Good Books Read in November 2018

I took an unexpected respite from my blog last week, but I’m back today to tell you about the three books I read in November. I look forward to my first blog post each month because it gives me a chance to review my reading during the previous month. I hope you enjoy those blog posts, too.

Before the Storm, by Diane Chamberlain

Before the Storm, by Diane Chamberlain

As a rule, I prefer stories told in chronological order. Once in a while there was a chapter in Before the Storm set in 1991 to give backstory. Otherwise, I liked the book. The main character, Andy, is a teenage boy with special needs. He attends a youth activity at his church one night when an arsonist sets fire to the sanctuary. Three people died in the fire, but Andy led many others to safety.

Andy is proclaimed a hero, but the police and community are eager to find the perpetrator. One thing leads to another and Andy is charged with the crime. Did Andy set the fire? Did Andy have anything to do with the fire? How will Andy prove he is innocent when all evidence points straight to him?

When I got to the last 100 or so pages, I couldn’t put it down. I did not see the surprise ending coming!

This is the fourth novel by Diane Chamberlain that I’ve read. If you are interested in reading what I had to say about The Silent Sister and The Stolen Marriage, please look at these two blog posts of mine from 2017:  https://janetswritingblog.com/2017/07/17/reading-south-africa-and-south-carolina-novels/  and https://janetswritingblog.com/2017/10/02/some-great-september-reads/. I’ve also read Pretending to Dance, by Ms. Chamberlain.

The White Darkness, by David Grann

The White Darkness, by David Grann

Last August I read Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann. You can read what I had to say about it in my September 4, 2018 blogpost, https://janetswritingblog.com/2017/09/04/holocaust-survivors-and-osage-murders/. Recently, when I saw an ad for the new movie, “The Old Man and the Gun,” I was curious about its backstory. I discovered that the movie is based on a book by the same name that was written by David Grann. It wasn’t available at the library, so I checked to see what else he has written. The White Darkness was on that list, so I checked it out.

 The White Darknessis the remarkable story of Henry Worsley’s obsession with the Antarctic. He idolized Ernest Shackleton, who was a pioneer in polar exploration in the1800s. Shackleton aspired to be the first person to reach the South Pole. He also wanted to be the first person to walk across Antarctica. He was unsuccessful in those attempts, but his journeys inspired Henry Worsley to try to do the same.

This nonfiction book is the story of Henry Worsley’s two treks to Antarctica – one in 2008 and the second in 2015.In 2008 he went with two descendants of Shackleton’s crew members, but in 2015he went alone.

This 150-page book is filled with photographs of Antarctica. I’ve never studied the geography of the Antarctic,so in reading Henry Worsley’s story I also learned about the continent’s plateaus, ice shelves, and towering mountain ranges.

The Shadows We Hide, by Allen Eskens

The Shadows We Hide, by Allen Eskens

I am a huge fan of Allen Eskens’ novels, and this one did not disappoint. As I waited to rise to the top of the waitlist for it at the public library, I kept thinking, What if this book isn’t as good as his first four books?

Mr. Eskens’ first novel, The Life We Bury, featured a young man with autism. His older brother, Joe, rescues him from a physically-abusive situation involving their mother and her live-in boyfriend. The Shadows We Hide is a sequel to that2014 book. Joe and his girlfriend are still caring for the autistic brother when Joe’s father, whom he’s never met, dies under suspicious circumstances.

In The Shadows We Hide, Joe t. ravels several hours to the town in Minnesota where his father died. Although he’d never met the man, he needs to find out what he can about him. Joe soon finds himself the subject of a murder investigation. One thing leads to another until Joe is the target of a killer.

Woven throughout the book is a continuation of the estrangement between Joe and his mother which happened in The Life We Bury. Always in Joe’s heart is what is best for his autistic brother. It is not necessary for you to read The Life We Bury before reading The Shadows We Hide, but you might have a richer reading experience if you do.

Finishing an Allen Eskens novel is bittersweet for me. I can’t wait to see how the story ends, but then I know I’ll probably have to wait a year until his next book is published. I’ve read each of his novels as soon as they were published. Needless to say, I’m a fan of his writing.

Since my last blog post

November was extremely busy.  Well, busy for someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. December promises to be even more hectic. I might explain what I mean by that later this month.

Until my next blog

I look forward to reading more good books and starting some Christmas baking. I hope you have a good book to read.I’m reading Look Alive Twenty-Five, by Janet Evanovich. I needed something light to read before I start reading Diane Chamberlain’s latest release, Dream Daughter. As usual, I can’t keep up with all the books I want to read.

If you are a writer, I hope you make time for your craft this week. I need to look in the mirror and say that to myself!

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog. I appreciate it! I welcome your comments.

Let’s continue the conversation.

Have you read any good books lately? If you’ve read any of the books I mentioned today, I’d like to know what you thought of them.

Janet

11 thoughts on “Good Books Read in November 2018

  1. Thank you Janet–and hello. I’ve had a long bout of the flu after having gotten my annual flu shot, but am back at work. I think I will tell my wife about your great blog because she reads contemporary books for book clubs and general pleasure-edification–etc., while I read classics, as you know.

    I love Christmas time and look forward to the joy and music. I look forward to your posts about it.

    I hope your energy increases so you are fit enough to write more because that is important to you. Sometimes I wonder what a life without obsessive writing and reading would be like. How normal is it like my wife (a writing teacher and editor) to lie side by side it in bed talking about spelling, usage, and grammar?

    Best, David

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’d enjoy the book, Beverley. I learned some things about the geography of the continent. I heard on National Public Radio that scientists have determined that Antartica is actually made up of three ancient continents! Thanks for your comment.

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  3. I’m so sorry you’ve had the flu, David. The flu shot used to always make me sick, so I opted not to get it for many years. My primary care physician can be very persuasive, though, and he convinced me three years ago that I should take it. Last year it resulted in my having a frozen shoulder for months, but I decided to take it again this year. So far, so good.

    Your wife being a former writing teacher and editor, she might cringe when she reads my blog posts. If she can stand to read my posts, I would welcome her as a reader. My mother was a high school English and French teacher, so any mistakes I make today are in spite of her. My sister and I often comment that if our mother were alive today she wouldn’t be able to stand to watch TV due to all the grammatical errors people make.

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