Tuesday, December 27, 2016

End of the year reads

The tree and decorations are still up, but Christmas and its rush have already passed.  The push to find the perfect gifts and get them wrapped is gone, and thankfully so.  Next year has to be different, doesn't it??  I love the surprise on the little kids' faces and I enjoy giving to my family, but I do think it is time to make some changes.  Despite the busyness of concerts, church services, shopping, and get togethers, I did have time for some December reading.  What I've been reading has been a real mixed bag so I've decided to record my reactions all in one post, and then I will find something new to read this evening.  When the New Year arrives, I plan to evaluate what is happening with my blog and whether I want to continue beyond January and February, months in which I already have review commitments.

Haven't read any John Grisham books in several years, so when I was able to score an e-copy of his newest novel THE WHISTLER from WPLC (Wisconsin Public Library Consortium) Overdrive, I latched onto it.   Mid-level state government workers are assigned to investigate a possible "dirty" judge; their inquiries lead to a deadly accident, the disappearance of their link to the "whistler", and the discovering of a corrupt Florida Indian casino.  While I enjoyed reading this book, I did not have the elevated heart beat and rush to finish the book that I remember from past Grisham books.  What has changed?  I am not sure.  I still like this author enough that I plan to catch up on his works this coming year.  It appears I have missed several titles.

NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles illustrates that not all stories have been told, and there are new talented authors to be found.  It is 1870 Texas and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (fought in the Civil War, now an old man) is given the task to accompany a 10 year old girl back to her aunt and uncle after being "rescued" from the Kiowa Indians who kidnapped her four years earlier and killed her parents.  It doesn't take long for Kidd to realize that the young orphan remembers neither English nor the Swedish language her parents had spoken.  In all but hair color, she is Kiowan and her captors are the only family she knows. Slowly Kidd and the youngster forge a truce, and then begin to build trust.  Kidd, once a printer, now supports himself by reading national and international newspapers to people willing to drop in a few coins to hear what is happening far away from the Texan frontier.  I'm not sure what led me to this book, but I am glad I followed that lead, and I look forward to more works by Paulette Jiles.

TIDINGS OF PEACE was a collection of four World War II Christmas novellas by Tracie Peterson.  I enjoyed being able to sit down on four different Christmas week nights after the house settled down and then beginning and FINISHING a story all in one setting.  Sweet, nostalgic, and heart warming, each story reminded us that those who were young adults in the 1940's sacrificed much. Coming from childhoods of the Great Depression, these men and women gave much and never felt entitled.  Peterson, as always, superbly blends story, setting, and character.

CHRISTMAS IN HARMONY by Phillip Pulley.  A Christmas novella which takes readers back to the small town of Harmony, Pastor Sam Gardner, and his congregation as they prepare for Christmas Eve.

A GOOSE CREEK CHRISTMAS by Virginia Smith  When Al Richardson is forced to take early retirement, he fears telling his wife, partly he knows she will want to go ahead with her plans to open a B and B in their large home.  This is my first exposure to Virginia Smith and her lovely Goose Creek community.  Think I will be visiting with the Richardsons and their neighbors again soon.


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