Thursday, July 2, 2015

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You - Coming of Age at the End of Days; Alice Laplante

Here's a book I've been looking forward to. Would you read it?

Atlantic Monthly Press - August 2015

(AMAZON - Description)

Alice LaPlante's acclaimed psychological thrillers are distinguished by their stunning synthesis of family drama and engrossing suspense. Her new novel is an affecting foray deeper into the creases of family life—and the light-and-dark battle of faith—as LaPlante delves into the barbed psyche of a teenager whose misguided convictions bear irrevocable consequences.

Never one to conform, Anna always had trouble fitting in. Earnest and willful, as a young girl she quickly learned how to hide her quirks from her parents and friends. But when, at sixteen, a sudden melancholia takes hold of her life, she loses her sense of self and purpose. Then the Goldschmidts move in next door. They're active members of a religious cult, and Anna is awestruck by both their son, Lars, and their fervent violent prophecies for the Tribulation at the End of Days. Within months, Anna's life—her family, her home, her very identity—will undergo profound changes. But when her newfound beliefs threaten to push her over the edge, she must find her way back to center with the help of unlikely friends. An intimate story of destruction and renewal, New York Times bestselling author LaPlante delivers a haunting exploration of family legacies, devotion, and tangled relationships.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy; Irvin D. Yalom

Irvin D. Yalom - 2015 Basic Books

In Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy, novelist and psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom shares (10) interesting tales of individuals he has counseled over the years in his private practice. Of course, the names have changed as have elements of their stories for the purpose of this book.

Most of the stories felt very real and personal, and involved patients who were dealing with aging issues and/or terminal illness. Most of the individuals, middle-aged or seniors had anxiety issues as they deal with their own mortality or the thought of losing someone near and dear to them. How does one embrace the fact that most of one's life is over, especially when we can't undo a sometimes imperfect past?

One story was about an aged former dancer and ballerina who couldn't stop obsessing about what became of an old love from her younger days. There was also a story about a well educated, 37 year-old man with a great job and high income who was filled with self-doubt.  Another involving an elderly man suffering from writer's block, who has been trying to write the same novel for decades, and, one about a mother who has been estranged from her only son for years.

My favorite story was "Get Your Own Damn Fatal Illness: Homage to Ellie", a woman dying of cancer. Early on Ellie was deeply troubled by all the healthy, happy people she crossed paths with, but eventually came to terms with her situation and acceptance of her situation.

"For family and friends I'm more of a scarce commodity. And I feel special to myself also. My time feels more valuable. I feel a sense of importance, gravitas, confidence. I think I'm actually less afraid of dying than I was before cancer, but I'm more preoccupied with it.  I don't worry about getting old. I don't give myself a hard time about what I'm doing or not doing.  I feel like I have not just permission but almost a mandate to enjoy myself.  I love the advice I came across on some cancer website: 'Enjoy every sandwich'."

"Life is temporary---always, for everyone. We always carry our death in our bodies.  But to feel it, to feel with a particular name--that is very different."

Through some of theses stories, Yalom's own personal thoughts are revealed. At 83, it's easy to see that the author knows a little bit about living as well as the fears associated with dying. He's practiced psychotherapy for 55 years.

This was a wonderful collection that I read over several weeks -- so happy I tried this one.

4.5/5 stars

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Hyacinth Girls; Lauren Frankel

Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where I share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book I am reading or thinking about reading soon.

Hyacinth Girls; Lauren Frankel
Crown - 2015


"On a chilly October morning I watched them put Callie's face on a billboard: two men in hard hats hoisting the vinyl sheet on a rope through the air.  I chewed gum in my parked car, the traffic whizzing by me, as the sheet billowed and flapped in the wind like a huge dark flag.  I wanted to be the first one to see her, so I'd driven over early, making promises to myself about how I was going to be. Focused. Resilient. Like nothing could touch me.  I wouldn't reach for the tissues in my pockeys, and I wouldn't start wailing in front of the highway."

What do you think -- keep reading or pass?
(feel free to join in by posting your link below)

Monday, June 29, 2015

May and June Reading Update

My reading has been so off for the last (2) months, I just realized I never posted a summary of my May reads,  I know to some of you, it probably looks like I had some good months, but I know otherwise based of previous patterns.  I finished (61) books in the first half of 2015, that is (10) fewer than the halfway mark of 2014 when I had (71).

My reading started to slide after finishing A Little Life (3) months ago. This was a book like no other that left me with the feeling that I will never find another book as terrific as this one.  Don't get me wrong, I've still read some decent books, but I've also grown bored more easily with mediocre reads.  Has this ever happened to you?

So this is what my May and June looked like.
  1. The Shore; Sara Taylor - 4.5/5 - (arc)  (May)
  2. The Listener; Rachel Basch - 4/5-  (eGalley) (May)
  3. You Nest Here With Me; Yolen and Semple - 5/5 (personal copy) (May)
  4. I Saw a Man; Owen Sheers - 3.5/5 (eBook) (May)
  5. Love May Fail; Matthew Quick -4/5 (arc) (May)
  6. The Grasshopper and the Ants; Jim Pinkney - 5/5 (library) (May
  7. The People in the Trees; Hanya Yanagihara - 4,5/5 (audio) (May)
  8. Big Ray; Michael Kimball - 3.5/5 - (personal copy) (May)
  9. Beside the Sea; Veronique Olmi Page - 4.5/5 (library) (June)
  10. Liar's Bench; Kim Michelle Richardson - 3.5/5 (arc) (June)
  11. Radiant Angel; Nelson Demille -4/5 (audio) (June)
  12. Tad and Dad; David Ezra Stein - 5/5 (personal copy) (June)
  13. The Farmer and the Clown; Marcia Frazee - 5/5 (library) (June)
  14. It's Only Stanley; Jon Agee - 4.5/5 (library) (June)
  15. The Life We Bury; Allen Eskens - 4.5/5 (personal copy) (June)
  16. Glaciers; Alexis Smith - DNF - (June)
July Plans
 mood reading (except for 3 books I committed to)
Happy Reading Everyone!