Bedtime Reading

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I have had some pretty interesting books on my bedside table these past few months and one dud.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin does not belong in the dud category for me, though.
I loved everything about this book.
The prose, the characters, the setting, the loneliness, the love, the heartaches, the desire to survive, the subconscious need to change.

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Into The Water by Paula Hawkins was a dud for me.
I didn’t get too far into this book because I hated the main characters being presented.
I didn’t like what they said.  I didn’t like how they introduced themselves to me, the reader.  In fact, I hated them.
So, I stopped not even halfway through.
I had had high hopes for this since I really liked Girl On A Train.

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book.  It seemed a bit too fluffy at first, but I was hooked by the idea of this being set in a rural French town.  It did not disappoint.  The country setting, the characters were just about the right age…not in their twenties and too whiny, but also not too old and in the “I give up-this is all I’m ever going to be” stage.  There was love and redemption and the realization that what you think you wanted all of these years isn’t what you really needed.  I loved this.

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My husband read this book before I did.
It was on his night stand for a bit and then it wandered over to my side of the bed.
It involves a witch in a modern-day town.  She shows up whenever she likes, wherever she likes, but can’t speak or see.  And the townspeople drive themselves a bit batty trying to keep an eye on her.  There’s a great catch at the end of this story.  It’s a bit creepy, but I feel worth the read if you like the supernatural and what is really at the heart of people’s fears.

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This cover caught my eye at the library.
Sometimes all it takes is for me to be intrigued by a book cover and I’m in.
This story is by the author of the very famous Wicked, that has become a hit Broadway show.
One of the things that drew me into this story was the idea of the Baba Yaga.  She’s a witch who rides around in a house with chicken legs to support it.  She’s from Slavic folklore.  And the main characters (or heroes, you could say) are bright-minded children. It was a quick read, meant for young adult readers, and I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure.

My friend Emily told me about this author.  I’m, once again, late to the game with this novelist.  This series has been around for quite a while and I think book 3 is coming out soon.  It’s a big, weighty book…almost 1000 pages!  So you really must be careful when reading in bed.  If you get too sleepy and this monster falls forward onto your face, you’re going to get a hard, fast wakeup!
It’s story centers around a young monk in Europe in the 1100’s.  Fascinating story lines unfold about relationships through the decades.  A cathedral MUST be built and the people associated with the town that the cathedral is being built endure too many hardships.  So many that you discover, since this is historical fiction, that our ancestors of days LONG gone by were tough folks.  I can’t wait to read part 2 of this story in the Kingsbridge Series.

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I can NEVER pass up a Philippa Gregory book.  I was at the library getting the kids some books that they said they wanted and I saw this in the New Arrivals.  I quickly snatched it up and devoured it.  Philippa says that this is the last of the Tudor novels she’ll be writing…NOOOOO!  This story revolves around Queen Elizabeth, Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn’s daughter, and her unnerving quest to make herself as ruthless and heartless as her father was.  Because, by God, she was the Queen and no one else could overtake her.  So she made life utterly hell for all of her cousins, all whom had an equal right to the throne and the crown that she had acquired.  It’s sad and it’s powerful and it’s strong.

Right now I’m reading Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire.
It’s the story of the Nutcracker and how he came to be.  The Nutcracker that we all know from the ballet by Tchaikovsky.  It has taken a bit for me to really get into it.  It wasn’t until halfway through the first section that I started to enjoy it.  There’s a lot of “busy” wording in it.  We got our free copy of this book when the author was in our town recently.  He spoke at the University where Man-Farmer works and so we went to the event.  Gregory Maguire was a great lecturer…telling us stories about his childhood, sharing photos of his family with us, and explaining what inspires him to write books about characters from childhood stories.  Such as the Wicked Witch of the West and Alice from Wonderland.  He answered questions from the audience (even taking a question from us!) and when he left to go back into the front of the building to sign his books he stated “If there are any children in the audience, they will get their books signed first!”  We had taken our own copy of Wicked, as Zoe had just finished reading it (Chad and I had read it some years back), for him to sign.  Our kids were second and third in line, there were only about 5 kids in attendance.  He signed the Wicked book to Zoe and signed his new book, Hiddensee, to Gigi.  And very graciously took this photo with them.  He was a super great guy.  His advice to Zoe, who is an aspiring writer herself, was to write a bit everyday.  And to read a bit everyday.

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