This was a good book, and a good fit for our challenge, but not–for me anyway–a great book. It was a great look at an interesting period of time–Texas during Reconstruction–with lots of details about the timeframe. The profession of the main character as an itinerant newsreader means he’s an educated man and an outsider […]

Oof. This is not my cup of tea… or shot of whisky. There’s a reason I don’t read horror books. I’m not exactly squeamish, but I don’t really enjoy an excess of violence. That said, I’d rather read a book like this than watch the movie of it. Did it have a great sense of […]

I’ve never been a fan of horror. But I have enjoyed several of Stephen King’s forays outside the genre. This is one I’ll add to that list. King says he got the idea and started writing it in the early days of his career but quickly realized he didn’t have the time or the skills […]

Texas. The Lone Star State. The Alamo. Oil. Guns. Football. Border politics. Where do we start? My husband and I drove with my sister-in-law from California to the east coast along the southern route late one fall sometime in the early to mid-’00s. On that trip we drove across Interstate 20, through Abilene, Dallas, and […]

I’m not sure what happened with this one. It was a great one for setting–Frazier gives us some fabulous descriptions of North Carolina. And it’s not just the area around Cold Mountain itself–Inman walks away from the hospital where he is recovering, across much of the state. But I lost interest in the story pretty […]

This was an accidental choice, but it’s turned out to be a fairly happy accident. Which is a bit of a coincidence, as the book was accidentally announced as a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Despite the error having been made internally, Myracle had to withdraw from the contest. […]

OOF! When I first tried this one, I just could not get into it. So I put it aside, figuring I’d find something else for North Carolina’s cities… and struck out on that front. So I went back to Redemption Road, and… well, it wasn’t quite as bad as before… but it wasn’t great. I’m […]

Well, I’m pretty mixed on this one. The writing was wonderful–descriptive, lush, full of emotions. I loved what Siddons did with the “abyss”–the ways in which we disguise our true selves, even from those we love the most. The way that Kate’s father reinvented himself–and his daughter–as true Southern aristocrats was masterfully written. But the […]

This one is a wonderful book for our challenge–the saltwater coastal marsh where Kya lives is a vibrant vital part of her life, and an integral part of the story. The marsh birds are present not just in their calls, but in their individual feathers and characteristics–some of them incredibly detailed: the crest feathers of […]

Wow! This is a wonderful book that evokes all the senses and immerses us in the North Carolina mountains of 1939. There are birds–with calls and local names–there are flowers and herbs, there are trees and loggers riding them downriver. There are descriptions of traditional crafts–woodworking, weaving and spinning–as well as day-to-day facts of life […]