Tuesday, July 24, 2012

6 Lists ~ 6 Months

I've seen these lists on a few blogs over the last few weeks and thought it would be fun to make my own list. The idea is to look over the books you've read in the first 6 months of 2012 and group them into a 6 lists with 6 books each.  On my lists there is some overlap - otherwise I wouldn't have read enough books to complete the lists.   This was fun.  Give it a try.

Six mysteries to solve:
1.  Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
2.  The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith
3.  The Philosophical Practioner
4.  The Innocent by David Baldacci
5.  Paper Doll by Robert Parker
6.  The Hunter by John Lescroart
Six books that took me back in time:
1.  Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick
2.  11/22/63 by Stephen King
3.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
4.  Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
5.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
6.  War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen
Six books that took me on a journey:
1.  Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
2.  Return to Exile by E.J. Patten
3.  Discovery of Jean Baret
4.  11/22/63 by Stephen King
5.  Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
6.  On Hitler's Mountain by Irmgard A. Hunt
Six authors I've read before:
1.  Louise Penny
2.  Terry Pratchett
3.  Fannie Flagg
4.  Philippa Gregory
5.  Alexander McCall Smith
6.  David Baldacci
Six books I read on my new e-reader:
1.  Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
2.  Promise Me Eternity by Ian Fox
3.  The Philosophical Practitioner by Larry Abrams
4.  The Ninth step by Barbara Taylor Sissel
5.  The Book of Lost Fragrances by  M.J. Rose
6.  On the Rim of Love by Marie Astor
Six books I enjoyed the most:
1.  Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
2.  11/22/63 by Stephen King
3.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
4.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows 
5.  Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie flagg
6.  Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock

by David Margolick

There are a couple of reason why I chose to read this book.

1.  My brother called one night and suggested that we do a family book club.  He thought that we could all read the same book and then when some of us get together we could discuss it.  Wow!  What a great idea.  We don't have to be limited to time and location to enjoy a book club as a family.  I was readily ready to get this activity going.  Mark had recently finished reading Elizabeth and Hazel and when he told me about it, we decided that would be our first book.
    I immediately emailed my siblings and my children and invited them to join us.  My daughter order the book and said she could see this book club taking place on several levels - me and my children might meet at different times than me and my siblings and the discussion could take place in two or three different settings.  Love this idea.

2.  A few years ago I attended the Book Festival at the Salt Lake City library.  I had an hour to kill before the book and author presentation I wanted to attend so I decided to grab a good seat in that room and listen to whatever was being presented.  I knew it was a lady that would be talking about the civil rights movement and I wasn't interested.  Jump to present day - I have no idea what the presentation I wanted to hear was but I remember well the presentation about the civil rights.  Carlotta Walls Lanier was one of the Little Rock Nine and wrote the book A Mighty Long Way:  My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.  I was so impressed with Carlotta.  She was dignified, sweet, and matter-of-fact.  She told the story in a way that wasn't filled with hateful, accusatory remarks about what happened to hear.  After her stirring remarks was a question and answer period where we learned some incredible things that I had never heard about.  One was that the governor of Arkansas closed all the schools in Little Rock the year after the Little Rock Nine so that the U.S. Government could not force the all white schools to accept blacks.  Carlotta received a standing ovation.  I cried as I shared parts of her story with my husband that night.  I cried 2 weeks later when I told my sister about the Little Rock Nine.

After that brief introduction as to why I chose to read this book, let's talk about the book.  The picture on the front cover is of Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan.  The picture on the bottom of the cover also shows Elizabeth and Hazel back in 1958.
Elizabeth, the 16-year-old black girl, was walking into Little Rock High School while other students and parents yelled and pestered her.  Hazel is the 16-year-old white girl yelling so hatefully at Elizabeth.  The book tells their stories.  Both were victims of the deep South way of thinking and the time period in which they lived.  There were lots of times I found myself feeling grateful that I wasn't raised in the south.  Or in Nazi Germany, or any other place where children are indoctrinated with such hate for other human beings.  I would hope that I wouldn't have been so hateful and prejudice but if I'd been taught that way all my life I probably wouldn't have behaved any differently than Hazel did.  I felt empathy and sympathy for both.

That said, my heart was ripped open by what Elizabeth had to endure that day.  The other 8 black students were contacted to meet and they would go together to school, but Elizabeth didn't get the message.  So she rode the city bus and then walked the rest of the way to school herself.  When she tried to enter the school the guardsmen would not let her enter so she was forced to walk to the bus stop and wait for the next bus to take her home.  Reading this account is chilling.

This is definitely a book worth reading and I hope my children will read it.  Now I need to get my hands of Carlotta's book.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Philosophical Practioner

by Larry Abrams

It was the title that captured my interest.  I read a NetGalley book on my Kindle so I didn't get to see the picture - it would have intrigued me as well.

The main character, Eric, is a very likable man who helps people with their problems from a philosophical standpoint rather than emotional one.  I kind of like that idea.  He doesn't have many clients because most people have no clue what he does.

One day a woman walks into he office and tells him she's going to kill someone.  Mistakenly, he thinks she wants him to talk her out of it.  She doesn't.  On her second or third visit to his office she informs him that he is the person she is going to kill but first he needs to find out who Clara Thompson is.

What a good come-on.  It was original, creative, and tempting; so I kept reading.  The format allowed the author to use a lot of his philosophy training.  That wasn't a bad thing, in fact, it was quite interesting, but I did grow a little tired of it.

I mentioned that I really liked Eric.  He was smart as well as wise which led me to question why he loved a woman who was more interested in being famous than in sharing his practical life-style.  I guess there's no accounting for love but this couple were totally mismatched.

I would have liked a little more of the suspense and mystery dealing the female killer - some nail-biting.  The author did sneak in a surprise moment and that was fun.  I had to reread it to make sure I got it right.  Applauds for that.  All in all, this was a fun and worthwhile read.

This book will be in stores Aug 3, 2012.

 ** I received a free copy of The Philosophical Practitioner from Telemachus Press and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I haven't been tagged in ages, so I was thrilled when LibraryBaby tagged me for the Liebster Blog Award.  Not sure what liebster means but it sounds like it should have something to do with books, libraries, etc.

To be eligible you must be a book blogger with less than 200 followers and keep up with your blog decently. Rules of the tag: share 11 facts about yourself, answer 11 questions the person tagging you asked, and then create 11 questions for the 11 people that you tag to answer.

You may be interested to read a little history about the Liebster Blog Awards at Sopphey Says.  According to her it has morphed through the years.  Originally, you only tagged 3 people -- no questions and answers or facts about the person receiving the award.  Who knows where the 11 facts, 11 questions answered and 11 questions for taggees entered the scene?  Interesting changes in just 2 years time.  I also discovered that liebster had nothing to do with books.  In German, liebster means favorite, beloved, dearest.

11 Random Facts About Me
1.  I have been married for 39 years to the same man.
2.  I am a mother to 4 girls and 2 grandkids.
3.  My basement flooded when I was on a car trip to St. John's, Newfoundland.  We were 3595 miles away from home.
 4.  I love to travel but hate the long waits at the airport.  Favorite way to travel is in the car with my husband driving.
5.  I like to sew quilt tops, collect quilt patterns, cook, collect recipes, x-stitch, tole paint, spend time on Pinterest, play games, work on genealogy, dabble in my garden, and read.
6.  My favorite author is Louis Penny.
7.  I've just started learning about and using essential oils.  I have made my own deodorant and face cleanser.  
8.  I am a retired biology and study skills teacher.
9.  I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters.
10. Before I die I would like to visit all 50 states and all 13 Canadian provinces/territories.  Only 4 states to go (Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana & Montana) and 6 provinces/territories (NU, NT, YT, AB, SK, MB.)
11.  My current favorite games are Hand & Foot (a variation of Canasta) and Settlers of Catan on the computer.

Questions Asked of Me
1.  What is your favorite thing about reading and books?  I like learning while being entertained.  And I often feel gratitude that there are people who are so imaginative and gifted and who are willing to share that with others in their stories and poetry.
2.  E-books or regular books?  Either one.  I like to be able to put bookdarts in regular books and then pull them off the shelves and reread those marked passages but I do like the 'lightness' of ebooks.
3.  Did you have encyclopedias at home when you were a child?  My daughter and I were talking about this just the other day.  We had 2 or 3 different sets - we had to keep current.
4.  What is your favorite kind of music?  Favorite?  That's hard.  I don't listen to a lot but I like some western, some Canadian/Maritime province music, some folk, instrumental, a few movie/Broadway titles, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and really good vocal harmonies.
5.  Where would you most like to visit?  Some of my ancestors came from Randers, Denmark.  I would love to go there.
6.  What is your favorite season?  I like spring when it starts to warm up after winter but I LOVE fall when it begins to cool down again and the harvest is providing such luscious fruits & vegetables and the leaves are so pretty.
7.  Pirate ninjas or ninja pirates?  I must be too old...
8.  Jimmy John’s or Quiznos?  I've never tried either one but I do like Gandalfo's. 
9.  Least favorite genre to read?  Westerns or romance
10.  Coffee or tea? Or espresso?  Is hot chocolate an option?  Don't drink the others.
11.  Are you a morning person or a night owl?  No question - I'm a night owl.

Questions for My Taggees to Answer
1.  What is a TV show/series that you wish had not been canceled?
2.  Romance or Historical?
3.  What hobbies do you have in addition to reading?
4.  What is your favorite holiday?
5.  Cookbook or Health & Fitness?
6.  Where do you read the most?
7.  Why did you start blogging?
8.  Biography or Self-Help?
9.  Any quirky reading habits?
10. Fantasy or Mystery?
11.  Which do you prefer - the beginning or the end of a story?

I'm going to revert back to the original idea of only tagging 3 people for this award.  I know there are many people who don't like to do these 'chain-letter-like' activities.  If I tag you and you don't want to do this, don't.  It won't hurt my feelings at all.  I totally understand that life is busy.

I tag
1.  Katie from KatesBookClub.  This is my daughter, who does awesome video reviews.  She may have well over 200 subscribers/followers but that rule wasn't in the original award rules either so I'm dismissing it.

2.  Zibilee from Raging Bibliomania - a long time fellow book blogger/friend.

3.  Susan from You Can Never Have Too Many Books - another long time book blogger/friend who likes ginger cookies, which our my favorite.  Susan, do you have a good recipe?  I'm on the hunt for the best recipe for ginger snaps.

Monday, July 09, 2012


by Stephen King

I've only read 2 books by Stephen King and the first one I didn't love.  My daughter recommended The Talisman thinking I would like it but I didn't.  So when my sister and brother recommended this I was more than a little hesitant.  As they presented their reasons for liking it and the basic premise of the book, I became interested.

What they didn't tell me was what a chunkster it is - 850 pages!  I pulled it down off the top shelf at the library and groaned.  Luckily, it was enjoyable to read and so it didn't seem so terribly long.

John Epping is a thirty-five-year-old English teacher, who is roped into helping a local diner owner with his obsession to save JFK from being killed more than 40-years ago.  Al's Diner has a time-travel-worm-hole that takes him back in time to the year 1958.  Of course, Epping becomes intrigued with the idea and decides to take the plunge in hopes of changing the past and make the future a better place.

I must say, "King is quite the storyteller."  He has quite the imagination and the ability to vividly share it with the reader.  I loved his take on time travel and the idiosyncratic problems Epping encountered.  King masterfully depicted life in the late 50's and early 60's, which also added to my enjoyment of the story.  I was in 7th grade when Kennedy was assassinated so I felt transported in time, too.

One quote to share is all - Jack Epping is talking:
I'd made the stupid assumption that people were going to approach the Cuban Missile Crisis much like any other temporary international dust-up, because by the time I went to college, it was just another intersection of names and dates to memorize for the next prelim.  That's how things look from the future.  To people in the valley (the dark valley) of the present, they look different.
Has anyone else read this?  What did you think?  I liked it.  A lot.