Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Waiting Place

I won a copy of "The Waiting Place: Learning to Appreciate Life's Little Delays" by Eileen Button. It was a wonderful book. I read it in less than a week, which is very unusual for me these days-It seems I am so busy, I no longer take time to read. (I am knitting a great deal, so I get my relaxation time in, not to worry).

"With humor and heart-breaking candor, Eileen Button breathes life into stagnant and, at times, difficult spaces. Throughout this collection of essays she contends that The Waiting Place can be a most miraculous place-a place where beauty can be experienced, the sacred can be realized, and God can be found working in the midst of it all." From

The book was about what we do when we are waiting for life to happen. Good times, bad times, and all the in between life happens times. Eileen conveys all the emotions we experience and really hits notes that resonate . She uses her life experience as examples and I am sure they are not what everyone experiences,but there is something in this book for everyone.

I really appreciate when someone can write so well that I love it or hate it - a book that makes one sit up and take notice. Ms. Button does all this and more-she touches the heart. It's a book you'll have to look for but one worth searching for.

And Eileen is a really nice (no, I mean cool, I mean I need a word that conveys all that without making her sound like white bread or something that will pass with the next fad-like amazing ) person . Who doesn't love a writer that loves libraries?

So go out and BUY THIS BOOK-it's really good.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees
This was a delightful book. The story of what might have happened to Louisa May one summer when her family lived in New Hampshire. It also suggests that the character of "Laurie" in Little Women was a real live love of Louisa's. This has been a topic of conjecture for some time.
I liked how the author brought all the characters to life and made an appealing story. I always liked the book Little Women (and several of her stories after as well). Learning that Louisa May was so fierce and intense was delightful and explains some of her later writings that were not like LW.
The book reminded me a little of Miss Spitfire:Reaching Helen Keller by Sara Miller. Both take real people who we have heard about and tell their stories from another perspective. All fictional but with solid research to support the story and add the septh that enriches the narrative.
Perfect for summer reading.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Oracle Of Stamboul

A first novel by Michael David Lukas.
The novel is set in late 19th century Romania and Turkey. It is about a girl, Eleonora Cohen, who is told she is destined for great things.
Her story unfolds quickly-her mother dies right after giving birth to her. Her father, Yacob , tries to raise her as best he can, with the help of his sister-in-law (He marries her to keep it all respectable). Eleonora's aunt is not a very sympathetic character and I did not miss her when she faded from the story.
When Eleonora is 8 her life changes drastically. She stows away in her father's luggage to go to Stamboul with him. There we meet Moncef Bey, her father's associate. All goes well until her father dies in a boating accident. Moncef takes her in as his own and this is where, after a series of other events, she meets the Sultan and becomes The Oracle of Stamboul.

I've tried to outline the story without giving away any of the plot endings. There's lots more to the story but I guess you'll have to pick it up to find out.

I liked the book. There were parts that were very lyrical. Eleonora was interesting -I really liked how thoughtful she became. A good lesson for all of us. Moncef Bey remained rather elusive. I would have liked some of the characters a little more developed, perhaps.

The ending was great and the final line was the best:
"For stones in the river of history look different depending on where you stand."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Planting Dandelions

No, not me, I live in Michigan where dandelions are illegal in most subdivisions. I'm referring to the book "Planting Dandelions: Field notes from a semi-domesticated life" by Kyran Pittman. This is a hysterical book about life. I was thinking about where but the truth is, it could be about any of us, anywhere. Especially if you're a woman. And/or a woman who has children. Kyran really nails the experiences so many of us share and in such a way that you are laughing along with the stories. She has been writing about her life in Good Housekeeping magazine and has taken the stories and put together a great book. I really identified with so many of the chapters and I'm not even as young or cute as she is. I was sent an Advanced Reading Copy by the publisher, Riverhead books so was not paid to say how much fun this book is and how YOU SHOULD RUN OUT AND BUY YOUR OWN COPY. Kyran will thank you - she has 3 boys to feed. I can't wait until she goes through the teen years with them-the stories will only get better. Check out her website: the book's site

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sing You Home

I was sent an advanced reader's copy of Jodi Picoult's newest book "Sing You Home" by Simon and Schuster. I have finally finished it and surprisingly enough, I liked it.
I had sworn I would never read another Jodi Picoult book after "My Sister's Keeper". That one just wrung me out, emotionally. I really respect a writer who can make you feel something-whether you love it or hate it-when you read a book.
"Sing You Home" does not have quite the same emotional roller coaster that Sister's did. I don't know if it was the multiple voices the book had or the enormity of the topic covered in the book. The book deals with 3 families who, over a ten year span or so, deal with marriage, divorce, cancer, religious rights, alcoholism, homosexuality, fertility legalities, and a bit of teen troubles. Max and Zoe are married and due to fertility issues in both parties, resort to IVF (In vitro fertilization-or test tube babies) treatments. After the latest treatment results in a still birth, Max can no longer live in the marriage. He goes to live with his brother and his wife-who have their own problems- and Zoe crashes. Zoe eventually bounces back and deals with cancer and finds a friend in Vanessa, a school counselor at a high school where Zoe does music therapy. Zoe and Vanessa's friendship evolves into love and they become partners.
Zoe remembers there are 3 embryos frozen at the clinic she and Max used and has to get Max to sign off on them. Max has since become born-again into a church that leans toward the religious right. He thinks the embryos should go to Reid and Liddy- his brother and his wife (who Max has fallen in love with by this time). A legal battle ensues.
I won't tell you how it ends but I was satisfied with the ending. And will be recommending the book to readers. There are alot of plot lines running around in this book but Ms. Picoult manages to weave them into a timely and well-balanced story. And there is a music disc included with the book so you can hear Zoe's voice along with the story. I have to admit I did not listen to the disc-I like to form my own opinions but I am sure you can find additional reviews elsewhere.
Just one last plug- Buy this book from an independent bookseller like one of my two favorites- The Books Connection of Shelby or Aunt Agatha's in Ann Arbor Michigan. Both have great websites as well.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Boiling Point

Karen Dionne's latest eco-thriller is out and getting great reviews. We hosted her at the Romeo District Library in January and had a great time.

Her latest book follows the explosion of a volcano in Chile: modeled after a real volcano that wiped out a whole town on the coast of Chile.

Here is a great review (Why re-create the wheel?) that I couldn't have said better myself:

And here is Karen's website if you'd like to know more:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Balkanized at Sunrise" by Joe Tripician

I saw a blurb about this on Shelf Awareness- a daily read alert website for those interested in the book world. If I e-mailed the author, I might win a book. I e-mailed and Joe himself replied and said if I shamelessly promoted his book, I might win a copy. So here it is- go buy this book. It does sound funny.

If I win said copy, I can tell you how much I enjoyed it. What do you say, Joe?

About "Balkanized at Sunrise"

In the immediate aftermath of the bloody Balkan wars of the 90s, a penniless science-fiction author was hired to write the official biography of Croatia's President, Franjo Tudjman.

In an effort to keep Tudjman out of the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, the Croatian government hired Joe Tripician, the author of "The Official Alien Abductee's Handbook", to pen a state-sanctioned biography for US consumption. The biography, far from a whitewashed piece of propaganda, became a darkly comic and sadly tragic tale of deception, danger, death and desire, where guilt abounds, but responsibility remains elusive.

"Balkanized at Sunrise" is the true story of how Joe navigated between toadying government aides, lying politicians, harassed dissident journalists, and Croatian and Bosnian women looking for a quick visa. It's a fascinating memoir of political, moral, and sexual proportions.

More background on the story here: