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

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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 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

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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!


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Friday Finds–7/4/14

 

fridayfinds5FRIDAY 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 7 books from the library (3 fiction, 4 nonfiction–all of them are new releases). I really have no idea which one of these I’m going to tackle first, but here we go . . .

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The Vacationers by Emma Straub   This novel seems like it’s on everyone’s “Must Read This Summer” list. It’s about family, secrets, childhood rivalries, friendship. . . it looks like my kind of book!

 
Hold Fast To Dreams: A College Guidance Counselor, His Students, and the Vision of a Life Beyond Poverty by Beth Zasloff and Joshua Steckel    I love behind-the-scenes narrative nonfiction, and as a former teacher, I also enjoy reading about education. This new release combines both-it follows the lives of ten NYC high school students as they work towards achieving the goal of getting into—and getting through-college.

 

Shirley: A Novel by Susan Scarf Merrell    I’m so intrigued by the premise of this book—the main characters in this thriller are author Shirley Jackson and her husband. Taking place in 1964, the story begins when a young couple moves into the Jackson’s home and soon sense that something is amiss. Shirley Jackson was a master at creating chilling storylines, and I’m very interested to find out how the author of this new novel incorporates her into this plot.

 
Tiger, Meet My Sister . . . And Other Things I Probably Shouldn’t Have Said by Rick Reilly    I don’t like actually “doing” sports, but I love reading about sports and athletes. I think that this new collection of columns by one of ESPN.com’s top writers will be a treat to read.

 
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff    This memoir is written by a woman who was the assistant to J.D. Salinger’s literary agent in the late-1990s—and who eventually finds herself posing as Salinger—rather than sending standard responses– when she replies to letters from his fans. I’m interested in reading just about anything about the publishing business, and this book seems to offer an interesting take on the subject.

 
The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy For Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue by David Sax    Reading about food is great—reading about food while eating is even better! I’m so looking forward to digging into this book about food fads.

 
The Arsonist by Sue Miller    I haven’t read anything by Sue Miller in ages and I’m really looking forward to her latest novel. All I really know about it is that it’s about a romance that takes place between the protagonist and the local newspaper editor—against the backdrop of a series of house fires that take place in their small New Hampshire village.

 
How about you? Are any of these books on your TBR list? What are you reading these days? Please share!


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Friday Finds–5/16/14

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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 2 books from the library, 2 used book purchases, and 1 free ARC. Ready? Here we go!

5.16.14

The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller     I won a free ARC of this book through Goodreads-it’s due to be published early next month. It’s a novel about a marriage counselor who’s having trouble navigating the relationships in her own life. The story also apparently involves family secrets—one of my favorite plot points!

The Blessings by Elise Juska     This newly published family saga is supposed to appeal to fans of The Burgess Boys—which I’m listening to on audiobook right now and loving. It covers twenty years in the lives of the members of an Irish-Catholic family living in Philadelphia. I’m excited to start reading this book and I hope I can get to it soon!

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography Of My Appetites by Kate Christensen     I love reading about the impact that food and cooking has on people’s lives—I think that what and how we eat says a lot about us as individuals and as a culture. I’m always on the lookout for a good foodie memoir, and I was thrilled to find this one.

Chosen by Chandra Hoffman     The main character of this novel is the director of an adoption agency, and it also features three couples who are her clients. The story is told through alternating viewpoints–which is a technique I love–and involves a missing child, differences in social class, and how far people will go to get what they think they really want and need. I think I’m going to really enjoy this book.

Instructions For A Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell    This is a novel set in London during the British heatwave of 1976. It’s another family drama—are you seeing a trend here this week?—that’s set into motion by the sudden disappearance of the husband, and the subsequent coming together of the grown children and their families to help the matriarch deal with the crisis. I started reading this book yesterday and I’m already hooked!

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


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Friday Finds–3/21/14

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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 my usual mix of fiction and nonfiction–six books from the library and one used book purchase. Ready? Here we go!

3.21.14

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’m not sure why I’ve never read this book. It came out in 2002, won the Pulitzer, and regularly appears on Best Of lists. I found a nice used copy this week and grabbed it. It’s not going to the top of my TBR list, but I definitely want it on hand so I can dig into it one of these days.

Relish: My Life In The Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

I love to cook, and I adore reading about food and cooking, so this book is right up my alley! It’s written in the graphic novel style and contains the author’s memories of growing up as the daughter of a chef and gourmet, as well as thoughts about how our experiences with food help make us who we are. Plus—there are recipes! I started this book last night and I LOVE IT. I haven’t read many graphic novels and I thought the style might be distracting, but Knisley’s drawings PERFECTLY complement her text, and I simply love her writing voice! I’m  reading a copy from the library, but I already know that I’ll be buying my own copy soon to add to my collection of food writings. I’ll say it one more time—I LOVE THIS BOOK!

No One Could Have Guessed The Weather by Anne-Marie Casey

This is a novel about Lucy, who moves with her husband from London to New York City after they suffer a financial crisis. The story covers her friendship with three NYC women and her growing love for her new home city. I’m in the mood for a good friendship novel, and I’m hoping that this book will meet that need!

Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America by Joseph Tirella

I’ve never attended a World’s Fair, but I’m intrigued by all that goes into creating them. In fact, my favorite parts of The Devil and the White City were the parts about the World’s Fair instead of the serial killer sections! This book provides an in-depth account of the creation and running of the 1964 World’s Fair held in New York City, and also discusses the rapidly changing landscape of the US during this time period. I like reading narrative history, and I think I’m going to really enjoy this book.

Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster

I really liked Lancaster’s first couple of memoirs, but her later books have been a bit too mean-spirited for my taste. However, I’m going to give her one more try with this latest novel.

One Shot At Forever: A Small Town, An Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season by Chris Ballard

Baseball season is just weeks away, and it’s the perfect time to get in the baseball mood with a great underdog baseball story! This is the true story of a high school baseball team from a tiny town in Illinois who defied the odds and made a run to the state finals in 1971. I’m probably the least athletic person you’ll ever meet, but I love reading about sports and I’m so looking forward to digging into this book!

HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen & Aimee Parnes

I think Hillary Clinton is a fascinating woman. This brand new biography focuses on her political life after she withdrew from the 2008 presidential race, and her subsequent experiences as the Secretary of State. I love a good biography, and I’ve got high hopes for this book.

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


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Friday Finds–2/28/14

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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 3 books from the library–no books purchased this week.  Ready? Here we go!

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Humans Of New York by Brandon Stanton

If you’re not already subscribing to the blog feed for Humans Of New York—or the matching Facebook page or Tumblr account– you’re missing out on a great treat.  Brandon Stanton photographs everyday people that he finds in New York City and also asks each person a series of open-ended questions about themselves. The result–after nearly four years–is thousands of photos and quotes from everyday people of all ages, races, and perspectives. This book is a collection of 400 of these photos.

I absolutely LOVE the Humans Of New York blog feed—every day it delivers several little slices of life to my in-box. Each post is like a little short story (and incidently, many would make EXCELLENT writing prompts!). Some of them are humorous. Some are so moving that they bring me to tears. Some of them have caused me to think about the people in the photos for days. All are pieces of real humanity in a time when, too often, we’re too busy, afraid, or indifferent to even look at the faces of the people we pass on the street. I simply can’t wait to sit down and immerse myself in this book!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I think I’m just about the only person on the planet who hasn’t read any of Jojo Moyes’ books.  I’d actually borrowed this one from the library a couple of months ago, but had to return it before I got to it. I resolve to read it this time!

Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

I adore Anna Quindlen’s essays and columns–I often feel as though she’s speaking directly to me. Her novels are a bit hit-and-miss for me, although her latest -Every Last One- is one of the best books I’ve read in ages. This is her latest work of fiction. The Goodreads blurb reads: “Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.”

How about you? Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What are you reading this week? Please share!


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Friday Finds–2/7/14

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 5 books from the library–no books purchased this week. These books are pretty varied in topic and include both fiction and nonfiction, so I should be prepared for whatever reading mood I’m in for awhile! Ready? Here we go!

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Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann

I really like reading about sports of all kinds, and I especially enjoy books that let me go “behind the scenes” into the lives of athletes and athletic events. This book promises to do both—it’s the product of eight years of research and investigative reporting in the world of youth basketball—the programs that train today’s college basketball players before we see them on the college courts. This book is billed as the “Friday Night Lights” of basketball—and since I loved that book, I’ve got high hopes for this one as well.

Soy Sauce For Beginners by Kirsten Chen

This brand new novel—just published last month—is the story of 30-year-old Gretchen Lin, who leaves an unhappy marriage and life in San Francisco to return to her childhood home in Singapore and the various family and personal issues that face her when she arrives.  The book raises the question—where do you draw the line between duty to family, and duty to yourself? I’m looking forward to digging into this debut novel.

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

I haven’t read any of Grisham’s books in ages, but this one is the sequel to my very favorite Grisham book—A Time To Kill. I’ve been on the waiting list at the library for ages for this one!

The Good House by Ann Leary

I enjoyed this author’s previous novel, Outtakes From A Marriage, so I thought I’d give this one a try. The main character is a successful real estate broker, mother,  grandmother, and  recovering alcoholic. The plot involves female friendships, secrets, and scandal. The book has been described as wickedly funny and very moving . . . I’m anxious to find out if I agree!

Masterminds & Wingmen by Rosalind Wiseman

There are many books out there about the “mean girl” syndrome—not so many that deal with the male side of this coin. This nonfiction title discusses the male social hierarchies and unwritten rules that affect adolescent males’ relationships and interactions, as well as their future relationships in adulthood. Being a former high school teacher, I still find it interesting to read books about what makes kids “tick”, and I’m eager to read this book.

How about you? Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What books got added to your TBR list this week? Please share!


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Friday Finds

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 seven books from the library–no books purchased this week, which is unusual for me. These books are pretty varied in topic, so I should be prepared for whatever reading mood I’m in for awhile! Ready? Here we go!

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The Vow by Jessica Martinez–a YA novel about two high school kids–Annie and Mo– who are best friends, and then decide to marry in order to keep Mo from being forced to return to his native country of Jordan. I’ve been in a YA mood ever since I read Eleanor & Park and Fangirl this past Fall, so I’m hoping to enjoy this new-to-me author.

1963: The Year Of The Revolution by Robin Morgan and Ariel Leve– an oral history of how music, art, and fashion had an impact on society–particularly British and American society–during this pivotal year in history. I LOVE reading oral histories, I enjoy learning about the arts, I was born in 1963–what’s not to like about this book?!?

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly–a thriller highly recommended by my blogging buddy over at cleopatralovesbooks. It’s about an upper-class family gathering together after their mother’s death, and the years of secrets that come to the surface with the appearance of a “stranger” who is convinced that their mother was a murderer, and who is plotting revenge. I’m really looking forward to diving into this one!

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker–a true crime account of a series of unsolved murders  on Long Island. I started this a few days ago, and so far it seems well written but it certainly isn’t a light read.

The Boys In The Boat: Nine Americans And Their Epic Quest For Gold At The 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown–I’ve read about this book on several blogs lately (forgive me–I don’t remember whose!) and it’s gotten glowing reviews from everyone. I really enjoy reading about sports (as long as I don’t actually have to DO them), and I’m excited about the upcoming Olympics–I think I’m really going to like this book!

Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt–a novel about modern life in the old South of Charlotte, North Carolina. Apparently there is scandal and mishap involved!

The System: The Glory And Scandal Of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian–another nonfiction book on sports. Again, I’m a big reader of nonfiction sports books, and now that  football season is just about over, I’ll have to settle for this inside look at the realities of the college football business.

How about you? Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What books got added to your TBR list this week? Please share!


2 Comments

Friday Finds

fridayfinds5

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list this week… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased) 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 three books from the library and four new book purchases–partly due to the gift of a very generous gift card from my boss this week! I actually have no idea which of these books I’m going to tackle first–none are exactly traditional holiday reads–but perhaps you can help me with that! Ready? Here we go!

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The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

This has been on my TBR list ever since I read some reviews comparing it to Gone Girl, which I loved. It’s also a book told from alternating points of view—a narrative technique that I usually really enjoy. From the blurb on the cover, it’s about “ . . . a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.”

He’s Gone by Deb Caletti

I didn’t know anything about this book until I saw it at the bookstore. I picked it up because of the cover, and bought it because of the blurb: “The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass. . . irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone. . .  as the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth about herself, her husband, and their lives together.”

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunte

I feel like I’m the last person around who hasn’t read this yet—I keep reading what other bloggers say about it,  it shows up on “Favorite Fiction” lists pretty regularly, and it was on several “Best Books” lists when it came out last year.

The Best American Essays: 2013 edited by Cheryl Strayed

I buy this book every December and regularly discover some great writers who become favorites. I’m hoping that the same thing happens this year!

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

This is another book that I’ve just never gotten around to reading. It’s also shown up on a lot of year-end lists, so I’m going to give it a try.

This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett’s novels are kind of hit-and-miss for me, but I loved her memoir Truth & Beauty about her friendship with Lucy Grealy. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this new collection of essays dealing with the art of writing, friendship, animals, her experiences of opening her own bookstore, and much more. My name finally got to the top of the library hold list for this book and I was thrilled!

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

I think this novel is going to scare me to death–it’s a 500+ page thriller that sounds creepy and compelling at the same time. To over-simplify the plot, it’s about the death of the daughter of a reclusive cult-horror-film director. The traditional narrative is broken up by sections of screenshots from websites and other documents–a technique I find very interesting. I’m intrigued by this book’s format, but I think it’s one that’s going to make me want to sleep with the lights on.

So–what do you think? Which book should I read first? Have you read any of these?  Please share!

[This will most likely be my last bookish post until after the holidays. I hope you are able to enjoy celebrating in whatever way that you choose!]


8 Comments

Friday Finds

fridayfinds5

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme hosted by MizB to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list this week… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased) 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 two books from the library and two used book purchases–no new book purchases this week. Ready? Here we go!

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Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I keep hearing wonderful things about this book and I finally picked up a copy from the library this week. It’s classified as a Young Adult novel and takes place during WWII. From the blurb on the flap—“A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a shot at survival. The other has lost the game . . . before it’s barely begun.” I think I’m going to start this book over the weekend.

The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English

This nonfiction book looks at a murder—and the aftermath–taking place in Manhattan in 1963. Known as the Career Girls Murders case, the crime began what was to become a decade-long era of fear and racial violence in New York City. The book tells the stories of three men—the 19 year old black man who was coerced into confessing to the murder, a corrupt NYPD police officer, and a Black Panther Party activist. I’ve read several great reviews of this book, and I’m always interested in reading about true crime as well as race relations—so, although I know this won’t be a light read, I’m really looking forward to digging into this one.

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple

This is the first book written by the author of Where’d You Go Bernadette, one of my favorite recent novels. It’s about a woman living the life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with her rock-and-roll manager husband and her toddler. She has what seems to be the perfect life—but she’s sure there’s something more out there. I found a used copy of this and thought I’d see if Semple’s first novel measures up to “Bernadette”.

Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry

I’ve never read anything by the very prolific McMurtry, but this book caught my interest. It’s a memoir of the author’s love affair with books—including his experiences as a collector and bookstore owner. From the cover flap—“[This book] is like the best kind of diary—full of McMurtry’s wonderful anecdotes, amazing characters, engaging gossip, and shrewd observations about authors, book people, literature, and the author himself.” I found a used copy this week–how could I resist it?

What about you? Have you read any of these? What new books have you added to your TBR pile this week? Please share!


6 Comments

Friday Finds

fridayfinds5

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list this week… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased) 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 three books that I purchased–no library books this week, and no used book purchases–both unusual for me. Ready? Here we go!

FFC

Awhile back I wrote a post about my favorite books about books–and The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch is a book that was suggested to me in the comments to that post. It’s the memoir of a couple who start a used bookstore in a large house in a small Appalachian town. This sounds like just the kind of book that I love, and I can’t believe I missed it when it came out last year.

I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple about a year ago on my kindle. The story is told through letters, emails, journal entries, transcripts, etc–and the plot is kind of hard to explain. VERY briefly, it’s about a woman (Bernadette) who leaves her family to go on a trip to Antarctica, and her teenage daughter’s efforts to find out where she is and why she left. In the process, lots of secrets about Bernadette and the whole family are revealed. I am definitely not doing this book the justice it deserves–you really need to read it for yourself! I loved the unconventional way that the plot unfolded, and some of the understated humor made me literally laugh out loud. This is one of those books that I just had to own a “real” copy of, so when I realized it was now out in paperback, I bought a copy.

Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann is the inside story of the 2012 presidential campaign season. I love politics, and I love reading behind-the-scenes nonfiction–so I’ve been waiting anxiously for this book to be released. It finally came out this past Tuesday, and I splurged and bought the hardcover because I just couldn’t wait to start reading it. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but so far, so good–and I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with this book over the weekend!

What about you? Have you read any of these? What new books have you added to your TBR pile this week? Please share!


11 Comments

Friday Finds

fridayfinds5

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list this week… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased) 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 four books from the library–no book purchases this week. Here we go!

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Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog (etc.) by Delia Ephron

This is a collection of autobiographical essays about life phases, family, marriage, and other relationships. I loved the author’s long out-of-print book of essays called Funny Sauce and I’m looking forward to this brand-new collection. I’m especially interested in her essay about her sister, author Nora Ephron, who recently passed away.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I simply adored Rowell’s previous book, Eleanor & Park. This is her latest. I’m hoping that I’m not expecting too much out of this one, but for me, it’s going to be really tough to match the impact of her last book. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

Top Down: A Novel of the Kennedy Assassination by Jim Lehrer

This has the potential to either be really good–or really bad. It’s billed as a  novel about a fictional character who inadvertently set a series of events in motion on 11/22/63 that played a part in the assassination of JFK–and the impact that had on this character in later years. The author is a respected journalist and was an eyewitness to the actual assassination. I have a longstanding interest in all things about the Kennedys, and I’m really hoping that Jim Lehrer can pull this one off!

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner & Nancy Schoenberger

I remember reading an excerpt of this book in Vanity Fair magazine a couple of years ago when it was first published–and I remember being fascinated by what I read  and wanting to know more. However, I forgot all about the book in the midst of all my other TBR books. A recent post by One Gal’s Musings mentioned this book and reminded me of why I wanted to read the whole thing! This may be what I choose to read next–I’m in the mood for some good Hollywood romance and excess!

What about you? Have you read any of these? What new books have you added to your TBR pile this week? Please share!


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Friday Finds

fridayfinds5

Click here to play along!

FRIDAY FINDS is a weekly meme to share the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list this week… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they don’t necessarily need to be books you purchased). 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. This week it’s three books from the library and one used book purchase–all nonfiction. Here we go!

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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time as I’ve really enjoyed all of Gladwell’s previous books. I like the way he combines psychology, science, history, and great storytelling skills to challenge the way we think about common beliefs and events in our lives, and I admire his ability to simplify his ideas into an easy to read writing style. From the front flap of this book: “…Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.”

High Rise Stories: Voices From Chicago Public Housing complied and edited by Audrey Petty

I love reading oral histories, and I have high hopes for this book. It’s made up of first-person accounts of people who’ve lived in Chicago’s public housing projects–most of which have been torn down within the past 10-20 years to make way for new residences and other construction. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and heard news stories about the crime and poverty in these inner city residences–and I often wondered about the lives of the people who lived there day after day, year after year. When these high rises started to be demolished several years ago, I found myself wondering where the people whose families had lived there for generations would go. I know that this will probably be a tough read, but I’m hoping it answers some of my questions.

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King

I’m not a big fan of Stephen King’s novels–I just don’t favor that particular genre–but I LOVED his book on the art of writing when I read it about a year ago. Part autobiography and part writing manual, this book offers practical advice for writers at all levels as well as an account of his own development as a writer, and how writing helped him move towards recovery after a very serious accident in 1999. I found a used copy of this book and, even though I’ve already read it, I just had to buy it!

Drama High: The Incredible True Story Of A Brilliant Teacher, A Struggling Town, And The Magic Of Theater by Michael Sokolove

As a former teacher, I like reading both fiction and nonfiction dealing with all aspects of education. I also really enjoy “behind the scenes” books. This book covers both areas! It’s the true story of a drama teacher and his students in Levittown, Pennsylvania–and has been described as “Friday Night Lights meets Glee”. I can’t wait to start reading this one!

What about you? Have you read any of these? What new books have you added to your TBR pile this week? Please share!


5 Comments

Friday Finds

friday finds

Click here to play along!

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

I’m limiting myself to the new books that have physically entered my home this week–bought new, bought used, and/or borrowed from the library. Here we go–

Friday boks cropped

Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff

I’m on a Helene Hanff kick lately—ever since I recently found out that she has written FOUR other books besides 84, Charing Cross Road (one of my favorite books about books).  This one is the backstory of how she came to write 84. I’m excited to dive into this one!

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

A novel about a woman working in a bookstore—what’s not to like? It’s about a woman who begins working in a small bookshop in New York City after her relationship breaks up when she discovers  that she’s pregnant.

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalynn Miller

I bought this to preview it for work—we’ll probably be reading this as our next professional book club selection. It’s written by a sixth-grade teacher who excels in helping kids who are self-proclaimed non-readers evolve into kids who actually choose to read.

Oxygen by Carol Cassella

I heard that if you like Jodi Picoult’s books–which I usually do–you should like this one, too. It’s a novel about a female anesthesiologist who is facing a devastating professional crisis as well as dramas in her personal life.

Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy by Sudhir Venkatesh

And now for something completely different! This newly published nonfiction title is about the hidden “off the books” economy in large cites—specifically NYC. The author spent a decade spending time with and interviewing people from various economic layers—from socialites and entrepreneurs to drug dealers, sex workers, and “under-the-table” laborers of all kinds. I usually really enjoy behind the scenes books like this, so I’m hoping I’ll like this one.

What about you? Have you read any of these? What new books have you added to your TBR pile this week? Please share!