November Books

Tied to the Tracks (Lippi)
Seven Up (Evanovich)
Austenland (Hale)
Rocket Man (Hazelgrove)
Sweet Life (King)
The Whore’s Child and Other Stories (Russo)
The Uncommon Reader (Bennett)
Mystery Ride (Boswell)
Dockside (Wiggs)
On A Snowy Night (Macomber)
Heart of Texas Vol 1 (Macomber)
Heart of Texas Vol 2 (Macomber)

Tied to the Tracks was my favorite book this month.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sorry, but this photo made me laugh and I decided to take the post in a totally different direction…

Have a great day, don’t eat too much turkey and pumpkin pie, and then take your pets for a stroll.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog friends!

First snowfall of the season

We woke up to snow falling early this morning. I took this photo around 7am. I opened the sliding door facing the back yard and just started snapping pics. It was so still out and so peaceful. Lovely. I know I won’t think it’s so lovely in another month or so when we get 10 inches at a time but for now, an inch of snow is kind of nice.

2009 Read Your Own Books Challenge

Alternative Name

Lately I’ve noticed that several of my book blog friends will be participating in the 2009 “Read Your Own Books” Challenge. Sounds like the perfect challenge for me! I plan to read 12 books (at least) and I’ll list them here as I read them.

Challenge rules:
1. set a goal for how many of your OWN books you’d like to read in 2009
2. read from your own collection between January 1st and December 31st, 2009

If you want to sign up for the challenge click here.
1. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (reviewed here)
2. Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger (reviewed here)
3. Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie (reviewed here)
4. The Rock Orchard by Paula Wall (reviewed here)
5. Fireside by Susan Wiggs * * *
6. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg (reviewed here)
7. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (reviewed here)
8. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (reviewed here)
9. Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich * * *
10. Catholics by Brian Moore (reviewed here)
11. Paradise Valley by Robyn Carr (reviewed here)
12. Too Good to be True by Kristan Higgins (reviewed here)
13. Feels Like Family by Sherryl Woods (reviewed here)
14. The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal (reviewed here)

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett: Book Cover

From the book flap: When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J.R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.
The Uncommon Reader has been on my TBR list for a while now. I decided to read it today, and what a good decision that was. It’s quite the witty ode to reading – what one reads, why one reads, and what others think of one who reads. I liked it very much and plan to give it as a Christmas gift to one of my reading relatives. I recommend it to all my book lover friends.

The Whore’s Child and Other Stories by Richard Russo

The Whore's Child by Richard Russo: Book Cover

Back of the book: To this irresistible debut collection of short stories, Richard Russo brings the same bittersweet wit, deep knowledge of human nature, and spellbinding narrative gifts that distinguish his bestselling novels. His themes are the imperfect bargains of marriage; the discoveries and disillusionments of childhood; the unwinnable battles men and women insist on fighting with the past.
Even my favorite author couldn’t make me a fan of the short story. That said, I was intrigued by The Whore’s Child which is about a nun who attends a college Fiction class (without enrolling) and writes about how she ended up at a convent. I think Poison is a great idea for a book. Another story, The Farther You Go, was worked into Russo’s book Straight Man (if I remember correctly). I really liked that book (much more than the short story). My issue with this form is I’m always left wanting more – that there’s something missing. My problem, I know.

Sweet Life by Mia King

Sweet Life by Mia King: Book Cover

Back of the book: When her husband, Paul, gets a new job, Marissa Price leaves the island of Manhattan for the island of Hawaii. Paradise seems like the perfect place to find herself, save her marriage, and reconnect with her eight-year-old daughter. But once there, Marissa discovers her new life is less about beaches and beautiful sunsets and more about cows and lava flows. Their new “home” is a fixer-upper at best. But what most needs fixing – her marriage – is the first to crumble when her husband announces he wants some time apart to find himself.
It is when her husband makes his announcement that the book really takes off. Mia King is a wonderful story-teller. Her writing is smooth and her characters are believable. Sweet Life touches on family, women’s friendships, and homeschooling among other topics. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rocket Man by William Elliott Hazelgrove

Rocket Man by William Elliott Hazelgrove: Book Cover

Back of the book: Dale Hammer is trying to find his part of the American Dream. But he just can’t keep up. In a story of hilarious consequences, we find Dale in one week accused of cutting down the sign to his subdivision, plagued with a father who has come to live over his garage, and on the hook for being the Rocket Man of his son’s Scout troop. While the price of the American Dream has become nothing short of being rich and famous, Dale heads for the catastrophe of Rocket Day with one mission – to give his son a sense of independence, and in the process, find himself.
Rocket Man was almost too painful to read. Given the current state of the economy and reasons for that state, it was totally believable. Ten years ago it might have served as a cautionary tale but today it could be a story on 20/20.

A few years ago Dale and his wife and kids left Chicago for the suburbs – land of big houses on big lots, no crime, and like-minded folks (well, maybe not). What they realize a little too late is that it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. All the trappings of his American Dream begin to weigh heavily on Dale as he tries to keep up appearances but becomes more and more angry. Spending a week in Dale’s life was rather annoying but Hazelgrove’s pace kept me reading.

Overall, I’d say if you want to read a novel about what’s happening in our society these days, this could be the book for you.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Austenland by Shannon Hale: Book Cover

Back of the book: Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man ~ perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths to her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
I thought Austenland got off to a bit of a slow start but then I realized it was necessary to set the tone of Jane’s pre-vacation mindset – the Colin Firth obsessed Jane. Once Jane arrived at the resort she had to assume a role and stay in character for the duration of the 21 day vacation. This made it difficult for her to know what was ‘real’ and what was acting. That led to some broad comedy and a lot of giggling for this reader. It’s an entertaining and fun book.

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up (Stephanie Plum Series #7) by Janet Evanovich: Book Cover

Back of the book: All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he’s still got a knack for slipping out of sight ~ and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-riddled corpse in Eddie’s garden? Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie’s friends suddenly vanished? For Answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He’ll give Stephanie all the help she needs ~ if she gives him everything he wants. . .
Janet Evanovich delivers another entertaining, laugh-out-loud episode in the Stephanie Plum series. Seven Up includes many of the usual characters and introduces us to Stephanie’s sister Valerie. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who needs a laugh.

Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi

Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi: Book Cover

Back of the book: Angie Mangiamele runs a film company in Hoboken, New Jersey — a long way (in more ways than one) from Ogilvie, Georgia. But a new project has brought her to this small Southern town, where she stands out like a fire truck in a flower garden.
She’s been invited to Ogilvie by Miss Zula Bragg, the intensely private literary legend who’s agreed to appear in a documentary made by Angie’s highly unconventional crew. And there’s someone else in town Angie looks forward to seeing: John Grant, a descendant of Ogilvie’s founders, with whom she had a long-ago summer romance. But John’s wedding to the daughter of a prominent local family is just days away, and promises to be the sleepy town’s social event of the year. What could possibly go right?
Tied to the Tracks is the name of Angie’s documentary film company. In those old-time movies where someone is ‘tied to the tracks’ there was always a story of how that person came to be ‘tied to the tracks’. That’s what the film makers strive to do in their documentaries – tell the story. I found that very clever and funny – which is how I found the entire book. I liked the characters, cheered for most of them as well as booed and hissed the villains (keeping in the mood of the title and all). Rosina Lippi is a wonderful storyteller.