Musings From A Bookmammal


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Friday Finds–5/1/15

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FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted at A Daily Rhythm–it’s a chance to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)…whether you found them online, in a bookstore, in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home this week–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s 2 books from the library–a pretty light week for me! Ready? Here they are:

Friday FInds 5.1.15Early Warning by Jane Smiley      This is the second book in a trilogy covering the lives of multiple generations of an Iowa farm family in the 20th century. I absolutely LOVED Some Luck, the first book in this series—it was one of the best books I read last year. Smiley uses an innovative technique of telling the story by using each chapter to cover one year in the life of one particular member of the family. As we read, we uncover events that have already happened, but that haven’t been explained . . . we’re left to put together clues based on what other characters say and feel about these events.

Some Luck covered 1920-1953, and Early Warning spans 1953-1986—again, with each chapter covering one year from the point of view of a single family member. This latest book was just published on 4/28, and I was thrilled to be #1 on the library hold list! (I may or may not have shrieked a little bit when I got the email notification) I really can’t wait to dig into this novel and I only hope that it measures up to the first book!

If you’re looking for books that offer dramatic plot twists and cliffhangers, these probably aren’t for you. But if you like family sagas and character-driven novels offering a taste of real life, please give this trilogy a try!

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson      As a former bookstore employee, how could I resist this title? I had to pick it up, even though the premise is somewhat out of my comfort zone. It’s about a woman who works at a bookstore by day, and at night has fascinating dreams about an alternate life—a life that  she once thought she wanted for herself.  I’m really not sure what to expect from this book, but I’m willing to give it a try!

How about you? Are either of these on your TBR list? What books did you discover this week? Please share!

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Friday Finds–9/26/14

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB for sharing the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)…whether you found them online,  in a bookstore,  in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home this week–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s 4 books from the library and 4 used book purchases. Ready? Here they are:

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The Moment Of Everything by Shelly King     I love a good “book about books” and this novel is billed as a book for book lovers. It’s about a woman who starts working at a used bookstore after she loses her job at a software company. She finds an old copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover with notes in the margins between two people, and she goes on a search to find out who they were.

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay     There’s been a lot of buzz about this book—it’s a collection of the author’s thoughts about race, politics, pop culture, gender, sex, and other topics. I recently heard a radio interview with Roxane Gay and while I didn’t agree with everything she said,  I was certainly intrigued enough to want to learn more about her opinions.

The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber       I used to read a lot of true crime, so I was really interested to hear about this nonfiction account of everyday people who are obsessed with helping to solve missing persons cases.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters     I’ve never read anything by Sarah Waters before, but it seems like everyone is talking about her latest novel! Just about everything I’ve read about this book says that it’s best to go into it without any preconceived notions—so all I really know about the plot is that it takes place in London in the early 1920s, and that it’s a combination of a love story and a psychological thriller. It’s also 500+ pages! This is the kind of book that makes me want to call in sick to work and just stay home and read until my eyes hurt. Unfortunately, that’s just not going to fly with my boss right now, so I’ll need to come up with another plan.

Chop Chop by Simon Wroe     I love to cook, and I love to read about food and cooking, so I’m looking forward to this novel set in a London restaurant.

Fever by Mary Beth Keane     This is historical fiction about the Irish immigrant known as Typhoid Mary.

Acceptance by Susan Coll    I always enjoy fiction taking place in academic settings, so I’m eager to read this novel about high school students trying to get accepted into the Ivy League.

River Of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard     I LOVED Millard’s Destiny Of A Republic about President Garfield’s assassination, and I’ve been meaning to read this backlist title for ages. I was able to watch most of Ken Burns’ recent documentary about Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt and it reminded me of how little I know about the first President Roosevelt. I’m hoping this book will change that!

How about you? Have you read any of these? Which books made it onto your radar this week? Please share!


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Friday Finds–9/19/14

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB for sharing the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)…whether you found them online,  in a bookstore,  in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home this week–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s just two books from the library–no book purchases this week. Ready? Here they are:

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I love novels made up of letters, and I love novels that take place in academic settings—so when I heard about Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher, I knew this was a book that had ME written all over it! This novel was just released earlier this month and consists of a series of letters of recommendation written by a (fictional) professor of creative writing and literature at a small college in the Midwestern US. I picked this book up from the library earlier this week and when I peeked at the first few pages I could immediately tell that the author and I share the same dry, understated sense of humor. I think I’m going to love this book!

I work in educational publishing, so I’m always interested in books that provide behind-the-scenes information about writing, publishing, and the book business. Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta is a nonfiction book about the “untold stories” behind many well-known children’s books and authors, as well as touching on censorship, GLBT literature, celebrity authors, and ghostwriting. This is a book that I’ll probably buy after I have to return it to the library—I’m already pretty sure that I’ll want to add it to my collection of “books about books”.

How about you? Have you read either of these? What books did you discover this week? Please share!


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Friday Finds–9/5/14

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB for sharing the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)…whether you found them online,  in a bookstore,  in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home this week–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s seven books–three from the library and four used book purchases. Ready? Here they are:

9.5.14

Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom by Lewis Buzbee     As a former teacher I love reading both fiction and nonfiction about education. This new book by the author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is a memoir/history lesson about educational practices and ideas as well as the expectations placed on today’s students. The geek in me cannot wait to read this book!

The Saucier’s Apprentice: One Long Strange Trip Through the Great Cooking Schools of Europe by Bob Spitz     Books about food and cooking are another favorite genre of mine, so I was excited to find this memoir of one man’s journey through Europe’s cooking school circuit. This author has previously written several books about the entertainment industry, so I’m curious to find out how he tackles a completely new subject.

Reading Like A Writer: A Guide For People Who Love Books And For Those Who Want To Write Them by Francine Post     I’m also a big fan of books about books! In this one, the author helps us understand why it’s important to slow down when reading in order to notice, appreciate, and learn from examples of wonderful writing.

The Twelve Tribes Of Hattie by Ayana Mathis     This novel got a lot of press when it came out in 2012 but for some reason I never picked it up. It’s the story of a young girl who leaves Georgia for Philadelphia during the Great Migration in the early 1920s—her story is told through chapters devoted to each of her nine children. I’m interested in this novel because I LOVED the book The Warmth Of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson which was a nonfiction account of the Great Migration, and I’m thinking that this book will be an interesting fictional pairing.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz     This is a backlist novel about a college admissions officer. As I mentioned above, I enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction about education—so I’m looking forward to this novel about the Ivy League admissions process.

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas     This is a 600+ page Irish-American family saga—I’m only a few dozen pages in (If you look closely at the picture above you can see my bookmark!) but I’m already pretty invested in the characters. This is one of the hot books of the year and I’m hoping it lives up to all the hype!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty     I really enjoyed The Husband’s Secret and I’ve been anxiously waiting to get to the top of the library hold list for Moriarty’s latest. I just picked it up yesterday and I’m hoping to start reading it later today. Everyone is talking about this book so I’m eager to join the conversation!

How about you? Have you read any of these? What are you reading these days? Please share!

A side note–I’m getting ready to leave town for a business trip. I’ll still be visiting blogs, but my comments will be limited and I won’t be writing any new posts while I’m away. I’ll see you back here in about a week! (What books to take with me? Real books or kindle books or both? So many decisions!)


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Friday Finds–8/29/14

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FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB for sharing the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)… whether you found them online,  in a bookstore,  in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home this week–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s just two books–both bought used and both nonfiction. Here they are:

FFSouthern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South & Women Behaving Badly edited by Lee Gutkind and Beth Ann Fennelly      I  thought this was a book of short stories at first, but it’s actually an anthology of nonfiction. I’m intrigued by the premise!

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett     I do love a good book about books . . . and I found a “like new” hardcover copy of this one at Goodwill for only $1.79! How on earth could I possibly resist? It’s the true story of a man who travels around the US stealing rare books, but he doesn’t do it for the money—he does it because he loves books. It’s also the story of the book dealer/amateur detective who will go to any lengths to stop him. I ask you–what’s not to like about this?!?

How about you? Have you read either of these? What did you add to your TBR list this week? Please share!


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Friday Finds–8/8/14

fridayfinds5

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB for sharing the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)… whether you found them online,  in a bookstore,  in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home this week–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s my usual mix of fiction and nonfiction with 2 books from the library and 4 used-book purchases–no new books bought this week. I’m not sure which one of these I’ll end up digging into first, but here we go . . .

8.7.14

 

Other People We Married by Emma Straub     I really enjoyed Straub’s The Vacationers and decided to check out what else she’s written. I found a used copy of this short story collection and decided to give it a try.

Safe With Me by Amy Hatvany     This novel is about a woman dealing with grief after the sudden death of her daughter, and her growing relationship with the family of the teen-aged girl who received her daughter’s organ donation. The story is told through multiple character perspectives—a technique I usually enjoy—and the reviews I’ve read promise that it’s an emotional and well-crafted story.

Poking A Dead Frog: Conversations With Today’s Top Comedy Writers by Mike Sacks     I love reading books that share the experiences of a group of different people about a common topic, and I also enjoy reading about the craft of writing. This book covers both of these areas! It’s a series of interviews and short pieces written by comedy writers from TV, movies, and magazines. I don’t plan on becoming a comedy writer any time soon, but I think this will be a fascinating read anyway!

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson     I really don’t know anything about this book—only that it appeared on a ton of “best of” lists when it came out a couple of years ago. I found a like-new,  used hardcover copy this week and couldn’t resist it.

Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything For American Women by Rebecca Traister     I love reading behind-the-scenes books about politics, and I’m really looking forward to reading this book about women’s roles in the historic 2008 presidential election.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See     I read See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan years ago and really liked it, but I haven’t read anything by her since then. I recently heard an interview with See where she talked about one of her reading habits—when she reads a novel, she starts with the first chapter, then reads the last chapter, then the second chapter, then the next-to-last chapter, and so on. When she meets herself in the middle, if she’s enjoying the book she then rereads the second half in the proper order. Have you ever heard of such a thing??? Anyway, hearing this interview made me curious about what she’s written lately. I found a used copy of Shanghai Girls and decided to give it a try—it’s about two sisters who leave China during WWII to marry complete strangers and settle in Los Angeles.  I haven’t read much historical fiction lately, so I’m very interested to give this book a try.

How about you? Have you read any of these? What books made their way into your hands this week? Please share!


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Friday Finds–8/1/14

fridayfinds5

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your TBR list this week (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased)… whether you found them online,  in a bookstore,  in the library — wherever! Click the icon above to join in!

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have actually entered my home–-bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. I’m not listing books that I simply added to by TBR list–that could take days! This week it’s 4 books from the library and 3 used-book purchases–no new books bought this week. I’m not sure which one of these I’m going to tackle first, but here we go . . .

8.1.14

Bibliotopia: Mr. Gilbar’s Book of Books & Catch-all of Literary Facts & Curiosities compiled by Steven Gilbar    How could I NOT buy this book? It’s a compendium of all sorts of facts, quotes, trivia, and lists—all about books and authors. This looks like a great browsing book! I found a like-new used copy and I just couldn’t resist!

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng    This novel is on a lot of lists this summer. It’s about a Chinese-American family living in Ohio in the 1970s and how they deal with the disappearance and death of their middle daughter. I’ve read nothing but good things about this book and I’m really looking forward to diving into it.

The Shelf: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose    I love reading books about books! This one is about a woman who chooses a shelf in the fiction section at random from the New York Society Library  (it turns out to be the LEQ – LES shelf) and reads her way through it—finding a remarkable mixture of authors and styles along the way. I’m not sure what to expect from this book, but I think it’ll be an interesting read.

Running The Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg    This memoir tells the story of a young man who is seeking direction in his life—and ends up taking a job as a librarian in a tough Boston prison. I found a used copy of this and just couldn’t pass it up.

The Actress by Amy Sohn    This is billed as a “big, juicy, literary novel” and that sounds like the definition of a summer read to me! It’s about a Hollywood couple—many say these characters are based on Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes—and  involves fame, gossip, scandal, and ambition.

Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer    Nancy Thayer is one of my go-to authors—I’ll read just about anything she writes. Her latest seems to be another great beach read—two girls from very different backgrounds who meet as young girls and move on together into adulthood.

The Good Father by Noah Hawley    This novel/thriller is about a father who discovers that his son may have been involved in the assassination of a Presidential candidate. It’s been compared by some reviewers to We Need To Talk About Kevin, which I thought was a very compelling yet disturbing book. This one definitely doesn’t call out to me as a beach read—I may save this one for a bit!

How about you? Have you read any of these? What books made it onto your radar this week? Please share!