Sunday, September 23, 2007
Katrina's "Fall Into Reading 2007"
Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting another one of her reading challenges. Her Fall Into Reading 2007 challenge began yesterday.
Since launching my Pay It Forward Book Exchange in July, I've been reading a lot more books than ever before so I have decided to join in on Katrina's Fall Into Reading 2007 challenge to keep that momentum going!
I hope you'll consider joining in too! It's a lot of fun! Not only that, you have the chance of winning free books and a $10 Amazon gift certificate as a participate of this Fall Reading challenge. Go check it out!
All these books on my list will be given away during my monthly Pay It Forward Book Exchange giveaways so stop by the first Monday of every month for chances to win!
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts. Editorial Review from Booklist: A man's desperate search for his identity drives this riveting offering from the author of best-sellers Where the Heart Is (1995) and The Honk and Holler Opening Soon (1998). No one in sleepy DeClare, Oklahoma, has forgotten the 1972 murder of pretty Cherokee Gaylene Harjo and the abduction of her infant son, Nicky Jack. Hard-nosed deputy sheriff Oliver "O Boy" Daniels pinned the blame on local preacher Joe Dawson, but few in town believed the kindly Joe was capable of such an act. Powerful emotions resurface 30 years later, when Nicky Jack, adopted and raised by a rich couple in Beverly Hills, mysteriously reappears, determined to learn about his mother and the circumstances surrounding her death. Veteran short-story writer Letts peppers her prose with a cast of quirky characters, including a quartet of nosy, domino-playing senior citizens and a perky pool-hall owner who bakes peanut-butter pies. Readers of Sue Miller and Wally Lamb are sure to embrace this memorable tale of love, loss, humanity, and hope.
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly: With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen's romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)—but without the mass appeal that horses hold. The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures[...] He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show's star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena's husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. Despite her often clichéd prose and the predictability of the story's ending, Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly: See's engrossing novel set in remote 19th-century China details the deeply affecting story of lifelong, intimate friends (laotong, or "old sames") Lily and Snow Flower, their imprisonment by rigid codes of conduct for women and their betrayal by pride and love. While granting immediacy to Lily's voice, See (Flower Net) adroitly transmits historical background in graceful prose. Her in-depth research into women's ceremonies and duties in China's rural interior brings fascinating revelations about arranged marriages, women's inferior status in both their natal and married homes, and the Confucian proverbs and myriad superstitions that informed daily life. Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters' foot binding ("Only through pain will you have beauty. Only through suffering will you have peace"), the story widens to a vivid portrait of family and village life. Most impressive is See's incorporation of nu shu, a secret written phonetic code among women—here between Lily and Snow Flower—that dates back 1,000 years in the southwestern Hunan province ("My writing is soaked with the tears of my heart,/ An invisible rebellion that no man can see"). As both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle, this novel has bestseller potential and should become a reading group favorite as well.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly: Hosseini's stunning debut novel starts as an eloquent Afghan version of the American immigrant experience in the late 20th century, but betrayal and redemption come to the forefront when the narrator, a writer, returns to his ravaged homeland to rescue the son of his childhood friend after the boy's parents are shot during the Taliban takeover in the mid '90s. Amir, the son of a well-to-do Kabul merchant, is the first-person narrator, who marries, moves to California and becomes a successful novelist. But he remains haunted by a childhood incident in which he betrayed the trust of his best friend, a Hazara boy named Hassan, who receives a brutal beating from some local bullies. After establishing himself in America, Amir learns that the Taliban have murdered Hassan and his wife, raising questions about the fate of his son, Sohrab. Spurred on by childhood guilt, Amir makes the difficult journey to Kabul, only to learn the boy has been enslaved by a former childhood bully who has become a prominent Taliban official. The price Amir must pay to recover the boy is just one of several brilliant, startling plot twists that make this book memorable both as a political chronicle and a deeply personal tale about how childhood choices affect our adult lives. The character studies alone would make this a noteworthy debut, from the portrait of the sensitive, insecure Amir to the multilayered development of his father, Baba, whose sacrifices and scandalous behavior are fully revealed only when Amir returns to Afghanistan and learns the true nature of his relationship to Hassan. Add an incisive, perceptive examination of recent Afghan history and its ramifications in both America and the Middle East, and the result is a complete work of literature that succeeds in exploring the culture of a previously obscure nation that has become a pivot point in the global politics of the new millennium.
Hitched by Carol Higgins Clark. Book description: Regan Reilly and Jack "no relation" Reilly -- head of the NYPD Major Case Squad -- are getting married! Arriving at a bridal salon to pick up her dream gown, Regan discovers the designers bound and gagged. Four dresses (hers included!) are missing; a fifth is in shreds on the floor. With just a week before her wedding, Regan takes the case, meeting an unusual mix of brides and grooms-to-be, or not-to-be. Meanwhile, Jack is determined to crack a perplexing series of rainy-day bank robberies -- before his upcoming nuptials. Carol Higgins Clark fuses two seemingly unrelated mysteries with an ingenious twist, taking readers from the streets of New York City, to the casinos of Atlantic City, and finally to that most popular wedding spot- Vegas baby!- making Hitched a delightful addition to this wonderful series.
Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias. Book description: How differently would we live if we believed that every even t of our lives- from the happy to the tragic to the mundane- was part of a meticulous and purposeful design in which all the elements intertwined with breathtaking precision? That's the question bestselling author and internationally known speaker Ravi Zacarias answers in this book. Dr. Zacharias reveals how every detail of his life has been woven into its perfect place. Then he ecourages us to examine our backgrounds, our disappointments, our triumphs, and our beliefs in a different light, explaining how they are all part of the intentional and perfect work of the Grand Weaver.
Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs. Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly: In bestseller Reichs's entertaining 10th Temperance Brennan forensic thriller (after Break No Bones), Brennan, her relationship with Det. Andrew Ryan on the rocks, welcomes the distraction of an unidentified New Brunswick skeleton from Québec's cold case unit. But when the bones are determined to be that of an adolescent girl, Brennan is convinced they belong to her childhood friend, Évangéline Landry, who disappeared at age 15. Now Brennan must come to terms with Évangéline's possible death, while trying to ignore her feelings for Ryan as they investigate a series of teenage abduction murders that could be tied to the mysterious bones. With her usual blend of cutting-edge forensic science, nail-biting suspense and characters that pop off the page, Reichs, who's vice president of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists and the producer of Fox's Bones, has produced another winner in one of the genre's most satisfying series.
Devotions for the Sandbox Set by Jane Morton. Book description: A collection of forty illustrated devotions, accompanied by scripture passages, short poems, and questions. Each poem expresses questions and needs from deep within a young child's heart. Each offers an accompanying Bible verse and questions to prompt lively discussions about God and His wonderful world.