Sunday, June 15, 2014

I've Been a Very Bad Girl

The Put-It-Off-Until-Later Bug has had me in his grip, and May flew by with very few posts. So Sorry. And now I am left with this:

Therefore, I am about to cheat these mostly wonderful books out of proper posts and give you blurbs instead. This is me beginning...

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

(I just finished this, and it was FANTASTIC, so this might be more than just a blurb.)

The 1936 Olympics in Berlin were more than just athletic games. They were the perfect opportunity for the Nazi propaganda machine to convince the world that Germany was a happy place with no evil plan for world domination. They also expected their Aryan athletes to win big, especially in the wildly popular sport of rowing. Enter stage left the American eight man rowing team, the varsity crew from, of all places, the University of Washington. These nine sons of Seattle, a place still considered the boondocks by the elite teams of the East, blew past the likes of Princeton, Penn and Navy to earn the right to a trip to Berlin where they would face the vaunted Germans. Did they win the gold? Of course they did!! But this is such a great story that my heart was pounding as I read about the final race. (Just like Apollo 13 makes me nervous even though I know they make it home O.K.) But this is more than just a story of rowing or the Olympics, this is about determination and commitment and working for something bigger than yourself. Every high school freshman should read this book. And you, too!

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Oh, Orphan Train, how I loved thee. It is a little-known fact that between 1854 and 1929 trains full of orphans departed eastern cities en route to a better life on the farms and in the cities of the Midwest. Babies and children of all ages were displayed for immediate adoption at train stations along the way, and some were taken into warm and loving families. Some were not. Orphan Train is the story of one of these orphans, Vivian, now in her 90's and living in Maine. It is also the story of a modern day foster child, Molly. When Molly is assigned to do community service with Vivian an unlikely friendship blossoms, and both discover their ability to live in the present. Read now. This is a beautiful book.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

No matter what your religion, everyone can learn from this book. Just the basics will change your life, and they are pure common sense! Here they are:

1. Be impeccable with your word.

2. Don't take anything personally.

3. Don't make assumptions.

4. Always do your best.

Simple, but powerful. It might be a little late, but this would make a great graduation gift.

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

If you still haven't bought a Father's Day gift for your various father figures, run out now and buy this book. It is HYSTERICAL!!! I love Jim Gaffigan, and you will LOVE THIS BOOK. Anyone who lives with a wife and five children in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City has to have a sense of humor. His is very well developed. Enjoy!

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

I didn't know much about WWII in Italy, but this book changed all that. Stuck between the Nazis and the Partisans, the people of Tuscany had to walk a tightrope of wartime diplomacy just to survive. Ten years later, members of the noble Rosati family are being brutally murdered, and it is up to Serafina Bettini of the Florence Police Department to learn why. But these crimes reopen the wounds of Serafina's own horrifying experience during the war, for some a war that might never really end. Magnifico!

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James

The incomparable P. D. James' first book with the female private investigator Cordelia Gray, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman perfectly captures the early 70's in Cambridge. Amongst the sons and daughters of well-heeled Englishmen, untested P. I. Cordelia Gray must fight the still prevalent prejudices against women to discover why an otherwise intelligent young man would hang himself. The denizens of Cambridge soon learn not to underestimate her abilities. It is a mystery worth the read.

The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene

Three women, all for different reasons, are hunting down vintage tea sets at flea markets in the English countryside. When they all converge on the same beautiful set at the same moment, they have the brilliant idea to share their find. Thus begins a friendship that will last their lifetimes. This is more romance novel than I usually like, but The Vintage Teacup Club is charming without being syrupy. A great beach read!

Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

Bruno Courreges is the sole policeman for the village of St. Denis in the South of France. He is their protector and friend, and he knows EVERYTHING that goes on in his village. He also loves to hunt, fish, grow his own vegetables and cook it all up into delicious French country dishes. Nothing much happens as far as crime goes in St. Denis, that is until an elderly French/Arab war hero is found viciously murdered with a swastika carved in his chest. It appears that someone had a bone to pick with the victim, and it is up to Bruno to figure out who and why. This is the first in a series and I LOVED it! I can't wait to read more about the denizens of St. Denis and their beloved chief of police.

I just finished this today, so here's the photo:

That's it for now!  TBC