By JT Ellison
I love taking a real vacation – away from home, work and the responsibilities of a schedule. Vacation is the time of year I allow myself to be a total slob – drop clothes on the floor, don’t make the bed, stay up too late and sleep the morning away, tipple in the afternoons – all things I would never, ever do at home.
But the best part of vacation is unrestricted reading time. I managed a few books during my week away, and enjoyed all of them. I focused mainly on new to me authors, with an old faithful tucked in for surety. Here’s what I read, with attendant thoughts.
What I Read:
This was a phenomenal book. I knew the narrator was unreliable from the start, but the story swept me in immediately with an excellent opening line – “The moment I heard how McAra died, I should have walked away.” You know something dreadful is going to happen, and you can’t wait to find out what it is. This was my first Harris book, but it certainly won’t be my last.
My first foray into Gaiman’s world wasn’t a disappointment. I was so touched by the story, the setting, the lovely notion that there are lives to be lead whether you’re alive or dead. It was a morality tale, but more – an exploration into the mind of a creative genius. I can’t wait to move on to his adult work.
Stuart is an author with my house, a classic romantic suspense specialist. Though I wanted to slap the heroine for being rather too trusting and too committed to a bad course of action, the premise of the story – even serial killers have families – was intriguing, and the sex was rompalicious.
Full disclosure, Bob is a friend of mine. But his Baby Shark books are some of the finest on the market today. The latest installment was a true pleasure to read – I felt like I was right there in late 50’s Texas, a cannon strapped to my arm and a blade down my pant leg. Otis Millett was in his finest form ever, and the story crackled along at a breakneck pace. And Henry makes a welcome reappearance in this book too, lending his usual poignancy to Kristin’s life. I absolutely loved it, and I can’t wait for the next one. Bob, I hope you’re writing faster!
Silly, fun and an easy read, I had a good time while reading this. My own confession, I’m still reading it, which is more my problem than the author’s ability to keep my head in the story. A definite beach read.
This exposé into the word of professional Scrabble reads like an anagrammatic dictionary, full of unfamiliar words and quirky characters. But it’s rekindled my love of the game, and I promptly downloaded Scrabble for my iPhone and have been using the tips and tricks laid out in the book to further my own scores. I still suck, but at least I’m looking at the board in a whole new way. It also served to remind me that while I think I have an extensive vocabulary, I really don’t.
I saved the best for last. This was my favorite of all the books I read. Surprised me too. Jeff Abbott suggested I give this a read, and I enjoyed every minute. It’s in turns funny, enlightening and inspirational. I’ve documented my path to finding some sort of Zen in my daily life on this blog, and this book affirmed much of what I’ve been thinking. I’ve realized that many of my “methods” are firmly rooted in Buddhism, which surprised me. But I loved the idea of dedicating yourself to a project like Moore has, and the realization he makes: the more you search for something, the further away it gets. When you allow peace and happiness to find you, then you can achieve enlightenment. That’s true in all things, I think. Highly recommend this book for everyone, whether you’re on a journey of personal growth or just want a little more peace in your life.
What I’m Reading Right Now:
After a big jag like this, I often turn to familiar, comfort reads to help me get settled back into my routine. Seeing the New Moon trailer the other night sparked a reunion with my old friends Jacob, Edward and Bella. I’ve read this series twice before, but this time it feels different for me. I have more compassion with Jacob than I have in the past, feel his pain more keenly. Trying to choose between two men is difficult for anyone, but for the first time I felt myself lean a bit toward Team Jacob. I wonder how the movie will turn out, and if I’m simply responding to Taylor Lautner in the role of Jacob. Regardless, these books are the perfect segue back to my real world of writing.
What I’m Reading Next:
This weekend, I’m starting Dan Brown’s THE LOST SYMBOL. I can’t wait. It’s sitting next to me, taunting me. I enjoyed THE DAVINCI CODE, and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this as well. I’m not down on Dan Brown like so many others – hell, he’s done for adults what JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyers did for teenagers – got them reading. I will never fault an author who draws a huge audience. Brown strikes a chord in many people. I know he struck one in me when I first read THE DAVINCI CODE. So, love him or hate him, I choose to enjoy the ride and can’t wait to crack the covers. My grandfather was a Mason, and I hope to learn something about him, too.
The minute I finish THE LOST SYMBOL, I’ll move on to Diana Gabaldon’s long awaited AN ECHO IN THE BONE. Gabaldon’s books are a lifeline for me, a series of books that truly transcend description. We all have those books that just speak to us, the characters who climb into our brains and reside there. Gabaldon is an author who evokes such strong imagery and setting that I feel like I’m living the story as one of the unseen cast. I’ll admit, I’ve had a wicked crush on Jaime Fraser for a very, very long time.
And to cap off my week, I get to see Ms. Gabaldon here in Nashville this coming Thursday. She’s at Davis Kidd September 24, 7:00 p.m. Be there or be square!
So, my ‘Rati friends, how about you? Tell me the last book you read, the book you’re reading now, and the book you’re planning to read next. Ready? GO!
Wine of the Week: 2006 Chateau la Rose Tour Blanche Bordeaux