Believe it or not, I haven't blogged since March of this year (2014). Mostly, I just didn't feel like I had anything entertaining to say. But now I do. Or, at least, I hope I do!
I love to read and always have. I taught myself to read at the age of four, which, back in 1962, was a BIG DEAL, but today, let's face it, kids are coming out of the womb knowing how to read.
I realized, as I recently perused my Goodreads lists, that I have read some FANTASTIC novels over the years, and decided that I might use my blog informatively to share these discovered gems with you, in hope that you might also find a novel or two from my picks that you will enjoy. I read a lot of everything with a few exceptions, but you will mostly find here fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction and non-fiction, biographies of all sorts, and the classics and contemporary novels.
So, without further ado, I'll begin to share some of the more recent reads I've enjoyed. I will limit each blog to about five novels (non-genre specific) so as not to overwhelm. I would love to hear from you if you read, or have read, these novels, and perhaps we can start our own little blog book group! At some point later, I'll also talk about some books I didn't care for, but for now, let's just stick with the positive!
These first five books I read throughout 2014 and have awarded five out of five stars on Goodreads. (Narratives of books are also lifted from Goodreads; my personal comments follow.)
1. (Fiction) "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty - Imagine
that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death.
Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest
secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you
built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you
stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive.
. . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly
successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted
wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But
that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel
and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to
feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.
2. (Fiction) "The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)" by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) -
losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely
scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client,
and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime
girlfriend and is living in his office.Then John Bristow walks
through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary
supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously
fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide,
but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world
of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate
designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure,
enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
(A note from Linda: I haven't read any of Ms. Rowling's Harry Potter books, but have read both "adult contemporary" books she's written. Consider me a fan!)
3. (Non-Fiction) "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" by Lawrence Wright -
learn about Scientology's esoteric cosmology; about the auditing process
that determines an inductee's state of being; about the Bridge to Total
Freedom, through which members gain eternal life. We see the ways in
which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John
Travolta, and how young idealists who joined the Sea Org, the church's
clergy, whose members often enter as children, signing up with a
billion-year contract and working with little pay in poor conditions. We
meet men and women "disconnected" from friends and family by the
church's policy of shunning critical voices. And we discover, through
many firsthand stories, the violence that has long permeated the inner
sanctum of the church.In Going Clear, Wright examines
what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology
is, in fact, deserving of the constitutional protections achieved in its
victory over the IRS. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills
of observations, understanding, and synthesis, and his ability to shape
a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an
evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that goes far beyond an immediate
exposé and uncovers the very essence of what makes Scientology the
institution it is.
(A note from Linda: If you're even flirting with the idea of giving Scientology a try, this book will scare you straight out of that idea and most likely with good reason.)
4. (Historical Fiction): "Queen's Gambit" by Elizabeth Freemantle -
for the second time at age thirty-one Katherine Parr falls deeply for
the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour and hopes at last to marry for love.
However, obliged to return to court, she attracts the attentions of the
ailing, egotistical, and dangerously powerful Henry VIII, who
dispatches his love rival, Seymour, to the Continent. No one is in a
position to refuse a royal proposal so, haunted by the fates of his
previous wives' two executions, two annulments, one death in
childbirth, Katherine must wed Henry and become his sixth
queen. Katherine has to employ all her instincts to navigate the
treachery of the court, drawing a tight circle of women around her,
including her stepdaughter, Meg, traumatized by events from their past
that are shrouded in secrecy, and their loyal servant Dot, who knows and
sees more than she understands. With the Catholic faction on the rise
once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the
king vying for position, Katherine's survival seems unlikely.
Yet as she treads the razor's edge of court intrigue, she
never quite gives up on love.
5. (Non-Fiction) "Wave" by Sonali Deraniyagala -
the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka,
Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young
sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and
searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and
her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental,
beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months
following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she
cannot face and cannot deny; and then, over the ensuing years, as she
emerges reluctantly, slowly allowing her memory to take her back through
the rich and joyous life she’s mourning, from her family’s home in
London, to the birth of her children, to the year she met her English
husband at Cambridge, to her childhood in Colombo; all the while
learning the difficult balance between the almost unbearable reminders
of her loss and the need to keep her family, somehow, still alive within
(A note from Linda: This was one of the most heartbreaking but bravest books written that I've ever read. I wish Ms. Deranivagala many blessings in her future.)