Giving Thanks

I am a lover of lists, and on this Thanksgiving (which felt and looked smidge more like Christmas here in the northeast) I’d like to make a list of the Top 15 Authors I am thankful for this year (in no particular order). As we enter the winter months, I hope this list might help you discover a new author or book to check out and help fill the long days stuck indoors.

1. Jodi Picoult. Ms. Picoult is one of my all time faves. Check out her website at http://www.jodipicoult.com/, and my previous post about her latest book.

2. Pam Jenoff. Ms, Jenoff came to my attention a number of years ago with the release of her first book, The Kommondant’s Girl. I was instantly hooked – her books are incredibly well researched. If you enjoy historical fiction, I encourage you to check out her website, http://www.pamjenoff.com.

3. Marie Bostwick. Ms. Bostwick’s books are like comfort food – warm, uplifting, and honest. I found her Cobbled Court Quilt series because I am a quilter, but I dont think you have to be a quilter to enjoy this series about women who are just like the friends you always wish you had. She has also written some historical fiction which is quite good. Her website is http://www.mariebostwick.com.

4. Sarah Sundin. Ms. Sundin is a wonderful author. Sometimes classified as christian fiction (but its not in your face, and always fits in with the story), sometimes historical fiction, her series are addictive and cleverly written to involve the same characters but tell a variety of perspectives. http://www.sarahsundin.com/

5. LM. Montgomery. This prolific author is best known for Anne of Green Gables, my all time favorite. This year Ive been reading some of her other books, and really enjoying them.

6. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her Little House books are a childhood fave of so many. I re-read them this year and loved them even more as an adult.

7. Deborah Harkness. This summer the last installment of the All Souls Trilogy arrived in bookstores. Wow. What a perfectly written conclusion. I can’t wait to see what she does next – http://deborahharkness.com.

8. Kathyn Stockett. If you haven’t read The Help yet, stop reading this blog immediately and get to it….

9. Jojo Moyes. Me Before You was a book club favorite of mine this year. I’ve since read a few more by this author – all different, all amazing. Visit http://www.jojomoyes.com for more.

10. Julie Kibler. Ms. Kibler’s debut, Calling Me Home, is one of the most incredible novels I have ever read. Ever. Her website is http://juliekibler.com. If you havent heard of her yet, read the book, then tell your friends. You won’t be sorry.

11. Allyson Richman. I stumbled upon Ms. Richman’s The Lost Wife when it was a Kindle freebie. Its become an all time fave of mine, and her other books are just as good. Learn more at http://www.alysonrichman.com/.

12. Jennifer Weiner. A long time favorite of mine. You can check out her website, http://jenniferweiner.com, but I highly recommend finding her on Facebook or following her on twitter….funnier posts you will not find, promise.

13. Adrianna Trigiani. Reading her books is like sitting at my grandmothers kitchen table. And her amazing Big Stone Gap was recently released on the big screen, staring a great cast (Whoopie? Ashley Judd? Jenna Elfman? Yes, please) and filmed in the actual town of Big Stone Gap. Her website just recently got a facelift – http://adrianatrigiani.com.

14. Christina Baker Kline. Along with most other book clubs this year, mine read Orphan Train this spring. It was incredible. I have read some of her other books and enjoyed them as well. Check her out at http://christinabakerkline.com.

15. Barbara Delinksy. A long time favorite of mine, her novels are engrossing. Her next, Blueprints, is out in 2015. http://barbaradelinsky.com/

On Jodi Picoult’s new book, Leaving Time…

I discovered Jodi Picoult at the place lots of great discoveries are made – Target.

On Thanksgiving Day 2006 I fell on the sidewalk in front of my house and broke my arm. It was a very serious break and I was left in a fetching brace/sling combo for 6 months. By December I was looking for some new authors to read and Jodi Picoult’s The Tenth Circle (just out in paperback) caught my eye. I finished the book in two days, and spent the next few weeks reading everything else she’d written. Until recently if anyone had asked me which was my favorite, I would have had a hard time answering. Then I read Leaving Time.

Leaving Time is an incredible novel. It is the story of Alice, a scientist who studies elephant behavior, and her daughter Jenna. Alice disappeared from their New Hampshire town after a fatal accident at the elephant sanctuary she ran with her husband. Her husband is now in a mental hospital, and Jenna is being cared for by her grandmother. The question of Alice’s whereabouts haunts Jenna, and so she turns to Serenity, a former psychic to the stars and Virgil, a cop-turned Private Investigator. In the interest of full disclosure, I had read Ms. Picoult’s Where There’s Smoke, over the summer. This short story introduces Serenity and gives her back story. I loved Serenity from the first page. She is such a vividly painted character, and I could see her in my mind and hear her voice. I was anxious to start Leaving Time because I wasn’t sure how Serenity would fit in with a story about elephants and grief. Let me assure you, she fits in just fine.

Jenna was also very clear to me, as is Alice. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I knew from the first few pages Alice was alive. I knew it because I believed Jenna when she said she knew it. Ms. Picoult’s novels are always filled with vivid characters, but there is just something about these characters that makes you love them almost instantly. Jenna’s grief, Alice’s pain, Serenity and Virgil’s feelings of failure are so clearly described you get drawn in to the action with them. Even the elephants become characters in the story – their actions are their dialogue and you feel as if you know them, too.

Ms. Picoult is known for her endings, and I can promise you, this one will not disappoint. I don’t want to say anymore than that so I don’t give anything away, but just – WOW. I finished the book over a week ago and I am still thinking about it.

And so, I would give Leaving Time 5 stars, and go so far as to call it my favorite book by one of my favorite authors. Get yourself a copy if you haven’t already…and until next time, you can find me reading.

Book snobs and why I decided to start blogging…..

I have been a reader since I learned to read. Possibly the worst sentence ever constructed, but there is a difference  between knowing how to read and being a reader. Readers take a book with them, just in case they have a few spare minutes to read. Readers stay up way too late at night, paying no mind to early morning meetings or sleeping spouses, simply because you just cannot put that book down. Readers also do a lot of book browsing – checking out online reviews, looking for deals on digital books, checking out your favorite authors websites hoping for news on their next book.

It was this book browsing that inspired me to start blogging. I often find myself frustrated with online reviews. Many of them are so angry. Others cant be trusted because its possible they were compensated for posting a review. While I can understand why someone would want the chance to read a book before anyone else, I do not understand the downright nastiness of some online reviews. Hiding behind a keyboard can really be a confidence booster.

I have tremendous respect for authors. I have always dreamed of writing a book. I’ve even tried to start writing one myself, but here’s the thing – writing a book is hard. It takes months and months of work, even more months of getting it from your computer into book form. There are many books out there that I have not enjoyed. Not every book is for everyone. and that’s okay.

What you will find on this blog are reviews of books and general book chat. What you will not find is snarky reviews or snobbish assaults. I read everything. I enjoyed Madeline Albright’s latest book just as much as I enjoyed the Twilight series. I look forward to sharing what I’m reading with you…..and until my next post, you can find me reading.