Tuesday, December 27, 2011

LOST DECEMBER by Richard Paul Evans

From the bestselling author of The Christmas Box and The Walk series comes an inspiring modern retelling of the story of the prodigal son.

When Luke Crisp graduates from business school, his father, CEO and co-founder of Fortune 500 Crisp's Copy Centers, is ready to share some good news: he wants to turn the family business business over to his son. But Luke has other plans. Taking control of his trust fund, Luke leaves home to pusue a life of reckless indulgence.

But when his funds run out, so do his friends. Humbled, alone, and too ashamed to ask his father for help. Luke secretly takes a lowly job at one of his father's copy centers. Then he falls in love with a struggling single mother and begins to understand the greatest source of personal joy.

Lost December is Richard Paul Evan's modern-day version of the biblical story of the prodigal son, a powerful tale of redemption, hope, and the true meaning of love.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Life by Keith Richards and James Fox


by Keith Richards and James Fox

In the simplest terms, Keith Richard is a rock 'n roll icon and after reading his autobiography, I'm even more convinced.

A story of life... his life... touching upon such topics as how he handled fame, personal relationships including love interests and those he created with the members of the Stones, and his struggle to overcome his addiction to heroin.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

While at a library conference in 2007 I picked up a galley copy of Hillary Jordan’s novel ‘Mudbound’. On the trip home, I devoured this beautifully written debut novel and looked forward to reading more from this promising author. Just a few days ago I saw Jordan’s newest book, ‘When She Woke’ on the shelf and seeing it prompted me to give you a little nudge in her direction.

Mudbound tells the story of Henry McAllen who brings his city-bred wife Laura to live in a desolate cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta. The year is 1946 and WW II war-weary soldiers are just starting to come home, hoping to resume a life on the farms where they grew up. Henry’s brother Jamie returns to help his older sibling along with Ronsel Jackson, the eldest son of a black sharecropper who lives on the McAllen farm.

Laura makes a noble attempt to make the Delta her home but finds it difficult with no indoor plumbing or electricity. The isolation and the primitive conditions where Laura must raise 2 young children becomes an everyday struggle for her and she fears for her sanity and her children’s safety. When the relentless rains come, the waters rise over the only accessible road and the family becomes stranded in a quagmire of mud, emotional tension and ingrained racial bigotry. The combination of these difficulties lead to gruesome and fateful consequences in a novel that brings a deluge of interesting characters and a convincing sense of place.
This book is filled with fully formed characters and beautiful prose. In fact it earned the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded biennially to a first literary novel that addresses issues of social justice. If you are looking for a tidy and sweet read, this is not it. But if you are longing for a page turner that brings you face to face with a story wrought with tension and memorable characters, this could be it.

Friday, December 02, 2011

What Would You Do?

Scott Spencer's beautiful tale, Man in the Woods, is the story of a quiet, gentle, responsible man, who in one chance encounter in the woods, commits a crime--a violent crime--with no one to witness it except a dog he takes home and names Shep. He did a very wrong thing--but for a right reason. (I can't tell you more without giving away a core piece of the story!) What would you do if this happened to you? If you thought you could absolutely get away with it? Could you live with it? Paul thought he could, and in the moments immediately after the incident, he panics and feels he has no choice. But he bears this terrible burden, and it dramatically affects his life with his lover Kate and her daughter Ruby. He is not a religious man, but he is a thoughtful, considerate one, and the guilt is overwhelming. Spencer is so elegant about telling a story and detailing his characters. He must be an animal-lover, because he did a great job portraying Shep, who has withstood abuse and cruelty and yet retains a sweet and loving disposition. The book is suspenseful, because you don't know whether Paul will be found out. And by the end, you sincerely hope he won't be.