June 4, 2014

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?

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