Another Great Season of Books...Spring 2019


This time I made it a bit sooner than the last time. My list of spring books was wonderful and I hope that it’s not to late for you to add a few to your summer reading list. I love the quote above because it’s exactly how I feel about books and the adventures they take me on. My list is quite diversified this time but I guess you could say it reflects my mood and desires this spring. Enjoy the list and like always, if you have any that you have really loved recently I would love to know about them. My bookshelves are busting at the seams but heck, what’s a few more…I’m moving on to happy summer reading.


This pile is such a mixture of fun, memoir, a great year long book by the New York times and a book that has gotten a lot of hype and great reviews but was not in my top 10 category…

Let’s start with my second favorite author (Dickens ) is my first. We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg. This was one of her older books but I wanted to re-visit it. I’m not much for re-reading because I have so many books on my book shelves but the title enticed me at this time in our political world…This book was written in 2006. The story takes place in 1964, the year I graduated high school. I remember the Civil rights movement and the polio outbreak. Paige Dunn, developed polio in her last month of pregnancy. It is her brave story of never giving up and fighting to take care of her daughter with the help of Peace, her tough talking black caregiver. Then there is her 14 year old daughter who is struggling to find her way in the world to get a job, buy clothes and magazines and get out from under her Mom and Peace. It’s a beautifully written book. It will make you laugh, break your heart and cheer on all three of these tough but desperate women. I give this book 5 stars and I would read it for a third time someday. A keeper for sure.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates was very different for me. I don’t usually read memoir about business people but when I read the flap on this book I was immediately interested from the perspective of how someone, who is very rich, gets to be that rich and then decides to give it all away. Wow…The story is written by Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates of Microsoft. I’m sure you’ve heard the name before. It was so engrossing and real. Melinda’s message was how empowering women changes the world. Her words, the stories of woman in far away poor villages and how teaching them one thing could lead to another and another until that village was surviving on its own. A fascinating and uplifting book for sure. The book is about 270 pages so if you can spare a couple of days I really suggest you try to read this book. It just might change how you think about the world. I learned a lot that I never knew about. 5 Stars

Now this next book was not a spring book but a year long book. By The Book writers on Literature and Literary Life from the New York Times Book Review. In 2017 my son gave me this book for Christmas. He knows that I love the New York Times Sunday Book Review paper, which he gives me as a gift each Christmas.. I never knew though that they had this big lovely book. Basically, each week they highlight an author and interview each author on their reading habits, what’s on their nightstand now, where do they enjoy reading and what three authors dead or alive would they invite to a dinner party. It’s a coffee table book for me and that is where this book lived for a year once I started it. Each Sunday when I read in the living room (mostly in winter because of the fireplace) , I would pick up this book and read one or two author interviews. I read about so many authors that I love, some that were new to me and lots that wrote different books than what I normally read. I read them all. I looked forward to my Sunday afternoon with this book and was sorry to see it end. Unfortunately they never made another one like this. I can honestly say I am still not done with this book. Now I must go and look up all the books, authors and stories that I spent a year underlining. This book is a treasure to have. 5 big stars. I could not long find the link to this book so you might just have to search library sales or used to book stores. Try to find it if you can.

Now Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson was on my list and then on my shelf for a very long time. I had heard about her wonderful writing and great story telling over the years…I’d forget about her and then somewhere her name would pop up again. Finally, in the spring I picked it up. The description on the back of the book sounded really good. A modern classic that “brilliantly portrays the impermanence of all things especially beauty and happiness. I will admit there was some wonderful writing but honestly I found the book to drag and sometimes I would struggle. I did manage to finish basically because it only had 216 pages but I can’t say that I really loved it. 3 Stars for the writing…


Surprisingly this set had a couple of books that were not what I was expecting. I have read Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and loved it. So when I was reading Where the Past Begins it was a bit unsettling that I struggled through it. It was suppose be part memoir and memories and it actually was more here memories in story form that what her writing process was. I kept going thinking it might get better but it didn’t so I found this one to be a bit disappointing. 3 Stars just because she is who she is.

Now on the other hand I have never read anything by Diana Athill but I have read about her in several print forms so I got curious after her name kept coming up. I bought two of her books so I started with Alive, Alive Oh! From the back cover “ A luminous, wise, and joyful account of what really matters in the end”. She wrote this book on the eve of her 99 birthday. Can you just imagine what a good life she had to be able to still be writing at 99. She was living in London, Highgate, for those of us who have been there so I found that part interesting. The book was absolutely delightful. She writes about her grandmother’s garden and the wonders of traveling as a young woman in Europe after the end of the Second World War. It was a pure joy to read. 5 Stars…

Stephen King is one of my favorite people aside from being such a famous writer. He has him home and summer house in Maine. The summer house in not far from our Maine house so one day in Reny’s, a bargain store, who comes crashing into my cart but Stephen King. LOL…he apologized and moved on. So Stephen King is jus a regular Joe and he also donates lumps of money to the local libraries. O.K. to the book, Lisley’s Story. I’m not much on his new stuff but I did like a lot of his early books but back then I was much younger than now and then he took a weird turn and I didn’t. This though, sounded like he might be coming back to middle ground again. Front cover “An audacious meditation on the creative process and a rich portrait of a marriage and complicated affection that outlives death.” the Washington Post. It started off great but then it got weird with blood and bools. I had to look bools up and still don’t get it. It was suppose to be that he evolved from a talented writer to a serious literary artist. For me it didn’t make that switch…I did finish it because he does have a unique writing style that I love. Even in the most complex story line he has a way of pulling you in…4 Stars for Stephen.

Benediction by Kent Haruf…now this was a surprise going in the other direction. I loved this book. Small town, family and the grace the lies within all of us. It is the story of an man who lost his estranged son to an argument and now after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he knows he will soon lose his life. Don’t presume this story line is like others you have read. It is not. There is a slow, calmness about this end of life story. The language can be tough but also beautiful. His wife and daughter work to make his final days comfortable. Haruf is a gifted writer. I have since gone back and pulled Plainsong off my old bookshelf. Perfect for a summer read…5 Stars


Don’t judge a book by it’s cover…I did. Actually, I often do. I bought it and loved it, Brass by Xhenet Aliu. The cover reminder me of the 60’s and the girl was about my age at the time. Also, the hook that really pulled me in “one of the most potent dramatizations of the bond between mother and daughter that I’ve ever read.” Yes, thinking back to the 60’s and my relationship with my Mom…it was a given I had to read this. This is the story of a waitress who works at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elise hopes her nickel-and dime tips will add up to a new life. All goes well until she meets Bashkim, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams and wound up as a line cook in Waterbury, Connecticut, once a bustling factory town of brass mills. Elise falls in love quickly. Seventeen years later, headstrong and independent Luljeta refuses to be stuck in Connecticut with her Mother. She goes searching for the father that she never knew. The words blaze off the page. The story is funny, sly and aways popping with personality…I loved this book from start to finish. I will now see if she has written any other books…5 Stars for sure.

Atomic Habits by James Clear. My, oh my, this book has more underlines in it that any book I have read in recent years. Of course it will be a keeper because now I need to go back and read all those pencil lines I made. How do we build good habits and break bad ones. I read about this book on the Click magazine web page. One would think at my age whatever habits I have I will be keeping. This book though was much more than that. As I was reading I was thinking of so many areas of my life that could use some tweaking. Maybe we are never what we think we are. Maybe tweaking is a continuous process for as long as we are here. The thing that made it fascinating to me was that I am the worlds worst procrastinator and even after reading the book I still am but I’m also aiming higher so that I can be more productive in what I want to get done. I also know that some of these tips would be great for getting into shape and enjoying better health so I will share it with my Tops group. In every area there is room for improvement and unlike some other “self-help” books this was not at all boring or preachy. Look it up and read about it. It is perfect for writing and photography. This book is also going to be a keeper and a sharer. 5 Stars…


Last but not least was a favorite novel…Where the Crawdads Sing. I resisted it for so long. I read the back cover and it didn't appeal to me. I watched it stay on the New York Times best seller list for 40 weeks and still I was not swayed. Then all of a sudden the buzz was back. I caved. I am so glad I did. One of the best books in a long time. The story line was awesome if somewhat unbelievable about how a young girl could be left on her own without some authority coming in and taking her away to child services but I just continued on with the thrill of reading it. I know most of you have probably already read it so I don’t need to hype it up here but just on the outside chance that you haven’t you need to run to the bookshop or library and get it. There is still a lot of summer left and you don’t want to miss out on that last page. 5 big stars.

So there you have it. My spring book list. A great list with a bit of variety, which I like. I hope something sparks your interest or if you are like me sometimes I just like reading about books and don’t always have to have them. Books add so much joy to my life and I love sharing the stories in conversation with other book lovers. So get out there and end the summer finishing off a couple of these. Get your beach bag and cooler packed and if you are lucky enough to live by any kind of water…go and take your books with you. I find the beach is the perfect place to get a couple of hours of reading in. Enjoy my friends. I will see you when the summer book pile is ready. I actually think I might need to divide these reviews up…let me know if you have a great one for me…

I read and answer every comment on this blog…I am grateful for your visits and for the time you spend leaving me a comment…Happy August my friends…

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
Stephen King...On Writing