Tuesday, November 29, 2022

My Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November is an opportunity to look back at the nonfiction read in the past year, and out of the 168 books I have read this year just eleven were nonfiction, about 15%. Unless the topic really interests me, the pace is usually too slow. However, when I find one I really like, everyone hears about it. I recommended Dead Wake to everyone I encountered while I was listening to the audio, especially Elswyth Thane fans. Earlier this month, I encountered the author’s editor at a JV soccer game and told her everything I especially appreciated about the book (her son is also a promising goalkeeper). Books about books seems to be the genre I read most, along with history and sports. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Grey King: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Title: The Grey King: The Dark is Rising #4
Author: Susan Cooper
Illustrator: Michael Heslop
Publication: Atheneum, hardcover, 1982
Genre: Juvenile fantasy/series
Setting: Wales
Description: After an unexpectedly severe illness, Will Stanton is sent to Wales to recover with his uncle's family. Approaching their farm, Will unexpectedly feels a sense of menace coming from the mountains and learns there is a legend that the Grey King dwells there.

Friday, November 25, 2022

If Love Comes by Gladys Malvern

Title: If Love Comes
Author: Gladys Malvern (1897-1962)
Illustrator: John Alan Maxwell
Publication: Claude Kendall Publishers, hardcover, 1932
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: California, 1820s
Description: When Don Estevan Jose Luis de Questallo loses his wife in childbirth, the joy goes out of his life and he instinctively blames the surviving child who is named Magdalena. He lavishes attention on his son, Dario, and ignores the girl, who grows up lovely but unloved by all but her brother.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

My October 2022 Reads

I read several entertaining books for the 1929 Club but the novel that most captured my interest last month was Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. It is a mesmerizing story of friendship and collaboration spanning three decades, starting when the two protagonists meet in a hospital as teenagers, then reconnect when attending college in Cambridge and starting a venture together. As I was listening to the audio, I found myself telling everyone I encountered about this book, which I picked up because of Nancy Pearl’s recommendation.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Memoir by Justine Cowan

Title: The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Memoir
Author: Justine Cowan
Publication: HarperCollins, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir/Social History
Setting: 20th century Great Britain
Description: Justine Cowan, an environmental attorney, grew up in a privileged home in Northern California, with a quiet, respected lawyer father and a British-born mother who was hypercritical of her daughters. Embittered by their troubled relationship, Justine distanced herself from her parents after leaving for college and it was not until after her mother’s death that she learned her mother had been raised in the famous Foundling Hospital in London, founded by Thomas Coram in the 18th century.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Spell the Month in Books – November

Spell the Month in Books is hosted by Reviews From the Stacks and occurs on the second Saturday of each month or maybe a few days later!
N    The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz (2017). Evan Smoak is a reluctant assassin. Once, he was Orphan X, a child plucked from an orphanage and turned into a killer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss, historical fiction set in WWII Holland

Title: The Upstairs Room
Author: Johanna Reiss
Publication: HarperCollins, paperback, originally published in 1972
Genre: Juvenile Historical Fiction
Setting: Holland, WWII
Description: Annie de Leeuw is the youngest of three sisters, living in Holland, not far from the German border. Her father is a cattle dealer, her mother an invalid, her sister Rachel teaches at a nursery school, and sister Sini is studying farming. But Annie’s family is Jewish and everyone is worried about the news from Poland where Hitler has invaded.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Five Things

The New England Betsy-Tacy Group gathered on Sunday to make bookmarks for a December exhibit at the Arlington Public Library.  Some colored the illustrations, some cut rectangles of colored cards, some glued the pictures onto card stock, and some attached ribbons.  Our hostess will gently recolor any bookmark in which someone accidentally mis-colored a character's hair as we wouldn't want to mislead a future reader!  Everyone nibbled caramel cashew squares, cream cheese brownies, popovers, and potato chips with dip as we worked.  

Friday, November 11, 2022

Fool Errant by Patricia Wentworth

Title: Fool Errant
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Publication: 1929
Genre: Mystery
Setting: England between the Wars
Description: Hugo Ross is down on his luck - unemployed, no university degree, and has only £5 when he hears about a job as secretary to a well-known inventor, Ambrose Minstrel.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

WWW Wednesday — November 9, 2022

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:
When Rachel to the Rescue by Elinor Lipman (2021) came out, her long-time US publisher was afraid no one would want to read a satire about a Trump White House employee (even if she is fired in the first chapter) and only her British publisher was willing to take it on initially.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Rise of the Black Quarterback by Jason Reid

Title: Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America
Author: Jason Reid
Publication: Andscape, hardcover, 2022
Genre: Nonfiction/Sports/History
Description: This book grew out of a series of ESPN articles on the emergence of black quarterbacks in the NFL. Reid goes back to the beginning of the 20th century to identify men who should be better known: the earliest black football stars and chronicles the disturbing history and treatment of black players in the NFL.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from The Naked Chef to The Clothes They Stood Up In

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver (1999), the bestselling cookbook and television star. I assume people watched his show because the title was salacious but I think he merely advocated for a simple approach to cooking (yet laughed all the way to the bank).

Friday, November 4, 2022

Greenwitch: The Dark is Rising #3 by Susan Cooper

Title: Greenwitch: The Dark is Rising #3
Author: Susan Cooper
Publication: Simon & Schuster, paperback, originally published 1974
Genre: Juvenile fantasy/series
Setting: Cornwall
Description: The gold chalice, known as the Trewissick Grail, that was found by Simon, Jane, and Barnabus Drew in Over Sea, Under Stone, has been stolen from the British Museum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Title: The Word is Murder
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publication: HarperCollins, audio, originally published in 2017
Narrator: Rory Kinnear
Genre: Mystery
Setting: London
Description: Diana Cowper, a prosperous London resident, stops at a funeral parlor to make arrangements for her eventual funeral – then is murdered later that day.