Blog, Blogging, book review, reading, theater

What’s In My Book Bag?

How did it get to be March…well, not just March but the end of March?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m LOVING the warmer weather and the sounds of birds and the anticipation of a fantastic summer, but TIME IS FLYING! I need a few more hours in every day and just cannot seem to catch up. I’m not sure if things are just crazy busy because the world has come out of hibernation or if I got used to a slower pace for the two years I had nothing to do….maybe it is a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I am once again behind on my reading goal.

In the month of February I read three books. Here are my thoughts.

Book #1 All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle

From the Cover:

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

What I liked about this book:

In truth, it took me a little bit of time to “get into” this book. The dialect and way that Hubert kept referring to himself as, “Me just couldn’t do it today.” The constant “me” was distracting. But then, I fell in love with the heart of Hubert. I saw that his life had not been easy. He had loved and lost and still managed to turn the other cheek and show kindess and forgiveness to those who caused him great pain. As Hubert begins to escape his lonliness, I couldn’t help but think of my mom and how many years of loneliness she felt living without my dad. I began to relate to Hubert and cheer for him from the sidelines. I’m not sure how a book can be heart-breaking and uplifting all at the same time, but this one is. Mike Gayle has written a touching, beautiful book and I can’t wait to read another of his books.

Gayle crafted such believable characters. He formed them so that you could picture them and almost hear them speak, thus thrusting the reader into the heart of the story. You can’t help but love Hubert. He is a true gentleman, but not without flaws. You recognize him and cry out for the injustices that befall him, and cheer for his victories. I seriously miss that the story is over. I miss him.

I also love that the story–even though it isn’t recent–made me think of the plight of so many others that are treated badly because their skin is a different color.

I also loved the sense of community that Hubert was able to establish. It was inspiring to watch a community of people who needed someone come together and create friendships and family and were no longer alone. I wish we would all be more aware of those around us that might need someone. Pardon me while I go cry some more.

Who should read this book? Fans of family stories. If you are interested in multicultural or diverse characters. Read if you like thoughtful books with a touch of humor.

Favorite Quotes:

“After all, it was always easier to meet new people if there were two of you. It gave you confidence and made you feel at ease.”

“And that’s the funny thing about life. Extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people like you and me, but only if we open ourselves up enough to let them.”

Rating: 4.5/5

Book #2 In The President’s Secret Service by Ronald Kessler

From the Cover: Never before has a journalist penetrated the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, that elite corps of agents who pledge to take a bullet to protect the president and his family. After conducting exclusive interviews with more than one hundred current and former Secret Service agents, bestselling author and award-winning reporter Ronald Kessler reveals their secrets for the first time.

What I liked about this book:

Hmmm. Difficult question. I did find some of the stories quite interesting. I found that I would find one chapter interesting and then the next would be technical and super boring to me. Unfortunately, towards the end I didn’t even enjoy the personal stories. I found myself wondering how much of the story was true and if some of these tales just came from people who didn’t like the Presidents they were called to serve. On the other hand, I started to wonder if there is anything good about any of the familes we have put into the White House. It was interesting to think about what each agent has to go through and how much we take them for granted. For me though, the book doesn’t put them in a good light. Instead, it makes me think less of them for the sour attitudes they seem to have developed.

Who should read this book? Lovers of history. Read this book if you are interested in government and politics and learning more about the people who have served our country.

Favorite Quotes:

Boys will be boys,” he said.
When the door of the elevator shut, Reagan said to Hresko, “But boys will not be president.

Rating: 2/3

Book #3 The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

From the Cover:

An unforgettable and heartwarming debut about how a chance encounter with a list of library books helps forge an unlikely friendship between two very different people in a London suburb.

Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.

Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.

When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list…hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again. 

What I loved about this book:

Everything? Sigh. How could a book lover not love a book that is about reading books? This book centered around a library and a list of books that everyone that finds the list begins to read. This list seems to be magical as each person reads the book at exactly the right time in their life to teach them or help them through life’s newest journey.

This book reminded me of so many wonderful hours I spent in the library with my mom. It made me wish that I had spent more time there with my own children. I loved the way Adams brilliantly connected the characters and stories. Seriously, how does someone plan and craft such heart-felt, real, flawed, needy, loving characters? I love that the book also pulled me in so deep that when tragedy unexpectedly happens it broke me.

I can’t say enough about this book. If you love reading and you haven’t read this book yet, you simply must find it and put it on your TBR list.

Pardon me while I go spend time in my library–please, God, don’t ever let the world close them down.

Who should read this book? Lovers of reading. Everyone.

Trigger warnings:

  • Anxiety, Cancer, Death, Depression Grief, Suicide

Favorite Quotes:

“Please try to remember that books aren’t always an escape; sometimes books teach us things. They show us the world; they don’t hide it.”

“…sometimes when you really like a book, you need to read it again! To relive what you loved and find out what you missed before. Books always change as the person who reads them changes too.

“…books, they had the power to heal.”

“There was something magical in that—in sharing a world you have loved; allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself.

Rating: 5/5

That is all for this time! Have you read any of these? I would love to know what you thought! Also, If you choose to read one of these because you read my review, please let me know! That brings me a great amount of joy!

Until next time-this is just me-talking to you-from the wings!

Reba

3 thoughts on “What’s In My Book Bag?”

  1. So far, all I read this year belong to a series- I mean, started this year still in the middle of Goblet of Fire

    Currently on Half-Blood Prince—–not finished yet; but getting close

    Not going to read another type of book until I finish rereading this series

    Like

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