Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

What's the last book you got because you saw it on a blog or social media? 

Welcome to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where participants share the opening sentence (or so) of the books they are reading this week. Please share yours! You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it this week.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
The taxi had dropped her on the corner of the boulevard. She was barely  fifty metres from home.
-- from The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain. 

I've been seeing this book everywhere on other blogs and bookstagram. So I was happy to find a copy at a friends of the library shop a few weeks back. I am going to take it on vacation with my mom and sister because I think it is one we will all enjoy. 

Have you read it? What did you think?


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Red Notebook:
The pot-au-feu was beginning to bubble. In a few minutes he would add the vegetables he had part-cooked the night before: carrots, potatoes, leeks, turnips, celery, and two marrow bones.
That makes me hungry!

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street, and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?


Thursday, June 22, 2023

The First Lady of World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt's Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back by Shannon McKenna Schmidt -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Welcome to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where participants share the opening sentence (or so) of the books they are reading this week. Please share yours! You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it this week.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
Seated in the dark, freezing bomb bay of a heavily gunned U.S. Navy bomber, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt finally arrived on Guadalcanal in the South Pacific in 1943.
-- from The First Lady of World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt's Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back by Shannon McKenna Schmidt.

This new book about Eleanor Roosevelt's personal involvement WWII reads like the most entertaining historical fiction but is a nonfiction biography. Author Shannon McKenna Schmidt did her research. The book comes to life through the primary sources she dug up and weaves throughout the text. The First Lady of World War II is an engaging and inspiring book about a little-known piece of American history.


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS


Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post below. If you share on social media, please sue the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The First Lady of World War II:
“They have the most miserable Red Cross headquarters,” Eleanor informed agency head Norman Davis in a nine-page report she submitted to him after the trip. Badly needed was a building for sailors who went ashore and had no place to sleep for the night.
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
In August 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt journeyed to the Pacific Theater, where the United States was at war with Japan. A goodwill tour, diplomatic mission, and fact-finding foray, the 25,000-mile trip was further, longer, and more dangerous than any previously undertaken by the well-traveled First Lady.

The First Lady of World War II follows Eleanor on this daring trek, taken under arduous conditions in a theater of war that sprawled over vast ocean distances. The trip, which demonstrated how dramatically she had transformed the role of First Lady, still stands — in the words of a reporter at the time — as "the most remarkable journey any president’s wife has ever made."


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Blood from a Stone: A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead by Adam S. McHugh -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Thank you for joining me each week on Friday to share the opening sentence (or so) from the book you are reading. Feel free to share instead from a book that caught your fancy or you feel like highlighting. Please hop around and visit the other participants!

MY BOOK BEGINNING
This is the story of how wine brought me back from the dead.
— from Chapter One, "Wine Happens," in Blood from a Stone: A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead by Adam McHugh.

Blood from a Stone is Adam McHugh's memoir of his journey from a career as a hospice chaplain and grief counselor to the discovery of a new life in wine among the grapevines of the Santa Ynez Valley of California. It came out last fall from InterVarsity Press


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Blood from a Stone:

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the church became the steward of Europe's grapevines, and the monks were the ones who tended them. Vineyards and the wine squeezed out of their fruit were a major economic engine for monasteries, as well as what filled the sacramental cup.

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
"This is the corkscrewing tale of how I got to Santa Ynez, eventually, and the questions that came up along the way," he continues. "You and I are going to take a long wine tour together on our way there, and we will make plenty of stops for a glass and some local wine history. As you will see, I reached into the old, old story of wine in order to find my new story, which begins, as so many wine love stories do, in the French countryside."

With warmth and wit, Adam tells the story of what happens when things fall apart and when where you live no longer feels like home. From the south of France to Champagne to the California central coast, the trail winds toward new life and healing through the good gifts of wine, friendship, and a sense of place. Pour a glass and join the adventure.



Thursday, June 8, 2023

Plumbs for Months by Zaji Cox -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Thank you for joining me here on Book Beginnings on Fridays! Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
It's some kind of wolf -hawk biped, brown-gray with an aggressive V of anger, or maybe strength, on its brow.
-- From the first chapter, One Toy, in Plums for Months: Memories of a Wonder-Filled, Neurodivergent Childhood by Zaji Cox (2023, Forest Avenue Press). 

Zaji Cox's new memoir is a collection of impressionistic essays about her childhood, living in a 100-year-old house with her single mother and sister. It is intimate, beautiful, and moving. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS
Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

TIE IN: TheFriday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’sVoice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Plums for Months:

It's language arts that's the best part of middle school for me.

My nose is always in a book outside of school anyway — sometimes literally, because how could you not smell that wonderful new book smell? — and so reading and studying reading and writing about reading is heaven for me.

All booknerds can sympathize with this passage, I'm sure!

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION

As a neurodivergent child in a hundred-year-old house, Zaji Cox collects grammar books, second-hand toys, and sightings of feral cats. She dances and cartwheels through self-discovery and doubt, guided by her big sister and their devoted single mother. Through short essays that evoke the abundant imagination of childhood, Plums for Months explores the challenges of growing up mixed race and low-income on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon.

 

 




Saturday, June 3, 2023

Books I read in May -- MONTHLY WRAP UP


MONTHLY WRAP UP
May 2023

The merry month of May was a mixed-up reading month for me. I wanted to tackle a couple of classics that have been languishing on my TBR shelves. But I also went to visit my mom and we took a little road trip when I was there, so I had a chance to gulp down a few fluffier holiday reads.

Three of the book I read were from my TBR 23 in '23 list. Three were mysteries from series I’m trying to finish before a start a new series. Three were from my Classics Club list because my goal is to finish my 50 books by the end of the year. Do you have a Classics Club list? Check out the Classics Club website for details.

Do you spot any favorites on this list? 

PICTURED

The Birds by Daphne du Maurier. I'm in a buddy read group on Instagram doing a Du Maurier Deep Dive and this was our pick for May. Short stories aren’t my thing, but these were gripping! ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud, winner of the 1959 National Book Award, a Classics Club pick. More short stories, but these were also very good. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

A Cordial Water by M. F. K. Fisher is another on my Classics Club list and a TBR 23 in ’23 book. Interesting, but not my favorite M. F. K. Fisher book. It was a study of historical healing remedies, not personal essays, and I found it pretty dry. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin. I read Home Cooking last month and this sequel was just as good. Both are definitely tops with me for food books. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry was pure fun. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Quo Vadis by Nobel Laureate Henryk Sienkiewicz, another from my Classics Club list. I've wanted to read this classic novel about the early Christian Church forever. Worth reading, but it had its repetitive and draggy spots. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Black Dogs by Ian McEwan, an excellent short novel I avoided because some of his earlier books were so creepy. This one isn't creepy, just interesting. Another TBR 23 in ’23 read. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I can’t believe it took me so long to get around to this one, also on my TBR 23 in ’23 list. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

NOT PICTURED

Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin. His John Rebus series is one I’m trying to finish. I left the book with my mom. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Mapp & Lucia by E. F. Benson was my highlight of the month. This is the fourth book in the series and the first book in Volume Two of the omnibus collection. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Glass Houses by Louise Penny. Her Three Pines series is another I’m concentrating on. Some reviews complain she overreached on this one, but I was 100% in for the ride. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Deception on His Mind by Elizabeth George, the third series I’m trying to complete. This one stars Barbara Havers and Lynley isn’t in it at all, but I thought it was one of the best ones so far. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

What was your reading month like? What were your standout books? 


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Horse by Geraldine Brooks -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Thank you for joining my on Book Beginnings on Fridays! Please share the opening sentence (or so) from the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy or you otherwise want to highlight.

MY BOOK BEGINNING

The deceptively reductive forms of the artist’s work belie the density of meaning forged by a bifurcated existence. These glyphs and ideograms signal to us from the crossroads: freedom and slavery, White and Black, rural and urban.
-- from Horse by Geraldine Brooks.

Those two opening sentences are as pompous and unwieldy as they sound! But they are the character's attempt to write a magazine article about a painting. He rejects them immediately, saying to himself: "No. Nup. That wouldn’t do. It reeked of PhD. This was meant to be read by normal people." 

So have no fear, Horse is completely engaging, with no reek of PhD. I really enjoyed Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book, which my book club read a while back. So when one of my book club friends gave me a copy of Horse for Christmas, it went straight to my nightstand to be read ASAP. 



YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.
  
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blog event button for The Friday 56 on Freda's Voice

THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Horse:
He watched her, a slight white shape in the dark, running up the rise to the house. Instead of taking the shallow stone steps to the grand front entrance, she slipped around the side porch.
Horse is historical fiction with a "braided narrative" going from 1850 to 1954 to 2019. The story is based on a real racehorse in the 1950s named Lexington. 



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