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August 8, 2020

Career of Evil



Cormoran Strike #3
Mystery
2015 Hachette Audio
Narrated by Robert Glenister
Finished on August 3, 2020
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Cormoran Strike is back, with his assistant Robin Ellacott, in a mystery based around soldiers returning from war.

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

Career of Evil is the third in the series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A mystery and also a story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

It's been over five years since I listened to The Silkworm (the second installment in this series), which I enjoyed as much as Galbraith's debut, The Cuckoo's Calling. So why did it take me so long to listen to Career of Evil? I think I tried it a year or so ago, but it didn't grab me right away, so I moved on to something else. When I started listening last month, I was quickly sucked in. Go figure.

The mystery (which is pretty gritty) held my attention and kept me guessing up to the very end of the story. I was also eager to see what lay in store with regard to Cormoran and Robin's friendship, but hope Galbraith doesn't tease this out in too many more installments.

Robert Glenister continues to do an outstanding job with the narration and I'm happy to see that he is the reader for Lethal White, which is in my queue for later this month. Galbraith ended Career of Evil with a huge cliff hanger, so I'm more than eager to get back to the series! Once I'm up to date on this series, we'll tune in to the television series (Strike), which is based on Galbraith's books.

August 7, 2020

Looking Back - 'Tis

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Nonfiction - Memoir
1999 Flamingo
Read in November 1999
Rating: 2.5/5 (OK)

Publisher's Blurb:

The sequel to Frank McCourt's memoir of his Irish Catholic boyhood, Angela's Ashes, picks up the story in October 1949, upon his arrival in America. Though he was born in New York, the family had returned to Ireland due to poor prospects in the United States. Now back on American soil, this awkward 19-year-old, with his "pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teeth," has little in common with the healthy, self-assured college students he sees on the subway and dreams of joining in the classroom. Initially, his American experience is as harrowing as his impoverished youth in Ireland, including two of the grimmest Christmases ever described in literature. McCourt views the U.S. through the same sharp eye and with the same dark humor that distinguished his first memoir: race prejudice, casual cruelty, and dead-end jobs weigh on his spirits as he searches for a way out. A glimpse of hope comes from the army, where he acquires some white-collar skills, and from New York University, which admits him without a high school diploma. But the journey toward his position teaching creative writing at Stuyvesant High School is neither quick nor easy. Fortunately, McCourt's openness to every variety of human emotion and longing remains exceptional; even the most damaged, difficult people he encounters are richly rendered individuals with whom the reader can't help but feel uncomfortable kinship. The magical prose, with its singing Irish cadences, brings grandeur and beauty to the most sorrowful events, including the final scene, set in a Limerick graveyard.

My Original Thoughts (1999):

I enjoyed this sequel to Angela's Ashes, but not as much as I thought I would. It didn't hold my interest as much as McCourt's first memoir, nor did it make me laugh or cry. I don't think I'd give it a high recommendation at all.

My Current Thoughts:

I remember feeling disappointed when I read this book, especially since I enjoyed Angela's Ashes so well.

August 5, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

A floral hug from one of my dearest friends who has the most amazing garden I have ever seen.






August 2, 2020

A Month in Summary - July 2020

A Virtual Hug
Depoe Bay, Oregon
July 2020


As I look back on my list of books read in July, I am truly surprised. Didn't I read The Warmth of Other Suns in June? And what about State of Wonder? I could swear I read that book a couple of months ago. Does everybody feel like July was a year long? Of course, everyone is saying that at the end of every month in 2020, but for some reason this past month felt especially long. Perhaps because the last week felt like a lifetime. If you don't follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may not know that in addition to caring for my husband who broke his arm on the 25th, I've been visiting my mom who was hospitalized on the 28th with an obstructed bowel due to a umbilicus hernia. I am happy to report that she is now home! So, one 911 call and two ER visits within three days is very reminiscent of last November when Mom wound up in the hospital with pneumonia after Rod's emergency gallbladder surgery. Eight months from now, I putting them in isolation so they don't have another joint health issue! ;)

In spite of all that medical craziness, I managed to stay on track and finish five books. State of Wonder, which is by far the oldest and one that I've had on my shelf for a decade, wound up being my favorite with a perfect 5/5 rating. Loved it! The others, with the exception of Kingdom of the Blind, weren't so good. And all but two were borrowed, so I didn't do very well reading from my own shelves. 

But it's a new month, right? And my current reads (print and audio) are both very entertaining, so I'll keep a positive attitude. 

Books Read (click on the title for my review):

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (5/5)

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (3/5)

Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher (2/5)

The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg (2/5)

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (4/5)

First Lines:

The news of Anders Eckman's death came by way of Aerogram, a piece of bright blue airmail paper that served as both the stationery and, when folded over and sealed along the edges, the envelope. Who even knew they still made such things? This single sheet had traveled from Brazil to Minnesota to mark the passing of a man, a breath of tissue so insubstantial that only the stamp seemed to anchor it to this world. (State of Wonder)

The night clouds were closing in on the salt licks east of the oxbow lakes along the folds in the earth beyond the Yalobusha River. (The Warmth of Other Suns)

Women Rowing North is about the specific issues women face as we transition from middle age to old age. The core concern of this life stage, with all of its perils and pleasures, is how to cultivate resilient responses to the challenges we face. (Women Rowing North)

For Confession Club, Joanie Benson is going to make Black Cake. It seems right: dense, mysterious, full of odd little bits and pieces of surprising ingredients. (The Confession Club)

Armand Gamache slowed his car to a crawl, then stopped on the snow-covered secondary road. (Kingdom of the Blind)

Movies and TV Series:


New Tricks - We finished Season Two and probably won't watch anymore. It was good, but not enough to continue.


Hamilton - We really enjoyed this, but were thankful for closed captioning. I've been listening to the music nonstop.


Captain Marvel - I wasn't sure I was going to like this, but after about 15 minutes, I couldn't stop watching. Can't wait to see Captain Marvel 2 (due out in 2022)


Wanted - We really enjoyed this Australian drama series and are a bit sad that we're finished with all three seasons. 


The Old Guard - Very good! Highly recommend. I wouldn't mind watching it again.


Bosch - We watched the first two episodes and are hooked!

Puzzlemania:


Loved this one!





Very difficult, but fun!

Outings:

The RV was due for some routine maintenance, so we headed over to Junction City (90 minutes away) and spent two nights at the dealership's small RV park. It was a nice change of scenery, but really made us anxious to get back out on the road. Maybe next month!

New Recipes:

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

  Peach Galette


Spaghetti al Limone

Social Distancing:

Pretty masks from Johnny Was

Wash your hands, stay 6-10 feet apart and please WEAR YOUR MASKS!

Be sure to check out the sidebar links for Rod's music videos (posted each Monday) and the new recipes I sampled this past month. 

July 30, 2020

Kingdom of the Blind



Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #14
Mystery
2018 Minotaur Books
Finished on July 23, 2020
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.

None of them had ever met the elderly woman.

The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?

When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.

But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing.

The investigation into what happened six months ago—the events that led to his suspension—has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.

Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner-city Montréal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers.

As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.

Another winner by Louise Penny, although it won't land on my list of favorites in this series. I figured out one of the major plot points early on and as others have mentioned, grew weary of the repeated phrase,"junkies, trannies and whores." I have one more installment to read in this series (A Better Man) and then I'll be caught up and ready for her new book (All the Devils Are Here), which is due out in September.

July 27, 2020

Music Monday - Taking a Break



Due to an unfortunate mishap on his bicycle, Rod is taking a break (pun intended) from Music Monday. "Closed fracture of proximal end of left humerus." Translation: Two broken bones in his upper left arm, near his shoulder. We see the orthopedic specialist tomorrow afternoon.

July 25, 2020

Fruit Galette

Daily life as a retiree hasn't changed too much since the pandemic began, but I have been more inspired to try new recipes since we aren't eating out nearly as often as we once did. Since I do most of the cooking, I rarely take time to do any baking and when I do, it's typically cookies, cakes or cobblers. Never pies. I honestly don't think I've ever made a pie crust from scratch and most of the pies I have made (back in the 80s) were most likely made with graham cracker crumbs.

Thanks to my discovery of some great recipes by Deb of Smitten Kitchen, I now feel more confident about pie dough. Or, should I say, galette dough. This past month I made a strawberry galette, not once, but four times! I found an easy and delicious recipe (Any-Kind-Of-Fruit Galette) and gave it a try with strawberries and rhubarb. Next I tried her Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette, making it for three separate gatherings (socially-distanced, of course). I used strawberries each time, but added rhubarb to one and raspberries to another. Today I made one with fresh peaches!




Both recipes are very similar; the only difference is the substitution of ricotta for yogurt or sour cream and the amount of berries. The Smitten Kitchen recipe includes a template should you decide to make the galette in the shape of a star. Click the link below for the template.




Pastry

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Zest of half a lemon
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ricotta, plain yogurt or sour cream
3 tablespoons cold water

Filling

2-3 cups berries or chopped fruit (I used sliced strawberries)
3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (use the lower amount if your fruit is especially sweet)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of salt

Glaze

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 heaping teaspoon turbinado or coarse sugar for sprinkling

Dough:

Whisk the flour, salt, sugar and zest together in the bottom of a large bowl. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas.

Stir ricotta and 3 tablespoons water together in a small dish and pour into butter-flour mixture. Stir together with a flexible spatula as best as you can, then use your hands to knead the mixture into a rough, craggy ball. Wrap in plastic and flatten into a disc. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Galette:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a large round-ish shape, about 14 to 15 inches across.

Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet; I like to fold my dough gently, without creasing, in quarters then unfold it onto the baking pan.

Stir together all of the filling ingredients and spoon on to the dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border uncovered. Fold this border over fruit, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

Whisk egg yolk and water together and brush over exposed crust. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake galette for 30 minutes or golden all over. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature, preferably with vanilla ice cream.

Galette keeps at room temperature for a few days and up to a week in the refrigerator.

Click on the link in my sidebar for more of my favorite recipes.

Please visit The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

July 24, 2020

Looking Back - Plainsong

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.




Plainsong by Kent Haruf
Fiction
1999 Vintage
Read in November 1999
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

A heartstrong story of family and romance, tribulation and tenacity, set on the High Plains east of Denver.

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they've ever known.

From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. As the milieu widens to embrace fully four generations, Kent Haruf displays an emotional and aesthetic authority to rival the past masters of a classic American tradition.

Utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life, Plainsong is a novel to care about, believe in, and learn from.

My Original Thoughts (1999):

A wonderful book. Quick read. Marvelous characters. Humorous, yet serious and thought-provoking. Memorable. Would make a great movie.

My Current Thoughts:

I'm surprised I didn't give this book a perfect 5/5 rating. I remember that I loved it and the subsequent books in Haruf's Plainsong trilogy. It's time to re-read all three!

July 23, 2020

The Confession Club



The Confession Club (Mason #3) by Elizabeth Berg
Fiction
2019 Random House
Finished on July 14, 2020
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)

Publisher's Blurb:

In a captivating novel from the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv, a group of women in Mason, Missouri discover that best friends are made by sharing secrets.

It all started as a supper club, a group gathering monthly to share homemade dinners, until the night one woman made a startling revelation. After that, the "Confession Club" decided to meet weekly to feast not only on dinner, but on admissions of misdeeds, embarrassments, and insecurities.

When Iris Winters and Maddy Harris are invited to the club, they find that it's just what each of them needs. Iris hasn't yet told anyone about the unlikely man who has captured her attention, and Maddy has come back home to escape a problem too big for her to confront.

The Confession Club is a heartwarming and illuminating book about women, friendship, and how sharing the secrets we're afraid of revealing can actually bring us closer.

Ugh. This was such a disappointing read. I've read the previous novels in this trilogy and while I enjoyed The Story of Arthur Truluv and loved Night of Miracles, this final installment was pretty much a waste of time.The dialogue between the women during their club meetings was ridiculous and at times a few members sounded less like adults and more like preteens. Even the premise of the club felt juvenile and most of these secondary characters were flat and indistinguishable. I only continued reading in order to learn more about the developing friendship between Iris and her new friend, but I would have been better off calling it quits when I first realized I was bored and annoyed with Berg's saccharine prose.

July 21, 2020

Women Rowing North



Women Rowing North by Mary Piper
Nonfiction
2019 Bloomsbury Publishing
Finished on July 10, 2020
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)

Publisher's Blurb:

The New York Times bestseller from the author of Reviving Ophelia--a guide to wisdom, authenticity, and bliss for women as they age.


Women growing older contend with ageism, misogyny, and loss. Yet as Mary Pipher shows, most older women are deeply happy and filled with gratitude for the gifts of life. Their struggles help them grow into the authentic, empathetic, and wise people they have always wanted to be.


In Women Rowing North, Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. "If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully," Pipher writes, "we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent."


It's been over 25 years since I first read Mary Pipher's bestseller, Reviving Ophelia, which addresses 
the struggles of adolescent girls. At the time, my daughter was a preteen and I found the book informative and eye-opening, but it wasn't one I loved or kept on my shelf for a re-read. More recently, I went on to read Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders. Or should I say, attempted to read. I gave up on that book after a few chapters, finding it dull and full of repetitive anecdotes. When my book group selected Pipher's most recent work, Women Rowing North: Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing as We Age, I thought maybe this one would suit me better than the other two and I looked forward to discussing it with my friends. I was encouraged after marking a few passages in the first chapter, but from there on, my interest waned. I read a chapter here and there, but the information wasn't illuminating and the abundant use of anecdotes became tiresome. I realized I wasn't enjoying the book when I found myself calculating how many chapters needed to be read each day in order to finish by my book group meeting. Women Rowing North is only 250 pages, so it shouldn't have taken me two weeks to complete. However, I did finish, unlike some of my fellow book group members.

So why did this book fail to elicit high praise from me? The main reason is that it didn't shed new light on issues I am facing. Although the author provides numerous stories to back up her ideas and beliefs, she tends to state the obvious. I grew bored with her message and tips on gratitude and on the need for friends to help weather life's storms and as a result, lost track of the various individuals referenced by Piper. They all blurred together and I had to flip back to earlier chapters to remind myself of who some were when a name was dropped into a paragraph three chapters later. 

I am 58 and am probably the correct target audience for the book and yet it still fell short of my expectations. The majority of readers in my book group are in their 70s and 80s and felt that they had already encountered all the issues presented by Pipher. As one reviewer stated on Goodreads, "If you’ve already figured out that exercise, healthy eating, community involvement, pursuit of a special interest and nurturing relationships with friends and families are the keys to happiness at any age, your time will be better spent in pursuing those activities than in reading this book." I couldn't agree more!

July 20, 2020

Music Monday #15 - The Way You Look Tonight

Time for another Music Monday with Rod. During this period of "sheltering in place," I thought it would be fun to share a personal music video on Mondays. My hope is that some of my family and friends will join in with their own videos for a virtual music tour.

Rest, nature, books, music... Such is my idea of happiness. ~ Leo Tolstoy

July 19, 2020

Simplest Spaghetti al Limone

Why, yes. I found another winning recipe from Smitten Kitchen that truly is the simplest! I love that there are only a few ingredients, most of which I have on hand at all times. It's quick and easy and a nice alternative to rice or potatoes. The first night I served it with grilled chicken. Later that week I decided to make it again to go with our grilled salmon. For lunch, I reheated the leftover pasta and ate it with leftover cold salmon. Delicious! 


Simplest Spaghetti al Limone
Smitten Kitchen



Coarse salt
1/2 lb. dried spaghetti
1 lemon
3 1/2 oz. parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Fresh basil leaves, torn (optional)

Boil spaghetti in well-salted water according to package directions. 

While the spaghetti is cooking, finely grate (with a rasp-style grater/Microplane) the zest of half the lemon into a large serving bowl. Add the juice of the whole lemon (approx. 4 tablespoons). Using the same rasp, grate the parmesan on top of the lemon juice. Add the olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, along with several grinds of black pepper. Combine ingredients with a whisk until very well-mixed and as smooth as possible.

When the pasta is finished cooking, ladle out 1 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and quickly pour it into the serving bowl with the lemon-parmesan mixture. Using tongs, toss until all of the strands are coated. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water to the spaghetti until it looks glossy and lightly sauced. You may need more or less, but don't "wash" the sauce off the pasta. 

Add the torn basil leaves and toss to combine, then serve. Top each serving with a little extra olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan.

My Notes:

I didn't have any fresh basil, but it was still incredibly delicious without the herb. 

I only used 2 tablespoons of the pasta water. I can't imagine using the entire cup.


Click on the link in my sidebar for more of my favorite recipes.

Please visit The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

July 17, 2020

Looking Back - A Sweetness to the Soul

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.




A Sweetness to the Soul by Jane Kirkpatrick
Fiction
2008 Multnomah (first published in 1995)
Finished on October 31, 1999
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)

Publisher's Blurb:

Based on historical characters and events, A Sweetness to the Soul recounts the captivating story of young, spirited Oregon pioneer Jane Herbert who at the age of twelve faces a tragedy that begins a life-long search for forgiveness and love. In the years that follow, young Jane finds herself involved in an unusual and touching romance with a dreamer sixteen years her senior, struggles to make peace with an emotionally distant mother, and fights to build a family of her own. Filled with heart-warming insight and glimpses of real-life pain, A Sweetness to the Soul paints a brilliant picture of love that conquers all obstacles and offers a powerful testimony to the miracle of God's healing power. 

My Original Thoughts (1999):

Pretty good, but nothing great. It took me a long time to get interested in the characters and want to continue reading. Not a spell-binding novel, but not completely boring. 

My Current Thoughts:

My original comments reflect a more positive reaction than my rating. Last year I tried to read another book by Kirkpatrick (The Daughter's Walk), but gave up after several chapters. I usually enjoy historical fiction, but this author is not for me.

July 14, 2020

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson


The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Nonfiction - History
2011 Brilliance Audio
Read by Robin Miles
Finished on July 6, 2020
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.

I've had my eye on The Warmth of Other Suns for several years and finally decided to download the audiobook from Libro.fm. I was well aware that the print edition is very long, but I wasn't quite prepared to spend an entire month listening to this nonfiction work. It was just under 23 hours of listening time. Eek!

Wilkerson's research is extensive and I liked learning about the lives of the three main individuals represented in the book, but it took me quite a while to get used to the rhythm of the narrative. Each of three people (and their families) migrate to different areas of the country, experiencing unique and similar instances of racial injustice and acceptance. These biographies are interwoven during each time period and there were times when I wasn't sure if the narrative was focusing on George or Robert's life.

I wish I could say that I loved this book, and perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I read the print copy, but that was not my experience. I appreciate the lessons learned about this time in our country's history, but I found the writing repetitive and was easily distracted as I listened. I am obviously in the minority, if one is to look at all the 5-star ratings on Goodreads. Robin Miles does a fine job with the audiobook narration, but my recommendation is to read the print edition.

July 13, 2020

Music Monday #14 - Can't Find My Way Home

Time for another Music Monday with Rod. During this period of "sheltering in place," I thought it would be fun to share a personal music video on Mondays. My hope is that some of my family and friends will join in with their own videos for a virtual music tour.

Rest, nature, books, music... Such is my idea of happiness. ~ Leo Tolstoy

July 10, 2020

Looking Back - When the Wind Blows

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.




When the Wind Blows by James Patterson
Fiction
1998 Little, Brown and Company
Read in October 1999
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Frannie O'Neill is a caring young veterinarian living in the Colorado Rockies, trying to erase the memory of her beloved husband's mysterious murder. It is not long before another neighbor suddenly dies, and FBI agent Kit Harrison arrives at Frannie's doorstep. Kit is hell-bent on solving the heinous case despite resounding protests from the FBI and the thrashing of his own internal demons.

Kit secretly pursues the investigation, yet witnesses keep turning up dead. Then Frannie stumbles upon an astonishing discovery in the nearby woods, and their lives are altered in ways they could never have imagined. Simply knowing the secret of Max -- the terrified 11-year-old girl with an amazing gift -- could mean death.

As more and more diabolical details are unearthed, the murderer's bloody trail ultimately leads the trio to an underground lab network, known as "the School." Here scientists conduct shockingly incomprehensible experiments involving children and genetic alteration.

My Original Thoughts (1999):

Quick, easy read. Mindless entertainment. Would make a great movie, if done right. Flying children (?!), romance, suspense.

My Current Thoughts:

Prior to this, I had only read two other books by Patterson (the first two books in his Alex Cross series) and as I remember, I enjoyed this one about the same as those. It sounds like something Dean Koontz would write and probably a good beach read.