Sunday, January 15, 2017

Books for Living, News of the World, and Oodles and Oodles of Alice in Wonderland

Maybe it's the start of the brand new year, but, for whatever reason, my mailbox has been swamped with books for review this week. Here's what arrived:



I am happy to have a three day weekend in which I can jump into these.



I also had a great reading week. Here's what I finished:




I took Books for Living off my Amazon wish list just before Christmas when I saw it was coming to my public library. Then I was sad that it took so long to get to the library (it always does though, doesn't it?) Finally it arrived, and, with great anticipation, I jumped in. I love to read about books and one of my favorite subgenres of books-about-books is books-about-favorite-books. I worried a bit when I saw in the introduction that the author Will Schwalbe had had a great conversation about his favorite books on a plane with a fellow passenger and that one of the books the two had in common was The Alchemist (a book that didn't wow me). Nevertheless, I read on. I was disappointed to find that, while I had a few favorite books in common (The Little Prince, Bird by Bird, The Odyssey), there were a lot of forgettable books (at least forgettable to me) on the list, including Gift from the Sea and Girl on the Train and Rebecca, and there was a lot more memoir talk than book talk. Nevertheless, I may take a closer look at some of the books on Schwalbe's list that I haven't read, such as Lateral Thinking and The Importance of Living and Song of Solomon and A Little Life. In addition, to some good book recommendations, I love this little quote from his book:

"Now that my brother, sister, and I are all over fifty, my brother, using a golf analogy, refers to our lives as being played on the back nine---the first nine holes are behind us. Whatever score we've accumulated, we carry with us. Suddenly, finishing honorably and staying out of sand traps and water hazards matters more than seeing our names on the leaderboard."

The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived is one of those books that would have made a better magazine article or a simple list than it did a book. Most of the book felt like filler. I'm not terribly sure I agree with many of the choices on the list either. Would you put The Marlboro Man at the top of the list? I don't think so.

The News of the World was a satisfying read. The plot is the story of an elderly veteran of several wars who takes on the difficult task of returning a ten-year-old girl to her family after being captured by and spending many years with a Native American tribe. I loved traveling through post-Civil War Texas with those two, and I loved the relationship that developed between them.

I picked up The Annotated Alice to help me thoroughly prepare for our upcoming bookgroup discussion of Alice in Wonderland. I don't think you could find any book that would explain and provide thoughtful commentary for the curious aspects of this very curious book. Just for fun, I also read Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Alison Jay, along with the Disney Step into Reading version, and the board book version, Alice in Wonderland: A Colors Primer. And I read The Once Upon a Time Map Book: Take a Tour of Six Enchanted Lands (including Alice's) and Alice in Wonderland Adapted for the Stage.

You want a book that will delight a new mom? You can't do better than Take Heart, My Child. Beautiful pictures. Lovely text. You will ooo and aaah. You will cry. It's for everyone except those who don't do ooo and aaah and who hate to cry over children's books.






What are you reading today?


What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 
 It is now being hosted here.


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now being hosted at The Book Date.


26 comments:

  1. Good to hear your thoughts about NEWS OF THE WORLD. I want to read that one for it's Texas connection if nothing else. :-)

    I enjoyed EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU and discussed it with a book group. Will be curious to hear what you think. Have a good week! At least we got some rain and the cedar pollen has decreased a bit. Horrible time of year for my allergies.

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    1. I'm going to recommend it highly for the 2017 Gulf Coast Reads.

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  2. I want to read both News of the World and Books for Living. You're in for a treat with Everything I Never Told You... I listened to that a couple of years ago and it was a favorite!

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    1. I must admit I was a tiny bit disappointed by Books for Living.

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  3. So much bookish stuff here!
    I am in the library queue for Books for Living. I never read his first book - perhaps I should start with that one?

    I hope you read, review (and recommend) Art of the Pie. I have yet to master pie crust, but it is on my bucket list. If this book can help me achieve that goal, I will buy it immediately :)

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    1. The first book is much like this one---more memoir than book discussion.

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    2. I am loving Art of the Pie. It's about pie making, of course, but it's also about life.

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  4. I like the concept of 101 most influential people who never lived, but it doesn't sound like it really worked in book format.

    I loved The Annotated Alice. It was a book that propelled me into library school because I learned so much about thinking about books.

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  5. I am definitely curious about The Annotated Alice...and I hope you love everything you read in the new week. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. I wonder how much of Annotated Alice I'll be able to bring up at book group.

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  6. The 101 Most Influential People sounds like it could have been really interesting, sorry to hear it was a disappointment. The Marlboro Man?? Hmm... Wake Up To The Joy of You looks interesting.

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  7. That Alice book sounds interesting! I really need to start reading the Alice in Wonderland books!

    Here’s my Sunday Post!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog and join in this week’s Book Photo Sundays!

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  8. I like the look of Everything I Never Told You and think I've heard some good things about it. Your reads sound mixed but it sounds as if you've been getting through quite a few books.

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  9. I'm actually in the process of listening to Everything I Never Told You. quite good!

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  10. Nice recap on these books! I'm glad you talked about Will Schwalbe's book b/c I am interested in it. I had read his first book about the book club with his mom which I liked, and I think I might like some of his thoughts in this one too. thanks for your thoughts!

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  11. I listened to The End of Your Life Book Club and loved it, so I was sorry to read that you weren't overly impressed with Schwalbe's new release. I wonder if it's a better audio book... I may still give it a try.

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  12. What a nice variety of books. Schwalbe's sounds interesting if only to see which books he chose. You can see my week here. Happy reading!

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  13. My daughter loves pie - she'd want me to read that first one on your list! LOL

    Here's what I'm reading this week: http://justasecondblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/what-im-reading-january-16-2017.html

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  14. I only discovered "New of the World" when I was voting for the Goodreads Choice Awards, but I immediately added it to my to-read list because the plot sounded to intriguing. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    I'm about to have a new niece, so I'll have to check out the Ainsley Earhardt book! (I do like her on "Fox and Friends"!)

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  15. I've heard great things about "News of the World." It was a possibility for our book club this year, but we opted for another title.

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  16. Oh my goodness, that pie book! I would be covered in flour in my kitchen pretty quickly with that one. :)

    I hope you enjoy all of your reading this week!

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    1. (Dusting off my apron) which is pretty much what I did all day today.

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  17. Books for Living and News of the World are both on my shortlist. One I own, and the other is available at our digital library site. I am really into The Oregon Trail this week, so much so, that I ended up buying a copy although I had the libraries copy in hand. I rarely do that, but it is something that I think my husband will enjoy too, and he is strictly a print book kind of guy.

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I love to hear what you think.