I found this meme on Facebook yesterday! I'd love to give credit to its creator, but it is so ubiquitous on Google that I'm not sure who the originator is. Either way, I had an ear worm all day after seeing this. And it is a nice day for a light sweater, indeed, in Texas: 59 degrees yesterday morning and 55 today when I left the house. Finally, after a hellish summer, Fall weather has arrived. I'm so happy!
And I've gotten some reading done, so YAY!
What I Finished Reading
I've been a fan of Charlaine Harris for a while, and not even for her Sookie Stackhouse novels. She wrote a series of mysteries set in Shakespeare, Arkansas with a woman named Lily Bard as the main character. Lily settled in Shakespeare to escape a VERY dark and violent past, and works as a house cleaner and errand runner for folks in her small town. Of course, dead bodies turn up in Lily's life, and she finds a way to solve the mysteries. I enjoyed these books primarily because the main character was very well-developed and had such a difficult past to overcome - yet she found a way to make a life for herself in spite of what happened to her.
I finally dove into Charlaine Harris' new title, An Easy Death, last weekend, and came up for air (and snacks, and a bathroom break) quite a long while later! I I love this world she's created - a fractured US that has weakened, causing parts of the country to be gobbled up by Canada, Mexico, Russia and England.
The main character, Lizbeth "Gunny" Rose lives in the South where there is a lot of lawlessness, and makes her living with a crew who will take travelers from her area North into New America. Lizbeth is a "gunny," basically a hired gun, and she is one TOUGH gunslinger! I love that the author has created some great characters: men and women who are strong, as they must be, to survive in this new world order. When Lizbeth's crew is killed by bandits and her cargo is kidnapped, leaving her the lone survivor, she sets out to track them down and finish the job she set out to do. She does, and how! Her next adventure involves some Russian wizards, a secret from her past, and much more Wild West action. There are a lot of gunfights and deaths in this book, but it isn't over the top, and didn't feel gratuitous - it's just the way of life in this world.
My only criticism is that in the last bit of the book the author seemed to run out of things to say and struggled to end it in a way that would produce a sequel. That made it a 4 star rather than 5 star read for me. This book is very plainly narrated, which matches the no-nonsense main character, and the writing reflects that. As a side note, I just saw today that An Easy Death will be adapted for the small screen. It will make a great series!
What I'm Currently Reading
I'm slowly savoring this small book which is a love letter to bibliophiles everywhere. Anne Bogel, creator of the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and life-long reader, shares some beautiful essays about the reading life, and I can relate to each and everyone. I especially love the chapter called "Bookworm Problems" which is written in list form, and expresses all those situations that book lovers have experienced, such as:
- All your library holds coming in at once
- You pack 12 books for a five-day vacation because you can't decide what to read next
- You keep reading "one more chapter" until 2 a.m. and then are too tired to work the next day
- You finish a great book and realize the next in the series won't be published for a year
- Your TBR list is too long to finish before you die
- And my favorite: You pile your stack of books in your passenger seat, and the car yells at you because it thinks you have an unbuckled passenger!
It's a lovely book and I highly recommend it for anyone who is a reader and loves books.
I've had my eye on The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle for a while, and finally started it last night. I've heard that it's a very good mystery, but you have to pay attention! The setting is at an estate in the English countryside, sometime in the past (the author is British). Every day, Evelyn Hardcastle, the daughter of the estate owner, is killed at 11 p.m. Every day, Aiden Bishop awakens to find himself inhabiting the body of one of the guests, and he must try to figure out who killed Evelyn before it happens again. There are a lot of characters, but luckily the author provides a cheat sheet in the form of a Party Invitation at the beginning of the book that provides details on everyone to help keep them all straight in your head as you read. It's well-written, and I have not gotten too confused yet!
I also started this book last night: The Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan (yes, I often read more than one book at a time)! It's about an insurance investigator in Strasbourg, France, who is a high-functioning autistic woman with tremendous abilities to read facial expressions and recognize patterns in things she reads and sees. Dr. Genevieve Lenard is a great character, and the first book was free for Kindle yesterday, so I had to have it!. I read about this series on Modern Mrs. Darcy's blog, when some of her readers were commenting on the types of books they like to read when the weather turns cooler (mainly gothic stories and the classics, apparently). As for me, I don't have seasonal reading habits. If it looks like a good book, I'll read a Christmas book in July or a beach read in November. I just want to be reading a good book - every day of my life!
What I'm Planning to Read Next
I received ARCs or e-galleys of all these books this week, and I will have a hard time choosing! They will all be published in winter or spring of 2019. Jane Harper, an Australian author, burst on the literary scene with The Dry, followed by Force of Nature, both excellent mysteries, and I have no doubt that her next novel, The Lost Man, will be good as well.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is based on the historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the Kentucky Pack Horse library service, and should be loved by librarians and biblophiles everywhere!
Bowlaway is a "sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin bowling alley." This one caught my eye because my grandmother was born in 1899 in a small town and was named Bertha - the same as one of the main characters in this book!
Finally, The Magnetic Girl is an historical fiction novel based on the true story of Lulu Hurst, who was a "mentalist" with the power of electricity, or was she?
My hope is that you, too, are reading something wonderful!