Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Keep Calm and Read a Book

by Deanna

As I am writing this it is January 31st, the last day of the 1st month of the year. And what do I have to say about this past month....good riddance, get the heck outta here, so long and I certainly won't miss you. I think in my last post I complained about the weather, I'm doing it again. The longest dreariest month so far this year (giggle). Which means me and my camera have not been spending much time together, which is really sad since she is one of my best friends. There is a prediction for snow on Sunday, so maybe we will resume our loving relationship and be together once again. Fingers crossed.

So, if I haven't been taking pictures what have I been doing besides trying to get all the Christmas decor back in their resting bins for another year? That task, putting up and taking down is becoming more of a challenge with each passing year.

What have I been absorb in, I have been reading.  So, today I'm sharing with you my latest reads.  I am not a romance novel reader, and I tend to shy away from "chick-lits" altho an occasional light read is needed. I love good character studies, descriptions of places that I feel as tho I am there, good stories that tell a tale that's never been told before and learn a thing or two along the way. (Oops, I just checked Linda's post for tomorrow and she is also doing a "to read" post but I promise her list and mine differ so between the two of us, you will not lack for reading material this winter.)

I read two books recently that involved plane crashes...probably don't want to read either one if you are planning a plane trip somewhere in the near future (just kidding).

BEFORE THE FALL by Noah Hawley  This plot centers around the 10 characters that debark on a short trip in a small private plane. Within 16 minutes after takeoff the plane falls into the ocean. There are two survivors, one a painter and the other a four year old boy who is now the remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media-mogul's family. Weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of all on-board makes for an intriguing read. What caused the crash?

AFTER THE CRASH by Michel Bussi  On the night of December 22, 1980, a plane crashes on the French-Swiss border engulfed in flames with 168 of the 169 passengers killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that lasts 20 years.  In today's world we could quickly and easily identify which family the child belonged to thru DNA but this occurred in 1980 and DNA testing did not begin until 1986.

THE SECRET CHORD by Geraldine Brooks   Brooks peels away the myth to bring David (of the David and Goliath) to life and traces his journey from obscurity to fame, from a simple shepherd to a soldier, from hero to traitor, from a beloved king to a murderous tyrant. David was a paradoxical character between a warring soldier to a writer of more than half of the Psalms, playing and singing them with a harp. And let's not forget his great love affair with Bathsheba. Our bible study group is studying David this season, I thought this book would give me a better insight into the man and the myth.

NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles  After the Civil War, an aging traveling news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa Indian Tribe back to her people. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. He enjoys this life of solitaire until he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a ten-year-old girl who had been captured 4 years earlier by the Kiowa back to her only remaining family an uncle and aunt. It is a treacherous 400 mile journey filled with unforgiving terrain and at times dangerous. Short read but powerful in its exploration of the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor and trust.

THE BRIDGE LADIES by Betsy Lerner (a memoir) A fifty year old bridge game and the secrets it held, provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between the author and her mother. Ms. Lerner takes us on an intimate and powerfully personal literary journey where we learn a little about bridge and a lot about life.

THE WONDER by Emma Donoghue  An English nurse is brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-girl said to have survived without food for months, soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life. Eleven year old Anna O'Donnell believes herself to be living off manna from heaven. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl. This tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives is a powerful psychological thriller, a love pitted against evil.

THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE  by Jonathan Evison   With her husband Bernard now in the grave, seventy-nine year old Harriet Chance sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise only to discover through a series of revelations that she's been living the past sixty years of her life under entirely false pretenses. Harriet is forced to take a long look back, confronting the truth about pivotal events that changed the course of her life. Harriet is an endearing heroine with great warmth, humanity and humor.

VICTORIA by Daisy Goodwin  In 1837 less than a month after her 18th birthday, Alexandrina Victoria - sheltered, small in stature and female - became the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. She surprised everyone by abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria, insisting for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother, resolute about meeting with her ministers alone and taking Lord Melbourne, the Prime Minister as her private secretary. Making blunders along the way, nothing stops her from becoming one of the greatest profiles in English history. Enjoy the series on PBS currently playing.

THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP by Joanna Cannon  A delightful, quirky, and charming read about a community in need of absolution and two girls learning what it means to belong. It is England, 1976, summertime and a heat wave has the area simmering with more than just the heat. Mrs. Creasy has disappeared with two ten year olds, Grace and Tilly looking for clues to find her. They believe if they can find God they can find Mrs. Creasy. As the search begins, the young detectives uncover much more than they ever imagined. The lives of all the neighbors begin to unravel, and not just from the heat.

I hope you find a good read among this list. I enjoyed each and everyone and can't pick a favorite. They each held a happy spot in my reading heart.  I have almost completed THE LAST PAINTING OF SARA DE VOS by Dominic Smith  The author bridges the historical and the contemporary in this novel about the rare admission of a female as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland in 1631. Now 300 years later only one work is attributed to de Vos and is hanging over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, struggling to stay afloat in NY agrees to paint a forgery of the painting, a decision that will haunt her.  Jump ahead 50 years where she is curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions the real and the forgery threaten to arrive.

Now, tell us which books you have read recently and have enjoyed. I think all of us love a good book and recommendations are always welcome.


Dotti said...

This could be my mantra: keep calm and read books. Or keep calm and drink tea. Often I do both these things at the same time. I always love your book posts, Deanna, because I'm always on the lookout for a good read and have enjoyed many of the recommendations you've made to me.

I read "The Trouble with Goats and Sheep" and loved it! As I've mentioned before, I'm a mystery junky and I've been devouring them this winter. Total escape from the gloom and doom of January.

A new series I just found is The Maggie Hope Mysteries,combination history, mystery, spy, intrigue kind of stories. The historical setting keeps me engaged as do the very likable characters. Set in the WWII era, it tells some loose anecdotes about Churchill and Roosevelt but it's all in fun and you know it's not meant to be a fact-based historical account.

My camera has been idle, too. (sad face)

Barb said...

Hi Deanna, I hope you get some snow and can go walking with the camera. Thanks for these synopses - there are many new suggestions for me. I'm doing my usual winter immersion in books.

terriporter said...

Ah, yes, when the camera goes idle, the books come out! We've had a pretty miserable January as well but now our gray 50s have turned into sunny 70s so I'm anticipating some quality time with my camera. I have read many of the books you have recommended in the past and you never steer me wrong so I'm going to give this list some serious consideration for my next read. Thanks for the descriptions which I know will be helpful in deciding which one to choose.

AFishGirl said...

Okay, "The Trouble with Goats and Sheep" is on my list. I'm with Dotti on the books and tea, books and tea. I'm still plugging for people to read "The Humans." It is a wonderful thing to disappear inside a good book. Housework can wait. Scrambled eggs for supper. Yes, that sort of thing when a novel pulls us in. Thanks for the great list.

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