Some Good Summer Reading

The first Monday of August has suddenly arrived, so it’s time for me to tell you about the books I read in July. I read a variety of books, including fiction and nonfiction.

Under the Skin, by Vicki Lane

Under The Skin
Under the Skin, by Vicki Lane

I purchased this book a couple of years ago after reading Vicki Lane’s first four books in her Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries. If you follow my blog, you know I get my books almost exclusively from the public library. Library books keep piling up and causing me to postpone reading the books I own. I bought the paperback edition of Under the Skin at a wonderful independent bookstore in Asheville, NC. I dare you to go into Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe and leave without buying at least one book. It’s a great bookstore, but I digress.

When July came, I decided I was going to read Under the Skin, even if it meant returning a library book unread. In this book, Elizabeth Goodweather is visited by her sister who convinces her to attend séances at a nearby spa. The sister is hoping to make contact with her deceased husband. All sorts of problems pop up as it becomes clear that the sister is being stalked.

Chapters more or less alternate between this present-day tale and a story about two sisters at the same historic spa in the mountains of North Carolina in the 1880s. The present-day story held my interest more than the 19th century tale, but that’s just my personal observation.

You can read all about Vicki Lane’s books on her website, http://www.vickilanemysteries.com/ and you can follow her on https://www.goodreads.com/.

 My Beautiful Broken Shell, by Carol Hamblet Adams

My Beautiful Broken Shell
My Beautiful Broken Shell: Words of Hope to Refresh the Soul, by Carol Hamblet Adams

My Beautiful Broken Shell was recommended to me by my librarian sister. It is a small book about how most seashells get tossed about and broken, but so do we humans. The author encourages us to embrace our brokenness.

I’m broken in many ways and sometimes I’m more than a little rough around the edges.

Educated:  A Memoir, by Tara Westover

Educated
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover

This is an entertaining memoir of a woman who was raised by strict Mormon parents in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. Her father is bipolar, and Ms. Westover does an excellent job of getting across to the reader just how unnerving being the child of a person with that malady can be. Tara’s mother reluctantly becomes a midwife at her husband’s insistence. The occupation gradually “grows on her” and she seems to like it.

I don’t want to give away too much of this true story. Suffice it to say that Tara goes from being “no-schooled” at home to attain amazing things in education.

Words We Carry:  Essays of Obsession and Self-Esteem, by D.G. Kaye

Words We Carry
Words We Carry: Essays of Obsession and Self-Esteem, by D.G. Kaye

I referred to this little book in my July 16, 2018 blog post, Words We Carry and White Privilege. That post probably left you with an overall good impression of the book. Although I liked the premise of the book, the latter part of the book came across to me as bordering on being Pollyanna while also being conflicting. The author writes about the importance of being your authentic self while recommending that you just put on some make up and act like everything is just fine.

Her parting message struck me as being akin put a smile on your face and a have positive outlook. That takes an enormous amount of energy for people with a chronic physical illness or depression.

Mysterious Tales of Coastal North Carolina, by Sherman Carmichael

Mysterious Tales of Coastal North Carolina
Mysterious Tales of Coastal North Carolina, by Sherman Carmichael

This is a newly-published book from The History Press. I found it in the New Books Section at the public library.

The 170-page book is a collection of ghost stories from the 200-mile coast of the state along with a number of true accounts of ships being torpedoed and sunk by German U-boats during World War II.

I was familiar with a few of the ghost stories but most were new to me. The author did a good job of including just enough historical background about most of the places and stories. Each of the stories is one to three pages, making this a book that’s easy to pick up when you only have a few minutes to read.

I think I’ll purchase a copy to take along with me on my next trip to the coast.

A Bigger Table:  Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community, by John Pavlovitz

A Bigger Table
A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community, by John Pavlovitz

Whether or not you agree with John Pavlovitz’s politics or his ideas for how to make church more responsive and Christ-like, I think you’ll find that his writing makes you think outside the box.

That said, Mr. Pavlovitz says a lot of things in his book, A Bigger Table:  Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community, that I needed to hear and ponder. Much of what Mr. Pavlovitz said in this book brought to mind the recent capital campaign at Rocky River Presbyterian Church. That campaign was called “Growing God’s Table.”

We already had a sanctuary. We already had a building housing Sunday School rooms, offices, and an inadequate fellowship hall. What we needed was an expansion of our building that would incorporate more classrooms, an elevator to serve the old building as well as the expansion, and most of all — a much larger fellowship hall.

The new fellowship hall has made it possible for us to have monthly community free meals and other activities to which the public is invited. We’re growing God’s table at Rocky River Presbyterian Church, but we still have a long way to go. We are a work in progress. Mr. Pavlovitz’s book opened my eyes to even more possibilities.

Mr. Pavlovitz calls out Christians who are so busy “doing church” activities that they sometimes forget that forming relationships with people is the most important thing we should be doing. Sometimes we treat one another badly and sometimes we fail to treat strangers with the love and compassion demonstrated by Jesus Christ. We all need to make the table bigger. God’s table is big enough for everyone.

I purchased this ebook several months ago after following the author’s blog for quite some time. His blog, Stuff That Needs To Be Said (https://johnpavlovitz.com/,) is always thought-provoking.

Since my last blog post

I spent some time with long-time friends who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in Raleigh, NC. It was good to get away for several days, make some new friends, and reconnect with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m trying to finish reading several books I started in July. You’ll find out in my September 3 blog post how that went.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

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

Have you read any good books lately?

Janet

Invitation to Malaprop’s Bookstore

Tonight I received an e-mail from Malaprop’s Bookstore — a wonderful independent bookstore — to drop by the next time I’m in Asheville to autograph some of my books. I hope to do that in December.

Today I had copies of my writing pamphlet printed to send to the president of the North Carolina Society of Historians for inclusion in the packets for the people attending this year’s awards luncheon. I was pleased with what I was able to create using Microsoft Excel for the first time. If I can do it, anyone can do it!

I visited Books-a-Million at Concord Mills Mall today and was disappointed that The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina was not on the Arcadia Publishing shelf in the “Regional Books” section of the store. That needs to be rectified tomorrow.

Where to purchase my book

The sales and marketing people at Arcadia Publishing have been hard at work getting my book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina on store shelves in the mountains. The following locations already have my book for sale:

Smoky Mountain Host Visitors Center in Franklin
Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville
Books Unlimited in Franklin
The Guilded Lily by Patra in Blowing Rock
Village Pharmacy in Blowing Rock
University Bookstore at Appalachian State University in Boone
Boone Drug locations on King Street and New Market in Boone
Lake Junaluska Assembly at Lake Junaluska
Malaprops Books and Cafe in Asheville
Walgreens on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville
Walgreens on South Tunnel Road in Asheville
Asheville Chamber of Commerce
Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar in Asheville
Christa’s Country Corner in Newland
Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock
Town Hardware and General Store in Black Mountain

I am thrilled to know that my book is being sold at all these locations and will soon also be available at Second Look Books in Harrisburg.

I’m writing lots of thank you letters today.

Where you can purchase my book

The sales and marketing people at Arcadia Publishing have been hard at work getting my book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, on store shelves. The book is available at the following locations in the North Carolina mountains:

Smoky Mountain Host Visitors Center in Franklin

Books Unlimited in Franklin

Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville

The Gilded Lily by Patra in Blowing Rock

Village Pharmacy in Blowing Rock

University Bookstore at Appalachian State University in Boone

Boone Drug – King Street and New Market in Boone

Lake Junaluska Assembly at Lake Junaluska

Walgreens on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville

Walgreens on S. Tunnel Road in Asheville

Malaprop’s Books and Cafe in Asheville

Asheville Chamber of Commerce

Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar in Asheville

Christa’s Country Corner in Newland

Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock

Town Hardware and General Store in Black Mountain

I am thrilled to know my book is being sold at all those locations in the North Carolina mountains! Soon it will be available at Second Look Books in Harrisburg, NC.

My book gets placed in bookstores!

My book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, started appearing on bookstore shelves in the mountains today! Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville welcomed the book this morning, as well as several Walgreens in Asheville. Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville put the book on their shelves today, too.

I’m waiting to hear how the book was received at the bookstore at Lake Junaluska this afternoon.