The Library Book by Susan Orlean

I have been telling absolutely everyone I know that they must read this book. Granted I hang out with a lot of librarians and bookworms like myself, but I loved this book. It is an eye opener in many ways.

In April of 1986 a fire started in the Central Library of Los Angeles and it took 7 hours for firefighters to put it out. The process of trying to save what was left, overwhelming. Searching for the arsonist was another impossible task on top of restoring and restocking an old historic building, the library itself.

We are taken through the history of the library system, and the changing role of the library in our communities, what is housed in one, and the job of librarians. The Library Book is full of quirky history of its guardians over the years and the changing wants and needs of its patrons.

If you love books as much as I do, you’ll be captivated by The Library Book. I certainly was.

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman

I didn’t know this was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick. I usually like her choices. But this one. Meh.

Erin, a documentary film maker is head over heels in love with Mark, an investment banker. But when he suddenly loses his job, the wedding plans are scaled back at his insistence. But he can still manage a trip to Bora Bora at the Four Seasons for a honeymoon. They go scuba diving and as the title says, they find something in the water.

All I can say is that these characters were spineless and weak and if Erin said one more time how much she loved Mark even after he forced her to do things his way like she didn’t have a brain of her own, I was going to barf.

The psychological manipulation in this book will keep you turning the page but by the time you’re half way through, you’ll know how it’s going to end. And for me that doesn’t make a good mystery.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I discovered this book while watching CBS Sunday Morning one lazy day. As a writer, I too have a thing for typewriters even though I don’t collect them like Tom Hanks does. But now I wish I could.

Uncommon Type is a collection of 17 short stories, all of which mention a typewriter. Some stories feature the almost forgotten business machine of the past more prominently than others. And I have to say the story I liked the best showcased several versions and ages of the beloved typewriter.

My takeaways from Uncommon Type are that Tom Hanks is as talented off the screen as on. The prose is spectacular. The human condition takes on many shapes and forms depending on the person who’s living it. But we best express ourselves through the written word laid down permanently by the letters we tap one by one on the keys of a old typewriter.

Diary of a Hippie by John Harbour

In case you were wondering, this is not a book about the flower children of the 1960’s and the Haight Ashbury scene. Well, maybe it is. Children born in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are now needing total hip replacements after years of use of the original ones. Diary of a Hippie is one man’s journey before and after his new hip was implanted.

I can relate! Being two months out from my second hip replacement at age 63, I wanted to see how my experience compared to others. Each of us goes through the process in our own individual way. And what the author gently reminded me, is that it takes a year for your body to completely heal and accept the new hip.

If you’re contemplating this surgery or need something to read while you’re resting after surgery, Diary of a Hippie is a quick and informative read that is sure to give you some tips and encouragement on your road to recovery.

Cleaning Out My Kindle

My husband and I decided to do some spring cleaning disguised as summer cleaning. I have some hardbound books on my shelves that I just can’t part with but found a couple that I was able to cut the cord with and donated to the local library. We call this lightening the load.

Since I read mainly on my Kindle now, I have a habit of stockpiling books there too. When a new and exciting title downloads the ones I always think I’ll get to are pushed further down on the list. My sister can only keep about three books on her Kindle. She says when we were younger and my parents were divorcing and selling our big house in the suburbs, our mother told her she could only take three books from the shelf to the new apartment. The choice was tough. I have no such recollection so any book that looks interesting gets purchased and stored on my device without any childhood angst.

So the first book to be archived was Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin. I know some people will be appalled by that but I’m just not a Jane Austen fan. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was next. I prefer the musical version. Third was The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes. I have no idea what this one is about but there were two copies, so one goes.

I stopped there. I can always retrieve Jane Austen on my Amazon account if I ever decide to dig in. But I couldn’t bare to part with the other 49 books. I’ll read them someday. Plus they don’t take up any room on the bookshelf.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Shaker Heights, Ohio is turned on its head when the nomadic Mia Warren and her daughter, Pearl arrive. They rent an apartment from the wealthy and well connected Richardson family. The mother daughter pair each wiggle their way into the Richardson’s daily life in different ways.

I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland not too far from Shaker Heights. I loved the references to places the characters hung out. But when a novel is full of mean, vindictive and generally unlikeable people, it loses its luster pretty quickly. For me at least, Little Fires Everywhere couldn’t live up to the hype.