Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Tag: Books

Reading Challenge: Current Books

This is the list of books I’m currently reading in case you want to read along:

  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – On the list
  • Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – On the list
  • Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant by Dyan Cannon – On the list
  • Good Stuff by Jennifer Grant
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – On the list
  • The Biography by Jerry Hopkins
  • The Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick
  • The Mental Floss History of the United States by Erik Sass, Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur – On the list
  • Careless Love by Peter Guralnick

And, books I’ve finished since the challenge began:

  • Ghost of a Gamble by Sue Ann Jaffarian
  • Ghostly Paws by Leighann Dobbs
  • Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern – On the list
  • Dummy of a Ghost by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Cold Sassy Tree

There are times when you read a book so touching that it stays with you long after you close the back cover. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns is one of those books. I checked the Cold Sassy Tree audiofile out of my local library. Listening to Tom Parker (aka Grover Gardner, who read Mark Twain’s autobiography) I was mesmerized.

Mr. Parker’s voice carries to to Cold Sassy in July, 1906.  The voice may be Mr. Parker’s, but the story belongs to 14 year old Will Tweedy.  As the story begins, Grandpa Blakeslee has arrived at Will’s house with some news.  Everyone is worried about Grandpa Blakeslee, as it has just been 3 weeks since his wife, Mattie Lou, died.  Since he won’t let his daughter’s take care of him and he won’t hire anyone, he has an idea.  Grandpa intends to marry Miss Love Simpson – his store’s milliner and a Yankee to boot!  Needless to say, this causes a ruckus that drives the story all the way to the end.

This book will make you laugh and cry.  If you listen to the audiobook, you’ll be at the edge of your seat.  Mr. Parker’s voice is perfect for a story that takes place in Georgia in 1906 and he lulls you along, believing that you know these people.  The story is well thought out and written by Olive Ann Burns.

It isn’t often that a book does this and I don’t say it lightly, but this book has renewed my faith in God and humanity.  It touched me that much.

Shadow of the Wind

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I read 435 words per minute with an 85% comprehension rate. This trait served me well in college when I needed to write a paper and left the research until the last minute. I could devour books and other research material in rapid time and leave myself plenty of time to write.

While reading Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, this trait was a detriment. I wanted to savior every word, every description, every page turn. I found myself both trying to find out what happens next and wanting to slow my reading to enjoy the journey.

Shadow of the Wind is rich with descriptions of Barcelona, Spain that you can almost taste the air as you turn the pages.  Every step you take with Daniel, the narrator of this lush adventure, you feel as if you’re truly there, seeing what he sees.  The story starts in 1945 with Daniel and his father visiting the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.  Inside the great library, Daniel adopts The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax.  The book so touches his sole that he goes in search of the author.  What he finds takes him on a journey of love, loss, life and death.  Each turn of the page takes you one small step closer to solving the mystery and just when you think you have it all figured out, Zafon throws in a curve you didn’t see coming.

When I finished reading Shadow of the Wind, I set out to purchase another Zafon book.  The author’s talent seems to have no bounds.  I highly recommend Shadow of the Wind.

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Book Review: The Chilli Queen

Last Thursday, having found myself in Milwaukee with two hours to kill and no idea how to kill them, I went to a Barnes & Noble to find a book to read.  I had been listening to Sandra Dallas’s “Buster Midnight’s Cafe”, so I figured I would find another one of her books to read.  I found The Chili Queen: A Novel and I could not put it down.  The slim novel – only 304 pages – is packed with humor, love and, truth be told, a little horror.

I should probably mention right up front that I’m not really into westerns and I usually don’t read books that go back in time any farther than the 1920’s.  But, The Chili Queen draws you in and makes you want to know what happens next.  The best is how Sandra separates the story from one person to the next.  There’s enough twists and turns to keep you hopping.  I’m usually pretty good at detecting the twists before they happen, but one twist at the end had me catching my breath.

If you like your mystery surrounded by a little humor, The Chili Queen will not disappoint you.

Get Sarah Palin’s New Book FREE!

I was checking out a list of book signings and I saw the below ad.  I’ve never heard of Townhall Magazine.  According to its website, it “is the monthly news and opinion journal from the same team of right-thinking reporters, opinion makers, insiders and political leaders conservatives have trusted for 15 years.”  Andrew Breitbart is one of their contributors, if that means anything to you.  The subscription costs $34.95, which is (according to the site) 42% off the cover price.  And, now the ad…

So, here’s my question…Does Townhall Magazine’s giveaway of Sarah Palin’s new book count toward the amount of her books sold? I mean, how many subscriptions will they sell using this promotion? 100? 1,000? 10,000? And, if Townhall Magazine is purchasing them to give them away, how does that translate into the sales figures for Palin’s book? What if they receive one million subscriptions? Does that mean Sarah Palin’s book sales go up by a million?

This is a serious question.  I’m not trying to knock Palin’s book or the magazine, as I have read neither.  I’m just really curious as I have not seen a magazine use a book giveaway in this manner.  Yes, magazines give away books, but they’re usually books produced by the magazine’s own publisher; one example would be Consumer Reports will giving away their buying guide with a paid subscription.   I’ve seen others, but of course while I’m writing this, I can’t think of any.  If you have, please feel free to mention them below.  If you know whether or not this counts as part of her sale totals, please comment that as well.

Oh and if you are just dying to get your hands on a subscription of Townhall Magazine, but you all ready have Palin’s book – they offer other choices, as well.

Happy Reading!

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