About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Books to Movies

This year promises to be a good one for seeing good books brought to life on the big screen. Fresh off last year's release of one of my favorites, The Book Thief, I am looking forward to what 2014 has in store. One title that's getting a lot of buzz is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I'm a fan of Reese Witherspoon, and with her as the main character, I have high hopes for the movie.

Here are a few more book titles to watch for in theaters this year:

Serena by Ron Rash stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn stars Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck. Reese Witherspoon is a producer on this one.
The Giver by Lois Lowry stars Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. This is on my must-read list, so I guess I'd better get going on it.
Unbroken by Laura Hillanbrand has been on my want-to-read list for some time now. I really enjoyed her book, Seabiscuit, and I was pleased with the movie adaptation. This one is directed by Angelina Jolie.

By far my most eagerly anticipated title to be released in movie form this year is John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. One of my favorite authors, Green has been very involved in the cinematic adaptation, so this should be wonderful. See trailer below, but remember,
READ THE BOOK FIRST. The book is always better than the movie.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rockin' Robbins

Robbins Book List
320 S. Lafayette Street
Greenville, MI 48838
616-754-4354

What does a bookstore have in common with a Radio Shack? Well, for most bookstores, practically nothing. Now I have encountered many bookstores with caf├ęs or coffee bars, I frequent a bookstore featuring a wine bar, and I have even visited a bookstore with a puppet theater. But not until I stepped into Robbins Book List in Greenville, Michigan, had I ever seen a bookstore paired with a Radio Shack. That's right, this small-town bookstore has a door connecting it to a Radio Shack, an interesting combination to say the least. During the winter months it is often difficult for me to travel far in my search for independent bookstores, so as you can imagine, I was pleased to discover a promising shop not far from my home in Lowell. Though it is not a Lake Michigan coastal tourist town like so many I visit, Greenville happily boasts a bookstore. So on a cold, but not so snowy day, I set out on the brief 20-minute drive to check it out.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Winter is a great time to read.

Let me just say right off the bat that I love Blogger. As a person who gags at the thought of programming, I appreciate the service that Blogger affords me. I can have a relatively feature rich, professional looking blog without having to become an html expert. And it's free. So thanks, Blogger! That said, free things are not necessarily problem free things. For several weeks last fall, my ability to edit the text boxes in the sidebar simply disappeared. You may have noticed that I appeared to be "currently reading" the same books endlessly. Now, unlike those of you who can fly through a new title in a day or two, I'm the first to admit that I am a painfully slow reader. I am not, however, as slow as this editing snafu would seem to indicate. I simply was unable to update the information on my blog until recently when Blogger fixed the bug.

So I thought that now, while the media-hyped "polar vortex" is upon us and wind chills are intent on confining me to the indoors with a cup of hot coffee, a cozy blanket, and my laptop--yes, now would be the ideal time to mention a couple of memorable books that I enjoyed while the Blogger editor was out of commission. Both were set during WWII, both had pivotal, strong female characters, and both held me in suspense until the end.

First, five stars go to Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle. A modern-day mystery is inextricably tied to the daring exploits of members of the Italian resistance during WWII when honored resistance fighters begin turning up murdered 60 years later. The past and present are skillfully woven in an emotional roller coaster with plenty of twists and turns. Who even knew there was an Italian resistance? The French get all the usual attention in books and films. I was riveted by the daring exploits of these brave individuals who were surrounded by terror and death during the Nazi occupation, unable to trust even their neighbors and friends.

Speaking of the French resistance, 5 stars also go to Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I came across this gem in the World Book Night list and loved it so much that I selected it as my first choice for the title I would most like to give away. The many twists, turns, and surprises in this book prevent me from giving too much of the plot and spoiling it. In a nutshell, two young British women from disparate backgrounds become best friends when they are thrust together in service (secret service) involving missions behind enemy lines in occupied France, circa 1943. One is captured and held by the Germans, tortured, and forced to write her story for her captors. Things are not always what they seem, and I will simply say that the Nazis get more than they bargained for. Plenty of surprises and plot twists in this one as well. Yet underneath the spy thriller is also the touching story of an unlikely friendship, one which paradoxically would not have happened without the War.

If you are looking for an absorbing read to curl up with during this cold and icy season, I highly recommend both of these books.