I’m back on track! Or at least I was, until I picked up John Steinbeck’s monstrous East of Eden. It’s already mid-month, and I’m only halfway through. Smart move, Candice. I’ll balance it out with some Gatsby, I s’pose.
This month was great. Super. Have you read these?
Luke Armstrong – How we are Human
HOW WE ARE HUMAN by Luke Maguire Armstrong is a new book of poetry, published in December of 2012, which explores the many aspects of the human condition: loving, laughing, breaking, dreaming, and simply being. It is self published and available for purchase online on Amazon.
This collection is a different kind of poetry. It’s short. It’s funny. It’s written with unadorned vocabulary. There is no flowery prose to be found, but there is a poem about pooping in the woods, and another one written from the point of view of a dog.
I’m obviously a smidgeon biased with this one since Luke is a good buddy of mine, but I’m not a huge poetry person and found this incredibly enjoyable to read. Funny. Real. Honest. But the best part: it’s accessible. No matter what your reading preference, you’ll likely find a poem for you.
(From Somewhere Out There, Everyone Else)
The world is towns I can’t visit, inhabited by / people I’ll never know, full / of thoughts I’ll never think, articulated / in languages I don’t understand.
Holly McQueen – The Glamorous (Double) Life of Isabel Bookbinder: A Novel
Although Isabel may spend most of her time measuring newspaper column inches, she’s well on her way to becoming a bestselling author. She’s already perfected Her Look (cashmere track suit, lots of mascara), is working on her toned size eight figure, and gets up at dawn to work on her novel (well, sort of). She even has a fabulous mentor — a bestselling but increasingly eccentric author who takes her to glamorous book parties and introduces her to the dreamy literary agent Joe Madison. But when she inadvertently exposes a political sex scandal and her name becomes known for all the wrong reasons, her glamorous double life starts to spin out of control.
I like some good chick-lit every now and then, and found this to be an entertaining read. Isabel is absolutely an atrocious character, but I guess endearing in a stupid kind of way. My one big issue: like Shopaholic, she needs a man to clean up her mess and doesn’t deal with consequences at all.
Shawn Stratton – Teams on the Edge
TEAMS ON THE EDGE gives readers a front-row seat during challenging wilderness expeditions to remote locations in India, Mexico, Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon. Along the way, Shawn Stratton highlights the power of team dynamics and life-saving decision-making skills-skills that were put to good use as his group’s navigated isolated mountain ranges, treacherous glaciers, and raging rivers. Stratton offers a behind-the-scenes look into his time as a former senior instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Juggling the roles of expedition leader, teacher, and medical care provider, he discovers that the secret to success lies in the strength of the teams around him.
Super interesting read, especially if you’re an adventure travel junkie. Tons of action, CRAZY stories, and practical advice when it comes to team-building qualities. I made it through Chapter 1 before heading over to the NOLS website to check out their courses. Amazeballs.
Kate Morton – The Secret Keeper
During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.
I hated Dorothy so much I found it a struggle to get through the first half of the book. But the ending was MIND BLOWING! My socks were literally knocked off. Haven’t been so thrilled by an ending in a long time, and I know a little something about happy endings (that’s what she said).
Will Ferguson – 419
419 takes readers behind the scene of the world’s most insidious internet scam. When Laura’s father gets caught up in one such swindle and pays with his life, she is forced to leave the comfort of North America to make a journey deep into the dangerous back streets and alleyways of the Lagos underworld to confront her father’s killer. What she finds there will change her life forever…
I’m amazed by Ferguson’s adaptability as a writer, as I’ve only ever read his humorous works. I love his style here, and the storyline is one of the most unique I’ve ever read. Weirdly enough, I’ve been dreaming about going to Africa ever since.
Good stuff this month. AND! I get to meet Will Ferguson at Writers at Woody Point this weekend. OMG. I WILL DIE.