Behind… My September Wrap-Up

October 1, 2008 at 11:30 am | Posted in Books, Historical Fiction, LIfe, My Life with Books, Philippa Gregory, Reading | 12 Comments
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My grandfather worked in tool and die.  When he retired, he had his machines in his shed.  One of the things he loved to make the most were cribbage and euchre boards.  He gave this lovely euchre board to me quite some time ago.  Although I’m not sure how to take that on a personal level ;), it really does represent the state of my blog as the month of September has drawn to a close and October is finally underway.  Grandpa will be 91 on the 15th, so happy early birthday from your favorite granddaughter in Virginia!

September really was quite a month.  I participated in two wonderful book tours, I read 11 books (!!!!), the Literate Housewives Book Club officially started (thanks to everyone who has signed up on the forum!), we all celebrated Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and I took a road trip to see one of my favorite authors, Philippa Gregory.  While this will be a month to remember, it has left me behind on my reviews and my comments.  Hopefully October will be a good catch up month.  With my birthday, the girls’ birthdays (Ally – 22nd, Emma – 23rd), our 11th anniversary, a visit from my parents and Uncle Ryan, and a business trip to Boston, it’s sure to be eventful if nothing else.

I read 11 books this month, but I only wrote 7 reviews (including The Seamstress that I owed from August).  That leaves me 5 reviews in the hole.  I’m hoping to have those all written and published by Monday.  Here’s how my reading broke down by category:

General Fiction

House and Home by Kathleen McCleary
Will I Ever Know by Charles Henry
First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader
The Torn Skirt by Rebecca Godfrey – review forthcoming

Historical Fiction

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
Immortal by Traci Slatton – review forthcoming

Young Adult Fiction

Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelly Hall – review forthcoming

Short Fiction

Months and Seasons by Christopher Meeks

Non-Fiction

One Can Make a Difference edited by Ingrid E. Newkirk
Good Person Guidebook by Richard Bayer, PhD – review forthcoming
Shrink Rap by Robin A. Altman – review forthcoming

Best Read of the Month:

Honorable Mentions:

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I hope that you all had a happy and prosperous September and will be enjoying the changing of this colors in October.

#102 ~ Will I Ever Know

September 16, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Books | 4 Comments
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Will I Ever Know by Charles Henry

This novel tells the story of Chad Henson, a divorced, unemployed 30-something living in the modern day who falls in love with Frances Langford, a singer and B-Movie actress from the 1940s.  Chad’s obsession with her moves from VHS to reality when, after accepting a job from a professor perfecting his time machine, he is transported back in time and in contact with the actress.

This light-hearted story introduced me to Frances Langford and her friend, Iris Adrian.  It’s clear that the author also has a passion for Frances and the 1940s.  Frances and Iris read as genuine and I enjoyed learning more about them.  Chad, on the other hand, didn’t work as well for me.  As someone who is also in my mid-30s in today’s day and age, I couldn’t relate to him very well.  His speech patterns read as much older to me.  He suffers from a general lack of motivation that I would find unattractive at his age.  As such, I had difficulty with how quickly Frances became attached to Chad.  I didn’t completely buy the notion that her song “Will I Ever Know” generated that strong of a connection for both of them.

Any novel that discusses time travel requires that the reader be willing to suspend his or her disbelief in order to engage.  This was not a serious look at time travel, so I didn’t read it from that perspective.  Still, the relationship that Chad had with Professor Ernst van Schlaban felt hasty and silly to me.  Stylistically, the use of up to 25 ellipses at a time and the use of full caps during highly charged moments did not help to change my opinion.

While reading this novel, I wondered what happened to serialized novels that were printed in newspapers.  I remembered that as a kid the Grand Rapids Press used to run one leading up to Christmas every year.  I also recall that authors like Charles Dickens was printed like that.  While I’m not comparing Charles Henry to Charles Dickens, I think that this novel was meant for publication like that.  Each of the chapters were short and the subject matter was light enough that it could work well in that medium.  I cannot recommend this novel as it is.  I think it would work better and find the right readership in a different format and with the help of a good editor.

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To buy this novel, click here.

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