Some of My Favorite Books

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

If you love reading books with a good story that's well written, that's fresh and unpredictable, pick up Martha Woodroof's debut novel Small Blessings.

While reading this book, I felt like this woman-of-a-certain-age (she's in her sixties and this is her first published novel! I love that!) had saved up some wisdom gained from living and shared it with us, her readers.

The random people and events might seem unbelievable in another writer's hands but this author lends enough "truth is stranger than fiction" to the circumstances that they fall happily into place.

Book Read:  Small Blessings
Author:  Martha Woodroof

Friday, January 23, 2015

Andrea Martin's Lady Parts

I finished reading the memoir Andrea Martin's Lady Parts and it was a hoot! 

I had heard of Andrea Martin but didn't realize she is the actor who played some of the roles she did. Like Aunt Voula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (What do you mean you don't eat no meat? That's okay. I fix you lamb.) Yeah, her!

This book was really a book of essays about different parts of her life, such as her time on SCTV, why she flies to Atlanta to get her hair cut, and her astrologer. All of it was interesting and some even sort of serious but much was fun and funny and a great glimpse into the life of a celebrity who is so funny.

Book Read:  Andrea Martin's Lady Parts
Author:  Andrea Martin

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom is a wonderful writer and she shines with her novel Lucky Us.

This story is a bit different, told mostly from Eva's point of view. When the story begins, Eva is a child and it runs through her crazy, unstable life into her twenties. Even though she is the younger sister to step-sister Iris, Eva holds things together in their desperate little family.

To give you a taste of Amy Bloom's fabulous writing, here's one sentence that made me stop and read it again and again:

My father's illness became a long, bumpy, terrible road
to a place we didn't want to go, 
except that the road itself was so awful, 
we couldn't wait to get there.

Lucky Us: A Novel

Who hasn't felt this with a sick loved one? Wow. I want to write like that!

For a great story full of wonderful twists and turns (some painful, a few joyful) and beautiful writing, Lucky Us is a sure thing.

Book Read:  Lucky Us
Author:  Amy Bloom

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Must Say, My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short

Well, I am a die hard Martin Short fan and my kids know this. My son gave me I Must Say, My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short (with some other dude, which makes me wonder how that went down. Did Marty actually write any of this book? I don't really care because I can hear him loud and clear. What I bet happened is he carried a tape recorder around with him and just talked and the other dude wrote it out. That's what I think, but I have not a clue!). Okay, I just looked on Amazon, and there is no other dude. I must have dreamed that part. Duh.

Any hoo, the book my son gave me is signed, don't ya know! I think that's most excellent!

But back to the book! 

It's a memoir of the finest order. Lots of dirty little details about Short's life that you just love to read about. Tons of names are dropped. Quite a bit of jokes and gags. Plenty of cussing. Embarrassing factoids emerge. I loved it!

I laughed (reading about my favorite Martin Short character Mr. Ed Grimley), I cried (reading about his losses of his brother, his parents, and his wife), and I loved this book so much that I think I'll read it again. And maybe even again. It's that good.

The one thing from reading some of the rave reviews on Amazon was that one person said the audio book was hilarious. I bet it is! 

Book Read:  I Must Say, My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend
Author:  Martin Short

Friday, January 2, 2015

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Well, I have to say, I don't think Chris Bohjalian can write a bad book. I finished reading Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands last night and like the rest of his novels, I was sad for this story to end. Unlike the rest of his stories, or maybe not depending on the book, this one started off sad. 

Emily Shepard's parents are killed when the nuclear plant where they both worked blows up. She's left an orphan and chooses to runaway from her town and her life.

The story is told by Emily (who calls herself Abby to protect her identity) so the writing was certainly different. Totally different. How did this man write like a teenage girl so well? Who knows, but he did.

I was surprised to learn where the title came from (you have to read to nearly the end), but the words close your eyes and hold hands is fitting in this sort of doomsday novel.

Book Read:  Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
Author:  Chris Bohjalian

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I finished reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult the other day but like you, I've been a tad busy the past few days. So, tonight I decided to post about this wonderful book. 

I have read almost all of Picoult's novels and have loved them all. While I'm reading one of her books, I get sucked into the story and wonder how in the world she can write so eloquently and thoroughly on such diverse topics, but she always does.

Leaving Time's main themes are elephants and psychics. I won't spoil the storyline by divulging much more here other than to say that she handles these topics so well that I was really surprised at the way this novel ends but not in a bad way. It was believable and so well done.

Book Read:  Leaving Time
Author:  Jodi Picoult

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


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