Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rush Home Road

Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

Rush Home Road is another first novel book. I am SO amazed at the number of really good first authors out there. Gives me great hope for wonderful reading in my retirement!

Rush Home Road is the story of a five year old little girl, Sharla Cody, who is dumped off at Addie Shadd’s small trailer in Chatham, Ontario Canada by her mother. Addie is about seventy years older than Sharla and is fearful that she cannot keep the young girl for long. When Sharla comes to live with her, Addie begins to enter the stage of reliving her life in her mind often, including talking out loud to some of the people in her life who have passed on. Although she has not returned to her home town of Rusholme since she was herself a child, she remembers all that happened to her there and why she thought that she could never return. The author, Lori Lansens is from Chatham and reported in her Reading Group Guide that the southern part of Ontario was a terminus on the Underground Railroad. In the book, Rusholme is a town settled by fugitive slaves from the US seeking freedom.

There are a lot of different themes in this story, and the author tied them all together well. It is basically a book about love and forgiveness, but there are also significant themes of “lost children”, racial attitudes, and death, as Addie tells her story. It is a good story and a book worth reading. I did feel like the end tied up a little too neatly and quickly, but overall, I recommend the book for light reading.

Monday, July 14, 2008

World's Oldest Blogger and AOL's Top 10 Books

A couple interesting items that I saw today and just thought that I would share.

First of all, the World's Oldest Blogger died at age 108 today. Here’s the story from Reuters:

updated 11:06 a.m. CT, Mon., July. 14, 2008
CANBERRA, Australia - An Australian woman renowned as the world's oldest blogger has died at the age of 108, with her last posting talking about her ailing health but also how she still sings a happy song every day.
Olive Riley, of Woy Woy about 50 miles north of Sydney, began blogging in February last year, sharing stories from her life during the two world wars, raising three children on her own, and working as a station cook in the outback.
The physically frail but mentally alert Riley won an international audience with her blog, The Life of Riley (, and series of videos posted on YouTube with her talking and singing.
‘It kept her mind fresh’
Riley was said to be the world's oldest blogger as she was 12 years older than the previous titleholder, Spain's Maria Amelia. She was born in 1899 and would have turned 109 in October.
"She enjoyed the notoriety -- it kept her mind fresh," her great-grandson Darren Stone of Brisbane told local newspapers.
"She had people communicating with her from as far away as Russia and America on a continual basis, not just once in a while."
Riley had posted more than 70 entries on her blog -- or "her blob" as she jokingly called it -- since February last year. She set up the site with the help of a friend who entered her posts for her.
In her last and 74th post ( on June 26 she spoke of moving into a nursing home and of her ill health, saying: "I still feel weak and can't shake off that bad cough."
She spoke about singing "a happy song" with a visitor to the home as she did every day and said she had "read a whole swag of email messages and comments from my internet friends today, and I was so pleased to hear from you. Thank you, one and all."
She died in the nursing home on Saturday.

So now that means that I have to continue this blog for over 50 more years to beat the record and become the world’s oldest blogger. I accept the challenge!

On an unrelated note, today AOL listed the Top 10 Books to Read Before You Die. I have no idea who actually thought up the list, but I sure question some of their choices. See what you think:

Gone with The Wind-of course, a good book, but in the Top 10 to read before you die? Come on!

Lord of the Rings-I have not read any of this series; someone, what have I been missing? Right now, I am still not convinced that I need to read them.

Harry Potter-being in the Top 10? goes without saying. They are destined to be classics.

The Stand-I haven't read it, but it may be my next read. The books that I have read by Stephen King (not many) have been outstanding writing, so I may have to give this one a try.

The DaVinci Code-again, a good book, but Top 10?

To Kill A Mockingbird-My All-Time Favorite Book. It should be required reading for everyone beginning at age 12 and every couple years thereafter.

Angels and Demons-that’s a crazy choice. I did think that it was better than the DaVinci Code, but still….

Atlas Shrugged-may be my 2nd All-Time Favorite Book. Good choice!

Catcher In The Rye-never read it…have I missed anything with this one?

The Holy Bible-a good read.

So, that’s the list that AOL came up with. I can’t even imagine figuring out my top 10 list, but maybe after I am retired I will work on that. It will be hard! I am not sure that I could ever limit my list to 10.

Monday, July 7, 2008

In The Woods

In The Woods by Tana French

In The Woods had me up at night, reading while eating, considering calling in sick to work so I could read, etc. I could hardly stand to put it down! It was just that good. What seems really odd to me is that, once again, this is a first novel for the author. There are some REALLY good new authors out there! Makes me look even more forward to retirement! Good books to read and the time to read them...Heaven!

Anyway, this is a mystery novel...about 20 years earlier in Ireland, 3 children go out to play in the woods, but they don't return home. The police are called and one of the boys (Adam Ryan) is found gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing his blood-filled sneakers. He is unable to remember anything that has happened and his 2 friends are never found. Now enter present time, and that little boy had changed his first name to Rob, kept his past a secret, and went on to become a police detective. A 12 year old girl is found murdered in the same woods, and he and his partner, Cassie Maddox are assigned the case, which has some significant similarities to the case from 20 years ago.

Rob now finds himself back in that part of Ireland that he left years ago and brief memories of long-buried incidents return to him. Through-out the book, Rob is struggling with dealing with memories and/or lack of memories. It is interesting to follow the struggles he has as they begin to affect all areas of his life...personal relationships, work relationships and self-relationship (I just made that word up...but you know what I mean, don't you?).

The writing in this novel is great. Her writing style grabbed me right from the beginning. The end is somewhat different and that has upset some readers. I found the ending to be quite realistic and real-life-ish (another made-up word--no wonder I'm not an author). Some things were resolved and some weren't. There is speculation that the ending was left for a sequel, but I am not sure that will be the case.

Whether there is a sequel to this novel or not, I am definitely looking forward to her next book!