Quickie Review of One Foot in Eden

I read Ron Rash’s first novel One Foot in Eden with or my Skype book club a couple of weeks ago. As a group we loved it.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

One Foot in Eden

 

Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff’s deputy, One Foot in Eden signals the bellwether arrival of one the most mature and distinctive voices in southern literature.

The characters were fleshed out and even the villain of the piece, Holland, is drawn sympathetically. But, I think we all agree, it’s hard to tell who is the villain in this tale. All of the characters are drawn in shades of gray. They are all people who suffer tragedies in their lives and respond to those tragedies in ways that are real.

We all read the book just before our meeting and had not, really, had a chance to digest the story. We spent a lot of time working through our feelings about Holland and Amy. And how we felt about the actions of the Sheriff and of Billy. We spent less time talking about Amy and Billy’s son,Isaac, and I’m not sure why. He had to “clean up” Amy and Billy’s mess before he became an adult, and his heartbreak is compelling.

And we spent a lot of time discussing the effect of modernization had on Appalachia. The loss of culture in many ways outweighs the benefits. I spent a lot of time this week thinking about how those families were displaced, moved to small towns to work in textile mills, and now those mills are gone. It is heartbreaking.  In fact, I have been thinking about this book a lot over the last two weeks. It is haunting.

If you are a fan of Southern Gothic literature, be sure to put this one on your list. My Skype book club heartily recommends it.

Do you like Southern Gothic fiction? Would you read this novel? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday, August 9th. #2

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday. It’s hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Do visit this fun blog and read all the other lists.This week is Top Ten Tuesday REWIND — go back and do a topic you missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit. I’m revisiting a recent Top Ten Tuesday:  Ten Books Set Outside The US. My list is a bit Great Britain heavy. And I picked  books that I’ve read recently (Last 5 years-ish).

Top Ten Books Set Outside The US:

The Harry Potter Series (Great Britain) I just listed the series since alone it would take up the entire list.

3

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Great Britain)

In a Dark, Dark Wood

In the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator) (Spain)

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,  #1)

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (The Balkans)

The Tiger's Wife

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte (Prague)

City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic, #1)

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim (Italy)

The Enchanted April

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (Great Britain)

Tipping the Velvet

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (France)

The Painted Girls

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Great Britain)

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)

Crazy Rich Asians & China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (China/Hong Kong) I listed both of these because both are crazy fun reads.

Crazy Rich Asians China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2)

 

What are some of your favorite books set outside of the USA? Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you do for Top Ten Tuesday this week? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Review of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling)

  • Author: Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling, Robert Glenister (Narrator)
  • Genre: Mystery/Crime
  • Version: Audiobook (17 hours, 17 minutes)
  • Publisher: June 19th 2014 by Hatchette Audio
  • Source: Library
  • Read: July 18-27th.
  • 4 stars

From Goodreads:

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo’s Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

What a fun read! I think after reading this second book of J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith’s detective series that I really just like the way this women tells a story. Wizards or detectives, I’m all in.  All of the characters, both major and minor, are well fleshed out and interesting, the plot moves and doesn’t dawdle, and I was completely surprised to find out who the killer is at the end. The subplot that focuses on Corm and Robin’s relationship is well done, too. And I really think that this second book in her Cormoran Strike series would have given her cover away if her pen name hadn’t been leaked earlier. This novel focuses on a world J.K. Rowling knows well: publishing. The references to so many stories about literary figures, stereotypes of writers, and even famous feuds make this a fun, and for me, a delicious read. And it’s sort of hilarious the way Rowling paints male literary writers, too.

I also love the growing friendship between Cormoran and his assistant Robin. The reliance they have on each other is sweet. And his respect for her is also refreshing. It’s not surprising that J.K. Rowling writes such lovely relationships (see all the Harry Potter books), but in the more hard boiled mystery novel it’s certainly refreshing to have that kind of relationship between a man and a woman.

I listened to this book as a part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, Task 9. Listen to an audiobook that was won an Audie Award. This won the Audie Award for Mystery 2015 and I can understand why. Robert Glenister is the narrator and he does a wonderful job. And, as an American, I loved hearing all of the different English accents. As the week I listened went on, I found myself using some of my favorite British expressions and pronunciations (well, as close as I could get) around the house. And, yes, most of it was swearing.

Overall, I enjoyed the bloody hell out of this book (see what I did there?), and I will encourage you to read this book and the entire series as well. Don’t be afraid to read it because it isn’t Harry Potter, and think you can only read J.K. Rowling if she is writing HP novels. J.K. Rowling writes a damn good mystery novel and, if you love mysteries, you will enjoy the Cormoran Strike stories too.

 

 

 

The Friday 56, #8

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here’s my contribution:

From:

This novel is from my July book haul. I picked this up for .50 cents at a library book sale. I not sure I’ll get to it in August, but I may move it up the pile based on page 56!  What do you think? Have you read this book? If you haven’t would you based on the selection? Let me know in the comments!

August Plans

After the horror of July, I’m determined to get back on the wagon. I’m behind on Book Riot Reader Harder 2016 challenge and need to get more tasks completed.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)  Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)

 Here’s a list of books I want to read and finish this month:

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling, Robert Glenister (Narrator) [ebook/audio book]

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne. {Read Harder 2016 Challenge}

One Foot in Eden  by Ron Rash {Skype Book Club}

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab (Pseudonym), Victoria Schwab [eBook]

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert, et. al. {Read Harder 2016 Challenge}

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn {Read Harder 2016 Challenge}

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

S.by J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst

What books are you planning on reading in August? Have you read any on my list? What do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments. Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

July 2016 Wrap Up

July was not a good reading or writing month for me. I read only two books in the entire month. Two! And this month I fell off the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks wagon and I “acquired”a number of of books. Book boxes arrived on my doorstep along with settlements from Amazon and book sales at small town libraries. The universe wanted me to get books, so it’s totally not my fault. Plus I did not post to my blog  as much as I had planned in June. Tomorrow I will list my writing and reading plans for August. In the mean time,  here is a wrap up of July!

What I read:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (paperback)

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (audio book)

Total Pages read: A whopping 807.

New Arrivals in July: 

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Roses and Rot by Kat Howard (eBook)

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (The Taliban Shuffle MTI): Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker

Herland (The Herland Trilogy #2) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert

Persuasion by Jane Austen

One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Quarterly Lit Box:

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Eight Hundred Grapes: A Novel by Laura Dave

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger

Library Books:

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (audio book)

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (audio book/eBook)

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab (EBook)

July on my Blog:

June 2016 Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday, #1

Time Travel Novels: My Top Ten

Review of In a Dark, Dark Wood

The Friday 56,#6

The Friday 56, #7

Around the Blogsphere:

Just a few links to posts of bloggers I follow that I particularly liked in the past weeks.

Sally Allen wrote a lovely piece about her struggle reading in unsettled times. Click Here.

And here’s a link to a post at Taking on a World of Words discussing her book clubs reaction to The Invention of Wings. Click here.

This one is from Read Diverse Books and discusses lessons learned in the first few months book blogging. As a newbie to this world I appreciate any help I can get. click here.

Across the internet

These are links to articles I’ve read online and want to share.

Here is a link to a list of 10 Habits of Book Lovers that Non-Readers Don’t Understand. I’m not sure this is true, but it’s always nice to see that I’m not alone in my “odd” behaviors. Click here.

I don’t often think of MTV as a platform for articles, but I ran across this one by Brian Phillips earlier this month and fell in love with it. It’s titled Lost Highway: Aliens, Archeology, and the Atomic Bomb-A Road Trip through the Ruins of the American West.  It’s beautifully written and intersects with some of my favorite urban legends and modern mythologies. One day I’ll write about my own visit to Area 51! Warning, it’s a long article, but well worth the read.   Click here.

Have you fallen off the wagon? Have you read any of the books, blog posts, and articles that I’ve listed? If so, what do you think of them? Make sure to let me know in the links below. Cheers, and happy reading in August.

 

 

 

The Friday 56, #7

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here’s my contribution:

545981But nothing is solid and permanent. Our lives are raised on the shakiest foundations. You don’t need to read history books to know that. You only have to know the history of your own life.

One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash

 

 

Synopsis of One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash from Goodreads:

Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff’s deputy, One Foot in Eden signals the bellwether arrival of one the most mature and distinctive voices in southern literature.

I bought this to read for my Skype Book Club. We meet over Skype in the summer and drink wine while chatting about the books and anything else that strikes our fancy. It’s such a good way to see and visit with my faraway friends. Brigitte, Daniela, and Dayle, we need a name for this book club. Have we decided on one yet?

What do you think about Skype book clubs? Would you join one? Have any of you read Ron Rash? Would you read this book based on the excerpt I shared? Let me know what you think in the comments below.