Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Over the Counter #321

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Running and running shoes this week......

First up is My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman.

From the publisher, Blue Rider Press:

"CNN correspondent Tom Foreman’s remarkable journey from half-hearted couch potato to ultra-marathon runner, with four half-marathons, three marathons, and 2,000 miles of training in between; a poignant and warm-hearted tale of parenting, overcoming the challenges of age, and quiet triumph.

As a journalist whose career spans three decades, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman has reported from the heart of war zones, riots, and natural disasters. He has interviewed serial killers and been in the line of fire. But the most terrifying moment of his life didn’t occur on the job–it occurred at home, when his 18-year old daughter asked, “How would you feel about running a marathon with me?”

At the time, Foreman was approaching 51 years old, and his last marathon was almost 30 years behind him. The race was just sixteen weeks away, but Foreman reluctantly agreed. Training with his daughter, who had just started college, would be a great bonding experience, albeit a long and painful one.

My Year of Running Dangerously is Foreman’s journey through four half-marathons, three marathons, and one 55-mile race. What started as an innocent request from his daughter quickly turned into a rekindled passion for long-distance running–for the training, the camaraderie, the defeats, and the victories. Told with honesty and humor, Foreman’s account captures the universal fears of aging and failure alongside the hard-won moments of triumph, tenacity, and going further than you ever thought possible."

And I'm not sure what shoes Foreman was wearing......maybe a pair of Phil's?

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight.

From Scribner Books:

"In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

Young, searching, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year, 1963. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is more than a logo. A symbol of grace and greatness, it’s one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. Now, in a memoir that’s surprising, humble, unfiltered, funny, and beautifully crafted, he tells his story at last. It all begins with a classic crossroads moment. Twenty-four years old, backpacking through Asia and Europe and Africa, wrestling with life’s Great Questions, Knight decides the unconventional path is the only one for him. Rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, something new, dynamic, different. Knight details the many terrifying risks he encountered along the way, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors, the countless doubters and haters and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs and narrow escapes. Above all, he recalls the foundational relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers.

Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the redemptive, transformative power of sports, they created a brand, and a culture, that changed everything."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All the Missing Girls - Megan Miranda

Looking for a great suspense summer read? Then you must pick up Megan Miranda's debut adult suspense novel - All the Missing Girls.

Nic Farrell's father is failing. Reluctantly she heads back to her hometown of Cooley Ridge to help her brother deal with things. Nic escaped right after high school graduation ten years ago - right after her best friend Corrinne went missing. The police always thought that Nic and her friends knew more than they were letting on.

But within days of Nic's arrival in town, another young woman goes missing.....

Always a great premise - an unsolved mystery from the past, the present mirroring that past and the same players involved. Who knows what? What are they hiding? Why?

"The official line: Corrinne last existed to everyone who knew her just inside the entrance to the fair, and from there, she disappeared. But she didn't, really. There was more. A piece for each of us that we kept hidden away." Delicious!!

But here's the hook that makes All the Missing Girls an even better read - it's told backwards! We meet Nic, see her present life, travel with her as she arrives back in town, connects with her dad, brother and some old friends. And then another girl disappears........

And Miranda jumps the timeline two weeks forward. And bits and pieces of the past start to reveal themselves even as the present plays out. DO NOT flip to the end - yes I know there are some of you out there that like to know what's going to happen and then go back to the beginning. But it would spoil the fun of this book. Keep your eyes peeled for a sentence, a thought or a mention of something you didn't know in the last chapter and add it to your interpretation of what happened - then and now. There are lots of lovely twists and turns along the way to the final reveal. (And I loved the ending)

Some interesting relationship dynamics are explored as well. I 'bought' the characters, could picture them and believe in their actions, emotions and flaws.

Great summer reading! Read an excerpt of All the Missing Girls.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Giveaway - You'll Grow Out of It - Jessi Klein

If you like to laugh - I've got a great giveaway for you today!

Jessi Klein is the Emmy and Peabody award-winning writer and executive producer of Comedy Central’s critically acclaimed series Inside Amy Schumer.

And now, she's written a book - You'll Grow Out of It releases July 12 - and I have 2 copies to giveaway to 2 lucky readers!

From Grand Central Publishing:

"You'll Grow Out of It hilariously, and candidly, explores the journey of the twenty-first century woman.

As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity.

In You'll Grow Out of It, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her "transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man," attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called "ma'am" and "miss" ("Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds").

Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, You'll Grow Out of It is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice." Read an excerpt of You'll Grow Out of It.

“Jessi Klein is a brilliant comedic mind and this book is a perfect reflection of that. It’s like having a glass of wine with the best friend you wish you had.” —Amy Schumer

"Jessi Klein is the Emmy and Peabody award-winning head writer and an executive producer of Comedy Central's critically acclaimed series Inside Amy Schumer. She's also written for Amazon's Transparent as well as Saturday Night Live. She has been featured on the popular storytelling series The Moth, and has been a regular panelist on NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! She's been published in Esquire and Cosmopolitan, and has had her own half-hour Comedy Central stand-up special." You can follow Jessi on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read You'll Grow Out of It, enter to win one of two copies using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends July 16/16.

Friday, June 24, 2016

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #111

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true.
 But you can like one cover version better than another....

US cover
UK cover
I really enjoyed Laura McHugh's first novel, The Weight of Blood and am looking forward to her forthcoming book Arrowood. "“This robust, old-fashioned gothic mystery has everything you’re looking for: a creepy old house, a tenant with a secret history, and even a few ghosts." The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Same idea on both covers, two little girls, a large old house and trees. I think I prefer the US cover this week. I like that the girls are in motion and that the house is decrepit. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Arrowood?
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Over the Counter #320

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? A pair of memoirs this week - mothers and daughters.....

First up is The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir by Betsy Lerner.

From the publisher, Harper Wave:

"A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.

After a lifetime defining herself in contrast to her mother’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” generation, Lerner finds herself back in her childhood home, not five miles from the mother she spent decades avoiding. When Roz needs help after surgery, it falls to Betsy to take care of her. She expected a week of tense civility; what she got instead were the Bridge Ladies. Impressed by their loyalty, she saw something her generation lacked. Facebook was great, but it wouldn’t deliver a pot roast.

Tentatively at first, Betsy becomes a regular at her mother’s Monday Bridge club. Through her friendships with the ladies, she is finally able to face years of misunderstandings and family tragedy, the Bridge table becoming the common ground she and Roz never had."

By turns darkly funny and deeply moving, The Bridge Ladies is the unforgettable story of a hard-won—but never-too-late—bond between mother and daughter.'

Next up is White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between  by Judy Batalion.

From the publisher, New American Library:

"Judy Batalion grew up in a house filled with endless piles of junk and layers of crumbs and dust; suffocated by tuna fish cans, old papers and magazines, swivel chairs, tea bags, clocks, cameras, printers, VHS tapes, ballpoint pens…obsessively gathered and stored by her hoarder mother. The first chance she had, she escaped the clutter to create a new identity—one made of order, regimen, and clean white walls. Until, one day, she found herself enmeshed in life’s biggest chaos: motherhood.

Confronted with the daunting task of raising a daughter after her own dysfunctional childhood, Judy reflected on not only her own upbringing but the lives of her mother and grandmother, Jewish Polish immigrants who had escaped the Holocaust. What she discovered astonished her. The women in her family, despite their differences, were even more closely connected than she ever knew—from her grandmother Zelda to her daughter of the same name. And, despite the hardships of her own mother-daughter relationship, it was that bond that was slowly healing her old wounds.

Told with heartbreaking honesty and humor, this is Judy’s poignant account of her trials negotiating the messiness of motherhood and the indelible marks that mothers and daughters make on each other’s lives."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Disappearance at Devil's Rock - Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay's novel, A Head Full of Ghosts was the winner of the 2015 Bram Stoker award for superior achievement in a novel. His newest novel is Disappearance at Devil's Rock.

If you're a parent, you know the fear of loosening the ties - letting your child have a little more freedom, letting them go out without you right behind them. Letting them sleep over at someone else's house. But there's always that 'what if' worry in the back of your head.....

And that worry comes true for Elizabeth Sanderson - her thirteen year old son Tommy and his two friends had planned a sleepover at one of the other boy's houses. But first they grabbed some beers and went out exploring the woods of the Borderland park. Two came back, but Tommy is missing.....

As the hours tick by and turn into days, the police have no concrete leads or answers. But what does appear are pages from Tommy's diary, deposited on the living room floor in the middle of the night. And Elizabeth is sure she saw Tommy or a shadow or a vision or something in the corner of her room. And other town residents begin to see someone outside their windows in the middle of the night as well. And then the other two boys begin to slowly give up their secrets.....

Tremblay's story is driven by many things - the relationships between Elizabeth and her children, as well as her mother, the remaining boys and their parents and most importantly the dynamics between the boys. Tremblay portrays these relationships very well - especially those of the teen aged boy. What is so frightening is that what went on with the boys is not out of the realm of possibility at all.

And then he adds in those elements that make you wonder - how are those notebook pages getting there? Did Elizabeth see Tommy or was it pure want? Is there something about that Devil's Rock in the forest?

I appreciated the subtle, slow building tensions of these unanswered questions that cast doubt on my pragmatic thoughts and presented other possibilities. Tremblay has been classed as a horror writer, but it's not in your face, overt blood and gore horror.  Instead, it's the possibilities presented and the reader's own reaction and interpretation that will have you turning on another light. A very different read from my normal tastes - but it's good to step outside our reading comfort zones once in a while. Read an excerpt of Disappearance at Devil's Rock.

"Paul Tremblay is a multiple Bram Stoker Award finalist and the author of the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. He has served as the president of the board of directors of the Shirley Jackson Awards, and his essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous year’s-best anthologies.

Find out more about Paul at his website, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Evicted - Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.

When this title arrived at the library, I read the description and knew I had to listen to it.

Shelter is one of the first building blocks in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. And yet, so many struggle to keep a roof over their heads.

"Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge."

These are stories of real people, their struggle to feed themselves and their family after spending most of what they have each month on rent. Rent for substandard living conditions. On the flip side, Desmond interviews two landlords who rent out these rundown apartments, homes and trailers. This is how they make a living - they're not in it for charity. Eviction is the word, the threat, the reality.

Oh, my heart broke as I listened to these stories. Yes, it's very easy to say, just get a job and manage your money better. And many of these tenants are desperately trying to do that. But easier said than done in many cases. Despair drives people to self destructive behaviour sometimes. I got so angry at the callous nature of the landlords, not seeing their tenants as people, but as dollar signs.

Evicted is a microcosmic look at a bigger problem. Desmond immerses himself, collecting data, recording stories and proposing changes......this is an important book for everyone to read. We all need a safe place to call home.

Listen to an excerpt now. Dion Graham was the narrator and did an excellent job.