Monday, October 21, 2013

Pre-vacation Reading

Therapist and I are going on vacation at the end of this month, and we are (of course) taking quite a few books. Keep an eye out for a blog post about what we'll be taking to read on the trip!

While there has been planning for vacation reading, there has also been pre-vacation reading. I'm reading books I don't want to take on our trip, mostly because of weight, which means hardcovers or audio books. (And yes, I know I can digitally take audio books on vacation, but I really don't prefer those when I want to just read.)

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
This is the first novel by Portland, Oregon native Hobbs, and is a delicious debut. Five years after being involved in a bank robbery gone bad, the Ghostman is called in for a casino heist. I really enjoyed this crime thriller.

Rodeo in Joliet: A Cancer Memoir by Glenn Roskowitz
Reviewed in 2010 by Therapist (read the - excellent - full review here:, Rodeo in Joliet: A Cancer Memoir is Glenn Roskowitz's memoir chronicling his journey with cancer. Glenn is not the most likable person, cancer or not, but his memoir is honest and real. Worth a look.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Weird black and white photographs are sprinkled throughout the book and inform the story. Before I read the book the photographs were both intriguing and off-putting, maybe even a little creepy. I enjoyed the story and loved how Riggs used the photographs as part of the story, making them more engaging and less creepy. Keep an eye out for the second in the series of Miss Peregrine in 2014!

The Dinner by Herman Koch
Translated from the Dutch and set in Amsterdam, The Dinner is told by Paul, who attends dinner with his wife Claire. When I first saw that this book was about a dinner, I thought of the movie, My Dinner With Andre. The only similarities between this book and that movie is that there is a dinner. Reading The Dinner evoked a similar feeling I got from reading We Need to Talk about Kevin (P.S.). In this book, Paul makes observations about their dinner companions, and gradually life complications emerge as the dinner progresses. Dark, compelling and oh so excellent.
This book will be out in paperback on October 29. The Dinner would be a great book for a book group!

Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-Being by Andrew Weil (audio, read by the author)
I enjoyed listening to Weil read his book, and I will take away a few ideas for raising my own emotional setpoint. One of the ideas, which my friend Jacki has been using even as she's been battling cancer is the Three Positives ( My Three Positives for today are:
1) The sun is shining. Again. The sun and the fall colors are spectacular.
2) One of my co-workers made me laugh really hard last night. I'm still happy about that.
3) I get to pick up my bike from the shop today. It's getting a tune-up after sitting in the garage for, um, a long time. I'm going to go for a little bike ride (see #1).

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma
After the dedication, and after the page with two literary quotations, and after the table of contents, there is a page that says "If you believe that you are the author of this book, please contact Haslett and Grouse Publishers at your first convenience." That was the hook that got me interested in this book. Even though I've just started reading this, I am enjoying it. A young man talks about becoming a writer, starting in Terminal B of an airport, where he spent his days waiting for his mother who was a flight attendant.


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