Monday, January 26, 2009

Two Rivers

I finished reading Two Rivers by t. greenwood (that’s how the author is listed) last night. It was good. I wouldn’t rate it as one of my most favorite books, but it was a good story that, as a good book should, has left me considering some of the plots of the story this morning.

The story takes place in a small town, Two Rivers, Vermont. It is told by Harper Montgomery, a widow raising a 12 year old daughter. I don’t want to tell too much of the story because some of the story secrets play out through-out the book and I don’t want to ruin it for others. Through-out the book is the love story of Harper and his wife, Betsy.

Harper works for the railroad and one day there is a train derailment. He goes to help and a young black, pregnant girl seeks him out. She was on the train, headed to Canada. He ends up taking her home until he can locate her family.

Meanwhile, there is another story going on that occurred 12 years ago involving the death of a young black man. Harper begins to wonder if finding the young girl is related.

The book is well written. I felt like I knew the characters and cared about them. While I was reading it, I thought that the end of the story was rather predictable, but I was totally wrong!

All in all, I would suggest the book to others to read.

Now that being said, I have been dying to start a book that I bought the other day. I read a review of a sequel book written by the author and immediately knew that I have to read them both. Never mind that I have oh, so many other books waiting to be read!

Anyway, the book is The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose. I am fascinated by the theory of reincarnation and have been for years (perhaps lifetimes?), so this sounds just like my kind of story!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Wood Wife

I just finished The Wood Wife by Teri Windling last night. Not that great, in my opinion. I had read really good things about it on other people's blogs so I had been anxious to read it. It just didn't do anything for me. I did complete it, and I would say that it was OK, but I just wasn't into it.

I wondered at first if it is because it is kind of a surreal (?that probably isn't really the word that I mean, but I can't think of another right now), but then I remembered how much I liked The Stolen Child (see review of it dated March 3, 2008) and it was certainly a other-than-worldly type book. (Again, not the right word...). Ok, I guess the word would be "fantasy". I'm not big on fantasy books usually, but once in awhile, one stands out, as does The Stolen Child.

So, I just can't quite pinpoint my issue with it. One thing that I can identify is that I did not think that the writing was very good. And I just found the story to be so-so. I was disappointed. I will be selling it on Definitely not a keeper.

However, now I am really looking forward to choosing my next book to read. Lord knows, I have plenty to choose from!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Must Be Crazy...or a Reader!

I went into Barnes and Noble today with a $25 gift card and the intent to get a magazine and some tea bags. I walked out with a magazine and 5 new books. How did I find 5 books so easily...all on one table? Needless to say, I overspent on the gift card!

Books bought today:

The Case of Abraham Lincoln-Julie M. Fenster

The Florist's Daughter-Patricia Hampl

Change of Heart-Jodi Picoult

Two Rivers-t. greenwood

Song Yet Sung-James McBride

Oh, how I love books!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Books, books, books...

I am so up for 2009 reading! I ordered 5 books from today…all from the list of Costa/Whitbread Award Winners of First Novels. Hopefully, that will take care of the Challenge that I presented to myself for 2009.

What did I order? Here’s the list:

The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht

The Ventriloquist’s Tale by Pauline Melville

Felicia’s Journey by William Trevon

The Comforts of Madness by Paul Sayer

On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin

I have heard/read about Felicia’s Journey and On the Black Hill. I don’t know/never heard of the others, but I did check out reviews on Amazon, so I am hoping that I will enjoy them.

What do I have sitting here waiting to be read right now? Again, another list:

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

Big Russ and Me by Tim Russert

The Slave’s War by Andrew Ward

Lincoln’s Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk

As you can see, they are all non-fiction. I am not big on reading non-fiction right now, but retirement will change that, I hope. During the week I usually just read at night in bed, and I only enjoy reading novels before sleep. Presently I am reading Tom Brokaw’s book, Boom during the evening, and The Wood Wife by Terri Windling while in bed. I never have enough time in my day to do all the reading that I want to do. I love to read!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Tenderness of Wolves

I just finished The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney last night and was so sorry that it was over. What I great way to begin my 2009 reading! After I finished it, I found myself wishing that I was reading it for a college course, where we would have much discussion on it and would have to write a paper on different aspects, etc. It was that good.

Here is a brief blurb from the back of the book:

The year is 1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory, when Laurent Jammett is brutally murdered.

A local woman, Mrs. Ross, stumbles upon the crime scene and sees the tracks leading from the dead man’s cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. It is Mrs. Ross’s knock on the door of the largest house in Caulfield that launches the investigation. Within hours she will regret that knock with a mother’s love-for soon she makes another discovery: her seventeen-year-old son Francis has disappeared as well, and is now considered a prime suspect.”

And that is just a piece of the whole story! There are several other stories/subplots within the book that I found fascinating. One of the sub-stories was of two sisters who had disappeared from the area years ago. I should add that the story takes place in Northern Canada. Several different parties head out into the wild looking for Francis and answers. The book does an excellent job of relating several different relationships occurring through-out the story. I was fascinated with all of the different relationships. Ms. Penney did an excellent job with the stories, and tying them all together. I really enjoyed her writing style.

Here’s just the very briefest teaser from the book:

She drops her face until it is hidden in shadow. Donald feels ashamed of himself. Her parents had been the object of so much sympathy; everyone was in awe of their loss. But the lost grieve, too.”

That may not seem especially great, but in context of the story, it struck me as profound!

Just as an interesting aside: this was another 1st novel by the author. I am constantly amazed at all of the great 1st novels out there!

2009 Challenge

I finished The Tenderness of Wolves last night (check for new posting on it) and was so impressed with it that I decided to check out the Costa Book Awards site. The Tenderness of Wolves won the 2006 Costa Book of the Year for a 1st Novel. If they were good enough to choose this book, I wanted to see what other books have been chosen.

From the website: “The Costa Book Awards is one of the most prestigious and popular literary prizes in the UK and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.”

My challenge to myself for 2009 is to read at least 5 of the winners of the Costa Award. I printed off a list of them, beginning from 1971. And to be honest, most of them, I have not heard of. But that is not going to hinder my pursuit.

I will report at the end of this year on how I did with the challenge I have given myself!