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Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audio, 18 hrs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King is a sequel to The Shining, starring Dan Torrance who was just a young boy in the first book.  In this novel, we learn about the life Dan led after the infamous events at the Overlook Hotel.  Dan has struggle most of his adult life against addiction to alcohol, like his father, but in many ways, the alcohol became a way for him to hide from his gifts.  As he copes with his addiction, he finds solace in that he can help those leaving this world for the next go peacefully.  Eventually, he becomes known as Doctor Sleep in a small New Hampshire town at a nursing home.

Meanwhile, Abra Stone, a gifted twelve-year-old girl, has caught the eye of the members of the True Knot who are human and not-human.  The True Knot seems to be an unstoppable force that are sucking the life force out of those with special gifts, but they haven’t yet met their match.  This novel is a slow builder, but in true King style, the characters are varied and dynamic.  Blending not only the supernatural with small town creepiness, King creates an atmosphere that is at once familiar and other worldly.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King is an adventure and otherworldly with interesting characters, but there were times during the audio that my mind wandered.  The narrator, Will Patton, does a great job of creating voices that are nuanced enough to be separate entities in the performance.  I enjoyed the audio performance, but felt as though Dan’s flaws lost their impact along they way — does that mean his character evolved or that they were forgotten? — and Abra has gone from a scared Shiner to a formidable foe awfully quickly.  There are some story arcs that are quickly wrapped up and others that seem glossed over, leaving readers to fill in the gaps.  However, in terms of a sequel, written so many years after the first book, King has created a book that could be read wholly on its own, but is richer if readers have read the first book.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Mailbox Monday #304

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Revival by Stephen King for Christmas from my parents.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs — including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

2.  One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart, a happy surprise!

Set in Florence, Italy, One Thing Stolen follows Nadia Cara as she mysteriously begins to change. She’s become a thief, she has secrets she can’t tell, and when she tries to speak, the words seem far away.

 

3.  Wet by Toni Stern from Saichek Publicity for review.

Toni Stern enjoyed a highly productive collaboration with the singer-songwriter Carole King. Stern wrote the lyrics for several of King’s songs, most notably “It’s Too Late” for the album Tapestry. Now, through the expansive medium of poetry, she continues her spirited exploration of contemporary life.

4.  Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust from the author for review.

5.  River House by Sally Keith from Milkweed Editions for review.

These are poems of absence. Written in the wake of the loss of her mother, River House follows Sally Keith as she makes her way through the depths of grief, navigating a world newly transfigured. Incorporating her travels abroad, her experience studying the neutral mask technique developed by Jacques Lecoq, and her return to the river house she and her mother often visited, the poet assembles a guide to survival in the face of seemingly insurmountable pain. Even in the dark, Keith finds the ways we can be “filled with this unexpected feeling of living.”

6. The Red List by Stephen Cushman from Louisiana State University Press for review.

The “red list” of Stephen Cushman’s new volume of poetry is the endangered species register, and the book begins and ends with the bald eagle, a bird that bounded back from the verge of extinction. The volume marks the inevitability of such changes, from danger to safety, from certainty to uncertainty, from joy to sadness and back again. In a single poem that advances through wordplay and association, Cushman meditates on subjects as vast as the earth’s fragile ecosystem and as small as the poet’s own deflated fantasy of self-importance: “There aren’t any jobs for more Jeremiahs.” Simultaneously teasing the present and eulogizing what has been lost, Cushman speaks like a Shakespearean jester, freely and foolishly, but with penetrating insight.

7.  The Heroes’ Welcome by Louisa Young from Harper for review.

The Heroes’ Welcome is the incandescent sequel to the bestselling R&J pick My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You. Its evocation of a time deeply wounded by the pain of WW1 will capture and beguile readers fresh to Louisa Young’s wonderful writing, and those previously enthralled by the stories of Nadine and Riley, Rose, Peter and Julia.

 

 

8.  Intermezzo: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds from the author.

“Intermezzo” is a short story and is available in an expanded version along with 4 other short stories in A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds.

 

 

9. A Sudden Light by Garth Stein from Anna and her family.

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #302

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Around the World in 450 Recipes, edited by Sarah Ainley from the book club gift exchange.

Sample the classics of world cuisine in this comprehensive collection of over 450 best-loved recipes from every continent authentic traditional dishes from Europe and the Caribbean to China, America and Japan 1500 color photographs, with recipe techniques shown step-by-step.

2. Desperation by Stephen King from the library sale — buy one hardcover, get one free.

Something is terribly wrong in Desperation, Nevada — a small mining town just off Route 50 with a played out open pit copper mine. The streets are wind swept and deserted; animals have the run of the town and something horrific is brewing in the now abandoned mine pit. You won’t have a good day in Desperation.

En route to Lake Tahoe for a much anticipated vacation, the Carver family is arrested for blowing out all four tires on their camper. Collie Entragian is the arresting officer, the self-made sheriff of a town called Desperation, Nevada, and the quintessential bad cop.

3.  From A Buick 8 by Stephen King from the library sale — the free hardback!

At first glance, Stephen King’s latest bears a familial resemblance to Christine , his 1983 saga of a haunted, homicidal Plymouth Fury. But From a Buick 8 is a marked departure from this earlier tale of adolescent angst and teenage tribal rituals. It is the work of an older, more reflective writer, one who knows that the most pressing questions often have no answers.

The story begins in western Pennsylvania in 1979, when a mysterious figure parks a vintage Buick Roadmaster at a local gas station, then disappears forever. The police discover that the Buick isn’t a car at all but rather a Buick-shaped enigma: self-healing; impregnable to dents, dirt, and scratches; composed of unidentifiable materials; and containing a completely nonfunctional engine. Confronted with a mystery of unprecedented proportions, the troopers of Barracks D claim the Buick for themselves and spend 20 years attempting to understand its nature, purpose, and provenance.

4. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani from the library sale’s buy 3 paperbacks for $1.

The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza’s family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.

Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.

5. Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani, the second book in the library sale deal.

In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family’s old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.

While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals.

6. The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal, the third book in the deal.

World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart. Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow—including one of Maggie’s dearest friends—Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms. What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war—and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.

7. Lost Voices by Sarah Porter from the library sale.

What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?

Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.

A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.

8.  Joy Street by Laura Foley for review in January with TLC Book Tours.

“Joy Street” pays lyrical homage to the truth of living as a lesbian in the second half of life. Each poem in this radiantly plainspoken collection offers subtle and penetrating observations that swell to a rich tapestry of ordinary life, beheld from a stance of grace and buoyancy. Starting with intimations of desire in childhood, these poems travel through ordinary domestic scenes to the blessing of a maturity in which the narrator, still embracing desire and wild promise, thrives in the midst of life’s darker gifts. This collection is truly a joy to read. It puts to shame those of us who walk through our days with “the din of loneliness,” ignoring life’s many invitations for bliss.

9. The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli for review from St. Martin’s Press for TLC Book Tours.

On a small, unnamed coral atoll in the South Pacific, a group of troubled dreamers must face the possibility that the hopes they’ve labored after so single-mindedly might not lead them to the happiness they feel they were promised. Ann and Richard, an aspiring, Los Angeles power couple, are already sensing the cracks in their version of the American dream when their life unexpectedly implodes, leading them to brashly run away from home to a Robinson Crusoe idyll. Dex Cooper, lead singer of the rock band, Prospero, is facing his own slide from greatness, experimenting with artistic asceticism while accompanied by his sexy, young, and increasingly entrepreneurial muse, Wende. Loren, the French owner of the resort sauvage, has made his own Gauguin-like retreat from the world years before, only to find that the modern world has become impossible to disconnect from. Titi, descendent of Tahitian royalty, worker, and eventual inheritor of the resort, must fashion a vision of the island’s future that includes its indigenous people, while her partner, Cooked, is torn between anarchy and lust. By turns funny and tragic, The Last Good Paradise explores our modern, complex and often, self-contradictory discontents, crafting an exhilirating story about our need to connect in an increasingly networked but isolating world.

10.  Free Air by Joe Wenke for review from Meryll Moss Media.

“Free Air” is focused on freedom, relationships, betrayal and there are a few LGBT and political activist poems included. They are written to be entertaining and accessible as quick reads — witty, little revelations and are not academic poems.

11.  Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust from the author for review.

Paradise Drive’s 80 sonnets (in various stages of departure from the form) are linked in a loose narrative, many inhabited by a sometimes-ironic protagonist named “Pilgrim.” All but a handful of the poems are or will be published in literary journals: four in the next issue of Hudson Review, eight in the next Notre Dame Review, and one each in next issues of the Cortland Review, Southern Indiana Review and Southern Poetry Review.

What did you receive?

Who Are Your Auto-Buy Authors?

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Hello everyone! The holidays are nearly here, but I have a treat for you! If you haven’t liked the Savvy Verse & Wit Facebook page yet, go do it now.

Beginning Dec. 12 (sometime this afternoon the first pick will be revealed), I’ll reveal one of the books on my Best of 2014 book list, through Dec. 24.

That’s one book from the list per day, with a tidbit about why I loved the book and a link to where you can buy it.

Today, I wanted to talk about those authors we love so much that we buy their books automatically no matter what the subject.  I used to have just a few of those authors, but my list is now growing!  I thought today would be a good day to share not only the older ones on the list, but also the newer ones that have joined the ranks.

My previous list:

  1. Yusef Komunyakaa
  2. Tim O’Brien
  3. Stephen King
  4. Anita Shreve
  5. Amy Tan
  6. Isabel Allende
  7. James Patterson
  8. Anne Rice
  9. Mary Oliver
  10. Billy Collins

My additions to the list:

  1. Beth Kephart
  2. Jeannine Hall Gailey
  3. Jane Odiwe
  4. Syrie James
  5. Abigail Reynolds
  6. Karen White
  7. Beth Hoffman
  8. Jill Mansell
  9. Janel Gradowski
  10. Diana Raab
  11. C.W. Gortner
  12. John Shors

I find it interesting that there are many more female authors being added to my auto-buy list. 

I’m not really sure why so many great female authors are being added to my auto-buy list these days.  It isn’t that I haven’t read some great male authors, but perhaps I need to read more of them to get a true sense of their work and whether I want to buy it automatically no matter the subject.

Do you have auto-buy authors? Who are they?  What attracts you to their work?

Don’t forget to like the Savvy Verse & Wit Facebook page to find out over the next 12 days which books made the 2014 Best list.

The Regulators by Richard Bachman (a.k.a. Stephen King)

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 466 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo

The Regulators by Richard Bachman, a.k.a. Stephen King, is like stepping onto the set of The Twilight Zone, from aliens and horrifying mutant animals to shootouts at the Ponderosa and/or O.K. Corral.  Something is not right with this idyllic town of Wentworth, Ohio, and its residents on Poplar Street.  With a cast of characters ranging from a cheating wife to an alcoholic husband and father, King packs in a wide-ranging cast that also includes a Vietnam veteran turned kid’s author and an ex-cop thrown off the force for allegedly being on the take.  There are the twin teen boys and their girlfriends and the local paper boy with big dreams for his baseball career, but there is something seedy underneath this neighborhood and things are about to go haywire.

King always sets the reader up with a typical neighborhood minding its own business and sometimes it’s in the height of summer when dreams are the biggest and relaxation is high on the priority list.  But with these settings, atmospheres, and scenes in place, readers know that things are about to take a turn for the worse, and when they start turning, they begin spiraling down a rabbit hole.

“Peter rose to his feet like an old clockwork toy with rust in its gears.  His eyeballs jiggled in the silver dreamlight from the TV.” (page 256)

What would the world look like through an autistic boy’s eyes, and how could that world be twisted in the hands of a being with no conscience?  Seth Garin is that autistic boy and his world has become even more like a prison than before when he merely had trouble communicating with his family, but soon he learns that the prison he finds himself in could also lead to his freedom.  King packs so many characters into this novel, illustrating depravity and hysteria on any number of levels, but what’s engaging are the scenes where Seth’s favorite characters come to life and take to the streets.  The devastation they bring with them, on the other hand, is harrowing and graphic.

King’s narration shifts point of view on many occasions, making it hard for the reader to hold onto the sequential story, but in many ways this may have been purposeful — to give the reader the same sense of timelessness that the characters endure.  The Regulators by Richard Bachman, a.k.a. Stephen King, is like a comic book and western sprung to life, but only if it were run by a madman director bent on killing everything and absorbing all of its energy.

About the Author/Pen Name (source: Wikipedia):

King states that adopting the nom de plume Bachman was also an attempt to make sense out of his career and try to answer the question of whether his success was due to talent or luck. He says he deliberately released the Bachman novels with as little marketing presence as possible and did his best to “load the dice against” Bachman. King concludes that he has yet to find an answer to the “talent versus luck” question, as he felt he was outed as Bachman too early to know.

Mailbox Monday #275

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Disney Princess: Fairy Tale Moments for review from Goodman Media

Just as little girls like to dress up and imagine themselves twirling around ballrooms as their favorite Disney princesses, they will relish the chance to create the worlds of Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel, Ariel, Mulan, Tiana, Aurora, Jasmine, Merida and Pocahontas in their very own home. Each princess receives the royal treatment in this must-have collectible. Girls can revel in their gowns, their gracious surroundings, the key moments in each storyline, and every happy ending. Each of 9 gorgeous posters can function as room décor, signage, or background to a little girl’s princess fantasy life.

2. Disney Junior Sofia the First: Practice Makes Princess for review from Goodman Media

Disney Junior fans will be thrilled to see Sofia the First get the true royal treatment! This charming poster book features sweet images of Sofia, her family, and friends (including the furry ones!), plus lots of wisdom from the Princess herself. Princesses in training can relive their favorite moments from the popular TV show-from Sofia riding in the royal coach for the very first time to hosting her first tea party. Plus, they’ll find fantastic door signs and room decorations inside. This collectible edition comes with 9 additional supersize pull-out posters.

3. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King, my early birthday present (2 months early) from mom.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

4. Funniest Verses of Ogden Nash from the library sale.

5. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf from the library sale.

In Mrs. Dalloway, the novel on which the movie The Hours was based, Virginia Woolf details Clarissa Dalloway’s preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life. The novel “contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century”

6. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith from the library sale.

There is rarely a dull moment in the life of Precious Ramotswe, and on Zebra Drive and Tlokweng Road many changes are afoot. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni wants be put in charge of a case involving an errant husband, and Mma Makutsi is considering leaving the agency, taking her near perfect score on the Botswana Secretarial College typing exam with her. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has been asked to investigate a series of unexpected deaths at the hospital in Mochudi. Along the way, she encounters other tricky mysteries, and once again displays her undying love for Botswana, a country of which she is justly proud.

7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson from the library sale.

Freshman year at Merryweather High is not going well for Melinda Sordino. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now her friends—and even strangers—all hate her. So she stops trying, stops talking. She retreats into her head, and all the lies and hypocrisies of high school become magnified, leaving her with no desire to talk to anyone anyway. But it’s not so comfortable in her head, either—there’s something banging around in there that she doesn’t want to think about. She can’t just go on like this forever. Eventually, she’s going to have to confront the thing she’s avoiding, the thing that happened at the party, the thing that nobody but her knows. She’s going to have to speak the truth.

8. Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas from the library sale.

On a spring afternoon in 1920, Swandyke—a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range—is changed forever. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path.

Meet the residents whose lives this tragedy touches: Lucy and Dolly Patch, two sisters long estranged by a shocking betrayal. Joe Cobb, Swandyke’s only black resident, whose love for his daughter forces him to flee Alabama. Then there’s Grace Foote, who hides secrets and scandal that belie her genteel façade. And Minder Evans, a Civil War veteran who considers cowardice his greatest sin. Finally, there’s Essie Snowball, born Esther Schnable to conservative Jewish parents, who now works as a prostitute and hides her child’s parentage from the world.

9. Princess Magic: Words from the Heart from the library sale.

From Cinderella to Pocahontas, Disney films have featured many captivating princesses and strong female characters — each with her own style and personality. Now here’s a beautiful illustrated gift book that highlights inspirational, funny, and just plain memorable quotations by Disney’s princesses and heroines, as well as quotable quips from their princes and sidekicks. Organized by theme — including “The Glass is Half Full,” “Confidence is Key,” and “Listen to Your Heart,” — the book delivers a definite “girl power” message that will both entertain and uplift.

10. A Princess Primer: A Fairy Godmother’s Guide to Being a Princess from the library sale.

For ages the fairy godmother has helped make young girls’ dreams come true. Now, for the first time, she reveals her closely guarded secrets in one wondrous volume. Everything a girl needs to know about being a princess is presented in this facsimile of the fairy godmother’s personal journal, from how to wear a sparkling tiara and choose a fancy gown to what to expect at a royal ball and how to recognize a true prince. In addition to her advice and tips, the fairy godmother offers stories and personal reminiscences, all illustrated with breathtaking paintings of rich landscapes, marvelous castle interiors, and princesses from around the world. This is an incomparable gift for girls who dream of having a little fairy godmother magic in their lives.

What did you receive?

The Best of 2013 List…

In Descending Order (links to the reviews included):
  1. Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir by Beth Kephart
  2. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
  3. Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy
  4. Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman
  5. The Time Between by Karen White
  6. Survival Skills: Stories by Jean Ryan
  7. Unexplained Fevers by Jeannine Hall Gailey
  8. Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano
  9. Solving the World’s Problems by Robert Lee Brewer
  10. The Scabbard of Her Throat by Bernadette Geyer
  11. The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero, translated by Carolina De Robertis
  12. Six Sisters’ Stuff: Family Recipes, Fun Crafts, and So Much More
Here are my honorable mentions for this year, in descending order (links to the reviews included):
  1. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein
  2. Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent by Beth Kephart
  3. Joyland by Stephen King
  4. Seduction by M.J. Rose
  5. Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen
What books made your list of favorites this year?

Library Loot #11 and Mailbox Monday #238

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

1.  New European Poets edited by Wayne Miller and Kevin Prufer

New European Poets presents the works of poets from across Europe. In compiling this landmark anthology, Wayne Miller and Kevin Prufer enlisted twenty-four regional editors to select 270 poets whose writing was first published after 1970. These poets represent every country in Europe, and many of them are published here for the first time in English and in the United States. The resulting anthology collects some of the very best work of a new generation of poets who have come of age since Paul Celan, Anna Akhmatova, Federico García Lorca, Eugenio Montale, and Czeslaw Milosz.

The poetry in New European Poets is fiercely intelligent, often irreverent, and engaged with history and politics. The range of styles is exhilarating—from the lyric intimacy of Portuguese poet Rosa Alice Branco to the profane prose poems of Romanian poet Radu Andriescu, from the surrealist bravado of Czech poet Sylva
Fischerová to the survivor’s cry of Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya. Poetry translated from more than thirty languages is represented, including French, German, Spanish, and Italian, and more regional languages such as Basque, Irish Gaelic, and Sámi.

What have you picked up lately?

Mailbox Monday (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  September’s host is Notorious Spinks Talks.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I purchased:

1.  The Shining by Stephen King, which I purchased from Target because I want to re-read it.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

 

 

2.  Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, which I purchased from Target.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

What did you receive?

Joyland by Stephen King

Source: Purchased at Public Library sale
Paperback, 283 pages
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Joyland by Stephen King showcases that same storytelling ability King has demonstrated his entire career, but rather than focus on the gruesome or horror, Joyland is about amusements, growing up, and tangentially crime.  Devin Jones is a 21-year-old college kid who goes down to North Carolina from New Hampshire on a whim to become a greenie at the local amusement park, Joyland.  The park, which houses a number of rides and is fading in popularity in 1973, has a haunted past.  Jones is just getting the hang of being on his own away from college, finding a room to rent and learning how to butter-up the powers that be to get the job.  While he’s great at making friends and impressing the supervisors, he’s also crap with women from the girlfriend who’s leading him on a string and bucking his attempts at romance to the sisterly love of Erin Cook.

“The truck’s headlights went out.  I heard the door open and shut.  And I heard the wind blowing through the Spin’s struts — tonight that sound was a harpy’s screech.  There was a steady, almost syncopated rattling sound, as well.  The wheel was shaking on its tree-thick axle.”  (page 258)

This summer, Jonesy learns a whole new language and way of life — carny from carny — and at the same time nurses a broken heart while having as much fun as he can with the kids who attend the park looking for Howie the Hound and his young friends, Erin and Tom Kennedy.  He’s constantly surrounded by a typical cast of carnies from Madame Fortuna to Lane Hardy and Eddie Fu****g Parks.  These subordinate characters are far from that, playing an integral part in Jonesy’s experiences during the summer and into the fall when the other college kids have gone back to school.  Unlike, King’s typical horror novels there is little gore and slashing here, but he makes up for it in setting, character, and story.  Readers will be immersed in the carny life and language, getting caught up in the lingo, the scams, the rides, and the sheer summer fun just like his main character, Dev.

King is adept at building stories from the ground up, weaving in details from several story lines through the nostalgic point of view of his main character (aged and wiser) in a way that never gets bogged down.  Readers will feel as though they are sitting by the campfire listening to a tall tale, much like the feeling Dev experiences when his landlady, Mrs. Shoplaw, tells him about the Linda Gray murder in Horror House.  Very much a period piece, this novel is the 1970s from the cultural references and the religious fervor that held women to a certain standard, but it also has a modern feel in how it is told through the eyes of an older Dev looking back on this summer of firsts and lasts for him.

Joyland by Stephen King in some ways is reminiscent of IT‘s story telling as characters look back on themselves and their actions from the present, extracting things and feelings they may not have expressed at the time, providing a new perspective on their experiences.  Dev does this, and while not as steeped in the supernatural as IT was, there is murder, psychics/seers, ghosts, and an early televangelist.  King has brought to life the childlike joy of carnivals and amusement parks and brought in a dose of reality as Dev is put to “wearing the fur” and scrubbing down the rides until the sweat pours off of him, while at the same time unraveling a murder mystery to its gyrating climax.

Like IT, this will be on the coveted Best of King shelf and likely will be re-read.

About the Author:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Mailbox Monday #231

Mailbox Monday (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  August’s host is Bermudaonion The Reading Fever.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received/bought:

1.  Lake Como by Anita Hughes from the author for review this month.

Hallie Elliot has a perfect life. She is an up-and-coming interior designer in one of San Francisco’s most sought after firms, and has just recently become engaged to Peter, a brilliant young journalist. But when she stumbles upon Peter and her boss in what seems to be a compromising position, her trust in her perfect life is shaken.

So Hallie escapes to Lake Como, Italy to spend time with her half-sister, Portia Tesoro, an Italian blueblood dealing with the scandal of a public estrangement from her cheating husband. While staying in the Tesoro villa, Hallie falls in love with the splendor and beauty of Lake Como, and finds work designing the lakeside estate of a reclusive American tech mogul. The caretaker of this beautiful estate is a handsome man named Angus, and Hallie finds herself drawn to his charm and kindness, despite hints of a dark secret in his past.

2.  Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River by Beth Kephart, which I purchased from an Amazon third-party.

From acclaimed writer Beth Kephart, author of A Slant of Sun, comes a short, imaginative telling of the life of the Schuylkill River, which has served as the source of Philadelphia’s water, power, industry, and beauty for the city’s entire life.  Before that, it fed the indigenous people who preceded William Penn, and has since time immemorial shape our region.

3.  The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, which I purchased at the library.

Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

4.  Joyland by Stephen King, which I purchased from the library.

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

What did you receive?

Perpetual Challenge Accepted

As many of you know, I read It by Stephen King last year as a read-a-long with Anna and really loved re-reading the novel. I’ve just learned recently that there is a Stephen King Perpetual Reading Challenge.

There will be several mini-challenges, which I may or may not participate in — time permitting, but here’s a look at the schedule for that:

Feb | March | April — mini-challenge
May | June | July — mini-challenge
Aug | Sept | Oct — mini-challenge
Nov | Dec — free months

Giveaway instructions related to the mini-challenges are listed, here.  I’m joining to make sure that I read all of the King books I have not read, with at least 1 read this year.  I’m going to start with the new book, 11/22/63.

Do you plan on joining?

Mailbox Monday #158

Happy New Year!  Here’s to a happy, healthy, and fun 2012!

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the At Home With Books.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  The Bungalow by Sarah Jio, which I received over the holidays.

2.  War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, which I bought with a gc to Barnes & Noble.

3. 11/22/1963 by Stephen King, which I bought with a gc to Barnes & Noble.

What did you receive?