July and August, 2014


64 Dollbaby Laura Lane McNeal
65 Love Me Back Merritt Tierce
66 Neverhome Laird Hunt
67 2 A.M. The Cat's Pajamas Marie-Helene Bertino
68 Cop Town Karn Slaughter
69 World of Trouble Ben H. Winters
70 Painted Horses Malcolm Brooks
71 California Edan Lepucki
72 Falling From Horses Molly Glass
73 The Daughters of Mars Thomas Keneally
74 Eight Black Horses Ed McBain

I'm really behind in my recommendations.  As you can see I'm not getting as much reading in as I normally do, life is very busy.  Since reading is just about my first love, I'm going to try to stick with this blog.

The books I loved from these list are The Daughters of Mars, Falling From Horses, Painted Horses and World of Trouble.  I loved each of them.

The books I really liked and would strongly suggest are Neverhome, 2 A.M. The Cat's Pajamas, and California.

You'll need to look at BN.com to see if you want to read them, but I think these seven books are great.
What are you reading?

June 2014 Reads

53 Carved in Bone Jefferson Bass
54 Under One Roof Barry Martin
55 The Painter Peter Heller
56 The High Divide Lin Enger
57 The Wolf Lorenzo Carcaterra
58 Sons and Princes James Lapore
59 The Fifth Man  James Lapore
60 Rooms Lauren Oliver
61 Third Rail Rory Flynn
62 The Right Thing Amy Conner
63 Go With Me Castle Freeman Jr.

 Carved in Bone is the first book I've read by Jefferson Bass.  I really enjoyed it.  Maybe because I'm a big fan of NCIS and CSI and Kathy Reichs, but I recommend it, the writing was really good.

Under One Roof:  Lessons I Learned From a Tough Old Woman In a Little Old House by Barry Martin.  This is a memoir about a friendship that grew out of what could have been adversarial circumstances.  Martin was the head of a construction project to build a huge mall, and Edith, the Old Woman, lived in a little house, in the way of progress.  Martin was determined to make the mall building as easy on Edith as possible.  He really set the bar high for himself and his men.  The is a fantastic read.

I read everything by Peter Heller and Lin Enger I can get my hands on.  The two I read this month did not disappoint.  These two are great writers and they don't write the same stories, over and over.  Just pick up one of their books, you won't be disappointed.

The Wolf by Lorenzo Carcaterra, is an unusual take on crime families.  The plot boils down to organized crime vs. terrorist.  While reading, I learned a lot I didn't know about these two factions.  Plus, The Wolf is a great story.

I read two more by James Lapore, Sons and Princes and The Fifth Man.  His writing is compelling and the books are hard to put down.  I recommend reading them in order, but that's up to you.

Rory Flynn, who wrote Third Rail is a debut author, the story takes off from page one and culminates in a startling finale.  It's a cop tale well worth reading.

What are you reading?

BEA, Book Expo America 2014

I had a wonderful time at Book Expo this year.  To be fair, I always have a wonderful time, otherwise I wouldn't attend.  I go on my own dime, so to be fair, I need to have a good time.

The highlight for me is the books.  Sure, I like meeting authors, afterall they write books, one of my favorite things, but books really do it for me.

I shipped home 107 pounds of books; three boxes stuffed full.  That translates to 116 books.  These photos don't show all of them, some flew to new homes before I could get the rest organized for photos.  Here's a collage of the books that stayed here.

Ten hardcovers, but the rest were ARC's, Yay!  The kids books on the left and left center of the bottom row, will be donated to Bob's old station, where they have a Free Library for they children who end up at the police station.
What are you reading?

May 2014 Reads

A girl can't have too many books ...

38 Sweet Thunder  Ivan Doig
39 Cold In July  Joe R. Landsdale 
40 Never Tell  Alafair Burke
41 Coop  Michael Perry
42 All He Saw Was The Girl  Peter Leonard
43 Moscow Sting  Alex Dryden
44 All The Pretty Horses  Cormac McCarthy
45 Family Life  Akhil Sharma
46 Driftless  David Rhodes
47 Cypress Grove  James Sallis
48 The Bat  Jo Nesbo
49 Until Proven Guilty  J. A. Nance
50 The Day The World Came To Town  Jim Defede
51 Mystic River  Dennis Lehane
52 The World I Never Made  James Lapore

While I was on my six week vacation I read  28 books, it was easy to do without the "every day" distractions.  All the reading was on my nook e-reader. It's impossible to carry so many books with me, unless I'm on a road trip, even then it'd be iffy.

I purposely downloaded three of my all time favorite reads, All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, Driftless by David Rhodes and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane.  It had been at least five years since I'd read each of these and a long vacation was the perfect time to savor them.  There are so many new books, it's easy to not re-visit these favorites, but with each one I was swallowed into the great writing.

The two non-fiction from this list are outstanding. Coop by Michael Perry, is a memoir of growing up and living in rural Wisconsin.  This quote from Publisher's Weekly explains Coop's charm much better than I can:  "Perry (Population: 485) is that nowadays rare memoirist whose eccentric upbringing inspires him to humor and sympathetic insight instead of trauma mongering and self-pity. His latest essays chronicle a year on 37 acres of land with his wife, daughters and titular menagerie of livestock (who are fascinating, exasperating personalities in their own right). But these luminous pieces meander back to his childhood on the hardscrabble Wisconsin dairy farm where his parents, members of a tiny fundamentalist Christian sect, raised him and dozens of siblings and foster-siblings, many of them disabled. Perry's latter-day story is a lifestyle-farming comedy, as he juggles freelance writing assignments with the feedings, chores and construction projects that he hopes will lend him some mud-spattered authenticity."

The other non-fiction is The Day The World Came To Town by Jim Defede.  This was recommended to me by friends who live in Australia.  It's a great small book about 9/11 and its aftermath.  America has a lot of air traffic and when the towers fell, we closed our airspace.  This book tells the story of Gander, Newfoundland, a small town with a big airport and a big heart.  38 planes were routed to Gander, adding more than 6,000 passengers and crew to this remote town.  >Gander residents responded as if good deeds were the main business of their lives. They housed the stranded passengers in their homes, fed them, clothed them, even provided impromptu entertainment.  Defede did some great research; I loved this small 256 page account of Gander and didn't want it to end.

Here are some brief notes about other reads from May.

Brilliantly capturing an America roaring into a new age, Sweet Thunder is another great tale from a classic American novelist. I’ve read everything Ivan Doig has written, I don’t think he could write a bad book.

Cold In July by Joe R. Lansdale is a remarkable suspense novel, full of darkness, humor, passion, and truth; it is an odyssey into the dark recesses of the human psyche. Cold in July will soon be a movie.

Here’s a quote from Suspense Magazine
“Never Tell is a great read. Alafair Burke writes a riveting story with a strong female protagonist.” It’s great to read about a strong woman character.

Moscow Sting by Alex Dryden is a very engaging fast-paced thriller. A great read

I really loved Cypress Grove by James Sallis. A small town sheriff asks a retired detective for help on a case that’s way above his pay grade. Turner, the detective, also happens to be an ex-con. This well written tale makes for some great reading.

In The Bat by Jo Nesbø is the initial Harry Hole novel, but it wasn’t released in America, until this year. This is a great series about Hole, pronounced Ho-Ly, a quirky Norwegian detective. If you haven’t read the series, start with this one. You won’t be sorry.

The World I Never Made by James Lepore is an atmospheric novel of suspense with brilliantly drawn characters and back-stories as compelling as the plot itself. It is the kind of novel that resonates deeply and leaves its traces long after you turn the final page.

There you have it, the books I hope my readers will read and love.
What are you reading?

April 2014 Reads

25 The Last Winter of Dani Lancing P.D. Viner
26 A Drink Before the War Dennis Lehane
27 Darkness, Take My Hand Dennis Lehane
28 Sacred Dennis Lehane
29 Gone, Baby, Gone Dennis Lehane
30 Prayers For Rain Dennis Lehane
31 The Cold Song  Linn Ullmann
32 One Hard Man  Brad Thor
33 All The Birds, Singing  Evie Wyld
34 Switchblade  Michael Connelly
35 Local Souls  Allan Gurganus
36 Four Corners of the Sky  Michael Malone
37 7 Grams of Lead  Keith Thomson 

Before I left on vacation I re-read the five book series featuring Kenzie and Gennaro by Dennis Lehane,  I read them in order, just as I read them when they were published.  Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors and I like to revisit every so often.  If you haven't read Lehane, I highly recommend him.

I think my favorite, "new to me" book on this list was Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone.  It's a road trip story, it's about family, it's funny, it's about family, forgiveness, and moving on.  I really like it.

This month I read some "action" books and loved each one.  These are great summer reads:  One Hard Man by Brad Thor, Switchblade by Michael Connelly, and 7 Grams of Lead by Keith Thomson.
What are you reading?

Book List


Six years ago, one of my Tai Chi students asked me to create a book list for her. She wanted a list of good books, fiction and non-fiction, so she could explore authors she wasn't familiar with. She specifically asked that the choices be more family oriented, rather than dark or profane. I've passed the list out to several others, so I thought I'd post it here, too. - I haven't updated this list because it's a good one; I hope you think so, too.

Yes, I've read all of these.

Book List

109 East Palace Jennet Conant
700 Sundays Billy Crystal
A Three Dog Life Abigail Thomas
A Useful Dog Donald McCaig
Alex & Me Irene Pepperberg
Augusta Locke William Haywood Henderson
Bastard Out of Carolina Dorothy Allison
Behind the Scenes at the Museum Kate Atkinson
Belong to Me Marisa de la Santos
Big Sid's Vincati Matthew Biberman
Blind Your Ponies Stanley Gordon West
Chronicler of the Winds Henning Mankell
Coal Run Tawni O'Dell
Dating Dead Men Harley Jane Kozak
Devil in the White City Erik Larson
Down Town Ferrol Sams
Dreams from my Father Barack Obama
Evidence of Things Unseen Marianne Wiggins
Forever Pete Hamill
Friday Night Lights H. G. Bissinger
Good Grief Lolly Winston
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford
In the Shadows of the Sun Alexander Parsons
Irreplaceable Stephen Lovely
Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
Little Bee Chris Cleave
Love and Other Impossible Pursuits Ayelet Waldman
Love Walked In Marisa de los Santos
Marley and Me John Grogan
My Antoinia Willa Cather
One Thousand White Women Jim Fergus
Outcast United Warren St. John
Peace Like a River Leif Enger
Same Sweet Girls Cassandra King
Sky Bridge Laura Pritchett
Sky Burial Xinran
Some Horses Thomas McGuane
Some of Tim's Stories S.E. Hinton
Stargirl Jerry Spinelli
The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein
The Color of Water James McBride
The Flying Troutmans Miriam Toews
The God of Animals Aryn Kyle
The Good Good Pig Sy Montgomery
The Guernsey Literary and Mary Ann Shaffer
Potato Peel Pie Society and Annie Barrows
The Longest Trip Home John Grogan
The Memory of Running Ron McLarty
The Mighty Queens of Freeville Amy Dickinson
The Opposite of Love Julie Buxbaum
The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
The Tender Bar J.R. Moehringer
The Undomestic Goddess Sophie Kensella
The Well and the Mine Gin Phillips
The Whistling Season Ivan Doig
Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson
The Life and Time of the Bill Bryson
Thunderbolt Kid, A Memoir
Turtle Warrior Mary Relindes Ellis
Undiscovered Country Lin Enger
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
We Bought a Zoo Benjamin Mee

What are you reading?

March 2014 Reads

18 The Flight of Gemma Hardy Margot Livesey
19 Everything I Never Told You Celeste Ng
20 The Rise and Fall of Great Powers Tom Rachman
21 Where Nobody Knows Your Name John Feinstein
22 I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You Courtney Maum
23 The Last Summer of the Camperdowns Elizabeth Kelly
24 To Rise Again At A Decent Hour Joshua Ferris

I read Tom Rachman's debut novel The Imperfectionist, in 2010, and loved it.  He did not disappoint with his next novel, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers.  Truthfully, the format of this story, jumping back and forth thru time, 2011, 1999, 2011, 1988, 1999, 2011, 1988, and it just keeps going, isn't my favorite way to read a novel; I'm glad I stuck with it, when I read the last page I told Bob, this was such a wonderful story.  The main character, Tooly, the American owner of a small Welsh bookstore believes she'll never understand the true story of her life.  She lived most of her formative years traveling the world in the company of non-relatives!  Hurry, read this book, it's really great.

I don't think there's a better sport writer than John Feinstein.  I'd read his books even if I didn't like sports.  His latest, Where Nobody Knows Your Name, is outstanding.  I'm a huge baseball fan and I even go to our local single A baseball games.  This book is about the players, coaches and umpires who toil in Triple A baseball, trying to get to Major League Baseball.  Prior to reading this, I'd never really thought about the huge impact of going up, then going down, sometimes many times, has on players, coaches and umpires.   Where Nobody Knows Your Name gives readers an intimate look at a baseball world not normally seen by the fans. John Feinstein gets to the heart of the human stories in a uniquely compelling way, crafting a masterful book that stands alongside his very best works.
What are you reading?
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