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Books to Read - February 2021

 


Read, Read, Read


"We read to know we are not alone." C.S. Lewis

Do you love to read? I do.  In fact, I always have a book on deck for my pleasure.  I wake up in the morning and carry my favorite novel downstairs.  It is how I start and end my day.  I am always reading.  It is my quintessential past time.  What do I like about the novels I chose?  

I enjoy historical fiction with tales about the human condition.  Or I love stories told in a new place that I have never visited. Afterwards, I want to travel there and sink into the surroundings.  If I enjoy an author, I will read ALL his or her books.  I tend to read books where the woman is the lead character.   I enjoy the strife, angst, and messiness of the characters' lives and how they prevail with strength, wisdom and love.  The struggle reminds me of the complexity of life and the beauty all in one snapshot.  

Additionally, authors who share human drama, vivid details of the landscape and scenery plus poured their heart and soul into characters always enthrall me.   I am not one to enjoy a murder mystery or "who done it books" or "true crime" though some writers have the gift to mix human trials and tribulations with a juicy ending.  Those books usually end up in film. 

Another realm that I adore are the trilogies.  The characters from book to book keep evolving and changing just like we do.  And the reward is when a writers words and characters remain ingrained in your mind long after you finish the series.  You never seem to forget them.  This also happens with well-versed and written novels that are rare and are remembered for a lifetime. 

On the other hand, I am not one who wants to be preached at or informed or told what is the expectation of humanity.  These books are staid and too trite with opinions that leave me cold.  Instead, it is the "mess" of the human condition that intrigues my soul. The emotions that pull the strings of life.  More importantly, I want to be entertained, enriched, and enlightened.  To remember a book with fondness and recollection is the greatest gift to the mind.  I thrive on the knowledge that the world is chaotic, and everyone's life is filled with great tragedy and great joy.  If you do not experience both, you are not living.  It is the spice of life to be different, to be unique and to share in the journey and mystery of the human condition. 

Finally, occassionally a memoir comes along, knocks your socks off, and reminds you to take the greenlights on this road called life.   


My February Picks


"There are no strangers here, only friends that you haven't yet met." W.B.Yeats

I.  The Deverill Chronicles by Santa Montefiore  What I love about the 4 books in the series is the overview of strife between with England and Ireland, the rich descriptions of Ireland, the love story between the main character, Kitty Deverill and Jack O'Leary.   The ever-changing tale twists and turns with well-drawn-out characters beg you to read more about them. There are new characters in each book combined with the previous players. The outcome is lush with intrigue and plots.  The wars, love and loss, joy and pain fill each page.  If you are a fan of Downton Abbey then you will cherish this four part series. 

1. The Irish Girl:  The Deverill series is completely engrossing and begins in early 1900's on sunny green hills of West Cork, Ireland where the main character, Kitty Deverill, grows up in Deverill Castle.  A fine mix of the war in Ireland with the British and a love story between Jack O'Leary and Kate.

2. The Daughters of Ireland:  The war is over and the Castle Deverill has been burned to the ground.  Three women, Kitty, Ceila and Birdie vow to restore the castle.  Love stories, jealousy with a plot turning at every corner keeps the pages flying.

3. The Secret of the Irish Castle: 1939 and peace is upon the land. Martha Wallace leaves her home in America to seek out the home of her birth mother starting in Dublin. Kitty accepts her life with Robert and her children as one of contentment and happiness.   Jack returns from America and the storyline begins again only with a twist.  He is married and has children of his own.  Long-held secrets are revealed and a time to heal old wounds comes into play.  Deeply moving and again a tale of the human condition where misunderstandings can break everything. 

4.  The Secret Hours: Faye Langton mother grew up in a poor family. Or did she? Faye decides to decipher Arethusa's past, finding herself traveling to Ireland to answer the puzzle. The characters all come alive in the last book of the trilogy. 

 



"Desserts are the fairy tales of a kitchen-a happily-ever-after to supper." Terri Guillemets


II.  MidNight at the Blackbird Cafe, by Heather Webber. 
The novel is set in a small town named Wicklow in Alabama.  Anna Kate is on a mission to close her grandmother's estate and will run the Blackbird Cafe for a month as planned in the will of her beloved and departed Grandmother Zee.  The people of the town, the blackberry pies, the mysterious singing Blackbirds, bird watchers and mystical elements of the book keep the reader turning pages. Full of family secrets, southern charm and small-town influence makes us yearn for a simpler place to live, a simpler lifestyle and daily connections that matter.  Page turner. 



"Its a love letter to life." 



III. Greenlights, Mathew McConaughey: His memoir is outloud funny, enlightening and riveting.  Told by a man who was destined to be an attorney, fell into acting and is truly a writer and a poet.  Best known for his acting chops, you will be surprised at his writing skill and the tales he writes about his journey.  Greenlights is not about a man becoming successful in Hollywood in film though he highlights poignant scenes from movies.   Rather it is a memoir about a man who takes chances, is willing to change, bends with the wind and seeks out his own path on whim.  

When he travels it is a spur of the moment adventure and not to a hotel for fine wines and meals. Instead, becomes one with the people, with a minimalist approach, takes in the salt of the land and forms friendships with others around the globe.  He is truly a charmer, hardworking and goes the extra mile to achieve and more importantly connect with others.  He is a bridge and a connector of humanity. 

McConaughey's childhood in Texas, was rich with how to be successful driven home by his two zany, tough and emotional parents. His family, two brothers and his love of Texas are at the core of his life.  The combination and love from them and the love of Texas keeps him grounded.  All else is fluff, vergazie (word used in scene from Wolf of Wall Street (2013)- that he wrote. Uploaded YouTube video for your enjoyment) a gift, and a blessing. What I really enjoyed were his thoughtful, and hilarious insights on how his life unfolded.  He was never a victim. 

The book is filled with notes, writings over the years from his journals and what he believes is important in life. 

Run, get this book.  You will muse over the writing.  Rereading the notes, journal entries and realize  they are many greenlights in life.  You must be open to them. To see them. Take them.  Do not wait but move forward.  As he states, COVID 19 was a red light but perhaps everyone paused to examine their own lives and find new greenlights.  McConaughey did by taking time in 2020 to write this witty, thought provoking, entertaining and enlightening book.  Take the greenlight Alright, Alright, Alright! 


Color My World


Coloring is relaxing and actually like meditation. Coloring reduces anxiety, stress and improves motor skills, sleep and increases focus. Psychologists highly recommend this form of relaxation for the brain.  It is way to shut out the world and create beautiful art just for you.  Listen to your favorite music or online book.   However, please do not get your cat started on watching bird and squirrel videos on YouTube.   You will find it is hard to type.  Your desk just might be overtaken by your beautiful pet!

Enjoy reading.  May you find joy and hope in your daily life. 


"The world is your own special pearl.  You just need to grab it.  Do not wait until tomorrow!" 

Until Next Time,

Kim











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