Month: December 2015

The Book of New Year

Among party hats, glittery decorations, and champagne bubbles, I find there is a thoughtful side to New Year. This is the time of the year, when we readers take stock of how many books we’ve read the last year. My number is hardly admirable and of course I want to read more in 2016, but I haven’t measured out a certain number. My previous goal was one book per week and no, I didn’t read that in 2015. But there is one book, that really makes my fingers tingle around New Year, more than counting down to the stroke of midnight: my new calendar! Do my bubbles reach the surface, you may ask? Yes, as a matter of fact, they do. Sometime in December, when my Christmas shopping list is as long as the queues in the stores, I remind myself that I have to buy a new calendar, and the hustle and bustle of a people-packed mall simply disappears. I muse in front of the shelves with big calendars, small calendars, colorful calendars, fancy …

Hanover House – Brenda Novak

Merely calling ”Hanover House” a prequel, doesn’t do it justice; it is a CLIFFHANGER! (note the capitalization). The added cruelty is that “Her Darkest Nightmare” (The first book in the Hanover House Chronicles) is set for publication in September 2016 – that is an eternity in reader-years! Get ready, readers, to be excited by the fast-paced, action-packed thriller, that will leave chills down your back. Brenda Novak keeps the suspense high even though, we also follow the point-of-view of Jasper, a psychopath with a horrific plan for Evelyn. Evelyn was Jasper’s high school sweetheart and the one that got away – when he kidnapped and tortured three other girls. Evelyn is still marked by the trauma, but has chosen a career as a psychiatrist to understand what makes a psychopath. She is embarking on a new endeavor, founding Hanover House in a small town in Alaska. Hanover House will house 200 the most malicious mankind has to offer and not everyone is happy about it. One of those is the local trooper Amarok, who despite …

Sabin – A. M. Hargrove

Romance and aliens. Yeah, I wasn’t sold immediately either, but bear with me, within the first chapter, you’ll be hooked by A. M. Hargrove’s “Sabin”. Selena grew up as a live-in maid at her elderly parents’ house, dreaming of life as the little mermaid. She studies marine biology and we are first introduced to her as she dives into the depths of the Caribbean Sea. Sabin, on the other hand, is otherworldly and on Earth as the leader of the Seven, an elite group of fighters who want to keep the universe, and in particular a necklace called Judgment Day, safe. “Sabin” holds every promise of a romantic story. The chemistry is electric between the two, but I wouldn’t call “Sabin” merely a quickie. There is more depth to A. M. Hargrove’s story and characters, making “Sabin” much more enjoyable. That said, I still read in the course of a night. The alien aspect is strangely enough realistically incorporated in the story; it doesn’t seem alien (pun intended), it is just different enough to be …

Judy Blume

I don’t know Judy Blume! I write that with some incredibility in every keystroke, because Judy’s books have sold over 80 million copies in 30 some languages. That is truly amazing! Judy Blume was born in 1938 in Elizabeth, New Jersey and dreamed on a life where she wasn’t a dentist like her father nor a homemaker like her mother, but she never dreamed of becoming a writer. She always had a lively imagination, but it wasn’t until she had children of her own, that she began to put pen to paper. A plethora of children’s and young adult novels followed (and three adult novels). Judy has an amazing website, which I highly recommend. It is full of interesting information about Judy’s books, about writing, and about anticensorship. (Hurray!) Here is for example what Judy says about rewriting: [T]o me, rewriting is the most exciting part of the process. When I’m rewriting, I feel most creative. I’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle and now I get to put them together. I go through …

Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg, whose given name is Patricia Neal, is most famous for the novel and the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café”. Fannie was born in 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama, and Alabama plays an important in “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “I Still Dream about You”, which I recently read. Fannie Flagg started out as an actress and comedienne. A professional name was needed, as there already was an actress by the name of Patricia Neal. During the 70’s and 80’s Fannie began writing novels, even though she is dyslexic. I really haven’t been able to find that much more about Fannie Flagg. She’s connected to a lot of TV shows. She won an Academy Award for the script to “Fried Green Tomatoes”, but it seems that Fannie isn’t first in line when it comes to interviews. I did find one in Southern Living, where she talks about Birmingham, Alabama and the autobiographical traits in “I Still Dream About You”. (Photo: Andrew Southam, Southern Living)  

I Still Dream About You – Fannie Flagg (part 2)

(Some time ago I wrote part 1 of my reading experience about “I Still Dream About You” covering the novel to page 151 and then I put the novel down and took a breather.) I finished the novel! Finally! And I like it. “I Still Dream About You” isn’t one of the novels, that I haven’t been able to put down – I actually took a break from it at one point – but in a quirky, roundabout way, Fannie Flagg tells a wonderful tale about what we plan our lives, how our lives turn out, and most importantly, what happens then. Maggie Fortenberry was a small town golden child, crowned Miss Alabama back in the day, and celebrated as if she was Miss America. She never got the husband or family, she expected, and in her sixties, she is an aging real estate agent, living alone. However, Maggie isn’t alone in her life, and I believe this is the main theme in the novel. Her life is populated with her colleagues/friends, the woman who …

Christmas – a booklover’s holiday

Merry Christmas! What is Christmas if not a booklover’s holiday? First of all, December marks the season where you’re supposed to huddle up indoors with a cup of your favorite hot beverage in hand and books in your lap. It’s dark outside, cold, and possibly wet; but inside there are lighted candles, glittery decorations and of course enough sweets, cookies, and savory dishes to make the fitness and diet industries chuckle. And books! All the books you have been waiting to read, which brings me to my second argument: Days off! It is a holiday, where you have some days off and if you are lucky – like me – you have a few extra days in between so that you get two whole weeks off work. Sure, there’s your family to spend Christmas with, including your ever awkward cousin Dennis, but you can’t possibly be expected to spend every waking moment with them, so there is plenty of time to disappear into your favorite nook or cranny for a bit of reading. Thirdly, did …

Joyce Carol Oates

She was born in 1938 and she is the author of more than 50 novels and numerous short stories, essays, and whatnot. Joyce Carol Oates is astonishing. Award-winning, but that goes without saying, but something I find interesting is, that she has a distance from her work, saying that she has thrown entire novels out “cheerfully”. “Find interesting” is an understatement; my jaw dropped! Here I am at age 36, beaming because I’ve written 50.000 words, one after the other, but not so that the words are anything together – yet, and Joyce Carol Oates writes novels day in and day out and even writes some that she chooses not to publish. Amazing! Need I mention, that Joyce Carol Oates was 26 years old, when she published her first novel? In my own quiet mind, I find that Joyce Carol Oates is a literary unicorn. She is so close to a mythical being, and yet I know she exists. (I’ll save the unicorn existence to a later date, but one word: narwhal.) I tip my …