Another Turn of the Page: Beginning the Year

“I disappear into books. What’s your superpower?” -Anonymous


Our January meeting always has fewer people. Mostly because many are snowbirds and have flown to their respective nests in the southlands, but we were also lessened this month by illness. The flu has been flying about and seems to have caught some of our members. The others probably said,”yuk, it’s cold! and pulled the covers higher.”

But the magnificent seven who met had some good books to share. Pete started us off with a brief report on Richard Paul Evans. Best known for writing fiction with conservative Christian themes and strong family values, he’s a real Hallmark kind of writer. And though those books are not my reading choice, I have to give this author credit for using his money to found The Christmas Box House International, an organization devoted to building shelters and providing services for abused and neglected children.

So on to the books of January:

January1. The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans (2014) 251 pages. Pete who did our author recommends this book by Evans. It is about two people with painful secrets who meet during the Christmas holidays and decide to sign a contract pretending to be a couple to help each other get through the holidays. This book received favorable reviews from men and women alike.

2. Longbourn by Jo Baker (2013) 332 pages. Are you a Downton Abbey fan? A Jane Austen lover? Then you’ll probably enjoy this view of the belowstairs world of Pride and Prejudice.

3. The Chili Queen by Sandra Dallas (2002) 304 pages. An entertaining story about Addie French and her bordello called The Chili Queen, with a setting in the New Mexico territory of the 1880’s. Much more than a story set in a “hookhouse”..and they serve great chili too.

4. Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar (2014) 320 pages. The San Jos mine collapsed outside of Copiap, Chile, in August 2010. As the subtitle states, this is “the untold stories of the 33 men who were buried and the miracle that set them free.” Fascinating, but you may want to pass on this one if you suffer from claustrophobia.

5. Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger (2005) 434 pages. I decided to read this author upon recommendation from one of our members. He writes regional mysteries set in far Northern Minnesota featuring Cork O’Connor, the sheriff of a small town. I picked up this one ( #5 in the series) at a booksale and immediately got engrossed. And then at the “end”, found out it was the first of a two-parter!  My suggestion, start at the beginning of the series with Iron Lake. And when you get to Mercy Falls make sure you have quick access to Copper River.

6. The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (2013) 291 pages. This book is a big surprise because it is so much more than the story of a librarian. Josh Hanagarne is 6’7″, a librarian, a Mormon and a sufferer of Tourette’s Syndrome. Oh yeah, and he uses body-building as a way to help control his Tourettes. Funny and entertaining…you are going to love this guy.

7. Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks (2014) 336 pages. Catherine Lemay, a young archeologist, is hired by the Smithsonian to survey a Montana river canyon before a dam project gets the okay. Why she was hired and who helps her becomes tangled with stories of WWII survivors, Indian politics, prehistoric relics and wild horses.

8. Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen (2014) 272 pages. An unlikely “coming of age” story and love story because the main character, photographer Rebecca Winter, is a woman in her 60’s. Reviews were very mixed, even from people who are fans of Quindlen.



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