My Recent Reading, Part 2

Eclectic. That’s how I’d describe my reading so far this summer. If you read Part 1 of “My Recent Reading,” you’ll know that by early July, I had finished reading a light-hearted summer novel, a memoir, and the new Harper Lee. This next batch of book reviews include an adventure novel, a magical YA novel, an audiobook, and a book about Huntington’s Disease. Here goes.

Several years ago, I read – and loved – “The Girls,” so when I saw that its author, Lori Lansens, had a new book out, “The Mountain Story,” I quickly bought it.

The Mountain Story

My Recent Reading, Part I

There are many things on my to-blog-about list, like multi-tasking, cat videos, and food expiration dates. But you read my blogs because you read my books, and right now, in the thick of the summer reading season, I need to blog about books – specifically the ones I’ve read.

Summer is a great reading time for me. Last weekend being a quiet one, no guests, just DH and me, I read all day Saturday and Sunday, AND continued listening to an audiobook for six hours, back and forth to the lake.

Does the ending suit you?

I’ve done a lot of reading this summer. I’ve also spent a lot of time studying reader reviews on Amazon, as well as taking part in discussion groups on Goodreads. Two of the books I’ve read, in particular – Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Lisa Genova’s Inside the O’Briens – had endings with which readers took issue. And I don’t just mean readers saying they didn’t like the ending. I mean readers saying that the ending “stank,” that the author “blew it,” that the ending “ruined” the book. We’re talking over-the-top stridency.

Good reading

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There’s reading. And then there’s READING. The first is a solitary endeavor from start to finish, done on the subway, or curled up in a chair, or in bed. The second adds a step at the end: discussing a book with someone else who has read it. That person may be a single individual. It may be a group of women in a nail shop. It may be a formal book group, either one you’ve been in for a while or one affiliated with a bookstore.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Side view of a couple flirting and looking each other in front a fireplace

I do. I admit it. I’m a hopeless romantic who, yes, does believe in love at first sight. I’m not saying it’s the only way love happens. But – skeptics be damned – I’ve known too many couples who were partners from the start. They felt an instant connection, and it wasn’t only physical, but emotional and intellectual as well.

If the attraction is only physical, that would be lust at first sight. I’ve known couples like that, too – couples who lay eyes on each other for the very first time and feel a powerful chemical attraction, if little else. In instances where chemical attraction evolves into emotion, love may follow. Otherwise, the prognosis is not good. If something happens to the physical – illness, accident, wanderlust – and there’s nothing else, what’s left?

I won’t grow up!

Peter Pan had it right. If growing up means no more fun and adventure, I don’t want to grow up either. I like fun and adventure – like doing new things – like challenging myself. I like doing something I never imagined myself doing. Oh yeah, sometime it’s daunting. I have a comfort zone, just like you all.

But life is about growing. Have you done anything new in the last year? Taken a new job? Signed up for a new course? Tried a new diet? Taken up a new sport? Befriended someone new?

Barbara’s life plan …

Ha! Do you really think I have a life plan?

Oh, I did once. I assumed I’d have my parents all my life, like every other child I knew. Then my mother died, and reality hit. Believe it or not, I was the only child in my whole third grade class who didn’t have two parents living in the home. Okay. Times have changed. Living with one parent isn’t unusual today. Back then, though, my loss was a huge thing.

David, Edythe, and girls

BD and the Big Apple

I used to go to New York a lot. The first time was when I was eleven, when my dad introduced my sisters and me to the place. We stayed at the Commodore Hotel over Grand Central Station, and he took us to the Empire State Building, the Broadway production of “Peter Pan,” Rockefeller Center, and the Flatiron Building. Little did I know at the time that the Flatiron Building would play a role in my life – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When books mirror life

BD's bathroom redoI have a childhood friend, living far away now, who swears she knows what’s going on in my life from my newest book. She is certainly right where Blueprints is concerned.  During the early months of the writing, in real life I was gutting and redoing the bathroom off my bedroom – totally fitting when the main characters of the book specialize in gut-and-redos.

Did one bring the other about? Not really. My husband and I were planning on redoing our bathroom, and the timing just matched. Not that I minded. Not that I mightn’t have even given it a push. When I’m in writing mode, which is a round-the-clock thing, overlap is good.