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Audio Books Galore May 1, 2018

Posted by Mary in Adventure, Audio, Biographies, Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Suspense, Thoughtful Ramblings, Thrillers, Uncategorized, Women's Fiction.
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If you are looking for ways to fit more books into your life, audio books is a great way to do it.  You can listen anywhere.  Many prefer to listen while driving or exercising.  I prefer to listen while knitting or doing housework.  Others have shared with me that they listen while working on a puzzle.  I would like to invite you to join us at the library to listen to The Essential Agatha Christie Stories on Monday mornings in May at 11AM.  It’s a small gathering in our Community room, seated around a puzzle, fresh cup of coffee in hand & tasty cookie, while a central speaker broadcasts some good mysteries as if it were long ago. Sounds pretty relaxing, eh?  Not available to join us, keep in mind, Spring is in the air. Maybe you are finding yourself outdoors more often, possibly gardening or walking. Why not catch up on your reading while enjoying the outdoors with an audio book.  Below are some recommended titles.  Give it a try!

 

AUDIO BOOKS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by [Duhigg, Charles]

The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by [Winfrey, Oprah]

AUDIO BOOKS THAT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD

BEST NARRATED AUDIO BOOKS

THE LATEST AND GREATEST AUDIO PICKS

(GET YOURSELF ON THE HOLD LIST ASAP)

 

 

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Kate’s Top Ten of 2017 December 15, 2017

Posted by kate in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2017, Uncategorized, Women's Fiction.
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Schoolwork has been taking up most of my time this year but as soon as finals are over I plan to catch up on some reading. Here are the one’s I plan on starting the year with:

life The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

turtles all the way down Turtles All the Way Down  by John Green

index Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

beartowb Beartown by Fredrik Backman

one of us is lying One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

since we fell Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

camino island Camino Island by John Grisham

heartbreak hotel Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman

swimming lessons Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

breakdown The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

 

 

-Kate

Beth’s Top 10 for 2017 December 14, 2017

Posted by Beth in Fiction, New Books, Non-Fiction, Top Ten, Top Ten of 2017, Women's Fiction.
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10

today will be different

Lovable characters

9

8

7

my not so perfect life
Very entertaining

6

5

4

ignore it.jpg

My go-to parenting manual for the terrible twos.

3

2

kind worth killing

Enjoyable page turner

1

whale in my pool

My kid’s favorite book.

 

 

Latest Additions April 18, 2016

Posted by Beth in Fiction, Women's Fiction.
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Spring is in full bloom here in Cleveland and it is just lovely. With the exception of raising my baby and working full-time, I’ve called off all of my other responsibilities to ensure that I have enough time to take my little one on walks, play outside, and help her discover the beauty of nature.  There are still so many things in this world that are brand new to her, and it’s so inspiring to watch her discover these things.

Watching my child learn and grow helps remind me that we are always learning and growing, even as adults. One great way to expand your mind is to read, so here are some titles we have recently reviewed for the Reading Room.  Check them out and maybe you’ll pick up some new knowledge or inspiration.

blood salt water

lilac

parasite

shameless

nest.jpg

 

Happy reading!

Beth

 

It’s Ladies Day! -in Women’s Fiction June 9, 2015

Posted by stacey in Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Women's Fiction.
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We recently spent some time thinking about the lives of women and focusing on their relationships with family, friends, and loves -or- we talked about Women’s Fiction! Either way you think about it?It’s true! I think it was a pretty successful discussion with positive responses all around, why not see what you think of what we read?

Maureen: The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister is an absorbing historical debut that takes readers into the world of traveling magic shows in America around 1900. The main character, known as the Amazing Arden, has just been apprehended after a dead man is discovered beneath the stage of her show. The story unfolds backwards as Arden tells her life story to the deputy that catches her and explains how she came to be one of the only female illusionists of her time. Her life is full of heartbreak, love, suspense, and the thrill of performing. Will it turn out that Arden is the perpetrator of the murder? Just who is the mysterious man found dead beneath the stage? A compelling historical novel with a very strong female character that perseveres in the face of many obstacles and learns what she is really made of in the process.

Megan: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters is the story of Olivia Mead, a headstrong teen living in Oregon in 1900. While Olivia is drawn to the suffragist movement and dreams of going to college, her father wants his daughter to be a docile wife and mother. He attempts to silence her by hiring a stage illusionist to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. The experiment has unexpected results. While Olivia is no longer able to speak her mind, she is able to see people’s true natures. The horrifying visions lead her back to the mysterious mesmerist and boost her resolve to fight for women’s rights. A captivating historical fiction with a hint of romance and a touch of the supernatural.

Beth: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison is a beautifully written story about a resilient female character who overcomes her past and finds the courage to take on her future. The story delves into some of the most sensitive, often disturbing, issues we face as a culture, including racism, pedophilia, and rape, all of which play some role in the main character’s life, shaping her into a strong female icon.

Carol: In The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos, Taisy has been estranged from her father Wilson, ever since he left their family to start a new one when she was a high school senior. Sixteen years later, she can’t seem to say ‘no’ when the unabashedly conceited Wilson asks her to write her memoir. The by-product of Wilson’s second marriage is his spoiled and beloved teenage daughter, the precocious Willow. Willow adores their father, but is less than thrilled when Taisy moves into the pool house to begin her research. Worse still is that Willow, who’s been homeschooled all her life, has been enrolled in public school. Desperate for some help with navigating through unchartered waters, Willow might just find that she’s glad Taisy is there after all. This novel about sisterhood, family, love and second chances is a quick read with a happy ending that would make for great beach reading.

Emma: In The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee, Portia has a magical way with food. Just like her grandmother, she knows exactly what to cook/bake to help people. Portia and her two sisters inherited a dilapidated brownstone in Manhattan. Her sisters quickly sold their apartments to wealthy widow Gabriel Kane who renovates the apartments and lives there with his two teenage daughters. Newly divorced Portia decides to leave Texas and move into her portion of the brownstone, the garden apartment. Gabriel’s daughters initially latch on to Portia because she’s a good cook, but eventually Portia becomes close with the girls and their father. Her goal is to open a Texas style restaurant like her grandmother’s “Glass Kitchen” in Manhattan. A mixture of families, romance, family secrets, and tasty recipes.

Steve: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is a splendid book about author Juliet Ashton and her group of unexpected pen pals from Guernsey, who share their stories of life under Nazi occupation during World War II. Juliet ultimately meets her new circle of friends in person and her life undergoes major changes. Although this is a fictional account told in the form of letters, you would swear that these are real people.

Ann: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain is the latest in a long string of the author’s books featuring strong women struggling with relationships and with life. Riley MacPherson returns home to New Bern, North Carolina after her father dies. As she sorts through the house and talks to people who knew her dad, she finds she not only didn’t know him as well as she thought, but unearths layer upon layer of family secrets and questions. There is a startling revelation about her sister. Riley finds her life spiraling almost out of control as she realizes that the family members she thought she knew had hidden so much from her. The story and the characters pull you in and keep you reading late into the night.

Dori: Ani FaNelli is a woman that seems to have it all – she’s clawed her way to a successful career in New York City and is about to marry a handsome, wealthy man. She’s also shallow, mean and deeply unhappy. She’s crafted a persona to hide a traumatic adolescence that involved a news making violent event at her prestigious high school. When she agrees to be interviewed for a documentary about the event, her past unravels and flashbacks reveal the painful truth, but what will Ani do with it? Entrancing the reader from the first page, Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is a twisty, dark, surprising debut novel.

Lauren: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen features two women facing the ups and downs of family, relationships, and the wounds of the past. Generations ago, Willa’s family was the height of Southern society in their small North Carolina town before being struck by financial ruin. During their heyday they built the Blue Ridge Madam, the town’s grandest mansion, which was subsequently sold and fell into disrepair. Paxton Osgood, Willa’s former classmate and still the quintessential “little Miss Perfect” is the President of the local women’s club and her family has purchased the Madam and Paxton is overseeing it’s restoration in time for the gala of the year. When a body is uncovered during renovations a decades-old mystery is brought to light and the two women are drawn together in delving into their pasts to uncover the truth.

Stacey: Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson had a little romance, a super sweet dog named Sherman, and a powerful main character Sally Barnard. Sally is caring for her mother, who has advanced Alzheimer’s, while managing her own law practice and dealing with a little bit of relationship baggage from the past, which seems unavoidable as Sally’s in her fifties. This would be a good choice for a little light reading on the porch in summertime.

Next time we’re going to be sharing -mysteries! This is one genre I’m pretty sure no one here has any reluctance to read a mystery book and as a bonus feature -they’re really easy to define: a crime has been committed and someone tries to figure out who dunnit! -wa-lah!

Enjoy!

— Stacey

These Ladies Carried the Day (or Discussion)! May 1, 2013

Posted by stacey in Book Discussion, Book List, Genre Book Discussion, Women's Fiction.
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Ladies! This one is all about you! This group discussion was all about women’s fiction and what a selection of titles we had. The common element to these stories should be found through: a female protagonist, a story focused primarily on relationships between the main character and those around her, plus learning from difficulties that must be overcome. There can be elements of suspense or mystery but will always have a more romantic tone. Are you ready to see what everyone has to say about their choices?

Carol: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton begins in 1961 in the English Countryside, as the Nicolson family gathers to celebrate the birthday of 2-year-old Gerry. 16-year-old Laurel is hiding, daydreaming in the family tree house. From this perch Laurel witnesses her mother Dorothy kill a strange man who has approached the house. When the police investigate, Laurel supports her mother’s claim that it was done in self-defense and by day’s end she’s convinced herself that it was exactly that. The book picks up again in 2011 and Dorothy is in hospice. Laurel, now a famous actress, faced with the loss of her mother, begins to wonder about the crime she witnessed years ago and begins to do some detective to resolve this secret. The Secret Keeper flashes back and forth between 2011 and Dorothy’s past in WWII London, when as a young woman, she befriended Jimmy and Vivien, two people whose stories help reveal the motive behind Dorothy’s actions. This novel is rich and atmospheric, and is a perfect blend of historical fiction, mystery and women’s fiction, and it leaves its biggest secret for the book’s satisfying ending.

Chris: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout tells the story of three adult siblings: Jim and Bob Burgess, both attorneys practicing in New York, and their sister Susan who stayed back home in Maine. It begins with Susan contacting her brothers for help because her teenage son is being charged with a hate crime against the Somali people now residing in their neighborhood. This incident brings them all together, both physically and emotionally, in a way they haven’t been in years. And all of them grow and benefit. As always, Strout takes a lot of time in developing and showing her characters, and as a result, they give her her story. Another great story it is!

Steve: State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett, tells the story of Dr. Marina Singh, a Minnesota-based pharmaceutical researcher, who is sent to the Amazon by her boss, Mr. Fox, who also happens to be her married lover. Marina is sent to investigate the progress of her company’s research efforts, which are led by the domineering and elusive Dr. Annick Swenson. Marina is also looking for the truth on what has happened to her former research partner, Dr. Anders Eckman, who was previously sent to find Swenson, and has been reported dead. What Marina encounters is a bizarre environment in which the women of the native Lakashi tribe bear children well into their 70’s. This is an interesting story but is impeded by slow pacing at times.

Emma: The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is the story of Molly and Vivian. In 2011 Molly, who is rapidly aging out of foster care, must do several hours of community service for stealing a book from the local library and 91-year-old Vivian needs help cleaning out her attic. As Molly helps Vivian sort through boxes, Vivian reminisces about her young life as an immigrant from Ireland living in New York with her family until there’s a tenement fire and she is left alone. At age 10 in 1929, Vivian finds herself on an “Orphan Train” heading west to find a new family. Vivian is placed with three different families until she feels safe and loved. She reunites with and marries a fellow orphan train rider who is then killed in WWII. Vivian gives their baby away and eventually marries again. With the Internet Molly helps Vivian find the child she gave away and they meet as the story ends. A deeply moving story.

Dori: In Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray, Clover Hobart, a 54-year-old woman who’s feeling unattractive, bored and taken for granted, wakes one morning to find herself literally invisible. The crazier thing is that no one, not even her husband and son, notices! Spotting an ad for a meeting at the local Sheraton for “Invisible Women”, she attends and finds that she isn’t alone: the large group includes her children’s former teacher and a local news anchor. Eventually, they discover that their shared pill regimen is the culprit and that the pharmaceutical firm that produces them is more concerned with money than invisible women, which leads them to start a campaign against the company. Funny, with engaging characters and heartwarming relationships, Calling Invisible Women reminds us to pay a lot more attention to those around us!

Megan: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott chronicles the lives of the four young March sisters as they work to support each other while their father is away serving as a chaplain for the Union Army during the Civil War. Responsibility for the household falls to their beloved mother, Marmee and the girls all do their best to please her and ease her burden. Together they face everyday hardships and celebrate simple pleasures as they learn to become proper women. This delightful and charming classic may seem a bit outdated, but the careful reader will still find many lessons that are still relevant today. As a first time reader, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the March family.

Ann: In The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice, three sisters, Dara, Delia, and Rori gather on Martha’s Vineyard to pack up and prepare to sell the family summer home. Their mother has died, and they can no longer afford to keep the house and property. As they pack and reminisce they talk about their father, who set sail years ago for Ireland and was only heard from once. No one knows what happened to him. The more they talk, the sisters realize, that for closure they must try and find out what happened to their dad. And so they set off to Ireland searching for evidence of him. They find the town where he first landed and they make a startling discovery. A pleasant story of sisters and family entanglements, with some lovely settings on Martha’s Vineyard and in Ireland.

Stacey: Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews felt reminiscent of an Olivia Goldsmith book, maybe The First Wives Club or Flavor of the Month, both of which I would suggest before selecting Little Bitty Lies. Mary Bliss McGowan’s husband took off in the middle of the night with no warning -and all their money! Now Mary Bliss has to figure out a way to survive financially, deal with a thoughtless teen-aged daughter, and decide if she should seriously consider a relationship with any of the men currently asking her out. The least likable pieces of this novel are the unkind spirits of Mary Bliss’s husband, mother-in-law, and daughter, with little personal growth in the end.

Next time we’ll be looking for books in our recently tweaked religious fiction category. These book should have any kind of religion as it’s motivating or central force to the story. Now start thinking out of the box my friends! Why not look for something that features Native American beliefs or Druidic customs? Wouldn’t that be interesting?! See you in a month!

religion

Looking Ahead to 2013 December 27, 2012

Posted by Megan in Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Women's Fiction.
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I know we still have a few more days of looking back over 2012, but I am ready to start looking ahead to 2013.  Most of my highly anticipated releases of 2013 are young adult books, but there are a handful of adult books that I can’t wait to read.

I am eager to get a turn with Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini, due out in January. This is the story of the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress, a freed slave names Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley.

mrs lincoln

I am also very excited about the January release of Fables vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland, by Bill Willingham. This is one of my favorite graphic novel series and I highly recommend. If you are new to graphic novels, this is a fantastic place to start.

fables

February brings the next installment in the Flavia de Luce mystery series. I love the audiobook versions of these books and can’t wait to listen to Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley. Don’t know about Flavia? Start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

speaking

This summer you’ll find me on a patio somewhere with a copy of Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. There is no cover art for this one yet, but based on her past books I am sure it will be lovely. These are my favorites:

garden girl who chased

July will also bring the final installment of the Spellman Files, The Last Word by Lisa Lutz. This is one of my favorite series and I am excited that there will be more and sad that is will be over. I am sure Lisa Lutz has something else spectacular and fun just waiting to be released. I hope. Please be true. Again, no cover art, but the rest of the books in the series got new art. I like it. Start at the beginning with The Spellman Files.

the-spellman-files

And last, but not least, I *hope* that I will get the final installment of the Locke & Key series, Omega by Joe Hill. There is no release date as of yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will get my hands on it sometime in 2013. I loved this series so much that I am considering a reread while I wait. Check out the first one, Welcome to Lovecraft.

lovecraft

What books are you looking forward to in the new year?

Happy Reading (and Happy New Year)!

˜Megan

 

Ladies Under Discussion September 12, 2012

Posted by stacey in Fiction, Genre Book Discussion, Women's Fiction.
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I think I described our current genre fairly well at the end of Beachy Keen Reads, so I think I’ll just quote myself! “[Women’s fiction] books explore the life of a female main character, focusing on their relationship with family, friends, and significant others. These books can be romantic, suspenseful, mysterious, or dark in tone but they must all feature a woman overcoming the odds and emerging triumphant!” Everyone took those ideas to heart, and so this is what we read:

Rosemary: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway is a thought-provoking story of personal growth. Gal Garner is a high school biology teacher. She can be cranky and judgmental one moment and caring the next. Her life is precise and methodical, but she has good reason to require this in her life. Every second night she goes to the hospital for dialysis. Gal is waiting for word that a kidney is available for her. Her life devoted to teaching and growing roses becomes even more complicated when Riley, her 15-year-old niece, shows up at the high school and expects to live with her for an indefinite amount of time. Gal’s hold on life is so tenuous, how will she be able to help Riley?

Megan: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is the story of two young women in the Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War II. The narrator has been captured by the Gestapo after her plane, piloted by her best friend Maddie, crashes in German occupied France. Verity is forced to reveal her mission or she will be put to death. This book is her confession and the story she tells is as much about her friendship with Maddie, as it is about codes, airplanes, and their role in the war. Despite the grim reality of war and harrowing details of interrogation methods, at its heart this book is about female friendship, strength and perseverance. Fans of historical fiction, and spy novels will not want to miss this book.

Carol: In Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, it’s 1946 and Claire Randall, an ex-combat nurse, is in the Scottish highlands along with her husband Frank, from whom she’s been estranged these last six years due to the war. Claire is alone sightseeing when she walks into a circle of ancient standing stones and is transported to 1743. Claire is immediately taken prisoner, first by British soldiers (including her husband’s sixth-times-great-grandfather, Jack Randall) and then by Scottish clansmen who believe she is British Spy. Getting herself home becomes a less important problem than surviving in the 18th century, and Claire clings to a kindly clansman named Jamie Fraser, whose life Claire saves with her medical knowledge. Soon, though, the clan decides that if Claire is no spy, she must marry this Jamie, who has secrets and troubles of his own. Gabaldon’s fabulous and original series starter is hard to classify. Part fantasy, romance, and historical fiction, what made this a women’s fiction title for this reader was the struggle Claire, an independent modern woman, faces while attempting to live back in time.

Emma: My Antonia by Willa Cather is the story of orphaned Jim Burden who travels from Virginia to rural Black Hawk, Nebraska to live with his grandparents. On the same train an immigrant Bohemian family is also traveling to Black Hawk. Antonia Shimerda and Jim become close friends and Jim helps Antonia learn English. The Shimerda family doesn’t thrive in their new home and depressed Mr. Shimerda commits suicide. Antonia helps with the farming until moving to town to work as a servant. Jim and his grandparents move to Black Hawk so Jim can continue going to school. Later Jim continues his education in Lincoln and then at Harvard. Antonia stays in Black Hawk, becomes pregnant, is deserted by her fiancée in Denver, and returns home to work the farm. Twenty years later Jim returns to Nebraska and finds Antonia married, content, and the proud mother of several children. This is a moving story of a strong woman who faces tragedies and joys with grace.

Ann: The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe is a wonderful novel about grandmothers, mothers and daughters, tradition, and family- with lots of monarch butterfly lore. Luz Avila’s grandmother buys an old VW bug and announces to Luz that they are going to make the drive from Wisconsin to San Antonio and on to Mexico to acquaint Luz with her relatives and follow the monarch butterfly’s migration. Luz’s abuela (grandmother) raises butterflies and even named Luz’s mother Mariposa (meaning butterfly). Luz thinks Abuela’s idea is crazy, but the next morning Luz finds Abuela has died in her sleep. After thinking things through Luz decides she will make the journey her grandmother wanted to take together, and she will take Abuela’s ashes back to the family home in Mexico. Luz’s boyfriend Sully discourages her from going alone, but she insists. This is the story of Luz’s journey and the road bumps and surprises she encounters along the way.

Dori: In The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar, an invitation from America reunites a group of close college friends. Armaiti is dying and, nostalgic for her youth in Bombay, asks Laleh, Kavita and Nishta to one final gathering. Her three friends all seem to be at a crossroads: Laleh, happily married to her college sweetheart, feels guilty about her wealth and success, while Kavita is coming to terms with her sexuality. Furthest afield is Nishta, married to a conservative, controlling Muslim man. Will she be able to free herself and, if so, will she return to her marriage? Umrigar’s novel is a thoughtful look at friendship, love, religious differences and youthful idealism, painting a complex portrait of modern India.

Julie: In Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston we have a character who thinks she has it all figured out: career, marriage and pregnant before turning thirty. When problems force her into bed rest on her couch, she finds the perspective from there very different.

Stacey: Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski combines some of my favorite things: pop culture references, organizing, and a satisfying ending. Lucy Bloom is a professional organizer and is hired to help a reluctant recluse declutter her home. As Lucy begins to push the homeowner to let go of physical objects, both Lucy and her client find the emotional clutter in their own lives to be the worst clutter of all. Told with heart, and a sense of humor, this book will offer readers plenty to think about and discuss.

Next up? We’ll be appreciating the fine artwork offered up in the genre of Graphic Novels! A graphic novel is a story told primarily with pictures, but will include words as well. From the funny to the serious, graphic novels are worth a look! (Tee hee!)

— Stacey

I Love to Listen-Awesome Audio October 26, 2011

Posted by Megan in Audio, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Non-Fiction, Thrillers, Women's Fiction, Young Adult.
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I know I have talked about this before, but it bears repeating: audiobooks are awesome. I mean really, what else are you doing during your morning commute? I suggest switching off the “downer” news, pop in a book on cd and see how much better you feel when you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam. Switching to books in the car has done wonders for my blood pressure since I am no longer in a furious rush to get anywhere. Why would I rush when I have someone telling me a story? Same deal with walking the dog. As soon as I pull out the Playaway my dog is jumping around and drooling with excitement because she knows that I could walk forever once I get into my “book.”  Between my 20 minute daily commute to and from work, driving around town running errands, and walking the dog on a semi-regular basis, I have managed to “read” 36 books for far this year just by listening. Not too shabby. So, you are ready to give listening a try? Where to start? Here are some of my favorites:

One of my favorite series to listen to is Alan Bradley’s Flavia De Luce mysteries. Narrator Jayne Entwistle does a marvelous job of giving the precocious youth sleuth and amateur chemist a voice. Meet Flavia in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Her adventures continue in The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag and A Red Herring Without Mustard. I am anxiously awaiting the next book, I am Half-Sick of Shadows. These charming and hilarious mysteries are a real crowd-pleaser.

 

 

 

 Looking for something more suspenseful and fast-paced? Richard Doestch’s The 13th Hour is just that! This book has it all-edge of your seat action, murder, mystery, and time travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 Is nonfiction your thing? I loved the audio version of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is the thought-provoking story of how one woman, without her knowledge or permission changed the world of medicine.

 

 

 

 

 How about historical fiction? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is currently shelved in the Teen collection, but I know plenty of adult book clubs that selected this one to discuss. It is a heartbreaking and moving look at WWII, told from the point of view of Death. On many occasions I found myself sitting in the driveway after work listening instead of going inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also really loved Water for Elephants, everything Sarah Addison Allen writes (Garden Spells, Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and The Peach Keeper), Blood Oath, and Going Bovine.

Did you find something to listen to? I hope so!

˜Megan

Ladies First! July 8, 2010

Posted by stacey in Genre Book Discussion, Women's Fiction.
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How exciting! And How sad! This was our last (first time around) genre in the list and it was …Women’s Fiction! Women’s Fiction are books that feature women as the main, ultimately triumphant, characters and focus on their relationships with family and friends in romantic or suspenseful storylines. Newer entries in this category can also have a wittier edge to them. Sounds interesting, right? And there’s a nice variety in what everyone chose to discuss too:

Donna: The Season of Second Chances: A Novel by Diane Meier is the author’s first fiction novel. At 48, single Columbia University professor Joy Harkness leaves her comfortable life to start over again with a new teaching position at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Always a content loner, Joy reluctantly becomes involved with the close-knit college community. As she adjusts to her new life, Joy realizes that she is getting a second chance at life to do something different with her life. This is a pleasant, “feel-good” novel to enjoy and treasure.

Janet: The Red Thread by Ann Hood. Following the freak accident that kills her baby daughter Maya Lange starts an adoption agency that brings together Chinese baby girls with American Families. Although her agency brings Maya comfort, it is her work with a set of six couples that forces her to step beyond her current comfort zone.

Evelyn: True Colors by Kristin Hannah. After their mother’s death, the three Grey sisters, nicknamed Bean, Sprout, and Pea by their deceased mother, do the best they can to take care of their father, their ranch, and each other, but they encounter many stumbling blocks along the way. The eldest, Winona, is a lawyer and very smart, but hindered by weight problems. Aurora, the middle daughter, is married, comfortably wealthy and the peacemaker. And Vivi Ann, the youngest, is beautiful, a champion rider, and loved by everyone. This is a wonderful story about sisters, family relationships, and determining what’s most important in your life. I highly recommend it.

Carol: In Lori Lansen’s novel, The Wife’s Tale, Mary Gooch waits for her husband to arrive home on the eve of their silver anniversary. Morbidly obese, Mary met Jimmy when she was at her lightest weight, and has grown proportionately during their 25 years together. When Jimmy does not come home at all, Mary sets out on a road trip across North America to find him. Instead, she finds herself, and realizes that it is life that she has been missing out on while hiding behind her weight and food obsession. This novel will have readers cheering for Mary all along her journey of self (& muscle) discovery. Lansen’s prose sparkles as she treats topics of eating disorders and failed marriages with the seriousness they deserve, while at the same time allowing readers to laugh at along the way.

Megan: Her by Laura Zigman. Elise and Donald are happily planning their wedding when Donald’s absolutely perfect ex-fiance suddenly reappears. Elise’s jealousy and suspicion eventually leads to stalkerish behavior that threatens her sanity and her relationship.

Emma: The Diary of a Shirtwaist Striker by Theresa Serber Malkiel was written in 1910. It’s the fictional diary of a young woman, Mary, who went on strike in November 1909 with fellow shirtwaist makers who were seeking a 52-hour workweek, 4 paid holidays, employer-furnished supplies, safer work conditions, etc. When Mary’s dad forces her out of the family home for joining the strike, she better understands the plight of her coworkers who support their families and are destitute even with the wages they earn.

Dori: The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg. A diverse group of men and women attending their 40th and final high school reunion anticipate revisiting their past and reinventing their futures. Some are looking for new or rekindled love, some for simple recognition, but all find something that they need. Both funny and touching, Berg’s latest is a charming look at the hopes as well as the realities of middle age.

Rosemary: The Other Family by Joanna Trollope explores the conflicted feelings of two women and their adult children after the sudden death of pianist Richie Rossiter. More than twenty years ago, he left Margaret and their young son for Chrissie, a woman almost half his age. Richie never divorced Margaret, even though he and Chrissie had three lively daughters together. Now that Richie’s will has left a considerable part of his estate to Margaret, Chrissie must tell her daughters that they were never married and that they have a half-brother living not far away. Trollope relates an emotional story filled with longing, sadness, and transformation.

Ann: While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty. Veronica’s life is in a downward spin as is her mother’s life. The two intersect near the bottom and each helps the other back on her feet. In this book and in her two other previous books, Moriarty takes a good look at mother-daughter relationships. Moriarty is an insightful writer.

Stacey: Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook has all the elements you ever want in a great women’s fiction title. Seven years after Jill’s husband Seth took off for parts unknown, leaving her with their three-year-old girl, things have settled into a fairly decent routine for mom and daughter. There’s even the possibility Jill might start dating when Seth reappears as suddenly as he disappeared. Now Jill needs to figure out what’s best for her, and for her daughter, and choose what she wants her future to become.

It was a good note to end on and a lovely group to discuss books with but even better? Well, that’s knowing that we’re not done! We’re going to start all over again! So, next time? We’ll be reading books for children and teens, which means anything written for an audience under the age of 18! Ready? Set? Read!

— Stacey