Barbara V's blog

On the Shelf: Stay

If you’re in the mood for a well-written novel filled with delightful characters, including a German Shepherd named Joe, then I highly recommend Stay by Allie Larkin.

On the Shelf: Calling It Quits: Late-Life Divorce and Starting Over

“Some gave the usual reasons: “He traded me in for a trophy wife younger than our daughter,” or “We had nothing in common anymore,” or “I couldn’t take his (fill in the blank – gambling, drinking, womanizing).” But I also heard a lot of stories from men and women who I thought lived comfortable, contented lives in financially secure marriages and who said that they didn’t care what the future might hold, that they divorced because they could not go on living the same old life in the same old rut with the same old boring person.

On the Shelf: The Last Time I Saw You

If you’ve read my blogs, you know how much I’ve enjoyed reading really good books written by first-time-published authors. I also love “visiting” with “old friends” like Elizabeth Berg.
I was introduced to Berg by Oprah (not personally – oh how I wish!) and by a good friend, who thought I’d really enjoy Berg’s Oprah book club selection, Open House. I’ve been a fan of Berg’s ever since, not only because she’s a wonderful writer, but also b

On the Shelf: The Season of Second Chances

The seduction began with the title (I so love “second chance” stories), the cover art and a good review. Mix in a middle-aged college professor protagonist, a small New England town and an old Victorian house in desperate need of repair, as Diane Meier has in The Season of Second Chances, and I’ve added the book to my “must read” list.
Not only the house needs restoration in Meier’s wise and witty (albeit a bit wordy) debut novel. English professor Joy Harkness and town handyman Teddy Hennessy prove that everyone of every age can benefit from a little renovation in their lives. I liked the college town setting and I loved the house. In fact, the house was my favorite character.

On the Shelf: Split Image

I rarely read books written by men. I’d rather read a character-driven story than a plot-driven story - no surprise to those who have read my blog. It’s been my experience that most male authors focus more on plot than characterization. One exception to the rule: Robert B. Parker.
I have not read Parker’s Spenser novels, but I’ve been a big fan of the books he wrote featuring Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall, especially the most recent ones that (finally!) brought Jesse and Sunny together.  I was saddened (on many levels) to learn of Parker’s death in January at age 77 – I thought of how many stories he must have had left to write, and I thought about how much I wanted to read one last “chapter” in the Jesse/Sunny saga.

On the Shelf: The Girl Who Chased the Moon

I love happening upon a first-time-published author who has written a truly wonderful book. I love it even more when that author proves she can go the distance with a second and then a third book.

On the Shelf: Committed

I had the most interesting, entertaining company in the car with me the past couple of weeks – the CD of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Committed, read by the author. I’m a big fan of Eat, Pray, Love. I read the book, and I also listened to the CD – twice – because I love Gilbert’s voice. I’d felt as if I’d had a good friend sitting beside me, sharing her secret wants and needs, her sadness and her joy.

On the Shelf: Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog

“I have never been in an accident, if you don’t count my two marriages.” So says New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline in her collection of highly entertaining personal essays titled Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. The cute cover – a little dog in a coffee cup – caught my eye immediately, and though I’ve never read Scottoline’s novels, her promise of “amazing adventures of an ordinary woman” had me adding my name to the request list.

On the Shelf: A Reliable Wife

I never read historical (hysterical!) novels – never – and, with the exception of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall series, I never read novels written by men. Then one of my tweeps (people I follow on Twitter) said she’d heard A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick – an historical novel written by a man – had been garnering rave reviews. I looked up the title in the Harris County Public Library catalog, read the short synopsis and requested a copy.

On the Shelf: Her Fearful Symmetry

Curling up with a good book has always been one of the simple pleasures I enjoy most on a cold winter night (of which we’ve had many lately!). I tend toward contemporary women’s fiction and, as you may have noticed if you’ve read my blog on a regular basis, I especially like stories that are a bit different. The book that’s been keeping me company the past few evenings – Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger – is no exception.

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