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Monday, September 1, 2014

New Book Group and July & August Recap

Well hello September! You sure crept up on me.

In fact, so did August. I never did do a recap for July.

But before I get into my recap, I want to let you all know that R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, CT has a new mystery/thriller book group starting up this month that I'll be facillitating.

Our first meeting is Wednesday, September 17th at 7pm and we'll discuss Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.

If you live in the area I hope you'll join us!

Have you read anything by William Kent Krueger? Ordinary Grace will be my first by him. I've heard nothing but good things about his novels from other readers and bloggers like Jennifer over at the Relentless Reader who reviewed Ordinary Grace last summer.

Now, on to the recap. Links go to my reviews. I have plans to review unlinked books, but we'll see how that goes. Pre- and post- vacation threw me out of my routine and I'm hoping to be back in the saddle with my projects this week.

Here's what I read in July and August

Fiction:

  • The Quick by Lauren Owen -- Touted as the literary vampire novel of the year. Decent plot, got off to a good start, but I thought the story fizzled out towards the end.
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara -- So glad to have finally read this one. Caught me a bit of a Civil War bug with this one.
  • The Bone Seeker by M.J. McGrath -- Solid mystery novel, a good read. Review copy.
  • This is the Water by Yannick Murphy --  Interesting thriller both in form and content. Review copy.
  • Steel Magnolias by Roberty Harling -- If you liked the movie, read the play. It left me jonesing to see a stage production.
  • Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little -- Did the starlet who spent 10 years in the slammer for murdering her mother really kill her mother? I didn't really care, but I enjoyed reading this one. Fresh narrative voice. Review copy.
  • Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie -- Released date 9/23/14. Historical fiction about the men behind the printing of the Gutenberg Bible(s). Look for review on 9/11. Review copy.

Nonfiction:

  • Born on the 4th of July by Ron Kovic -- I was curious about this book ever since I saw the movie in 1989. So glad to have finally read it. It's a brilliant time capsule of the Vietnam era and a combat veteran's experience of dealing with and healing his war wounds.
  • Women Heroes of World War I by Kathyrn J. Atwood -- YA history. Excellent reading for teens and adults. If you want to read something about women and WWI, this is a solid jumping off point. Review copy.
  • Death in the Baltic: The World War II Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff by Cathyrn J. Prince -- I always thought the Titanic was the worst maritime disaster and never heard of about this tragedy where over 9,000 civilians died when the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed by a Russian sub in the Baltic toward the end of WWII. Fascinating subject matter, but the editing could have been stronger.

Currently Reading:

  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny -- If you're not yet reading Louise Penny stop denying yourself! Get thee to the library and check out Still Life, the first Chief Inspector Gamache mystery.
  • The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin -- I'm not crazy about the title. "Thinking Straight" brings to mind the scared straight programs of the 90s or conversion therapy, but I enjoying reading about the science of thinking and strategies for self improvement.
  • Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols -- Listening to the audio version. I already know how important being around water is for me, so Nichols is preaching to the choir in my case. After all, my wife and I spent over two years working three jobs each to make our move to the Connecticut shoreline happen, and we live down the road from a lake. Water makes us happy, that's for sure. Granted, it hasn't made me a better blogger as I've spent more time in the water than blogging this summer, but maybe in the long run it'll help make me a better writer. :)  Did you know water sports are being used to help people with addictions and PTSD? Lots of good stuff in this book.
So, what have you been reading? Are there any stand out novels or nonfiction studies you'd like to recommend?

6 comments:

  1. wow congrats on leading this book discussion!
    Looking forward to what you have to say on Gutenberg's apprentice, and guess what? am almost done with Still Life, finally hooked to that series. Am listening to it, great narrator, have not checked yet, I hope he is the same for the whole series. here is my recap: http://wordsandpeace.com/2014/08/30/2014-august-wrap-up/

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    1. I am so happy to hear you're hooked! Penny gets better with each book. Now off to check out your recap...

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  2. I love the WKK cover and it would be enough to get me to read it or at least grab it off the shelf! Unfortunately, I never finished Killer Angels, but I should go back and read it! And I'm with you on Thinking Straight, but it sounds like a subject matter I would enjoy (and have enjoyed recently).

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    1. It is a beautiful cover. Ordinary Grace also won the Edgar for best novel so that along with all the praise is making me really look forward to it. I'm just pages into The Organized Mind but will probably blog about it in the near future.

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  3. I just finished my first Louise Penny novel this weekend, The Brutal Telling, and I really enjoyed it! I need to go back to the earlier novels now before I pick up the new release.

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    1. Yay! So glad you enjoyed it! It took me three tries to get into Still Life (the first book), but I'm so glad I stuck it out and listened to my wiser friends and read on. Penny does such an amazing job with character development. I wonder if Still Life will be better read for you since you'll have some familiarity with the characters.

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