Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Reads

Books are an escape for me, a vacation, so I like happy, interesting books about people who live somewhere I have never been. Think Under the Tuscan Sun. 

 When I recommend books to read, you must note that I am not picking from the best sellers list. I do not read the disturbing  blood and guts mysteries, nor any vampire or shades of gray types. I don't read biographies of screwed up people. SO, now is the time to quit reading this post if the above are your choices.

Today's books all have a beachy, vacation feel to them. 

Being land locked in Kansas....
(no, it's really not that bad)

I want a fun-filled vacation, get away read. 

I am reading constantly, having 2 books going at once, and maybe an audio book too,  but this last one I read really is staying with me. Do you ever read a book and then keep thinking about the characters, wanting to still be a part of their lives?

Porch Lights takes place on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. Three generations are together in the family home, and little Charlie (10 years) and Glam (Glamorous Grandma) steal the dialogue. Funny, heart wrenching, with lots of descriptions of island life there. I liked all the characters, and although the ending is predictable, it is a good summer read.

In addition, when I travel, I listen to audio books in the car. I picked up Porch Lights, the audio,  at the library for my mom, and I must say the reader is EXCELLENT.  This is the book you want to hear! Let someone tell you this story!

I am also reading The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore.

Set in modern Italy and England, the author provides a lush, tranquil atmosphere and wonderful characters you want to know.  The story is set at a beautiful old estate on the English coast. :You come to know the family who own the hotel, as well as the guests who come and go.  Italy is drawn into the book with a corresponding story that brings all the characters together.

I have read several books by Elin Hilderbrand and Summerland does not disappoint.

Taking place in Nantucket, the author's home, the story follows the lives of three families with teenagers  who all live there year round. In a close-knit island community, a teenage car accident defines and changes the lives of these families. A  more serious summer read, Hilderbrand draws you into each families' dynamics, as she tells the story through several different characters point of view. 

Tell me what you've been reading this summer and if you've read any of these books. 

I am linking to 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I am Reading in September

Reading and soaking up the rich colors, divine details, and objects of intricate interest, I have scanned this book with a new eye for detail each time I turn a page.

If you are a follower of Charles Faudree this newest book does not disappoint.

Love the layering  of oils.

I like pewter and wish it would come back in style more. This is a cozy, yet rich mantle with hounds and the rough wood.

Look at this snug, comfortable corner of a bedroom done in black and white  toile and the striking black picture frames.

Isn't this a sweet, country bath?

If you have ever read any of the Rosamunde Pilcher novels, you will notice the similarities of Faudree's decor in her books.

Rosamunde Pilcher was born in Cornwall, and retired from writing several years ago. Her writing style details the cottages and estates of Cornwall. Some of my favorite Pilcher books are:

Have you tried any of Rosamunde Pilcher's books?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What I'm Reading in January

Mary Kay Andrews is one of my favorite authors, due to her choice of southern locations and humor in her stories. I just finished HISSY FIT and it did not disappoint me. Cute and fun, a young woman in the interior design business is busy with a Greek revival mansion when  life begins to happen to her. Many interesting details about the rehabing of the mansion. As always, Mary Kay Andrews includes quirky characters to interact with the young designer.

I am also reading a Dorothea Benton Frank book called The Land of Mango Sunsets.

It takes place in Manhattan, NY and  Sullivan's Island, SC. The main character is a 40 something single lady who can't quite find her comfortable place in the world. Great characters, funny, odd and entertaining. I don't like all Frank's books, I read one recently ( I can't remember what one, now) that I couldn't get past the first chapter because I didn't like the main character, but this one's a good read. I read for ENJOYMENT and this one makes the grade. I want to go to Sullivan's Island!

                            Buy The Friday Night Knitting Club

This Kate Jacobs book was interesting, but not fantastic. I usually just don't mention books that I don't think are really, really good, but I did like the yarn shop setting. I am not a knitter, but I found it an interesting venue.Several women of different ages and backgrounds come together in the beginning in an uncomfortable knitting group in a yarn shop. They develop relationships as they spend time together, and there are lots of storylines. The story was good, but the characters could have really been developed more. I just didn't care about them. There are two more sequels of this book, if it strikes your fancy.

Julia Roberts was supposed to star in and produce this, and as of the summer of 2010, it still was not out, nor any other stars listed. Maybe it will be a better movie.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Books Read in December

I have read fewer books this month than usual , but there are two holiday books that I must recommend. Even though the Christmas season is quickly coming to a close, these two books are worth the late read, or put them on your list for next November to get yourself in the holiday spirit.

book cover of 
The Christmas Quilt 
 (Elm Creek Quilts, book 8)
Jennifer Chiaverini

By Jennifer Chiaverini, this story is about Elm Creek Manor, a mansion in Pennsylvania. Chiaverini takes the reader through the antebellum era, the Great Depression, World War II with her added love and knowledge of quilting. The main character, Sylvia is coping with the modern problem of family dispersed, estranged, or even forgotten,  and reconciliation with her personal history proves interesting for the reader. I am not a quilter, but the story was very captivating even so. A good Christmas read.

This book is a great, fun read. Light and quirkly characters are introduced throughout this story as a man takes a train trip from the east coast to west right before Christmas. He is a writer who has been thrown off the airlines, and must use Amtrak . He discovers many different people on this trip and the reader laughs along with him as he decides he has an article waiting to be written about all the passengers on the train.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Books I'm reading in November

With fall comes school (work) again, less time outside, fewer projects, even  fewer blogs and cold weather. At least I am still reading. Some evenings, it's all I can accomplish to come home, collapse and read. But reading is my oasis!

Kate Morton tells the story of three women within four generations of a family. Story weaves into story, layer upon layer. Morton combines Gothic settings, Dickensian characters and modern times in England and Australia into a plot involving past relatives of the current character.  The mystery she is unraveling of a 4 year old left on a dock in Australia in 1913 pulls the story together. I am anxiously awaiting the solving of the mystery!


Haven't started this one yet. It was written in 2002. I know I have read something of hers before, but can't remember if I liked it or not. This was recommended to me, so I will add to this once I start it. It is about three college friends, and follows the rest of their lives. Setting is modern and southern.

I am actually listening to this on CD after reading it about a year ago. I needed some car book time.  One of the most entertaining books I have read for awhile. It is great on CD, characters are so colorful! Another "Southern chick lit" book. Mary Kay Andrews has several books using the same characters, but you do not have to read them in any order. They all make sense. In The Fixer Upper, a young woman is fixing up an old mansion ( my dream) and everything, of couse, goes wrong. I love it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Books I'm reading in October

I am really excited about a book I just got directly from one of the authors. Beyond the Fence Line, The Eyewitness Account of Ed Hoffman and the Murder of President Kennedy is by Casey Quinlan and Brian K. Edwards.

I had the opportunity of being in  two classes with Casey Quinlan this month. We are both teachers. Like him, I am an avid follower of all the theories of what actually happened the day Kennedy was shot. I was in grade school, but old enough to know it was very serious. The twin towers tragedy  and the Kennedy assassination are two things my generation remembers and can tell you where they were and what they were doing when both horrible events occurred.

I am also reading Hell's Gate by Linda Fairstein. I read her Lethal Legacy (see August post) and loved it. The same character Alex Cooper investigates human trafficking in New York City. Fairstein's legal thrillers interest me also because she includes so much history about NYC. She also doesn't overdo the description of the violence that is necessary in the story line.


Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog 

No, no! I didn't write it. I just listened to this book on CD in the car. Written by author Lisa Scottoline, who usually writes great legal thrillers, this book is from her Philadelphia newspaper column. I wanted to hear this book, as opposed to reading it,  because she actually reads her own articles on the CD. These articles are light and humorous and entertaining. I am such a fan of her books (read them all) that I was excited to hear her personal  stories. In addition to writing great humor, Scottoline is good at telling or reading her work as well. Worth taking the time to LISTEN to this one.

In my continued following of artist John Singer Sargent (see September post), I am reading Sargent's Daughters by Erica E. Hirshler.

Sargent had no children, however the title refers to the daughters of Edward Darley Boit, whom he painted. It is an odd, mystical portrait and there is much discussion in the book about the four daughters, what became of them, and  why such a portrait has continued in popularity into today. Hirshler  tells a complex story of the lives of the family, the time period and Paris of that generation. There are many side stories woven into connections with painter and subjects. Sargent's Daughters feels almost like a  mystery novel, but it is  a true piece of writing.  

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Books I'm Reading in September......

I received some books in the mail just in time for Labor Day weekend. There's nothing more intriging than a new stack of books!


"The summer I was five, John Singer Sargent came to visit us. He wasn't a famous artist then. But he painted a picture in our garden that became quite famous. Here is how I remember what happened.........'

My favorite artist right now is John Singer Sargent. This little book is about a time he spent with a family, and painted the children's individual portraits. It is written by Hugh Brewster as told by one of the little girls. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is a book for young readers, but that does not detract from its story.

House Beautiful Decorating With Books

A great book of photographs of home libraries and use of books for decoration.

Below: I would never leave this room if it were mine!

Here is my library area.

This book will take awhile to get through. The photos are so deep and colorful, full of detail. A coffee table type book The Most Beautiful LIBRARIES in the World is a architectural delight.

The Avvey Library of Saint Gall, Switzerland

The Prunksaal in Austria, this is the map room.

Above: The John Rylands Library reading room, England

The Boston Athenaeum reading room


I am still reading this next book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Set in rural Mississippi, in the early 1960's, it is a sweet, informative  book about the lives of the help, and the white families they take care of. It does not finger-point, it is not an angry novel. It gently draws you into the very personal lives of all kinds of different people that interact out of habit, rather than thought. 

 I finished the book and I can say it was ok, but not riveting or earth shaking. I did learn about what things were like in the South in the 1960's in white and black households, but it was drawn out and had a very anti-climatic ending. The author summed things up in about 5 sentences, and then it was done.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What I'm reading in August......

     I love reading fiction that lets me pick up bits of historical information, and travel to places I have not been. Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein does just that. Fairstein is a former prosecutor that now writes crime novels.  It takes place in New York, and much better, in the New York Public library, where the subject is theft of rare books and maps. This is a suspense novel that is the 11th in the series of Alexandra Cooper. This is the first one I have read, and it does NOT detract from the story. I may be late to the party, but I am going to read all of them!

Here is a short video of author Linda Fairstein in the New York Public Library:

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is one book that has the most honest characters I have met in a long time. CeeCee is a 12 year old girl, who moves to Savannah, Georgia in 1967 to live with a great aunt. I have taught 12 year old girls for 13 years, and I must say  author Beth Hoffman has a clear picture of the internal thoughts of a 12 year old girl. This book made me cry and laugh out loud, and I wanted to have all those characters as friends, too. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt would  make a fabulous movie and I am already casting it in my mind!

Here is a link to an interview with author Beth Hoffman: