Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Quote of the Week

'But of course one does not need to have committed murder to write about it, any more than one needs a time machine to write about the Battle of Agincourt. One simply requires an acquaintance with the dark depths of the human soul, along with the inclination to explore them to their very end.'
   –Kate Morton in The Lake House

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Quote of the Week

A maze of books beckoned at me from the back of the shop. I hid in the sewers of Paris on the eve of the revolution and met a woman in snowy, frigid Siberia. I ventured into the world of heroes and gods and visited a lone island where a dethroned prince was imprisoned. Books were cities I'd never visited, filled with pillars of great thoughts and streets of phrases, mazes of abstruse sentence structures and alleys of complicated syllables. They were stores that displayed a wide range of things, punctuation twinkling like the crest of a venerable family, sentences breathing peacefully, words whispering.
   –J.M. Lee in The Investigation (translated by Chi-Young Kim)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Project Fatherhood - Jorja Leap

My review of Jorja Leap's inspiring story, Project Fatherhood, first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am posting it today with their permission. Hope you enjoy!

First line: "My relationship with Watts began with a riot."

Gang expert and policy advisor Jorja Leap narrates the touching story of former gang members in Watts, Los Angeles who come together to learn how to be fathers and end up changing their community. Leap, a petite woman of Greek descent, is recruited to the group--because of her master social worker status--by its founder Mike Cummings, himself a former gang leader and now a community activist. Often told by the members that she doesn't understand because she's "not from the ghetto," (note: this phrase appears repeatedly throughout the book, one example of it is p.174) Project Fatherhood is evidence that while she may not fully comprehend their experiences, she loves these men and takes enormous pride in their accomplishments.

At first the African-American and Latino men reluctantly attend Project Fatherhood meetings with the enticement of meals and gift cards. They share their stories and frustrations, discuss prescribed topics and begin to recruit others. The trust they build with one another enables them to reject the Black Muslim's attempt to infiltrate the program, participate in community activism, even feel confident bringing their children so everyone can help them parent when they're overwhelmed by frustration. Finally in an inspiring turn of events, the fathers decide to reach out and mentor the boys of their neighborhood. The students become the teachers.

For her part, Leap discovers the men are correct; there is a lot she didn't grasp. But with their help she learns, and Project Fatherhood is the primer for all who weren't lucky enough to receive the education first hand. Funny, hopeful, heart-warming and eye-opening, Project Fatherhood has life-changing lessons for every reader.

Project Fatherhood is available in hardcover from Beacon Press (9780807014530) and as an unabridged audio (9781494565398), narrated by Randye Kaye, from Tantor Audio.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Quote of the Week

'Ask me whatever you like, but understand this case is colder than a cast-iron commode on the shady side of an iceberg.'
     –The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Half Way Point

Wow! How is 2015 already half over? I had to double check myself when I wrote that 7 in the month's place of my date.

How's reading going for you this year? Standout favorites?

There is still plenty more to come before we bid this year adieu, but here's a look at my reading so far:

  • I've read 61 books by 61 different authors (no multiple reads of an author as of yet)
  • 46 by authors who are new to me
  • 18 are debuts
  • 47 fiction vs. 14 non-fiction
  • 42 print books vs. 19 audiobooks
  • 38 books written by men vs. 24 books written by women (the overlap is one book written by a male/female team)

And from that list, my favorite crime novels are:

5. The Devil's Game (Sean Chercover)
4. Night Life (David C. Taylor)
3. Brush Back (Sara Paretsky)
2. Hush, Hush (Laura Lippman)
1. Dry Bones (Craig Johnson)

My favorite audiobooks:

3. Gun Street Girl (Adrian McKinty)
2. Night Life (David C. Taylor)
1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Gabrielle Zevin)

My overall favorite reads:

5. Hush, Hush (Laura Lippman)
4. A Force for Good (Daniel Goleman)
3. Dry Bones (Craig Johnson)
2. Trigger Warnings (Neil Gaiman)
1. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry (Fredrik Backman)

So your turn, share in the comments what's high on your list of reads so far this year.

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