but completely lost me on some of the political points as well as completely frustrating me when tribe is used as an excuse to lose our sense of what makes a community healthy and meaningful.  We have to be smarter and better than that.
  3. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – I really hate to add this to the list but this book was disappointing for me.  It is meant to be prequel to Hoffman’s “Practical Magic” and that had such appeal and Reese Witherspoon loved it so there’s that. I felt a bit like these were a lot of short stories Hoffman has written that she then wove together to create a bigger story and then it became the prequel so it was marketable.

Nice Surprises that are wonderful reads:

  1. My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith – it is sunny and set in a gorgeous place, read it on a cold day when you are wishing to travel.
  2. Bruno Chief of Police by Martin Walker – it is a mystery but also such a great focus on Southern French culture and food that it was just too lovely to not enjoy. Read it when you have a good bottle of wine and cheese on hand.
  3. The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne – This is her first book and it was a compelling story of what life would be if you were born out of your mother’s captivity but still loved your father who had held her captive.  There is a level of writing here that really makes me curious to see what Dionne writes next. Read it when you want a good suspense novel with some excellent writing.
  4. Who Thought this was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco – written by President Obama’s deputy chief of staff this book has so many funny moments but is also such a great reminder of how hard being a woman in politics is and makes you hope that the days of this type of integrity are not a thing of the past. Read it when politics are depressing you and you have a good drink in hand so you can really forget about our current woes.

Never ever pick up:   No matter who says otherwise I would beg you not to read books by Victora Aveyard (Red Queen series), B.A. Paris (I know they sound good in the descriptions but trust me), Shari Lapena (maybe the first one she wrote but otherwise no), or maybe anything else Paula Hawkins writes.

And so ends 2017. May your 2018 be filled with joy, happiness and lovely places to curl up with a good book.

 

 

December 30, 2017 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.

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