Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Favorite Bookstores...

Cheryl is in Seattle and stopped by Elliott Bay Book Company.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Heard about a Book...

I have seen this on the new book shelves at several bookstores—The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace.

From Goodreads.com:

In the early 1800s, a young Italian contessa, Carolina Fantoni, realizes she is going blind shortly before she marries the town's most sought-after bachelor. Her parents don't believe her, nor does her fiancé. The only one who understands is the eccentric local inventor and her longtime companion, Turri. When her eyesight dims forever, Carolina can no longer see her beloved lake or the rich hues of her own dresses. But as darkness erases her world, she discovers one place she can still see-in her dreams. Carolina creates a vivid dreaming life, in which she can not only see, but also fly, exploring lands she had never known.

Desperate to communicate with Carolina, Turri invents a peculiar machine for her: the world's first typewriter. His gift ignites a passionate love affair that will change both of their lives forever.

Based on the true story of a nineteenth-century inventor and his innovative contraption, The Blind Contessa's New Machine is an enchanting confection of love and the triumph of the imagination.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Favorite Bookstores...

Stopped into the Dusty Bookshelf in Lawrence yesterday.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heard about a Book...

On Here & Now today, I listened to an interview with Wes Moore, the author of The Other Wes Moore that is turning out to be the freshman read this fall on many college campuses. He was very interesting and his book sounds very powerful.

From the author's website:

Two kids with the same name, living in the same city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.

In December 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship. The same paper also ran a series of articles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery. The police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers. One was named Wes Moore.

Wes just couldn’t shake off the unsettling coincidence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same newspaper. After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. His letter tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting him: Who are you? How did this happen?

That letter led to a correspondence and relationship that has lasted for several years. Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered that the other Wes had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in similar neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods, both were fatherless; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and both had run into trouble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across similar moments of decision, yet their choices and the people in their lives would lead them to astonishingly different destinies.

Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a challenging and at times, hostile world.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heard about a Book...

I heard an interview on NPR with Alexandra Fuller about her new memoir Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness. She was very interesting and the passages she read were well written.

From the author's website:

In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Alexandra Fuller braids a multi-layered narrative around the perfectly lit, Happy Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood; the emotionally frozen landscape of her father's English childhood; and the darker, civil war- torn Africa of her own childhood. At its heart, this is the story of Fuller's mother, Nicola. Born on the Scottish Isle of Skye and raised in Kenya, Nicola holds dear the kinds of values most likely to get you hurt or killed in Africa: loyalty to blood, passion for land, and a holy belief in the restorative power of all animals. A story of survival and madness, love and war, loyalty and forgiveness, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is an intimate exploration of the author's family.

Just Started...

I've started the first book of the Outlander series, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

From the author's website:

In 1946, after WWII, a young Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. She’s an ex-combat nurse, he’s been in the army as well, they’ve been separated for the last six years, and this is a second honeymoon; they’re getting re-acquainted with each other, thinking of starting a family. But one day Claire goes out walking by herself, and comes across a circle of standing stones–such circles are in fact common all over northern Britain. She walks through a cleft stone in the circle….and disappears. Back into 1743, where the first person she meets is a gentleman in an 18th-century army officer’s uniform. This gentleman, Jack Randall, looks just like her husband Frank–and proves to be Frank’s six-times-great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he also proves to be a sadistic bisexual pervert, and while trying to escape from him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Highland Scots, who are also trying to get away from Black Jack Randall–though for other reasons.

In order to avoid being handed over to Captain Randall, Claire is obliged to marry one of the young clansmen. So she finds herself trying to escape from Castle Leoch and her Scottish captors, trying to get back to her husband Frank, trying to avoid being recaptured by Captain Randall–and falling in love with Jamie Fraser, the young man she’s been forced to marry.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Just Started...

For Cheryl's birthday, I gave her a novel recommended by Rainy Day Books, Beginner's Greek by James Collins.

From Goodreads.com:

Is love at first sight possible or just an old-fashioned romantic idea? And what if, to further complicate things, you meet the love of your life and then lose her phone number? Then what if, after the impossible happens and you find her again, she's now about to marry a roguish lothario who is also your best friend? The complications don't end there for Peter Russell, the winning hero of James Collins' charming, generous, and romantic first novel. Part modern-day Jane Austen, part Tom Wolfe, Beginner's Greek is a romantic comedy of the highest order, with characters who are perfectly, charmingly real as they swerve and stumble from fairy tale to social satire and back again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Started...

Cheryl just checkout Rescue by Anita Shreve. Cheryl says its good so far, a quick read.

From Goodreads.com:

A rookie paramedic pulls a young woman alive from her totaled car, a first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage. Sheila Arsenault is a gorgeous enigma--streetwise and tough-talking, with haunted eyes, fierce desires, and a never-look-back determination. Peter Webster, as straight an arrow as they come, falls for her instantly and entirely. Soon Sheila and Peter are embroiled in an intense love affair, married, and parents to a baby daughter. Like the crash that brought them together, it all happened so fast.

Can you ever really save another person? Eighteen years later, Sheila is long gone and Peter is raising their daughter, Rowan, alone. But Rowan is veering dangerously off track, and for the first time in their ordered existence together, Webster fears for her future. His work shows him daily every danger the world contains, how wrong everything can go in a second. All the love a father can give a daughter is suddenly not enough.

Sheila's sudden return may be a godsend--or it may be exactly the wrong moment for a lifetime of questions and anger and longing to surface anew. What tore a young family apart? Is there even worse damage ahead? The questions lifted up in Anita Shreve's utterly enthralling new novel are deep and lasting, and this is a novel that could only have been written by a master of the human heart.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just Started...

From our favorite beach bookstore, Sundog Books, Cheryl bought Staying at Daisy's by Jill Mansell, one of the romance author's she follows.

From Goodreads.com:

If you're looking for a hotel where anything can happen, try staying at Daisy's...

Daisy MacLean runs the country house hotel owned by her flamboyant father, Hector. When she hears who's about to get married there, she isn't worried at all - her friend Tara absolutely promises there won't be any trouble between her and ex-boyfriend Dominic, whom she hasn't seen for years. But Daisy should be worried. Dominic has other ideas. And seeing Tara again sets in motion a chaotic train of events with far-reaching consequences for all concerned.

While Daisy spends the ensuing months doing battle with Dev Tyzack (Dominic's so-called best man), Tara battles with her conscience. Meanwhile, Hector's getting up to all sorts with...well, that's the village's best kept secret. And then Barney turns up, with a little something belonging to the husband Daisy's been doing her best to forget. That's the thing about hotels, you never know who you're going to meet. Or whether they're going to stay...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Favorite Bookstores...

Hello old friend... Sundog Books, Seaside, Florida.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just Finished...

Jim just finished Just One Look by Harlan Coben, a "quick thriller."

From the author's website:

An ordinary snapshot causes a suburban mother’s world to unravel in an instant. When Grace Lawson picks up a newly developed set of family photographs, there is a picture that doesn’t belong—a photo from at least twenty years ago. In the photo are five people, four Grace can’t recognize and one that looks strikingly like her husband, Jack.

When Jack sees the photo, he denies he’s the man in it. But later that night, while Grace lies in bed waiting, he drives away in the family's minivan without an explanation, taking the photograph with him.

Not knowing where he went or why he left, Grace struggles alone to shield her children from Jack’s absence in the days that follow. Each passing day brings only doubts about herself and her marriage and yet more unanswered questions about Jack, along with the realization that there are others looking for Jack and the photograph—including one fierce, silent killer who will not be stopped from finding his quarry, no matter who or what stands in his way.

When the police won’t help her, and neighbors and friends alike seem to have agendas of their own, she must confront the dark corners of her own tragic past to keep her children safe and learn the truth that might bring her husband home.