Feb 6, 2009
I don't often talk about books here on my blog, but I am an avid reader. Two years ago I kept track of every title I read for the year, and the number was a surprising 276. Despite that number, books for me are more about quality, not quantity. I rarely read a book twice with few exceptions -- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Happiness by Will Ferguson, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Evidently those are my favorite books of all time, as I've read each several times. Now there's a new title to add to that short list. I returned to page one of Real Life & Liars by Kristina Riggle (Harper Collins, publisher) as soon as I finished the last page, and read it all over again. This is an unusual story of Mirabelle Zielinski, age mid-60's, and her relationship with her husband, her three adult children, her friends, and her self. Mira's oldest daughter feels unappreciated and unloved by her own husband and children; Mira's son looks for love in all the wrong places, when the right place is within arm's reach; and her youngest daughter refuses to grow up. As Mira faces life-changing health issues, the reader realizes that those personality traits she has difficulty accepting in her children, are the very traits that Mira must recognize and deal with in herself. I am passionate about reading writers' first books. "Real Life & Liars" is Kristina Riggle's first novel, and it left me immediately hoping she writes many more. Riggle creates a line of characters with whom any parent of adult children can connect, and realistic glimpses into what we all, on the threshold of this age group, don't want to think about -- health issues. While dealing with serious issues, Riggle does so with a sense of humor and a sense of caring. Truly a remarkable read. AND MORE BOOKS ON MY BOOKSHELF I just finished Mixed Blessings by Jon and Kate Gosselin (although there is not a trace of Jon's writing in this book, so I'm not sure why his name is listed as author!). On a score of 1 to 10? Two. I didn't learn anything I haven't heard on the show before, and the writer-Kate seems like an entirely different person than the show-Kate. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the show!) The book makes Jon seem far more decisive and in-charge than what the show portrays. It felt like one was made up, but I don't know if it's the show or the book. I'm glad I borrowed it from the library and didn't pay big bucks for it. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich - Oh yeah. Love her books, love every single character in her books, love the fact that she is one of the few "instant" bestselling authors who doesn't run out of things to write. Scale of 1 to 10: 8. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives by Guy Fieri. A favorite television show and now a favorite cookbook. I may just have to buy this one. All those mouth-watering homestyle recipes you see on the show -- along with behind-the-scenes comments by Guy -- wrapped up into one enjoyable read and cookbook. Scale of 1 to 10: 9 Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons. Another of my favorite authors. This is possibly one of her best works to date. Set on the coast of Maine, it's the story of firsts -- first love, first traumatic event, first enemy, first loss. I found it just a wee bit slow to start, but after the third chapter, I couldn't put it down. Scale of 1 to 10: 8 Secrets by Jude Devereaux. This must have been my lucky week, because this another book I thoroughly enjoyed. The library's description of this book: "Having harbored an unrequited love for a man she met in childhood, Cassandra impulsively breaks an engagement to become the now-widowed man's nanny, but realizes that her chance for winning his heart is threatened by dark secrets." At times, some of the "dark secrets" were a bit hard to believe, and the twists and turns were a bit too evident before they actually arrived, but overall a good read. There's just something about Jude Devereaux's writing style that appeals to me so much I can overlook the negatives. Score of 1 to 10: 6+ What I got at the library today: Blackwood Farm by Ann Rice Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani Oh, and "The Poky Little Puppy" in both book and CD form -- but that was for Mr. Brayden's reading pleasure (though I loved reading it again after all these years!) What are you reading today?