Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesay Memes: A Spool of Blue Thread

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where you can share the first paragraph, or a few, of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Today I am spotlighting The Blue Spool of Thread by Anne Tyler

"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon." This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family--their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog--is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red's father. Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler's hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family.

Opening Paragraph

    Late one July evening in 1994, Red and Abby Whitshank had a phone call from their son Denny. They were getting ready for bed at the time. Abby was standing at the bureau in her slip, drawing hairpins one by one from her scattery sand-colored topknot. Red, a dark, gaunt man in striped pajama bottoms and a white T-shirt, had just sat down on the edge of the bed to take his socks off; so when the phone rang on the nightstand beside him, he was the one who answered. “Whitshank residence,” he said.
    And then, “Well, hey there.”
    Abby turned from the mirror, both arms still raised to her head.
    “What’s that,” he said, without a question mark.
    “Huh?” he said. “Oh, what the hell, Denny!”

My Teaser

    Walking toward the minivan, everybody wanted to know what Abby had found out from Carla’s mother. Not much, Abby said.
page 31

So...what do you think? Is this one you would pick up? Leave a comment below!
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday: The Wright Brothers

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Wright Brothers
by David McCullough
Expected Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads

Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?

David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading.

When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no contacts in high places, never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed.

In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.

Why I am waiting....
I visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial when we were visiting the Outer Banks a few years ago. This book sounds like a great way to learn more of their story!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Memes: The First Phone Call From Heaven

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where you can share the first paragraph, or a few, of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Today I am spotlighting The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom

The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief--and a page-turner that will touch your soul--Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

Readers of The Five People You Meet in Heaven will recognize the warmth and emotion so redolent of Albom's writing, and those who haven't yet enjoyed the power of his storytelling, will thrill at the discovery of one of the best-loved writers of our time.

Opening

The Week It Happened

    On the day the world received the first phone call from heaven, Tess Rafferty was unwrapping a cox of tea bags.
    Drrrrnnn!
    She ignord the ring and dug her nails into the plastic.
    Drrrrnnn!
    She clawed her forefinger through the bumpy part on the side.
    Drrrrnnn!
    Finally, she made a rip, then peeled off the wrapping, and scrunched it in her palm. She knew the phone would go to answering machine if she didn’t grab it before one more—
    Drrrrnnn!
    “Hello?”
    Too late.
    “Ach, this thing,” she mumbled. She heard the machine click on her kitchen counter as it played her outgoing message.
    “Hi, it’s Tess. Leave your name and number. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, thanks.”
    A small beep sounded. Tess heard static. And then.
    “It’s Mom….I need to tell you something.”
    Tess stopped breathing. The receiver fell from her fingers.
    Her mother died four years ago.

My Teaser

    As news director, Phil was used to crazy mail. He mostly ignored it. But Alpena was not a market where you tossed aside “the biggest story in the world,” at least not one that might help the ratings upon which Phil’s job depended.
page 28

So...what do you think? Is this one you would pick up? Leave a comment below!
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures

Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures
by Amber Dusick

Why did you choose this book? for my Goodreads Choice Awards challenge
When did you read this book? January 2015
Who should read this book? parents of very young children
Source: library ebook
Here is a synopsis of Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures from Goodreads

Of course you love being a parent. But sometimes, it just sucks. I know. I'm Amber Dusick and I started my blog Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures because I needed a place to vent about the funny (and frustrating) day-to-day things that happened to me as a parent. Turns out, poop is hilarious! At least when you're not the one wiping it up.

This book won't make your frustrating moments any less crappy. But these stories about my Crappy Baby, Crappy Boy and my husband, Crappy Papa, will hopefully make you laugh. Because you're not alone. And sometimes the crappiest moments make the best memories. Parenting is wonderful! And also, well, you know.

My Review

This is a very short book, and the review is also very short! I picked this one up to read for my 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards challenge. I don’t read a lot of humor, so that is one of the categories I challenged myself to read this year. And this one was available for download through my local libraries Overdrive offerings, so it was ‘instant gratification!’

Admittedly, I am probably not the ‘target audience’ for this book. I have grown and almost grown children and it’s been several years since I had a toddler running around. Consequently, while there were certainly times when I smiled and nodded my head in a ‘been there, done that’ kind of way, I don’t think anything in this book ever struck me as ‘laugh out loud’ funny. If you are a young, rather inexperienced mom, you may feel differently.

This book reminds me very much of Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. Both books are in the ‘humor’ category and are outgrowths of popular blogs. And in both cases, I think the stories are best in small doses. Yes, there are a few humorous moments and if you only read the blog a few times each week, they are probably very enjoyable. But after a few of these, the humor gets old and they aren’t so funny. Which of course means that this may be the perfect book for a busy mom who can only sit and read for ten minutes at a time. But for me, it was just an ‘ok’ read.

My Rating:  ★★1/2      2-1/2 Stars

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