MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKS

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Welcome to another Monday of Musing, hosted by Jenn, at Books and a Beat.  Here are some topics:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your most favorite book from your childhood?

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My current read:  I Let You Go, by Claire Mackintosh, is about a rainy afternoon, when a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street….

 

 

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I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.
 
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner, says, “I read I Let You Go in two sittings; it made me cry (at least twice), made me gasp out loud (once), and above all made me wish I’d written it . . . a stellar achievement.”

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I’ve heard good things about this book, so I’m going to spend time today immersed in it.

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As for my most favorite childhood book, I might have to say Little Women, as I read it a few times.  But I was also thoroughly engaged by the Nancy Drew mysteries.

I don’t have a print copy of Little Women, as I read library books back then.  I brought no books from my childhood to my own collection, but I do have an e-book of Little Women now.

I also have the first three books in the Nancy Drew series that I bought a few years ago.  See them on the bottom of this stack, below:

 

Books & fairytales - may 16

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What are you musing about today?

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MONDAY SPARKS – IGNITE YOUR MONDAY MOOD

a bookish window seat-musings logo

It’s been a while since I joined in to muse about my week, my books, etc.  Join us at Jenn’s Books and a Beat to chat a little.

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

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Last week was Bloggiesta and A Day in the Life.

Click my links to read those posts.

Today I’m almost finished reading If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now, by Claire LaZebnik, a book that has been on Pippa since May 2015.

 

 

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The book is engaging, but my feelings about the MC have changed as I turn the pages.  I was sympathetic in the beginning, but now I am tired of her behavior and her various attitudes.  I hope she will make some changes.

Do you ever get frustrated by the characters in your books?  Silly question…of course, you do.

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What are you reading, doing, or thinking about today?

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKS

a bookish window seat-musings logo

Welcome to Musing Mondays, hosted now at Jenn’s site, Books and a Beat.

We have some prompts to guide us:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What was the last book you didn’t finish? Why?

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I’m going to tackle the random question.  I don’t often set aside a book unfinished, and the one I recently DNF seemed okay initially.  The characters were two sisters trying to make it without any parental guidance.  But the story dragged for me, and went on and on about extraneous characters that did not interest me.  I was sadly disappointed, as this was my first from the author, and I had been looking forward to it.

Lucky Us, by Amy Bloom, was the winner of my recent Sad DNF award.

Some readers raved about the book, while others, like me, didn’t quite connect.  That’s how it goes sometimes, though.  Often it’s as simple as not liking enough about the story or the characters to keep plodding along.

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What about the rest of you?  Do you have some DNF stories to tell?

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MONDAY SPARKS: BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS!

a bookish window seat-musings logo

Welcome to another Monday of Musing, hosted by Jenn, at A Daily Rhythm.  Check out the prompts:

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: How do you choose which books you read?

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I am very excited that tomorrow, my pre-order of Under the Influence, by Joyce Maynard, will come to live on Pippa, my Kindle.  I have been a fan of this author since I read her first book, published when she was a teenager:  Looking Back:  A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties.

Another favorite from her, which I still have on my bookshelves, is a somewhat controversial memoir:  At Home in the World, the story of her teenage relationship with J. D. Salinger.  Maynard does not steer away from difficult topics, and she reveals much of herself in the characters she creates in her fiction.

 

 

 

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Blurb:  The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship.

Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

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I know that I won’t be able to relegate this book to the bottom of the pile.  Some books just call out to be read immediately.

What are you musing about today?  As for how I pick my books, I choose from my list of favorite authors, as well as various books that I see on the blogs.  Books that are thrillers or those that reveal secrets in the relationships between the books’ characters.  Books about people that intrigue me.

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKISH THINGS — JUNE 24

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Welcome to another Musing Mondays, where the sparks can fly as we chat about bookish things.  Head on over to Should Be Reading to find out more.

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

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Right now, I am reading a memoir by Joyce Carol Oates called A Widow’s Story. 

widow's story

 

I bought the book two years ago, and it’s been resting comfortably on my stacks ever since.  I wanted to read it because it’s Joyce Carol Oates, and it’s a memoir about a very difficult and challenging time in her life.  I was curious about how she would show us what she experienced.  I was sure that she might have something important to share.

Here’s a part of the blurb that grabbed me:

In a work unlike anything she’s written before, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates unveils a poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of her husband of forty-six years and its wrenching, surprising aftermath.

“My husband died, my life collapsed.”

On a February morning in 2008, Joyce Carol Oates drove her ailing husband, Raymond Smith, to the emergency room of the Princeton Medical Center where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Both Joyce and Ray expected him to be released in a day or two. But in less than a week, even as Joyce was preparing for his discharge, Ray died from a virulent hospital-acquired infection, and Joyce was suddenly faced—totally unprepared—with the stunning reality of widowhood.

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Who among us hasn’t feared those infections that lurk in hospitals, the very places where we hope to find healing?  It is a grim reminder that medical facilities are also flawed, as well as places of care and nurturing.

As I read the book (I am halfway finished), I am captivated by the sheer honesty of the author as she shares her fears, her vulnerabilities, and how being alone has shaken her to her core.

As a bestselling author and the winner of numerous awards, I have never thought of JCO as anything but strong, independent, and able to handle anything.  I had never seen her as “needing” someone as much as she describes her need for her husband.  It lends an extra layer of humanity to someone who is one of the literary greats.

While the story is difficult, sad, and frightening at times, I am glad I am finally reading it.

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What is sparking your musings today?  Come on by and share your thoughts…and links.

 

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MONDAY SPARKS: MUSING ABOUT BOOKISH THINGS — FEB. 18

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Welcome to a Monday Sparks morning:  one in which we muse about bookish things.  Check out Should Be Reading for other participants.

Here are the choices for today:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

*NEW!*thanks to Caite, I’m adding a new weekly question to MM, and that is: Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

*NEW!*Caite also inspired me to add:  Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

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I do love the extra options added…and while it’s tempting to rant, I’m more in the mood to talk about my current read.

Evil at Heart is the third book in Chelsea Cain’s series about serial killer Gretchen Lowell.

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I’m participating in a Sequel Challenge this year, so the two books shown above were borrowed from my neighborhood library for that purpose.

It’s been quite awhile since I read the first two books in this series.  I checked my Curl up and Read blog, where I have been listing my books read, purchased, etc., since 2010…and it’s not there!  How I wish I’d started tracking my books sooner.

But it hasn’t taken me any time at all to get into the story, and the author gives us enough info to catch up, so even those who haven’t read the first two books can enjoy this one.

Gretchen Lowell is one of those elusive serial killers that took FOREVER to capture…and then she escaped.  I think she has escaped a couple of times already.  But the most eerie thing is that she now has fan clubs all over the place, and has become a cult hero.

What I don’t particularly enjoy…the grisly details at the crime scenes, as Gretchen seems to relish shocking those in pursuit.  And she has also developed an eerie relationship with one of the detectives who has been chasing her, and who captured her a couple of times:  Archie Sheridan.  Now resting comfortably in a psychiatric hospital.

Catch your interest?

What is sparking your intrigue on this Monday?  Hope you’ll stop by and chat…or rant.

My Neighborhood Library

My Neighborhood Library

 

MONDAY SPARKS: IGNITE YOUR DAY WITH SOME MUSINGS — JAN. 21

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Welcome to another Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading.

Here are some possible questions to ignite your morning:

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

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Today I’m going to talk about my reading habits.  I’m a bit obsessive/compulsive, so I like having visual images of the books I’m going to read next. 

First there are the lists.  And then I document what I plan to read at It’s Monday:  What Are You Reading?  It’s not as if I can’t change my plan, but it helps to have something in place.

Then I stack the books on my office coffee table, in order of my reading preference.  Again…I am not OCD to the extent that I can’t change things around.  In fact, yesterday I had a plan, but then started reading the first book and decided I didn’t want to read it….at least not now.

So I changed it up.

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Here’s an example of my visual stacks from a few months ago. 

What are your reading habits?  What helps your reading flow?

 

MONDAY SPARKS — MUSING — JULY 11

Good morning, and welcome to another Monday…a day that could spark your creativity.  Join in for Musing Mondays, hosted by Should Be Reading.

Do you think it makes you NOT (or less) “well-read” if there are certain genres that you won’t read because you KNOW you won’t enjoy them? Why?

That’s a good question.

I suppose that, in my opinion, “well-read” would mean that a person has read a wide variety of books, from the classics to contemporary; literary fiction and nonfiction; and that encompassing all genres might balance out into being “well-read.”

However, at this point in my life, having read other people’s choices through high school, college, and graduate school, what I read nowadays is what I enjoy.  I choose to read some literary fiction, a lot of women’s fiction, many memoirs, some mystery to spice things up….and no vampire stories.   I’m not a fan of YA, and also would have included “no paranormal” in that list, but last week, I did a brief foray into that genre, and realized that I have done so off and on over the years.

I guess that if the characters intrigue me, I can read almost anything.  I am a big fan of character-driven work.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorites:

Favorite Books in May:

FICTION:  Love You More (Lisa Gardner), Once Upon a Time There Was You (Elizabeth Berg)

FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOK:  I’m Over All That, by Shirley MacLaine

Favorite Books in June:

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK:   Tied Between The Midwife’s Confession (Diane Chamberlain), and The Violets of March (Sarah Jio)

FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOK:  Seducing the Demon, by Erica Jong

Favorite Books So Far in July:

The Little Women Letters, by Gabrielle Donnelly

In my younger years, I was a big fan of Daphne du Maurier and Ayn Rand.  I dabbled in Jane Austen, etc.  I no longer feel the need to go there.

What about you?  Any thoughts about what you enjoy and what constitutes being well-read?

MONDAY SPARKS — MUSING — JUNE 13

Welcome to another Monday Sparks, in which we do whatever is necessary to get the week “sparking.”

Today’s event is Musing Mondays,  hosted by Should Be Reading.  Here is her prompt:

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?

That happens to be especially relevant this week, as I did literally stay up half the night reading The Midwife’s Confession.  (Click the title for the review).   Loved it!

It’s one of those books with a bit of drama, a lot of secrets, and a mystery that helps us discover what’s going on.

What about you?  What kept you up all night?  I hope you’ll stop by and share.