Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Shout-out - some great reads off the shelves.

It was a quiet week, started with lots of fog as the temperatures really warmed up and melted some of the snow but the warm air meeting the cold ground always causes lots of fog for us.  HOWEVER, by Wednesday, the temperature plummeted and the snow fell again....all day.  It was glorious.  A heavy snow that prettied up all the ugly car-exhausted snow banks and made driving just iffy enough to postpone our book club and close the library early, so we could all go home and read.

Then I got hit by the nasty flu bug, although the case I had was is probably considered  fairly mild...I'll spare you the details.  Just felt "icky" and off my feed for several days. I'd had a flu shot back in early November, so I'm sure that helped keep the really bad symptoms down. I did choose to stay home for a few days so I didn't spread it to anyone else, and that gave me a good chance to do some wonderful fun reading from my own shelves.

I finished my ARC of Elizabeth Strout's newest book, The Burgess Boys and enjoyed it immensely. She so captures the ethos of living in Maine, her characters are so believable, and her prose is stark and descriptive. I just can't get enough of her.  Like her earlier Olive Kitteridge, this one will make a wonderful discussion book for our book club.  Watch for my review in the coming weeks.  Publication date is March 26, 2013.
I'm a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith's 1st Ladies Detective Agency series and have read and listened to every one of the books in the series.  On the other hand, I never really got bitten by the bug to read some of his other series, but decided last fall to have another go at two of his series.  So I loaded the first of each of these onto my MP3, intending to listen to them while we were at the beach.  As time would have it, I just never got to them.

While I was lying in bed, not wanting to open my eyes for fear I'd get dizzy and nauseous again, I tuned into 44 Scotland Street, and reacquainted myself with all the delightful characters living in that flat. I'd forgotten how delightful McCall Smith's writing is.  The gentle, slow pace of his writing is perfect for a slow afternoon when nothing else is going to happen.  He develops his characters slowly, tantalizing us with the psyches of a very disparate group of residents.  I'm particularly fond of little Bertie, the precocious saxophone playing, train loving 5 year old with an absolutely obnoxious mother. Bertie just wants to find another 5 year old friend, and detach from his momma - not learn Italian and all the other silly things his mom has in store for him.  I definitely want to follow these adventures to see what happens to Bertie.   I finished this in two afternoons, and am now anxiously awaiting my next trip to the library to pick up the second in the series.

In the meantime,  I've started listening to another series of his, the Sunday Philosophy Club.  I'm not sure this bunch is ever going to "click" with me, but I'm determined to finish the first book, and then take a stab at the second before declaring them "not for me."  McCall Smith is just too good a writer to give up too soon.

To top off the week, I  finished a short Chick-lit book for TLC book tours (review to be posted on Feb 6th) - The GodDaughter by Melodie Campbell,  and a wonderful Maine cozy, Crawl Space from Sarah Graves' Home Repair is Homicide series

Finally, I spent a few hours looking through a preliminary list of 2012 books to be featured in a Maine library program later this year.  It was a fun project, even if it did add another 15 books to my reading pile for the spring!!  More to come on this one.

In the meantime, I'm settled in for a winter of good reading.


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