Sunday, May 19, 2013
Sunscreen swimsuit and beach reads--all a girl needs for summer
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
I do love a good mystery, and a recent Edgar Award winner might satisfy that craving… perhaps. I have a seen this novel everywhere, and it has good reviews, my hopes are high.
Now You See Her by James Patterson
I always like to bring a Patterson to the beach. Patterson is the go to author for short snappy thrilling chapters and quick reads. He writes easily and the pace is fast, often chapter endings are cliffhangers so the reader has to push through for more, to get more detail, more information. When he’s good, he’s very very good and when his characters are bad, he’s better. While I enjoy the Alex Cross series, I find that I truly like the stand alone novels that Patterson writes, these are the must read beach thrillers
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This is one of those much written about books, one which I hope does not disappoint. For me, the good news is that this book recently became available in paperback (still a favorite). This was an NPR favorite, an Audible and NYT Book favorite for 2012.
Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
Everyone needs a light and funny beach chick lit; I am hoping this is the one. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a weakness for Southern Contemporary fiction. Completely irrelevant, but my husband would love this, the author was Emmy nominated for her writing on VH1s Pop Up video.
Wildcards—books that I am bringing along and may read on vacation…
Other books that I am bringing along include The Orchardist and an Inquiry into Love and Death and Daddy’s Gone A Hunting.
What will be going into your beach bag this summer?
Saturday, April 20, 2013
an assortment of books set aside mid-read
I have a few stacks of to read books beside my bed – I do love my books. The good news is there are many books to read, the bad news is that many have been set aside mid-read.
My set aside /unfinished mid-read list is chock full of well intentions and intellectual or classic books like
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Anna Karenina, The Imperfectionists, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Brave New World
And books that I’d read or heard about that couldn’t keep my interest
The Magicians, Black Water Rising, The Girl Below
And series or authors whom I have read previously but that I just cannot get into again
Like Clobbered by Camembert (I enjoyed the first book in this series), The Diva Digs the Dirt, The House at Riverton
What do you do with a book that just doesn’t hold your attention? Do you keep reading and hope that it gets better? Or do you put it aside, to maybe finish later? I used to feel that I had to finish each and every book—even the rotten ones. But now, I don’t want to waste the time.
Meanwhile the set aside pile is growing….
Sunday, March 10, 2013
books that fall into the light and dark spectrums
Thus far this year, I have been vacillating between dark and light themed books, a chiaroscuro of book reading. Between the dark and light, I have found a few that I can recommend…
On the light side
Julie and Romeo by Jeanne RayInspired by Romeo and Juliet, this is a complex love story wherein the main characters could be the Grandparents of the original characters. This is a modern take with a new twist. The Cacciamani and Roseman families have always hated each other, for as long as they have lived and yet no one remembers why or how the infighting started. In their sixties, Romeo and Julie meet up and discover that they want to pursue a relationship—in spite of their children’s intense displeasure.
A Walk in the Park by Jill MansellIn true British chic lit style, the older more mature Laura moves back to her hometown, eighteen years after she’s left. Laura has ensured that her old high school flame, Flynn will be out of town so she has nothing to worry about, there will be no chance run ins. Of course, plans change and their surprise meeting rekindles something…
Village Books by Craig McLaywas surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Written from the perspective of a young male bookstore worker this was a light fun surprise, very reminiscent of Nick Hornby. The young man writes his co-workers and accounts of their issues so well, truly a satire of life told from a young man’s perspective.
On the dark side
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinThis is categorized in Young Adult, but I can highly recommend this book for any adult book club. The story follows two young English girls working for the British government in World War II, one of whom has been captured by the enemy.
The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy WebbI really enjoyed this Gothic tale—it is a bit Rebecca and a bit murder mystery. Returning back to the family mansion after her Mother’s death, Grace realizes that there is someone or something in her mother’s house and whatever it is, it is deadly. Grace not only has to worry about her life, she must also worry over her daughter and the mansion staff. Soon she will learn the Pandora’s box of secrets which her mother took to the grave with her. The story is well written and smartly paced, as a mystery fan, I quite liked it.
Shiver by Maggie StievaterThis is also a Young Adult book, one that I have seen featured prominently in many bookstores. The story follows Grace as a somewhat neglected teenager. She gets herself to school and pretty much runs her own life while her obtuse and uninvolved parents ignore her. Grace is particularly fascinated by the wolves in the woods behind her house, especially the one with the yellow eyes.
Do you have a preference or will you also fall into chiaroscuro?
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Flit With Lit Book Club's 2012 Reads:
- Gone Girl
- The Flight of Gemma Hardy
- Mama Does Time
- The Shoemaker's Wife
- The Language of Flowers
- The Bird Sisters
- Bond Girl
- Peach Keeper
- Loving Frank
- The Hunger Games
- Irresistible Henry House
Reviewing my virtual book club reads from 2012 led to this post in which I wanted to get a snapshot of past book club hits and misses.
My biggest 2012 book disappointment was The Peach Keeper. I typically love Sarah Addison Allen as an author who focuses on magical realism. I adored our book club years ago when we read her The Sugar Queen—a mysterious and intriguing story. Sadly, The Peach Keeper fell flat, it was almost like an outline of a good story that was not developed, not fleshed out enough—I wanted more depth and I was not alone in that desire. What authors need to realize, is that some members of book club only read 11 books a year—those chosen by the book club—and while I recognize that is a small focus area, that is the sweet spot.
Another book disappointment was Mama Does Time, which is a cozy mystery that was auto recommended to me by Goodreads. I am always thrilled to find a new great author, but the Mama mystery was not fast enough, and it was too formulaic--I wont be continuing the series. Cozy mysteries are a good choice after a long or serious book. Some of my favorite cozy mystery writers include Cleo Coyle, M.C. Beaton, and Sarah Graves.
The unanimous favorite of Best Book Club Book for 2012 was The Language of Flowers, a rare and beautiful book. This book features a young girl aging out of the foster care system, her only skill knowing the meaning behind flowers. Learning the meaning behind flowers was fascinating, you may never look at Peonies the same way again. I highly recommend that you select this book for your next book club! See my review at http://awifeofbookclubblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/original-beauty-in-language-of-flowers.html
Other books that will lead to great discussions include:
The Flight of Gemma Hardy
The Bird Sisters
Here’s to finding some great reads in 2013, what is your book club reading?
Sunday, December 2, 2012
My Book Club has this wonderful December tradition—meeting at a restaurant to exchange books (Secret Santa style) instead of having our regular book club. Unfortunately, many people have problems choosing a book for someone else…I am here to help with that dilemma!
Book Clubs and Friends:
My first resource is almost always BookPage.com. Right now they have a fantastic Holiday Catalog for book gifting. Some suggestions from BookPage include:
Fiction: The Art Forger, The Elephant Keepers’ Children, and Miss Dreamsville and the Collier Women’s Society.
Other books that are BookPage reviewed which look interesting…The Stockholm Octavio, Magnificence, and The End of Your Life Book Club
My book club filled out a Secret Santa questionnaire, in which book clubbers were encouraged to write their favorite book and their favorite book genre, this will help guide you to your book pick. And, yes, there is a website that can assist you. Try Bookbrowse.com, the ReadAlikes section (which is where you input a book or author and books that are similar are returned)—how fantastic is that (link below)?
Kids and Adopt Families:
Here, I confess that I have a few children’s favorites: I love The Penderwicks (great gift for little girls), and anything by Roald Dahl—Matilda for girls, The BFG or The Witches for boys. Also, Barnes and Nobles has I Can Read series, and there are some great choices from Pinkalicious to Biscuit (great prices-typically around $4).
Also still big for kids is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series! And, another favorite of mine—Rick Riordan and his Heroes of Olympus series.
May your Book Gifting be a success this season, Happy Holidays!
Other resources you might like include:
Barnes and Noble.com Holiday Gift Guide
Amazon.com Holiday Gifthttp://www.amazon.com/Gift-Ideas-Holidays-Seasonal-Books/b/ref=books_billboard2_gifts_adult?ie=UTF8&node=509156&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-2&pf_rd_r=E18BAB0F6C8B424AB31E&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1421574282&pf_rd_i=283155
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Recently my favorite social media site, Goodreads.com, started their annual “GoodReads Choice Awards 2012." The Goodreads Awards were the catalyst for me starting this post, as they are inspired by reader's choices. I recommend the following books from the GoodReads 2012 list, have you read them? You may want to add them to your to-read list…
Humor - Where’d You Go Bernadette? This is almost a satire on PTA Parenting and odd families. And, if that sounds appealing, give The Family Fang a try.
Fiction – A Grown Up Kind of Pretty (this would be good for a book club and for any Southern Fiction lover). Lately I have enjoyed Southern fiction writers, perhaps because I have lived in the South?
Historical Fiction - The Flight of Gemma Hardy (a modern retelling of Jane Eyre), The Shoemaker’s Wife (an early 1900s American immigrant story).
Fun-n-lite: Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter (Southern Princess moves up North with her husband), Off The Menu (A Chef story with recipes)
Books that I haven’t yet read (but that I see often on the book sites that I follow):
The Casual Vacancy, The Secret Keeper, The Snow Child, The Orchardist, The Sisters
Books with Movie Tie-Ins: Life of Pi, Cloud Atlas, Anna Karenina
New Releases: I will try to wait for paperback or perhaps buy on my e-reader…
The End of your life Book club, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore, Some Kind of Fairy Tale
Enjoy your fireside reads with a nice glass of wine or hot chocolate.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Interesting, heartfelt, original
A rare and beautiful book, The Language of Flowers is a perfect choice for book club.
Victoria is a product of the foster care system, an indignant young woman with no ambition or drive or even likability. She has never been adopted into a family, and will age out at age eighteen. This novel really made me think about what happens to all of the children who age out of the foster care system.
Placed at The Gathering House, the indignant Victoria is expected to get a job; she has 6 weeks to do so. To my chagrin, the obtuse Victoria doesn’t even try to find work which means that she must leave the gathering house. It is difficult to see someone who refuses to help or fight for herself, Victoria is her own worst enemy.
Hidden deep inside her brain, Victoria’s redeeming quality is a flower dictionary, her very own language of flowers. Victoria admits that she is a “thistle-peony-basil kind of girl” which translates into misanthropy, anger and hate; well the girl doth know herself. Eventually her talent with flowers is recognized and she is hired part time at a florist. Soon townspeople are asking for Victoria at the flower shop as she truly has a way with flowers. For the old man who wants his granddaughter to stop sulking Victoria creates a lily of the valley bouquet (return to happiness). The obstinate Victoria does not let things happen easily for herself but her life is a journey, and we all hope for a Victoria to have a Celandine, Cosmos, and Laurel life.
I don’t want to give too much away, you should read The Language of Flowers or pick this for your book club. And it really is quite fun to flip through the flower dictionary at the back of the book.
Book Club Ideas:
· Flowers—lots of flowers! (Trader Joes is a great resource)
· Flower Trivia* (create it using the flower dictionary in the back of the book)
*Have a bouquet prize!
· Research your area Gathering Houses (they do exist), right before my book club the one in our local area opened, I had the article at the meeting.