|My sister, Lisa, and I share some reading time|
I saw several memes that said September 6 was Read A Book Day.
Every day is Read A Book Day for me.
|(Darci, me and Lisa with our books: I have no idea why Lisa and I are in our robes outside|
Ever since I was a little girl, reading has been a favorite thing. (If only running or exercise were at the top of the list instead of such a sedentary activity like reading. Oh, well! It wasn't to be.)
Randy has come to realize that every trip to Hutchinson includes a stop at the Hutchinson Public Library. Usually, I have something on hold at the circulation desk, where they know me by name. And here must be some sort of magnetic force field surrounding bookstores for me. It's tough to walk past one without going in. I do try to minimize my book purchases. I read 80+ books a year. Purchasing that many books would literally have my house splitting at the rafters and would likely put me in the poor house. Public libraries are a treasure!
|Me & Lisa again. She loves to read, too!|
But I do sometimes buy books that I can't find at my library or that I just can't seem to walk out of the store without. (Or, if it means a new book for the granddaughters. Brooke got one, too, but she had already left for her soccer game by the time I thought to take the photo below.)
|I loved the chalkboard sign at Paper June bookstore in Topeka.|
That stockpile of books saved my sanity during the early days of the pandemic. All at once, libraries were closed. After I read all the library books in my stack, I rummaged through my cabinets for other options.
It was a happy day indeed when I was able to pick up books at the back door of my beloved Hutchinson Public Library, though it was still later before I could again wander the book stacks myself. I wrote about it here, It Was a Dark & Stormy Night (Afternoon). The photo below shows the pile of books I picked up that wonderful day after a long hiatus from my library.
I recently saw another Facebook meme that I'd seen before, but that never ceases to confound me:
As a lifelong reading lover, these statistics are incomprehensible to me. I can't remember a time when I wasn't
a library patron. My mom took us to the old library at the Pratt County Courthouse from the time we could
toddle in on our own steam.
|I'm not the only reader in the family. This was Kinley at her sister's soccer game last weekend. |
It was exciting when the new library was built in Pratt. There was a
whole room of children's books where I discovered Encyclopedia
Brown and Nancy Drew and the Happy Hollisters. I still love mysteries and thrillers today, and I
have to believe those days of uncovering clues with them had to have laid an early
groundwork for this love affair that's lasted all of my life.
My prize from last year's adult reading contest at the Hutchinson Public Library
I've been on a streak lately of books I've really enjoyed. I will admit: I read for enjoyment. Yes, I also read devotionals, Christian-themed studies and the Bible for my spiritual growth. But I'm a voracious reader of fiction. I say that it keeps me sane. If I have trouble sleeping, the characters in a book will help my mind turn off from the issues that swirl in my brain.
However, I know that everyone has their own taste in books. I take photos of book covers and send them to Jill or to my sister, Lisa, thinking they'd like particular books. But I always find it a bit risky to recommend books to others.
|I read. Randy golfs. I am a much better reader than golfer.|
But here goes. Maybe someone else looks for recommendations from someone they actually know. If you like them, let me know. And, if you don't, that's OK, too. Everyone has different genres, authors or other preferences. So find one you like and read it. And be sure and tell me: I might like it, too.
I've given an Amazon link for each one. That's not to encourage you to buy it. It just gives more of a synopsis than I've given. I'd encourage you to find the books at your local library. Or support a local bookstore and purchase locally. I also buy secondhand books through the Thriftbooks website. I also enjoy going to Bookaholic for second-hand books when I'm in Wichita. But, the vast majority of books I read are from my public library. I got every one of them below at the Hutchinson Public Library.
If you're a Stafford area person, our church has an annual book sale during Oktoberfest. This year, that's Saturday, October 1. Come to the church basement from 9 AM to 3 PM that day.
And I just got my state library card from the Nora Larabee Memorial Library in Stafford. Library cards are like gold!
I loved this book, and I've told multiple people about it. It is a debut novel by Nikki Erlick. It made me think. It made me cry. And it was beautifully written, which means something to me.
In it, the whole world suddenly receives boxes with strings inside that let people know how much time they have left to live. Some people look inside; others don't. The book finds the connection between eight different characters. It is also timely in that it makes you think about how we segregate/separate people based on politics, religion, race, sexuality - pretty much the kitchen sink.
"We humans have an impulse to mark our existence in some way that feels permanent. We scribble, 'I was here' onto our desks at school. We spray-paint it on walls. We carve it into bark. I wanted ... to let it be known that these people lived. A testament to the fact that these humans - with their long strings and medium strings and short strings - they were here. ... All moments, big and small, can measure a life."
From "The Measure"
This is classified as Young Adult fiction, but the subject matter is definitely "adult," in my opinion. I saw this recommended on a friend's Facebook post. It's not a book I would naturally choose, but I'm sure glad I did. It was another favorite book from 2022 so far.
It's a thriller/mystery set on a Ojibwe reservation, but it also has elements of a coming-of-age story. The main character, 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, doesn't feel like she fits in - either on the reservation or in her nearby hometown. She looks forward to starting fresh at college. But her plans change because of family circumstances. There's elements of a love story interwoven with a murder and an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug. From Amazon: "Daunis must learn what it means to
be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her
community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known."
This was another I saw on a Facebook post or blog post. At its center is the issue of immigration, which I realize is a hot button topic. And, again, it's not a subject that automatically appeals to me. But in it, Lydia, a mother in Acapulco, flees with her son, Luca, after her journalist husband is killed because of an expose he wrote about the drug cartels. Who can she trust among the many she meets along the way as she struggles to reach the U.S.?
True confessions: I read "Girl, Forgotten" first, not realizing at the time that it was a recurring character from "Pieces of Her." So then I read "Pieces of Her." I preferred "Girl, Forgotten" but they were both good. I love finding an author I enjoy who has multiple books out. I will be looking for more Karin Slaughter books at my local library.
|I read, while Randy golfs. It's the perfect arrangement for marital bliss.|
"Pieces of Her" has been made into a Netflix show. (I wouldn't know: I can't stream here in rural America.)
In both books, Andrea Oliver is the central character. In the first, Andrea is at a bit of a standstill in life. She's living in an apartment over the garage at her mother's house. Then, one afternoon, she sees a very different side of her mild-mannered mother during a violent event at the local shopping mall. And she discovers that her mother has a past that she could never have imagined. The book is written in "current time" and "flashbacks," leading Andrea and the reader on a quest to discover the secrets before someone else gets hurt.
THEN, in "Girl, Forgotten," it's a little later, and Andrea has found her purpose. She's just completed training as a U.S. Marshall. And she's sent back to her mother's hometown to uncover the truth about a cold case - the murder of a high school girl - while also protecting a federal judge who's been receiving death threats. She just may learn more about her own past at the same time.
I've liked other books by Megan Miranda, which is always enough to have me putting the next book by that author on the "hold" list at the library. This one didn't disappoint. Abigail Lovett manages The Passage Inn near the Appalachian trail. However, through the years, there have been a number of unsolved disappearances in the area. The brother of the last person who disappeared checks into The Passage Inn, looking for answers. Just how well does Abigail know her employees, neighbors and friends?
I've also read other books by Susan Wiggs. This is definitely a lighter read. Margot Salton moves to San Francisco from her native Texas to open a BBQ restaurant. She believes BBQ sauce is the perfect blend of sugar and salt. Ironically, she rents commercial kitchen space from a bakery called Sugar, where Jerome Sugar bakes treats using his Grandma Ida's recipes. Just as everything starts coming together, Margot's past in Texas follows her to San Francisco.
Jill suggested this book. In it, Helen attends her first prenatal class. Helen has a great life - an architect husband, a beautiful Victorian house and a baby on the way. While there, she meets Rachel, a single mother-to-be who couldn't be more different. But Helen is lonely, and they become friends. There are lots of twists and turns along the way. Maybe there are more secrets than you'd think in this idyllic neighborhood.
Quinn Cruz receives a text message from her sister, Nora, saying that she "has something for you." She never imagines it would be a little girl, Lucy. Almost as quickly as she arrived, Nora leaves, telling her sister to keep Lucy safe. While Quinn struggles to
honor her sister’s desperate request and care for Lucy,
she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her
head—something that will threaten them all.
Lisa Gardner is another author I usually read. A search team makes an annual trip to the Wyoming wilderness to try to discover what happened to Timothy O'Day, who disappeared during a bachelor's party/camping trip with his best friends years ago. Frankie Elkin specializes in finding lost people, and when she reads about the trip, she shows up to help. And it turns out that there is even more danger in the wilderness than they anticipated when someone appears willing to do anything to stop them from discovering the truth. This is another twisting/turning thriller/mystery.
I'm a Lisa Scottoline fan, too. And this one didn't disappoint either. Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns a court-reporting business,
but one night, his life takes a terrible turn. He is driving his family
home after his daughter’s field hockey game when a pickup truck begins
tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from
the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. Nothing will ever be the same for their family again. Later that night, the FBI arrives to say that the carjackers were part of a drug cartel. The FBI wants the Bennetts to enter witness protection. They reluctantly agree, but that's not the end of the problems. Ultimately, Jason decides he has to take back control of his family's life.
I just finished this book by Kristina McMorris, also the author of "Sold on a Monday," which I recommended in an earlier blog post. It's historical fiction that features Fenna, who overcomes loss as a child growing up in Michigan's Copper Country. Her hardships lead her to develop her skills as an illusionist/magician. Those abilities draw the attention of British military intelligence and she's sent to Europe to come up with inventions, reminiscent of James Bond's Q, that are used for Allied Forces during World War II. Woven throughout is her story of love and loss. The author says the book was inspired by real events.