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Book RoundupFebruary 18, 2009

I feel like I've been reading non-stop for a while, and I never get around to updating that little Amazon portal on the right or telling you my latest and greatest favorites.

So here are a few I've read recently that I'm still thinking about:

Still Life with Chickens, Catherine Goldhammer.

What a lovely, lovely book. A memoir about divorce and starting a single-mom life in which the author buys a small house, gets some chickens, and builds a new world for herself. Her writing is spare and elegant and true. Not since Michael Perry's Truck have I enjoyed a memoir so much. (Per his website, his new book will be out in April.... Yay!) (A reader recommended this, but I can't remember who, so thank you, whoever you are!)

Casting Spells, Barbara Bretton.

Oh, I loved this. It was -- get this -- a paranormal knitting romance. And I LOVED it. (I don't read paranormal/magic anything usually.) Great, engaging writing, fantastic characters (a non-magic (she thinks) yarn store owner living in town full of people with strange powers, and the cop who comes around investigating a murder). It was like a wonderful yarn-ey Brigadoon story, and I highly recommend it. (And while I was reading it, Barbara herself contacted me to see if I wanted to group blog at Romancing the Yarn. To be in her company in cyber-space? Hell, yes!) (Recommended by local cutie Cordelia -- thanks!)

Just Desserts, Barbara Bretton.

Unable to get enough with just Casting Spells, I moved on to the next Kindle-able one I could get by Barbara, partly to see if her love of knitting was what made Casting Spells sparkle. Nope. It's her love of romance, and words. She's awesome. This one was about a bakery owner whose famous rock-star father finds her -- the lawyer negotiating the "find" falls for the independent single mother, and no matter how strange the set-up sounds, it's a great tale.

Too Good To Be True, Kristan Higgins. 

You know what I love about Higgins? I could read her all day, every day. She writes those books that are so fun you can't wait to pick the book back up. You just know there's going to be a wacky hijink on the next page and it's going to be funny as hell but it's also going to move the conflict/love story right along. This one: Her sister's dating her ex-fiance, so to show people she's all right, she makes up a fake boyfriend, all the while falling for the ex-con next door.

Knitting the Threads of Time, Nora Murphy.

I was graciously given a review copy of this memoir. The author knits a sweater for her son, and writes about the crafting of it through the year, adding bits of fiber history along the way. I enjoyed the memoir parts more than the history, but that's because I'm a big loser and not that smart; I like creative non-fiction better than Real History. However, every knitter passionate about the history of our craft would like this very much.

Anything new you're loving? Hmmm?

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Comments

I love books too! Thanks for the recommendations! I've really been enjoying the Molly Murphy mystery series written by Rhys Bowen so I'm passing my suggestion on for you to read them. I read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" based on what you wrote about it and wanted to say Thanks! It was SO good! I love books with historical backstories like that one. I would've never known about the German occupation of the Channel Islands otherwise. Plus - the characters were wonderful!

I finished "Hannah's Dream" a couple of weeks ago and thought it was really lovely...Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

So I read Hillbilly Gothic b'c of you and damn that was awesome. so that for those recs above. I will get right on them.

I just finished Certain Girls by Jennifer Wiener and I loved it. It is her follow up to Good In Bed 10 yrs later in the story.

I also am reading alot of 1st person immigrant stories.. but then I've always been weird like that. If you want a rec or two just ask.

I haven't read it yet, but this one is on my list of books to get as soon as my Kindle2 arrives:
http://www.amazon.com/Hit-Farm-Learned-Stop-Worrying/dp/B001NCDC18/ref=ed_oe_k

I recommended the chicken book. Wasn't it wonderful? I'm so glad you liked it!

I'm so thrilled you loved "Casting Spells" as much as I did - I really hated to have that book end - and that doesn't happen often -- off to check the others you talk about -- btw are you on the Kindle 2 wait -- I am ;)

So it's not in the realm of knitting or even romance but I'm halfway through Beat The Reaper and I wanted to call in sick so I could stay home and finish it!

hey there! i just finished "the monsters of templeton" by lauren groff, which i loved. i'll be sure to check your recommendations out.

lately I've been reading Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Anything by her. I had read The Mistress of Spices some time ago and loved it. A bit magical and altogether wonderful. Now I'm onto Sister of My Heart. Her website has them all listed and the first chapters of her two newest. www.chitradivakaruni.com. Also, on my blog I've got some recently read stuff. I love when you post about books, chica! I always love what you find.

I just read "The Flying Troutmans" by Miriam Toews. Wonderful fiction.

Oo! Still Life With Chickens sounds right up my alley! I might check out some of the others, too. And I think I would like the Murphy book, as would my mother-in-law (the knitter, spinner). Thank you!

thanks for the bood recommendations. I'm always looking for a good book to read in our never ending winter. Today is 21 degrees and the wind is howling, great day to stay home

Oh my gosh, I'm reading the absolute best book (on my Kindle, which I purchased after your rave reviews). It's "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova. It's beautifully written, incredibly smart and painfully tragic- tragic in that Alice is a 50 year old, Harvard professor, mother of three grown children who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. I'm a few chapters in, and I'm riveted. I'm already dreading finishing the book- it's that good.

I am apparently behind the times but recently discovered Anita Shreve. LOVE her books.

I am in the middle of 'Knitting the Threads of Time' and loving it. What makes it even better for me is that Borealis is my LYS. It is a very special place with a very special people.

OK, I put Casting Spells on hold at the library based on your suggestion! Of course, I'm due to receive my Kindle in March and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! And I got that (as a bday present) based on your (and others') good reviews--yay!

I agree with on the previous commenters--Monsters of Templeton was very good--I was sad to see it end.

I'm currently reading the books of Walter Moers--he's a German writer and artist. His books are well-writtne, very funny and full of fantastical creatures in fantastical lands. That sounds more fantasy-ish than they come across--they are not sci-fi or fantasy in the usual sense. Not sure if you would like them--but I highly recommend The City of Dreaming Books. Very entertaining.

Thank you for recommending Casting Spells. I knew I'd read the description of it somewhere, and couldn't remember what it was called or who wrote it. Adding it to my wishlist for safe keeping.

The only romance novels I can recommend right now are The Bride by Julie Garwood and Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.

The dragonfly book is part of a set that is loaded with scottish and medical history and stones that whisk a main character through time. Short of the stones, there's not much more magic about it, which I can appreciate. I read one romance with magic in it that was way too overdone--or underdone...I'm still not sure which.

Cool; I added to my list of to-read books on goodreads!

I am currently reading (wading through) Les Miserables in the original French. It takes me 10 minutes to read maybe 3 sentences. Should finish by the time I'm 60.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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