All posts tagged books

Novel Notes: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Kindle Gazer by Mike Licht

One of my favorite gifts from Christmas this year was the Kindle Fire my husband got for me…I was totally surprised, especially considering I broke the last Kindle he got me! Whoops. As much as I totally love a good, real, hold-in-your-hand, turn-paper-pages book…and I TOTALLY do…sometime the portability and speed of reading the Kindle provides is really, well, awesome.

So as soon as I got the Kindle fired up and ready to go, I was struck with the, “what should I read??” question. I mean, my to-read list is probably a mile long, but I wanted something that would be easy to pick up and a relatively quick read, while still being well written. And so I settled on The Cuckoo’s Calling written by J.K. Rowling under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

The Cuckoo's CallingI know this isn’t a brand new book, but then I’m not always the best about picking up the latest in Fiction, tending more toward the classics, but I’m glad I clicked “buy” on this one. It’s a murder mystery that follows a would-be gumshoe Robin and Cormoran Strike, the private detective she ends up temping for just as he lands the case that will save, or destroy, his business and personal life. The beautiful, young model Lula Landry turns up dead after what was ruled a suicidal jump from her luxury apartment’s balcony…but not everyone is satisfied with the police investigation. Her brother, a wealthy lawyer, is sure she was murdered and hires Strike to get to the bottom of it.

The story takes many twists and turns and moves along at a pretty good clip and I found myself not wanting to put the book down because I couldn’t stop thinking about what could’ve happened and who could have done it. By the time I was about halfway through I was on a mission and spent the next two days totally wrapped up in the story. I have to also say that one of the things I really appreciated about the book was that the characters were well-developed. So often, especially with murder-mysteries, the author relies on overwrought plot turns to drive the story forward without spending much time developing the characters and their motivations. The result leaves the reader feeling like the story was a little hollow and unfulfilling. I found myself relating to each character and the end of the story is much more believable because you did see the motivation and characters develop along the way.

Reading this book has set me on a mystery book reading tear. I’ve got two more on the docket to share with you soon. Do you have any good mystery recommendations? Did you make a resolution to read more in 2014? This is a good book to start with! It’ll keep you engaged and you’ll remember how you can truly be transported by a story.

Top image by Mike Licht

The Reading Season

 

In high school summer was always full of summer reading projects that I undoubtedly waited until the last possible moment to finish and rarely enjoyed doing.  But as I’ve grown older I really cherish the time I get to spend reading and, to me, Fall has become the reading season.  Doesn’t this home seem like the perfect place to curl up with a book and enjoy the changing weather?

There is nothing quite as sweet as the crisp air of fall making its arrival. Fall ushers in the desire to bundle up and head outside to enjoy lazy hours getting lost in a book. The skies aren’t quite as bright, so the light streaming through the clouds seems more magical. And you can truly be transported into another time and place.  Since fall officially starts this coming weekend, here are a  few of my fall reading essentials for you as you head out to dive into a book.  I’ll leave the book selection up to you…

 

fall reading nook needs

1. Honeycrisp Apples | 2. Hot Apple Cider | 3. and 4. Piles of pillows

5. Cozy scarf | 6. Warm Quilt | 7. Books

What are some of your fall reading essentials? Do you have a favorite reading spot?

top photo by Sharon Mollerus

Fashion & Words

So you might have heard there is a little something called Fashion’s Night Out going on tonight all around the country. I mean, in Dallas alone we have countless FNO events to choose from (here’s a good list if you want to see your options). And through all the excitement of said events, I somehow missed the memo that today is something else as well…

Chanel‘s Karl Lagerfeld in his Paris home | photo by Piotr Stoklosa for VIVA Magazine

Today is National Read a Book Day!

I truly love fashion, truly (it’s art, it’s a vision, it’s a voice), BUT I love books a little bit more. I only wish books got the attention that fashion does. So many media outlets are focused on who is wearing what, and what is on the runway, and who has great street style that sometimes it feels like our society is downright obsessed with keeping up with trends and a little like we’ve all but forgotten the importance of the more intellectual side of things. Have we failed to see how the intellect can influence the design? And I don’t say that because I think fashion design is not intellectual. Quite the opposite.

In fact, someone who might appreciate books even more than I do (if that’s possible) is the great fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. His home is absolutely covered in books…it is essentially a library he lives in (it is said that he has over 300,000 books in his home!).

“Books are a hard-bound drug with no danger of an overdose. I am the happy victim of books.”            

-Karl Lagerfeld

So while I plan on partaking in a few Fashion’s Night Out festivities, I’ll be secretly eager to scoot out of the hustle and bustle of all that to get home a curl up with my book. How about you?

Back to School

Back to School

Today is the first day back to school for most kids here in Texas. My social media streams have been inundated with pictures of all of my friends who are sending their kids off to their first day of school and I just love it! (P.S. When did everyone start having kids?! And SCHOOL AGE kids!!)

I secretly miss the excitement and anticipation that comes with a new school year. Every year held new possibilities and opportunities–new things to learn and, hopefully, excel at, new friends to be made, and new teachers to learn from.

And while I wish I could tell you that I loved reading and learning in school as much as I do now, that isn’t completely honest. I did love reading, but the pressure of getting books read in a certain amount of time, often two books at a time, and trying to consciously study the literature while I read it was a daunting process, but I think it was an important foundation for the appreciation I now have for those classic works.  Now I can’t get enough and I’m always looking for ways to expand my knowledge in any number of things. I think I will always be someone who enjoys learning and being in class. If only I’d taken the time to enjoy it more while I was there (and it was free!).

So best wishes to everyone starting classes today, and all the parents sending their kiddos off for another year of growth and development. Oh to be once again stepping foot onto a school campus….one can dream…

photo by Michael

The Joy of Books

My friend Taryn posted this video to my Facebook page after seeing my profession of love for the special medium of books.  It is just too cool not to share! There is just something about it that really captures the magic of the many worlds held within the shelves of bookstores, and the magic that they bring to life.

 

Pretty neat, huh?

I think it would be the most amazing thing in the world to own an independent bookstore.  Oh to dream…

Introducing…

Last night was the official first meeting of the Lit Flicks Book Club and I couldn’t be more excited! We kicked things off with discussion of our first book, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. The book recounts an old man’s memories of his time spent in a depression-era circus and the love he finds there on circuit.  My sister, Sara, was our host for the evening and put together a great circus-themed spread with mini corn dogs, popcorn, peanuts and adult lemonade (inspired by the book).  I only wish I’d taken a few pictures of everything!                                         

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised with the discussion unfolded. You never know how groups like these will work themselves out and anytime you get a group of women together, you run the risk of things dissolving into little more than a gab fest. Not that there wasn’t plenty of chit-chat, because there was, and it was wonderful! But there is nothing better than digging in and having deeper conversations with intelligent peers.  As we were sitting there discussing the book, I just kept thinking how blessed I am to be able to sit with a room full of smart, articulate, thoughtful women! It was truly inspiring, thought-provoking conversation. 

Initially my enthusiasm about this book selection was a little, well, lacking BUT I’m so glad we read it.  It was a quick and entertaining read that I would recommend to anyone looking for such a book.  On the surface, it seems a little “light” but, as we peeled back more and more layers, I must say my appreciation for the story grew and it made me look at things in my own life with fresh perspective.  There was some great commentary on how we treat the elderly in this country, what little credence we give to what they’ve lived through, the history they’ve witnessed firsthand. We also looked at our society’s approach to business and how, so often, people do become little more than expendable commodities to companies. But the overarching theme was loyalty and love and how those elements really play a role in the path each of us travels down.   

As I said, we had some great discussion! And out of that discussion came an interesting talking point. Most of us had not yet seen the recent movie adaptation of the book, starring Reese Witherspoon and that guy from Twilight, so we were SHOCKED to hear how one of the key story points had been changed in the film.  To us, it seemed like such a grotesque modification to the story’s meaning and key character developments.  That led us to reflect on how many books have been made into movies, and how often the stories are significantly altered. 

And thus, our book club focus was born.  Our plan is to read novels that have subsequently inspired film adaptations and, in addition to discussing the book itself, also adding dialogue about how the book and movie stack up to each other. With that, we decided our next novel endeavor will be….drum roll please…

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The timing couldn’t be better with the upcoming film due out in mid August. We’ll plan a discussion and movie night around the movie’s opening.  From what I’ve heard, this book is a must-read.  Want to join the club? Shoot me an email and I can give you details on our next meeting.  Happy reading!

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