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Mostly books but a few other leisurely activities

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    Twelve pages from the end of Rules of Civility, Amor Towels, in the voice of Tinker Grey, describes Manhattan as “so improbable, so wonderful, so obviously full of promise – that you wanted to approach it for the rest of your life without ever quite arriving.“ This is precisely how I felt while reading Towels’ 2011 debut novel. In fact, after my first sitting, I took to Twitter to try and describe how I already felt: This will likely be the best book I read in 2017.  I adored A Gentleman in Moscow, and people ...

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    My reading style has changed this year. Not so much what I read, but how I read. I posted a few weeks ago about some of the podcasts that I’ve fallen for and mentioned that listening to podcasts has severely cut into the time I used to spend listening to audio books. A quick glance to compare this year’s reading list to last year’s reading list and the change is obvious. I’ve pondered this diversion, felt a tinge of guilt about it, and pondered it more. Where I’ve landed is that ...

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  • 10/13/17--11:55: Book Review :: A Little Life
  • Rare is it that I give a book five stars but readily say, this book isn’t for everyone. But I’m saying that with A Little Life. I loved it. Loved it so much. And typically five stars from me means everyone should read it. Not this one. A Little Life is the story of four men who meet in college and the friendship that grows among them that carries through the next three decades. As the narrative unfolds, the reader understands that Jude, the central figure, is a damaged soul, having ...

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    ‘Tis the season for everyone’s “best books” list. Here’s a round-up of the more popular (and maybe some lesser known) lists. If I’ve missed one, leave it in the comments, and I’ll add it. Disclaimer: When a source creates multiple lists, I will always default to fiction / literary fiction for these lists. Amazon Barnes and Noble Bloomberg Bookriot Elle goodreads The Guardian GQ Harper’s Bazzar Huffington Post Indigo Kirkus NPR The New York Times Washington Post Popsugar Publishers Weekly Time Town and Country Vulture Did I miss a list? Let me know if the comments! ⇓

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  • 01/02/18--16:22: Book Review :: Best of 2017
  • I realize this post is two days late, but since I’m still seeing some residual “Best of 2017” on TV, I decided I’d go ahead with it. Plus, since I’ve already reviewed all my favorite books from this year, it will be quite the easy post to write. Mind you, these are the best books I read in 2017 – not the best books I read published in 2017. Best Book of 2017 – Rules of Civility Read my post for more comprehensive thoughts, but I picked this one over the other ...

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    In the last part of 2107, I became much more intentional about what I read. For example, while some would say, “there’s too many good books out there to waste time rereading,” I began to think, “there’s too little time to read bad books, so when in doubt, reread something you know is good.” I think that makes sense. But I do want to read more new (to me) books that are also good. This is what led to a little exercise putting together a comprehensive list of all the books that ...

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    This book changed the way I think of God’s love. For someone who has been a Christian as long as I have, and for someone who clings as heavily as I do to my Reformed theology, that’s saying something. But this book put a big ol’ spotlight on my “doctrine” and showed me just how works-based my faith is. Again, that’s saying something. I’m not sure why it took me so many years to read it – it is far from a new book. In fact, in just a few more years, ...

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  • 03/04/18--13:11: Book Favorites :: Top 100
  • A few years back, my book club put together its collective Top 100. I remember in that exercise, that I had a hard time selecting just a top 10. Since then, I’ve wondered what my top 100 would be. I recently sat down to figure it out, and it was much harder than I thought. I ended up removing all non-fiction, and perhaps one day I’ll put out a top non-fiction reads. I left a few in that are technically non-fiction, but they read enough like a novel that I ...

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    For the last several years, my book club has followed the same procedure for selecting its books for a whole year. Last year, when our picks were made, we realized we were missing out on discussing some really good books by leaving behind the books that were not selected. (That’s what happens when you take a month to research books you plan to pitch!) So this year we’re doing something different. Instead of making new book pitches, we took the the books from our 2017 and 2018 Long Lists that weren’t ...

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    Amor Towles wrote Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow – two of my favorite books from last year. When I learned that he was speaking in my state, I was thrilled. I was even more excited when I figured out that while it was on the other side of the state in Newnan, Georgia, it did happen to coincide with when I would be traveling back home from being in Columbus, Georgia for work. It is obvious the fates were conspiring on my behalf. He was a delight. And ...

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  • 03/18/18--07:30: Book Clubs :: WWII Novels
  • There is a rash on World War II literature. In our last book club annual selection long list, there were enough books that had we wanted to dedicate a whole year to WWII, we could have. Also, occasionally, I’m asked to recommend a good WWII book, so I thought it might be a fun list to compile – all the WWII books I’ve read (or at least that I can remember!) These are in somewhat backwards order beginning with most recent. And just because I’m that kind of person, you’re ...

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    Here’s my end of year (almost) wrap up for our 2017-18 book selections. Because life happens, we weren’t able to meet in April and will be discussing our final book of this year (Radium Girls) at our May. I’ve got an older post that will give a quick history lesson on how we rate books and how we account for DNF’s or DNR’s here. Here we go! Thirteen Ways of Looking – 2.79 (Low: 2.75; High: 3.5) This is the lowest a book has scored in our group a long time. Basically, the way we select ...

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    I’ve been mulling over this review for a while, wanting to write it in a way that does it justice. To say that this is a great book is not enough. It is that, but it is also a book we need. Before I dive into the novel itself, let’s address some preliminaries. I listened to it as an audio book, and it was one that truly paid off in that format. With multiple narrators, it came to life. A significant portion of the first part of the book is epistolary, ...

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    Nick White’s collection of stories Sweet and Low are best described as evidence of the new South. Ever present are the themes that demonstrate the complexity of the South – the oppressive heat and beauty of our states (in this case, Mississippi); the animals we do life with and in spite of; and the people that are both our charm and disgrace – often in the same soul. Students of the Southern greats will recognize the peculiar, the odd, the disfigured, the freaks – in setting, narrative and character. Since ...

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    Based on what I’m seeing these days, summer reading guides are almost as popular as year end “best of” lists. With upcoming vacations that could mean hours idle on a plane, beach or in a car, it seems everyone is ready to make sure you’re well equipped to fill the void. If you’re one who is planning on making a list, here’s a round-up of some of the lists I’ve enjoyed pursuing. The Bitter Southerner: A round up of Southern reads that includes fiction, memoir, a children’s book and a couple ...

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    A couple of times a year, my team at work volunteers with a different not-for-profit around Atlanta. Last month, we spent a morning with Books for Africa (BFA) – an amazing organization that does just what it says – sends books to Africa. And, since this is a blog for people who love books, I wanted to share knowledge of this organization with you! Americans throw away 320 million books a year. For 30 years, Books for Africa has worked to redirect this waste into the eagerly awaiting hands of ...

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  • 06/19/18--14:55: Book Review :: Clock Dance
  • Fans of Anne Tyler will recognize all the things they love about her in Tyler’s latest novel, Clock Dance: quirky – but very real – characters, a seemingly ordinary story that is anything but and sometimes poignant and sometimes laugh-out-loud (often both!) insight into what makes us human. Clock Dance is Willa’s story. It begins with a couple of chapters of back story but the majority is Willa, middle-aged. She’s a women that, despite a sister, two husbands (one died – not talking polygamy) and two sons, is without a family. And for ...

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    Last month I wrote about my penchant for the dark when it comes to beach reads. Earlier this month when we headed out for our annual trip to enjoy the salt & sand, I got to load up on my reading, and true to form, most of my selections were not what most people consider beach reading. Here’s a quick wrap up. (Click on the title to shop for the book.) The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn – This book was recommended by Knox McCoy from The Popcast Pod who green-lit it on Episode 239. Don’t ...

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    I had such high hopes. I’ve been reading Kristin Hannah for a long time – or maybe I should say, I’ve been listening to her for a long time. Historically, her books have fallen into the category of books that I’m willing to spend the time listening to (since I have a long commute), but I won’t invest the time to physically read. Lighter fiction, chick-lit sorta, but not literary fiction. With The Nightingale, I felt like Hannah made that leap from contemporary fiction to literary fiction. Her latest – The ...

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    I’m an Ann Patchett fan. So when I traveled to Nashville for a conference earlier this year, I intentionally carved out time to make a […] Read More

    The post Book Review :: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage appeared first on Lit&leisure.


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