Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, December 30, 2019

Memoir Monday...

"Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home"

No matter what your circumstances, and whatever surrounds you, there is always still you. And Tara Westover gives us pause to reflect on that when you hear her story. Published in February of 2018 by Random House, Educated by Tara Westover is in my TBR pile and I can't wait to read it!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Best is Yet to Come... Books on my Nightstand to start the year 2020's Reading

Welcome back! It's a rainy morning in South Carolina! Christmas is over and I'm anticipating the start of a new year! Usually I'd be talking about the best books of the year, but I am so excited about the books I plan to read starting in 2020, that I thought I would share those with you...

These books are in no particular order, but they are all either on my Kindle, on my nightstand or on their way to me. One of these books is my First Book of the Year 2020 choice! But the others will soon follow. There is an almost dead girl, love stories (one of which is a love story of nature), a thriller, coming-of-age, 2 memoirs and a baby sitter. Here are the books and a quick sentence or two blurb about them...

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me by Adrienne Brodeur... "A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity."

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid... "a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both."

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman... "an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go."

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides... "a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband―and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive."

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in The Strange World by Elif Shafak... "A moving novel on the power of friendship in our darkest times."

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum... "a must-read about women mustering up the bravery to follow their inner voice.” 

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende... "this epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home."

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx... "Part autobiography, part natural history, Bird Cloud is the glorious story of Annie Proulx’s piece of the Wyoming landscape and her home there."

     Are you excited about any particular books for 2020?

It looks like I'll be busy with my nose in a good book. How about you? Thes books are my first book of the year book recommendations, and will follow with book reviews. I'm also finalizing my reading groups Book Bingo card for 2020. Ever played Book Bingo? Basically it's a bingo card and each square has a type of book you need to read to get the square. Squares such as, "Book written in the Year you were born", "Take out a library book or ebook", "Historical Fiction", etc. You get the gist, right? It's fun to try to fill all the squares in. Some of our book club selections will fit, but some the group will have to find on their own. At the end of the year we have drawings for prizes. I've been making up a Bingo card for a few years now and everyone enjoys the challenge. 

Hope I've shared something that sparks your passion to read! Share a good book with me in the comments too! I'd love to hear about it! Happy New Year! See you back here in 2020!

Happy Reading... Suzanne

Friday, December 27, 2019

First Lines Friday...

July 14 
I don't know why I'm writing this. 
That's not true. Maybe I do know and just don't want to admit it to myself. 
I don't even know what to call it--this thing I'm writing. It feels a little pretentious to call it a diary. It's not like I have anything to say. Anne Frank kept a diary--not someone like me. Calling it a "journal" sounds too academic, somehow. As if I should write in it every day, and I don't want to--if it becomes a chore, I'll never keep it up.
                                                                                 .....The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

What is the "Patient" thinking of writing a journal about? Is it "The Patient"? What the heck is going on here? Do these first lines make you want to read more?

A lot of  buzz about this book. Published this past February by Celadon Books, I've seen in on quite a few "Best Books" of 2019 lists. Described as a psychological thriller, this is one book I am looking forward to reading.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Memoir Monday...

Wild Game by Adrienne Arodeur... On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me. 

Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.  

Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.

As I was reading about new books, I kept gravitating to this book. I hadn't read a memoir is quite some time and honestly I wasn't really interested in all the celebrity tell alls that seemed to fill the shelves. But there was something about this one that caught my eye. And after reading the first half dozen pages or so I was hooked on Adrienne's writing, with the story unfolding as though it were literary fiction.

Since it's publication in October of this year by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, it has won "Best Book" accolades from Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post to name just a few. Not that I make my judgements of a book based on how many "Best" lists it's on, but it did make me a bit more curious. SO, this is now on my nightstand waiting for me to crack it open in 2020. This was going to be my first book of the year, but Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid won out after I was able to get a pre publication copy recently and read a half dozen or so pages of that and had to force myself to put it down. I have a feeling that this is going to be a great reading year!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Has it Really been THAT Long??

Has it really been 5 months since we've talked?! This year has been a busy one for me and I took a little break from writing the blog. I'm retired now, but instead of a 9-5 job, I've started a small business called Shawl Y'all, where I sell my handmade shawls, ponchos and other wearables. Here's a photo of me wearing a couple of my winter creations. But I haven't forgotten about reading and books! How could I?! Books and talking about them has been a big part of my life for many years, and even though I took a little break from here, I've still been reading and participating in my reading group that is 800 plus miles away. Now I go to Book Club via Skype. It's great to be able to still meet with the book club and talk about books.

Being busy with Shawl Y'all, which also includes participating in shows, I miss sharing with y'all all my bookish talk. SO, I plan to make sure in 2020 I put some time aside to get back to the business of books! Great reads, great authors, news of things happening and of course book reviews! And it looks like there are plenty of books to talk about too! I already have a stack of books to start reading in the new year! INCLUDING my pick for First Book of the Year 2000! But you'll have to stop by January 1st to see what I chose!

First thing this year I will be participating in The First Book of the Year 2020, hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. This will be Sheila's 7th year hosting, and I think it's also my 7th year of participating. If you're interested, you have until Dec. 31st to pick out that first book you'll be reading for the start of 2020, take a photo of you and the book, and send it along to Sheila, who makes a collage of all the participants. It's fun to see what everyone else has chosen and it's fun to find that first book too! You can read all about it on her blog here.Will your book define your reading year?

So while I've been busy, knitting and crocheting, what have you been doing?! What great books have you been reading?! You can share that and any other bookish thing in the comments below!

Question... I've found my First Book of 2020, but help me find some other great reads!  
What is the BEST book you read this year?!

In the meantime, Chanukah begins tonight and Christmas is in 3 days, so Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas! I wish you all wonderful and happy times spent with family and friends! I will see you right back here next Sunday to talk about... what else? BOOKS!

Happy Reading... Suzanne

Friday, December 20, 2019

First Lines Friday...

         That night, when Mrs. Chamberlain called, Emira could only piece together the words “…take Briar somewhere…” and “…pay you double.”

In a crowded apartment and across from someone screaming “That’s my song!,” Emira stood next to her girlfriends Zara, Josefa, and Shaunie. It was a Saturday night in September, and there was a little over an hour left of Shaunie’s twenty-sixth birthday. Emira turned the volume up on her phone and asked Mrs. Chamberlain to say it again.
        ………… Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid  

I just read a blurb about this book in Entertainment Weekly. In that blurb we find out what Emira decides and... what happens.  Do these first lines make you want to keep going? I found it intriguing... and I guess someone else did too, because even before this novel hits the shelves December 31st, the rights to a movie deal have already been signed.

Read an excerpt and decide for yourself at Penguin Random House. You can also listen to an excerpt there too!

Categorized as Literary Fiction; Women's Fiction and published by G.P. Putnam Sons, an imprint of Penguin group. 
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