Some of My Favorite Books

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Benediction by Kent Haruf

I heard of the passing of author Kent Haruf on November 30 and went to the library to find one of his books I hadn't read. I found Benediction and finished it yesterday. This novel revolved around Dad Lewis who was dying of cancer in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado. This book was doubly sad because of Mr. Haruf having just died.

Reading parts of this book made me feel like I was reliving when my own dad died several years ago. This is never an easy time and the author brought the act of dying to life, from all perspectives. 

Kent Haruf wrote Plainsong, Eventide, and several other books. If you haven't had the pleasure, pick one up and enjoy. I heard Mr. Haruf speak in Denver at a book signing years ago and he had to be one of the kindest and most gentle people I have ever come across. This was true in person and in his writing.

Book Read:  Benediction
Author:  Kent Haruf

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shots Fired by C.J. Box

I've been reading C.J. Box's novels about a Wyoming game warden named Joe Pickett for years, but I have to say I really enjoyed Shots Fired, a collection of short stories. The title story is the last story in the book, and even though I liked it, I liked several other stories even better.

A couple that really stood out were The End of Jim and Ezra and Pronghorns of the Third Reich. Box introduced each short story at the beginning of the book, and I made a point of reading each introduction before reading the story. 

To introduce "Jim and Ezra" the author said that a bookseller encouraged him to write a historical novel based on these two characters. I'd read it!

For Pronghorns of the Third Reich, Box used an actual photograph as inspiration for the story, which is included at the end of the short story. But as he says, no looking ahead at the photo. Very cool!

C.J. Box generally writes about Wyoming, but I've read another of his standalone novels Three Weeks to Say Goodbye that was just as good. It was set mostly in Denver. Since I lived there most of my adult life, it's always fun to read about familiar locales.

Do you like reading all of an authors' books? I have lots to catch up on of the Joe Pickett novels!

Book Read:  Shots Fired
Author:  C.J. Box

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe

Okay, this was the first book by Jonathan Coe that I've read, and I'm a fan! 

This novel is set in 1958 mostly in Belgium where the World Fair (the Expo) was held, but also in England where Thomas Foley, the main character of this funny, tongue-in-cheek in many places book lived.

One thing that sold me on Expo 58 was the recommendation by Nick Hornby. He's a great writer and when he said "The best English novelist of his generation" about Coe, I figured I couldn't go wrong.

Expo 58 almost felt like a fairy tale at times in the telling of this story of a man (Foley) who was recruited to oversee a bar erected at the Expo for the British government. 

The subtle subplots (the most understated spy drama I've ever seen!) all come together at the end and though I hadn't exactly figured them out, they all made perfect sense.

Read it. Bet you'll love it, too.

Book Read:  Expo 58
Author:  Jonathan Coe

Friday, November 14, 2014

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

What a great book! I just finished We Are Water by Wally Lamb and am so sad that it ended. I mean, I know.  A book has to end, but dang, this novel was just so good. I caught myself this past week going and getting it from my nightstand and reading it for 5 or 10 minutes. I loved it! Just like all of his other books.

This book spanned time but kept the train on track so well. I don't need to go into it, I don't think. If you love good fiction that reads like real life, pick up We Are Water. 

That is all.

Book Read:  We Are Water
Author:  Wally Lamb

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Arsonist by Sue Miller

Well, I really enjoyed reading The Arsonist by Sue Miller but was a tad put off by the ending. For one thing, I couldn't quite get around to finishing it for days. I got really sleep several evenings and had to go to sleep instead of finishing the last 50 pages, so I felt a little underwhelmed when I finally did finish this novel.

Set in the 1980s, The Arsonist dealt with a small town in New Hampshire where lots of summer residents came to live among the regular townsfolk. I felt like I knew who might be the arsonist about half way through the book, but nope, that person was never mentioned as a likely culprit. At all. Hmmm. 

I hate to give away who I thought it was, but if anyone has an opinion, I'd love to hear it! And I'm open to revealing it in the comments. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? I was let down, I guess, in several ways with the way the story ended.

Book Read:  The Arsonist
Author:  Sue Miller

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I finished reading Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel When I Found You today. this was an interesting book, alternating between Nathan McCann and Nat Bates as the narrators. McCann finds a baby (who is later named for him, Nat) in the woods and wants to be part of the boy's life. And he does, in some surprising ways.

I enjoyed this book and it was the first I'd read by this author. I had listened to the audio book of her novel Pay It Forward, which was later made into a movie. 

Book Read:  When I Found You
Author:  Catherine Ryan Hyde

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I woke up this morning with only about 30 pages left to read in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr so I made a pot of coffee and took a cup back to bed and finished this wonderful novel.

This novel is set in Europe during World War II and alternates mostly between two characters:  Werner Pfennig, an orphaned German boy in his teens who's a wizard at radios and electronics and Marie-Laure, a blind French girl of about the same age who lives with her father in Paris then in Saint-Malo with her great uncle.

The story is so rich and detailed and lovely even though it's basically about a horrible time in history. Please read it. You're in for a treat.

Book Read:  All the Light We Cannot See
Author:  Anthony Doerr


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