“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
You may have noticed that our blog looks a bit different. I started this adventure back in 2010, picked a layout and hardly looked back. So yesterday I thought it was time to get a fresh face. The one I’ve chosen is an old standby to many on WordPress but it’s new to me. I may do some tweaking but this is it for now.
The January meeting of my book group will be the first post to carry the new look. I’ve titled this a crazy quilt of reading because the mixture of books is just nutty and wonderful, topics heading in nine different directions. Where else can you get a supernatural time traveler, a history of the Comanches and then pulp fiction by Michael Crichton? Hang on, here we go.
Split Second by David Baldacci (2003) 512 pages. This book is the first in the “King and Maxwell Series”. Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are two disgraced Secret Service Agents. In this one the two team up to discover who is responsible for their removal.The 6th in the series “King and Maxwell” came out in 2013.
The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan (2000) 579 pages. An excellent book of historical fiction about the events leading up to the battle of the Alamo, the battle itself and the aftermath. Our reviewer found it amazing and all other reviews I’ve read refer to this book as an overlooked treasure.
The Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne (2010) 384 pages. subtitled: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. Another one for history buffs.
The Taker by Alma Katsu (2011) 438 pages. This was a book you would have thought I presented, since I’m the fairy, vampire, supernatural, time travel fan, but Bea who reads historicals of the West and the Velva Jean series, brought it along. Otherworldly lovers, eternal obsession, unspeakable evil, are just a few of the phrases I found in reviews. Right up my alley and surprisingly, Bea liked it too.
The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (2013) 608 pages. The story of two women over a 40 year span from the collapse of the Imperial dynasty to the rise of the republic. I didn’t know Amy Tan had a new book out, but nobody does mother-daughter angst better.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich (2012) 321 pages. A Native American boy’s coming of age in the wake of his mother’s brutal rape is the main plot but this book is so much more. Once again Erdrich presents us with beautifully developed characters and addresses moral and legal issues, all wrapped up in her elegant prose.
The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau (2000) 288 pages. subtitled: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred. A book for the modern-day traveler and how he/she can make their travel meaningful and get the most out of it. Our reviewer particularly liked the chapter on “seeing.”
The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson (2013) 240 pages. Written for young readers, this is the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s List child, powerfully depicting the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable.
Drug of Choice by Michael Crichton (writing as John Lange) (1970) 224 pages. Guess what Crichton was doing while he was at Harvard Med School, writing steamy pot boilers and heist capers under a pseudonym. He wrote 8 of these between 1966-72 and now Hard Case Crime is re-releasing them with new, but still “pulp-fiction,” jackets. In this one, he imagines a tropical fantasy island where all the pleasures are induced by a bioengineered drug. (Hmm, I see seeds of future novels here.) Pure guilty pleasure reading.
Well, time to go find a book. See you in the stacks.