Library Stack: No Words

OK, so maybe I do, but only this one time. Every once in a while I will post a stack of books I checked out from the library (Salem Public to be exact). It is usually a mish-mash of different kinds of books and most are newly published or published within the past year. I’m always glad to hear comments or questions about what’s in the pile.

So here is today’s toppling to-be-read, or usually, to-be-perused pile.




Book Birthdays for May

“Book Birthdays” is the term used for a book’s release day and have you ever noticed all new books are released on Tuesdays? Why not Monday? Good question and there are various reasons which can all be found here.

So today is Tuesday, and in honor of today’s “book birthdays,” I’m going to mention a few new books released during the month of May. My goal is to have a list of notable “book birthday” titles every Tuesday but until I can figure out exactly what I’m doing, this will do for the time being.

As usual, links on titles will take you to either my review on GoodReads or the title entry.

Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. Today is the release day for this terrific death mrs westpsychological suspense novel that will keep you glued to your sofa. It is very reminiscent of my beloved gothic novels but with an updated twist. I’ve enjoyed Ware’s other novels, Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood, but I think this was her best. Reserve it quick as holds at the library are building fast.

Another good psychological suspense thriller released during May was The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy. This is perfect reading for a warm afternoon on the patio.

Circe by Madeline Miller is based on the mythic Circe, the sorceress who turned Odysseus’s men into swine, and it is receiving a terrific response from readers. I haven’t dipped into it but I loved Miller’s previous book, The Song of Achilles.

For more literary fare, Sarah Winman’s Tin Man was stunningly written and is a perfect choice for book groups.

Michael Koryta is not very well known but librarian friends adore him and his books are a good bet for those who like Karin Slaughter and Dean Koontz. His newest book is How It Happened, but give his earlier books a try. They can easily be found on library shelves.


For nonfiction fans, Damnation Island by Stacy Horn is about the early days of New York’s Roosevelt Island and anyone who is drawn to anything about “asylums” will want damnationto grab this one. My library copy is ready for me to pick up and I can’t wait.

Another intriguing nonfiction book I heard about today is The Feather Thief by Kirk W. Johnson. It was published in April and appears to be a good book for anyone who likes a good narrative nonfiction title such as The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean or The Lost City of Z by David Grann.


Happy Reading!

What To Do? And Quote

I finally got this blog going and now I want to spend all of my time working on it. So what’s my problem? I’m retired, right? Well, the problem is I’m still trying to figure out a structure or focus, if you will. I want to talk about what I’m reading along with future titles I think readers will want to know about, plus there is so much literary information I’ve collected over the years to share. Here’s a partial list of what would be fun to talk about–at least I think so!

  • Beach Reads (coming soon since the season is almost here)
  • Thriller Thursdays
  • New Book Tuesdays
  • Mishmash Monday
  • Websites for Readers
  • Armchair Traveling
  • Disaster/Survival
  • BioFic (novels about real people)
  • Food in Fiction & Nonficton
  • Reading Moods, aka “Reading Slumps”
  • Reading Disappointments
  • Psychological Suspense Novels
  • BoBs (Book of Books, aka Reading Logs)
  • Gothic Novels
  • Oregon Authors

So that’s my plan anyway, but for now, there is no structure or formal plan, just whatever pops into my brain.

Since I was a bookmobile librarian for 20 years, this made me laugh.


Reading Everything on Your TBR Listtoo many books

I ran across this quote the other day and since I know I will never ever finish reading everything on my TBR (to-be-read) list, it made me feel rather melancholy.

“I’m a real self-educated kind of guy. I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can’t throw it away. It’s physically impossible to leave my hand! … I look around my library some nights and I do these terrible things to myself–I count up the books and think, how long I might have to live and think, “F@#%k, I can’t read two-thirds of these books.” It overwhelms me with sadness.” — David Bowie, quoted in the Daily Beast in a 2002 interview


What I’m Reading Now:


Latest Reading and Backyard Previewing

Joys of Reading Outside

Yesterday was the perfect day to take a stack–OK, stacks, of advance reading copies outside to peruse while enjoying the warm weather. Unfortunately, the neighbor’s lawn maintenance staff had other ideas and I had to wait for their leaf blowers to cease before heading outside (by the way I absolutely hate those frickin’ things). So here’s the stack that I got about halfway through before the end of the afternoon.  img_20180522_145108637

The ones I’m most looking forward to reading are Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance (July), Gary Shteyngart’s Lake Success (September–a friend said this is amazing), Karin Slaughter’s Pieces of Her (August), Gilly Macmillan’s I Know You Know (September–I loved her earlier book, What She Knew), and The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash (December, –I always love a good novel about family dysfunction). I also hear Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey is quite good but I didn’t get that one previewed.

Recent Reading

Last week I read Our House by Louise Candlish, an August release that kept me interested until it bogged down about halfway through the book. You can read my thorough review here. A newly released thriller that did keep me interested was The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy. It wasn’t perfect (the characters weren’t quite as developed as I would have liked) but it kept me engrossed the entire time I read it.

Fans of cozy mysteries set in Oregon will enjoy Ellie Alexander’s clever Bakeshop Mysteries set in Ashland but be prepared to throw your diet out the window. Ellie (also known as Kate E. Dyer-Seeley, author of two other series set in Portland) incorporates not only the day-to-day business of running the pastry shop, Torte, but also has fun with the Shakespearean atmosphere of Ashland. Till Death Do Us Tart is the 8th in the series and as is my usual advice, start at the beginning with the first in the series, Meet Your Baker. Yummy recipes are included.

blog sw bookI’m a huge fan of travel guides and read just about any I can find if it pertains to where I plan on traveling. A new guide for the Southwest has just been released titled RoadTrip America’s Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips. If you plan on vacationing down south, do yourself a favor and buy this guide to take along.

My Reading Life

My next blog post will be my reading life story. I thought it would be fun to chronicle the development of my love of books.

So what have you been reading?




You Say “MEM-war”, I Say “mem-WAH”: People Stories

Whichever way you prefer to pronounce memoir, this particular type of autobiography was relatively unknown when I started working in the library waaaay back in the early 1970s. Sure, we had the “biography/autobiography” titles cataloged for the 921 shelves, but an entire book based on a regular person’s memories was pretty much unheard of. Then back in the early 1990s, the genre exploded and now it’s as if any “Tom, Dick, or Harriett” can dredge up memories of their formative years and write a mesmerizing book. My favorites are celebrity memoirs, especially if they sprinkle a little dirt on the pages, but I also enjoy a well-done story filled with strife and struggle. Now whether they are all truth-driven is a topic for another post.

The most recent memoir I read and loved is the harrowing and inspirational Educated by Tara Westover. It’s the perfect book for those who loved The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, and it also reminded me of Ruth Wariner’s heartbreaking story of growing up in a polygamous Mormon household, The Sound of Gravel. Another similar “readalike” is Cea Person’s North of Normal.

educatedsound gravelnorth normalI am

Another “life story” (of sorts) that had me enthralled from the start was I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with DeathI believe there are a large number of people who have had at least one experience of their “lives flashing before their eyes,” and if so this book is sure to generate a lot of discussions. This is another title sure to end up on my best list.

Other recent worthy titles include Katey Sagal’s Grace Notes (even though I’m not a fan I still enjoyed this), Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine (ditto), Flor Edwards’ Apocalypse Child (for anyone interested in the Children of God cult), and, even though it’s not technically a memoir, Caroline Fraser’s Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Waiting in the wings on my TBR pile is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Unmasked, Kari Byron’s (from Mythbusters) Crash Test Girl, and Robert Hilburn’s Paul Simon: The Life.

Coming Soon

Here are a few more new titles around the bend that may tantalize. They are:

September – Sarah Weinman, The Real Lolita (Nabokov’s inspiration for Lolita), (and interestingly enough, a new novel about the same event is coming, Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood)hood

July – Allie Rowbottom, The Jell-O Girls

November – Christine O’Brien, Crave: A Memoir of Food and Longing

December – Ann Hood – Kitchen Yarns (I adored her previous “memoir” about important books in her life, Morningstar, and it has tempted me to re-read The Harrad Experiment)


So what is your favorite memoir?

Watch for my next post for a report of the gripping psychological suspense novel I’m in the middle of reading. 


A Few Good Books

I promised that when I reached 50 followers, I would post an actual blog about books. There’s no particular reason why I chose that arbitrary figure, it just sounded like a nice round number of readers who I’m sure would wait with bated breaths to hear the profound pearls of literary wisdom that would fall from my mouth, or in the case, from my fingertips.

LibraryReads June List  library_reads_logo_website

And this was the perfect day for a post as the LibraryReads list was released. I could tell you more about the librarian supported program but it’s easier if you read about it here.

Check out the June list of books to be published in June here. My favorites from this list are Anthony Horowitz’s THE WORD IS MURDER and B. A. Paris’ BRING ME BACK (you can read my GoodReads reviews by clicking on the titles). For other titles on the list, librarian colleagues have been raving about the heart-pounding thriller, JAR OF HEARTS, and “all the good feels” romance, THE KISS QUOTIENT, which has received huge thumbs up from those who don’t even like romance novels (but be forewarned, apparently it’s quite steamy). Heck, I might even read it and as a general rule don’t read romances–not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just more of a thriller/mystery and psychological/suspense fan.



If you want to explore the past lists from LibraryReads (and perhaps hunt for my annotation–hint: it’s for SOMETIMES I LIE), you can find them in the archive.

A Short Survey

I will soon be tweaking this site and adding more information (such as more “About Me”) and helpful links, but first I would like to know your formatting preference.

When you click on a link, do you prefer the site to open in a new window, or in the same tab and then use the “back” arrow to return to the blog post? Right now I have it set to open in a new tab but will gladly change it if the majority prefers it in the same window. Please comment below.

Thanks for reading and in the next day or two I’ll be reporting on what I’ve been reading over the past few weeks. Preview: Last night finished a new memoir that is harrowing and terrific.