Caught a blue evening picture. That snow just keeps coming down! Now that I'm (really?) a writer, it sort of looks like some kind of writing prompt. Naw... just a pretty photo of the twin mulberries.
Apparently, I haven't been telling you what I've read for the past several years. I even temporarily gave up tracking my reading. What's up with that? And, I have to confess that the reading took a serious hit after I discovered a couple of games I really like.
I only read 26 books this year. Pathetic. (There may have been some I forgot about. I started tracking the reading mid-year and had to think back.) Also, the CD player in my car broke, so that ended listening to books while I drive. Actually, I started about five others that I'll never finish. I rarely used to give up on a book. Now, it just seems like there are so many good books waiting, why should I feel any kind of need to read ones I don't like. For the most part, I get free books from the exchange, take them out of the library, or accept piles from friends who want to offload them, so I haven't squandered any investment.
Worst of all, I only labeled seven of them as excellent. Here are those seven... for what it's worth, and your tastes may differ from mine. In the order read... I don't rank them cross-genre.
|Hiking Without Dave||C.W. Spencer||hiking/ self-help|
|I met C.W. on a hike with Ester in Ohio. I thought I blogged about that, but I guess not. Anyway. We traded books. One never knows what quality of reading material will be received this way. This time, I hit the jackpot. C.W. weaves the story of his circuit hike of the Buckeye Trail (Ohio) with his personal journey through the grief of losing his brother to suicide. The book was so good I used it as one of my selections for my yearly book review newspaper column.|
|Ford County||John Grisham||Literary Fiction|
|This is out of the normal genre for Grisham- the legal thriller. It's a collection of short stories, featuring people and families from the South. Grisham's ability to observe people and tell stories is outstanding, as always.|
|English Country House Murders||Thomas Godfrey||Mystery|
|This was a cross between research and pleasure. Godfrey uses short stories and excerpts from over a century of mystery writers to exemplify the "English country house murder." He says that American writers can never get it right. Probably not, but my next Anastasia Raven book will be Dead Mule Swamp Mistletoe, and I'll be trying to at least write an American country house murder. Fun, and very educational for me.|
|The Woman Who Smashed Codes||Jason Fagone||History|
|This is the true story of Elizebeth (not a typo) and William Friedman who were the chief US codebreakers throughout World War II. The documentation of all this was recently declassified, and their story could be told. It's truly an amazing tale. Without these two people and a trusted staff that worked with them, things might have turned out differently.|
|Lydia of the Pines||Honore Morrow||Young Adult?|
|I blogged about this book at Shark Bytes and Tales. I sort of stumbled on this because I have read other works by the author. The book was written in 1917, just 100 years ago. The entire text was online, as part of one of those open book sites. I started reading it, and it was so compelling I couldn't "put it down." It's sort of a coming-of-age story for girls, and she does "get the guy" in the end, but it's not a romance at its core. It's about dealing with a life that isn't easy, and learning that people you love may not be perfect, and choosing to do what is right with your life.|
|Rule of Four||Ian Caldwell||Literary Mystery|
|This is sort of a highbrow Dan Brown kind of book. It's based on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a document which actually exists, and contains one ciphered message as to its authorship. The story involves several students and professors at Princeton University whose lives become entangled in discovering additional secrets hidden in the text. Especially after reading The Woman Who Smashed Codes (and it was pure chance I picked this up a couple weeks later) the plausibility of the story was impressive.|
|Murder on the Brewster Flats||Aaron Paul Lazar||Cozy Mystery|
|Aaron is one of my favorite cozy mystery writers. This book isn't even available yet, but I was one of his beta readers so I got a preview. Somehow Aaron manages to keep up pretty much non-stop action while retaining the nature of a cozy mystery. His books are always good, but this one was just fun from beginning to end. Hint: pirate treasure and secret tunnels. You can pre-order it at Amazon.|
|See Is It Compelling?|