Wondrous Words #347

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

NPR has a very nice newsletter they send out that shares books discussed on various radio shows. Last week they had a headline with a new-to-me word in it:

1. suss:   “Cooking With The Bard: We Suss Out Shakespeare’s Forgotten Foods”

Suss means to realize or grasp.

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This word came to me from a friend:

2. twee:  “Her new grandbaby is quite twee.”

Twee generally means sweet or cute. But . it also has other, less attractive meanings such as excessively or affectedly quaint. It’s origin is early twentieth century and represents a child’s way of saying sweet.
Okay, that’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? The Road To Character

My non-fiction choice this month is The Road To Character by the great NYTimes columnist David Brooks. I may not always agree with him, but I read him because of his unique insights and how he urges me to think. I’m really looking forward to digging into this one.  Here’s how the book begins:

Road To CharacterOn Sunday evenings my local NPR station rebroadcasts old radio programs. A few years ago I was driving home and heard a program called Command Performance, which was a variety show that went out to the troops during World War II. The episode I happened to hear was broadcast the day after V-J Day, on August 15, 1945.

The episode featured some of the era’s biggest celebrities: Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, and many others. But the most striking eature of the show was its tone of self-effacement and humility. The Allies had just completed one of the noblest military victories in human history. And yet there was no chest beating. Nobody was erecting triumphal arches.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

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firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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Book Review: Crossing by Michael Connelly

The CrossingYou would think that after 28 books Michael Connelly would have maybe one that might be off a bit. Afraid not. He just gets better and better. I think he really enjoys this whole creative writing process. In The Crossing, the author’s most recent novel, he does something he’s never done before: he brought together his two main characters so they could work together on a case.

Matthew M cConaugheyThe two men are half-brothers, although they didn’t know about each other until a few years ago. Mickey Haller is a defense attorney and Harry Bosch is a retired police homicide detective. Because they have always worked on opposite sides of the law their paths never cross — until now. Mickey has a client accused of a brutal murder. He actually begs for Harry’s help. He wouldn’t do it if he weren’t so desperate.

 

Titus WelliverHarry is opposed to helping on so many levels. It’s nothing personal with his brother. He’s spent three decades putting scumbags like Mickey’s client away, plus he’s morally opposed to helping the defense side. If his former colleagues were to find out, life would be hell. Harry agrees to check out some of the basic facts to see if the client is telling the truth.

Harry checked out the facts with the help of an old colleague who agrees to keep quiet. Even though Harry tried to keep his involvement secret, word gets out. Harry’s former colleagues are vicious in their hatred and harassment of Harry. Frankly, I was surprised. I guess I’m naive, but what ever happened to an open and honest justice system?

Crossing over to the other side, or the dark side, cost Harry a lot. Good friends he respected now consider him an enemy. Will it be okay for Harry in the end? How does Mickey’s client fare in the end? Searching for answers kept my ears glued to this audio book straight through to the end. I hope the author puts these two guys together again soon.  Don’t miss this one.

Audiobook narrated by Titus Welliver. Published by Hachette Group (9 hours, 24 minutes)

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Wondrous Words #346

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

Last week I finished reading The Arsonist. I had a vague idea I’d read one or two of the author’s books before. (Sue Miller) I went ro Goodreads to check out the author’s book list. While reading  the blurb for The Senator’s Wife, I found these new words:

1.   obdurate: “ . . . two marriages exposed in all their shame and imperfection, and in their obdurate, unyielding love.”

Obdurate means to stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or course of action.

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2.   abraded:   “ . . . both reckoning with the cotours and mysteries of marriage, one refined and abraded by years of complicated intimacy, the other barely begun.

Abraded means to scrape or wear away by friction or erosion.

Okay, that’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? The Crossing by Michael Connelly

I’m featuring a book by one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly. This is his latest book that features his two main characters – Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller. By now we are all old friends. Here’s how the story begins:

The Crossing1
It was a Friday morning and the smart people had already taken off for the weekend. This made traffic into downtown a breeze and Harry Bosch got to the courthouse early. Rather than wait for Mickey Haller on the front steps, where they had agreed to meet, he decided to look for his lawyer inside the monolithic structure that covered half a block of space nineteen floors into the air. But the search for Haller would not be as difficult as the size of the building suggested. After clearing the lobby metal detector—a new experience for him—Bosch took an elevator up to fifteen and started checking courtrooms and using the stairs to work his way down. Most of the courtrooms assigned to criminal cases were on floors nine through fifteen. Bosch knew this because of the time he’d spent in those courtrooms over the last thirty years.

 

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first paragraph of a book currently being read. Feel free to join the fun.

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A Book Club Choice: The Arsonist by Sue Miller

The ArsonistI’ve said this before — our best book club selections are books in which half the members like the book and the other half don’t. It fills our discussions with so much depth and liveliness. This past week we met to talk about The Arsonist by Sue Miller and our discussion was excellent.

The Arsonist is a story about a “summer” family in a small New Hampshire town. It’s the classic conflict between the full-time residents and those who only reside there in the summer. When an unknown arsonist begins setting fires, one by one, to the homes of the summer residents, it upsets the whole community.

The Rowley family has owned the house and all it’s property for a very long time. Sylvia Rowley’s family lived there for decades. She inherited the place, but has only spent summers there. But now Sylvia and her husband are no longer just summer people. They have retired to the property. Does that move them over to the full-time side?

The story really takes off when their daughter Frankie comes homer from Africa where she has been working for an aid organization for fifteen years. Frankie is exhausted and burnt out. She didn’t feel as if she belonged in Africa and would like to figure out where she does belong. She doesn’t feel she fits in at her parent’s home. What does home feel like?

One bright spot for Frankie is Bud. He is a long-time journalist/writer who has always longed for old-fashioned newspapering. He took a chance and is now the owner of the small town newspaper. It’s pretty much a one-man shop with help from volunteers. Bud hasn’t been lucky when it comes to relationships, but he really is one of the nice guys. He quickly falls for Frankie, but tries to take it slow.

One thing Sue Miller is good at is analyzing relationships. All her novels touch on that concept in one way or another. I still remember The Senator’s Wife and its diagnosis of young marriage vs. a long-term marriage. In The Arsonist we also look at a long-term marriage. There are so many issues in the marriage of Frankie’s parents. It’s not a good example for someone contemplating a long-term relationship.

I was disappointed in two things in this book. One is that I felt that Sue Miller just dropped the issue of summer residents vs. year-round residents. The issue of belonging to a community could have, should have, been covered better. There were plenty of examples but no follow through. I was also disappointed in the resolution of the arsonist. It was never established definitively who that was and the motives. That part of the book just ended.

In spite of what I just said, I actually liked the story and the main characters were well drawn. It kept my interest all the way through. I was surprised that so many book club members didn’t like the novel. But, to tell you the truth, I’m glad they did as it made me think deeper about various aspects of the story. That is one of the benefits of belonging to a book club.

If you need a book club selection and you prefer books with mixed reactions, then pick The Arsonist.

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Happy Arbor Day!

Arbor Day has been one of my favorite “holidays” since I was a child in elementary school. Focusing on trees every year made me love trees and care about their survival. I also care about the places where trees live. This year I want to share pictures of some trees that are native to northern California. The first one is the Black Oak.

Oak on Village GreenThis Black Oak sits on the side of our village green.

Oaks in ParkThere are strong rules against cutting down the Black Oaks. They are a part of many parks.

Copse Near City HallAnd, here is a copse of Black Oaks right next to the city hall.

Redwoods in NPNorthern California is famous for it’s ancient Redwood trees.

IMG_0925.JPGWhen standing in the presence of aged giants is, for me and my husband (above), an emotional experience. Truthfully, I often tear up. I think back to all they have survived and I’m grateful  for their  perseverance and their beauty.

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Okay, children, join me in reciting our annual Arbor Day Traditional Poem:

Trees

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

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I’m linking this post with others who participate at Saturday Snapshot located at West Metro Mommy Reads. For more information, visit her website.

Saturday Snapshot

 

 

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Wondrous Words #345

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

This hasn’t happened in a long time: I found a new-to-me word in two different books in the same week! Of course, its now my Word-Of-The-Week:

Insouciance

 Insouciance (inˈso͞osēəns) means showing a casual lack of concern; indifference.

“He closed the door and I watched him saunter toward the court. The word ‘insouciance‘ was invented for Henry, and against it the teenage version suffered.”
-from Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

“I had just rounded a corner when his insouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight.”
-from Only In Naples by Katherine Wilson

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Okay, that’s it for me this week. I hope you found some words worth celebrating. Feel free to join Wondrous Words Wednesday. Be sure to visit Kathy for the details.

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What Am I Reading? The Arsonist by Sue Miller

I’m reading a really good story. Really, its so nice to be able to say that. Its set in a small town in New Hampshire. There has always been a little tension between the “summer people” and local residents. But now someone is burning the houses of the summer people. Who? and why?

Here’s how the story begins:

The ArsonistLater, Frankie would remember the car speeding past in the dark as she stood at the edge of the old dirt road. She would remember that she had been aware of the smell of smoke for a while. Someone having a fire, she had assumed then, and that would turn out to be correct—though not in the way she was imagining it. She had the quick thought, briefly entertained amid the other, rushing thoughts that were moving through her tired brain, that it was odd for someone to be doing this, having a fire this late—or this early—on an already warm summer night.

What do you think?

Would you keep reading?

firstparagraphEvery Tuesday I join Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea  to share the first paragraph (or two) of a book I’m reading or about to read. Feel free to join the fun.

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A Book Tour Stop For Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman

Fading StarlightLauren is a young woman with a big dream. She’s a gifted fashion designer, but her dream is to have her own line. She suffers a career stopping blow when a dress she designed and made for a teenaged TV actress malfunctioned on the red carpet. The actress’s dress burst open, on camera, exposing her “assets” to the whole world. Lauren was immediately fired and widely discredited.

Lauren had to escape L.A. so she drove to Santa Barbara where she found a run-down cottage and a job designing and making school costumes. Living next door is Charlotte, an older woman who is clearly unpleasant, but gossip has it she’s an old Hollywood ingenue, hiding out in Santa Barbara.

Kendall, a reporter, comes to Lauren offering proof that the wardrobe malfunction was not her fault. Kendall promises Lauren she can get her job back. In exchange, Kendall wants Lauren to give her inormation about Charlotte. Now Lauren has an enormous ethical conundrum. What will she decide?

I liked the story but didn’t love it. It was fun to read and had a bit of romance and a little mystery. I also liked the sewing and fashion sections. The story had an inspirational/religious/Biblical element to it.

I knew that ahead of time as I know that the publisher, Bethany House is one of the largest Christian publishers. The ethical decision facing the main character is one that can affect any one of us and could make for good discussion if this were a book club choice. What made the story a negative for me was that the main character was just too nice – too good. I like characters that are more honest in their struggles. It makes them seem real.

The book will publish on May 3rd so you’ll need to pre-order it now.

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 Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of it all. To see other stops on the book tour, visit the schedule here: Fading Starlight Book Tour Schedule

tlc tour host

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