Where does the time go?

Don’t know about you but lots of mine is spent reading.


My favorite of the last few months is the sequel to Nobody’s Fool by Richard RussoEverybody’s Fool.  He is one of my favorite authors and I really enjoyed this trip back in time.

I have also become a big fan of Fredrik Backman and his latest Britt-Marie was Here was much enjoyed.  And liked Helen Simonson’s new title The Summer Before the War – she is the author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand which I loved and this one is a bit more complex but has some great characters and gives you an interesting look at a particular place in England in the summer before WWI.

Read a really interesting non-fiction book about corpse dogs – not what you think – they find them called What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren.

Enjoyed Elly Griffiths latest – The Woman in Blue and found a new mystery author – David Taylor that I really like – his first was Night Life.  I am looking forward to the next one.  Also enjoyed The Promise by Robert Crais – made me wonder why I don’t read more of his.

And finally got around to Chance Harbor by Holly Robinson and liked this one as well as her others.  Looking forward to seeing her in the fall with a new book.

SO – how about you.  What book have you found that you couldn’t put down?

So many new books

but don’t forget the older ones.

Celebrating 100 Years of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Fiction

Each April, since 1917, the Pulitzer Prize exalts some of the highest achievements in journalism and the arts. For the fiction award, the committee honors a piece of distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, published the previous year. His Family by Ernest Poole was the first book to ever receive the award. This year, the prize is celebrating its centennial. –



Me Again

For me,  the next best thing to hearing an author talk about their work is reading comments from authors about their work.  There are a number of authors who have blogs and there are groups of authors who share blogs.  Because I am a mystery fan two of my favorites of these are Maine Crime Writers  and Jungle Red Writers.

This morning Katherine Hall Page writes about her new book which takes her characters to a new location on Maine Crime Writers.



And by coincidence (or not) Katherine is also heavily mentioned as the editor of a short short anthology Malice Domestic: Murder Most Conventional on Jungle Red Writers today. Malice is the annual conference that honors and celebrates the authors of traditional mysteries (sometimes called cozies but Katherine doesn’t approve of that designation)


And I should be clear – frequently the authors contributing to these blogs aren’t writing about their books – they are sharing recipes, wondering what kind of hat everyone wears, fussing about the publishing business or sharing happy news.  But they are interesting people – which no doubt makes their books interesting.


Opportunities to talk about books abound

Just saw this notice from Bullfinch Restaurant in Sudbury –

begins Monday, April 11th
6:00 – 7:30
For this very first get together, we can discuss what we are currently reading, what our favorite recent books is,what kinds of books we like to read and how we would like to proceed
If you are planning on attending, please give us a call so that we have an idea of how many are coming….

purchasing food and drink during the meeting is not required, but all menus will be available if you would like.
Meeting the second MONDAY of each month

Does this article bring anything to mind?


At a Christmas party this year, I sat down next to a friend and shoved a bruschetta crostini in my mouth at the exact moment she asked me what I was reading those days. I excused myself from the question so that I could stuff my face, and she obliged by telling me what she was reading:  Outlander, for a book club she belongs to, and The Invention of Wings, which had made her think about race and America and history in new ways.

This is why I love reading. As my friend told me about her feelings after reading The Invention of Wings, I took in her enthusiasm. The book had clearly stayed with her. And while she said she was enjoying the book she was reading for book club, she had much more to say about the book she chose for herself.

She and I used to belong to another book club, a gathering of squadron wives. I attended a few meetings, but then I dropped out. I admitted to her that I have a hard time with book clubs. I work for a book magazine; I need to be able to read what I want. That’s the justification I gave. It felt lazy and a little petulant, even as I said it. Wah! I want to read what I want to read!

But as we chatted, I told her that what I really wanted from a book club was what I believe the true aim of a book club is:  I wanted to be in a book club where everyone just got together and talked about the book they were reading at the time, or the most recent one they had read, or the one that had made the biggest impact on them. My friend nodded. And this was the conception of the Any Book Book Club.

Book clubs are predicated on the formula that someone chooses a book, the whole club reads it together, and then everyone discusses it. In this way, the whole group is exposed to a new book, and everyone engages with it, and then the cycle repeats. But the Any Book Book Club takes away the “reading together” aspect. Instead, we replace it with independent reading, followed by sharing our books together.

Have you noticed the particular gusto with which someone will tell you about the last book that got them really excited? Or made them cry? Or made them stay up past their bedtime to finish it? No offense to the traditional book club structure, but that’s the book I want to know about.

We’ve had two meetings now. The first was polite – we were each getting to know new people in the group, each gaining our footing, feeling each other out. We took turns, went around the circle twice, and each shared two books that we had recently or were currently reading.

Our second meeting, however, is when the gloves came off. We had developed a level of comfort with one another, and we all had become sure of our common bond:  books. It might seem like it would be hard to have a discussion about books that not everyone had read, but since our group is full of active, eclectic readers, we’ve all read something that can add to the discussion. As we moved our discussion over the terrain of pop psychology – covering everything from NurtureShock, to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, to Daring Greatly, we all had something to add, whether we had read the books or not. We trekked on to fiction, to histories of women. We talked in unison, we added new books to the discussion, we munched on cake while we recounted related TED talks, articles, or personal anecdotes.

I think the thing that I love so much about the Any Book Book Club structure is that it feels a bit like how Book Riot feels. Writers and readers come together and share their reading lives – their new discoveries and old favorites – and we share them and discuss them, and our to-be-read lists grow. The process repeats. The pages turn. And our particular passions and preferences fuel the conversation as new books get tossed into the pile of our discussion. It feels like cracking a book club code, and it feels like winning.

National Book Critics Circle awards

Yet another group of books I haven’t read – impossible to keep up.  If you have read any of these, tell me what you thought.  I need some personal advice on what to read since clearly I can’t read everything  – no matter how much housecleaning I put off.

The winners of the National Book Critics Circle’s Awards were announced last night during a ceremony at the New School in New York City. The NBCC is a comittee of over 700 literary critics and editors, and the awards are given out annually. Here’s the list of 2015’s winners:

Paul Beatty, The Sellout (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Margo Jefferson, Negroland (Pantheon)

Ross Gay, Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (Graywolf)

Charlotte Gordon, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley (Random House)

Sam Quinones, Dreamland: The True Story of America’s Opiate Epidemic(Bloomsbury)

The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award
The novelist, poet, critic and farmer Wendell Berry