Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Book Report

Fourteen books read this month, but let's start with the one I didn't read - that's it on top - Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of  Decluttering and Organizing. I added this book to my reading list after watching a segment on Sunday Morning about the author and her books. As usual, I thought reading a self-help book might lead to me changing my ways. Ha! Who was I kidding? I wasn't even motivated enough to read the entire book. (Which wasn't the book's fault.)

A Dark and Twisted Tale by Sharon Bolton - a first time author for me, but not this author's first book - just the only one at my library. Lacey Flint is a member of London's River Police whose home is one of the city's house boats. This was a good read and I would read more by this author if available.

The Private Patient by P. D. James. Woman is murdered at a country clinic after she undergoes plastic surgery to repair a scar on her face. A second murder occurs a few days later. Dalgliesh is sent in to solve the crimes.

Long Time No See by Susan Isaacs. Yes, I'm reading my way through the books available by this author. This is my favorite so far. It relates back to one of Isaacs' previous books.

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith was one of my favorite reads this month. Noted food and travel author goes to Italy to get over his breakup with longtime girlfriend and finish his latest book. No rental cars are available, only a bulldozer, which he agrees to rent to get to the little hill town where he is staying. What a premise! And in Smith's hands, this becomes a delightful little story. I loved it.

The Evening Road by Laird Hunt is based on actual lynchings in Indiana on August 7, 1930 which were the basis of Billie Holliday's song, 'Strange Fruit'. The book is imagined from both sides, black and white, and told by two women. At times it was hard to understand just what Hunt was trying to say. At other times, the book was poignant, insightful and powerful. In all, however, I liked his book 'Neverhome' better.

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth is one of those books that at the end had me thinking "What a good book!" as I wiped away the tears. Do tears equate with good writing? Or are women just programmed for tear jerkers?
Single mother, devoted to her "social anxiety disorder" suffering daughter, learns she has stage three ovarian cancer. Mother has no close friends, no family, no support network. Who will care for her daughter when she is gone? Well written.

Death In Holy Orders by P. D. James. Alas, the last of James' books available at my libraries. I have really enjoyed her books. She became a favorite author - one I wish I had begun reading years ago. Searching "authors to try if you like P. D. James" has given me some new ones to try.

Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs is the book I should have read before Long Time No See as it introduces the characters some twenty years before. I really liked Long Time better. Both were entertaining reads.

Any Place I Hang My Hat by Susan Isaacs. As I said, I'm reading my way through this author. Woman journalist abandoned by her mother at age ten is raised by her father and grandmother. She is unable to commit to her 'perfect' boyfriend because of abandonment issues. She tracks down and confronts her mother in order to move forward.

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan was another of my favorite reads this month. Set in England during WWII, the story is told in letters and journals of the women who are left to carry on while the men are at war.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is another book chosen after seeing a segment about it on Sunday Morning. The coming of age story about opposing gangs written by Hinton when she was 16 and the basis for the movie of the same name.

Bum Steer by Nancy Pickard. I thought I had read all of her books available but found this paperback which is the 6th in her Jenny Cain series. The best part of the book was its setting - The Kansas Flint Hills. Not as good as some of the previous mysteries.

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert is the first in a new mystery series by this favored author. Garden club members solve mysteries. A cute little mystery read.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the third of my favorite reads this month and the most favorite. I loved this first novel by this author. Lucky for me, I bought this book at a library sale, so I can refer to its 'Dictionary of Flowers' as often as I wish.
A woman raised in foster and group homes after being abandoned as a baby reaches age eighteen and her emancipation from the system. With limited resources and nowhere to go, her love of flowers and knowledge of their Victorian language provide her a marketable talent. She becomes a successful and sought after florist.
When she gives birth to a daughter which she then abandons, the cycle continues. This is such a beautiful book, emotional, poignant, educational (if you're into the language of flowers), romantic and though provoking. If I can find the words and hold on to the feelings I had when I finished reading this book, there will be a follow up blog about mothers and daughters.

1 comment:

  1. I just read "The Dark Room", a suspense-thriller. Cliff has started reading "Winston Churchill: a Life". I read a little of the beginning of it and have to say, it's an excellent biography, although it's pretty long. I'm not sure I want to commit to reading that long a book. I can't believe such a great man was so mistreated, ignored, and abused as a child!