Archive | September, 2017

Dying to be Me

September Book Picks

We took a little break over the summer from blogging, but are happy to be back just in time for the start of Fall.  And there’s no better way to begin than with one of our favorite topics, books!! There are some great new titles coming out this Fall, but to get you started, the following are some books we have enjoyed over the last few months.

Beartown: A Novel by Frederick Backman

 

From Amazon:

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

Our Thoughts:  This book wrecks you in the best and worst possible ways.  While the story centers around a hockey team it is not really a story about hockey.  It is a story about what privilege can get you.  It is a story about small towns.  It is a story about loyalty, family, friendship and belonging.  It is a story about discovering who you are and what you are willing to stand up for and fight for.  This is a hard story because some rather awful things happen but it is a book that impacts you in all the right ways.

The Lying Game: A Novel by Ruth Ware

From Amazon:

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Our Thoughts:  This is a story couched in mystery.  What happened to the girls so many years ago and who is trying to discover the truth now?  Most of the women in the story have tried to put behind them what they did many years ago.  The bonds of that act have kept them connected and now with the discovery of a body their carefully constructed lives are threatened to be pulled apart.  A good mystery although I did struggle with some of the characters being a little dumb.  The setting lends itself to making even the event more mysterious and the setting ultimately saves many of them from the past.

Lucia, Lucia: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani

From Amazon:

It is 1950 in glittering, vibrant New York City. Lucia Sartori is the beautiful twenty-five-year-old daughter of a prosperous Italian grocer in Greenwich Village. The postwar boom is ripe with opportunities for talented girls with ambition, and Lucia becomes an apprentice to an up-and-coming designer at chic B. Altman’s department store on Fifth Avenue. Engaged to her childhood sweetheart, the steadfast Dante DeMartino, Lucia is torn when she meets a handsome stranger who promises a life of uptown luxury that career girls like her only read about in the society pages. Forced to choose between duty to her family and her own dreams, Lucia finds herself in the midst of a sizzling scandal in which secrets are revealed, her beloved career is jeopardized, and the Sartoris’ honor is tested.

Our Thoughts: Although this is not a new release, Lucia Lucia is the sweet story about the ties that bind an Italian-American family in the early 1950’s. Lucia, is the daughter of a proud Italian father and although she wants to please her family by marrying a childhood friend, she is also struggling to find her own independence. The author had a wonderful way of pulling you into Lucia’s family dynamic and although the book wasn’t very complex, it was enjoyable. The perfect read for a Sunday afternoon.

Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani

From Amazon:

In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body! Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge. As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, Anita had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she’d never even imagined. In Dying to Be Me, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being! This is a book that definitely makes the case that we are spiritual beings having a human experience . . . and that we are all One!

Our Thoughts: Although we don’t do many memoirs, this one was mentioned on several podcasts and as a follower of Wayne Dyer, it was worth checking out. It was an inspiring story of Anita Moorjani’s struggle with fitting in not only with society, but also her family’s cultural expectations, followed by a cancer diagnosis and near death experience which she shares in detail. It is a lovely book about life and living it on our terms, rather than the expectations of others. 

We’d love to hear what you all have been reading lately. Enjoy this first weekend of Fall!!

~May and June

“If the crowns of all the kingdoms of Europe were laid down at my feet in exchange for my books and my love of reading, I would spurn them all.” – François Fénelon

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