We ARE CALLED TO RISE by Laura McBride is my favorite kind of book. This debut novel is a story of family, not just birth family but the families we create as life and situations change. Every chapter is told in the voice of one character. They each have a unique story and yet these disparate lives intersect in a completely plausible way. Using Las Vegas, in the boom years before the real estate collapse, as the back drop to this story enriches the story. The book speaks to the way many points of view and many cultures collide in America today and yet we manage to coexist, that we are responsible for each other and that life is always worth living.

UN-REMARRIED WIDOW by Ardis Henderson

In this poignant memoir a free-spirited young woman falls deeply in love and changes her life completely. It is not only the tragic story of a husband lost too soon in the Iraq war but a story of discovery, of love and hope. In impeccable prose, Artis chronicles the years bookended by the loss of two men, her father and her husband, each of whom she knew for only a short time but each of who had a profound impact on her life and on the woman she has become. The book beautifully combines the love story of her parents and her own love story. It is a book that will make you cry but also lift you up and renew your belief in true love.

New Author for Me

My friend Nancy G. suggested THE 100 YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED by Jonas Jonasson. I’d never heard of him but I went straight to Google and read a bit. His books sound absolutely charming and very funny. I’m going to start with THE 100 YEAR OLD MAN and THE GIRL WHO SAVED THE KING OF SWEDEN. I’ll let you know what I thought when I’ve had time to read them.

THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith

I’m sad to say that while I love the Cormoran Strike and Robin characters and I was looking forward to this book it just didn’t do it for me. Too much nastiness not enough plot that didn’t center on gore. The pacing seemed off and in the end it really let me down – things just didn’t work for me. I’m not going to write a spoiler here, I want you to read this book and let me know what you think.
Personally, I believe that J K Rowling, writing as herself or as Robert Galbraith, is one of the most literate, current, writers. Her use of language is suburb and I look forward to the next book. Like I said I love Strike and Robin! And if you haven’t read CUCKOO’S CALLING – I recommend it!

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

This book has it all; terrible weather, murder, moonshine, revenue agents, saboteurs, an abandoned baby, Herbert Hoover and an unexpected love story.  Set in 1927, against the back drop of a major flood that actually happened, but that I knew nothing about, this story starts slow but will suck you in.

It probably isn’t the greatest literature but the story moves rapidly and the characters are well drawn and believable. You can’t help but love Dixie Clay, she’s  brave and caring despite the odds. Ham Johnson and Ted Ingersoll are the most honest hard working revenue agents in the USA and you’ll want to cheer them on as they do their job and become entangled with the locals.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

I mostly read fiction but I was cruising through the library where the new nonfiction is shelved and this book caught my eye – most likely because of the title and the way it was turned out on the shelf. I picked it up read that it was “An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world’s attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.” I’d never heard of her essay “The Opposite of Loneliness” or that it had gone viral.  But it intrigued me so I added it to me stack of books and headed home. I loved this book. I read the title essay first and found it good but what I loved was the fiction.  The nine stories included in this book make me want more.  Each one is an absolute gem and I can’t stop thinking about “Challenger Deep”.  The idea of not being able to see anything at all is one of my phobias. I’ve read some other reviews and they all talk about the essays, and not that there is anything wrong with the essays they just all seem “young” to me. I’m quite certain that had Marina lived she would have become one of her generations top journalists.  The fiction is wonderful now.  I think it shows an incredible talent.  The stories are written with maturity and an understanding of human nature. I highly recommend this book even if you only read the fiction.