Friday Book Whimsey: Top Five for 2019

In 2019, I read 84 books out of my 100-book yearly goal. I feel like I read a LOT, so perhaps my goal is too high. Nevertheless, I’m going to keep challenging myself.

Out of the 84 books I read, I would like to present my five favorite books. They weren’t all necessarily published in 2019, but I read them all this past year.

So, in no particular order….

1. Watching You, by Lisa Jewell
Tom Fitzwilliams is hired by schools in trouble. He is handsome and charismatic. There is a murder, and there are many folks who could be the killer, including Fitzwilliams. The author provides readers clues a little at a time, keeping us all guessing. Jewell is one of my favorite authors.

2. November Road, by Lou Berney
Maybe I liked this book so much because I am so familiar with the time period that this took place, right around the time of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Mobster Frank Guidry realizes that he inadvertently played a part in the assassination, and knows the mob will be coming to get him to keep him quiet. At the same time, housewife Charlotte leaves her husband taking her children, heading for L.A. The two meet, and despite the fact that Guidry initially only is interested in them as a cover, he finds real happiness, at least for a time.

3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
Kya is abandoned by her family when she is 6 years old, and is left to take care for herself in the marshes of the southern Carolinas. As she faces the obstacles of life, she learns what is important and what isn’t. The story involves a delicious mystery as well.

4. The Chelsea Girls, by Fiona Davis
All of the author’s books to date have involved well-known places in New York City that add to her stories. The Chelsea girls takes place in the 1950s during the McCarthy period. The characters, who live in the historic Chelsea Hoel, represent several sides of the issue, and I not only found the book highly entertaining, but I learned a lot from reading it. Win-win.

5. Evvie Drake Starts Over, by Linda Holmes
I loved this book. It might have been my favorite of 2019. Evvie is literally packing up her car to leave her abusive husband when she learns that he has had a massive heart attack which eventually kills him. Evvie feels so guilty and distraught that she can scarcely get on with her life. She meets a professional baseball pitcher who has suddenly and inexplicably tanked. The two fall in love, and save one another.

Happy reading in 2020.

Friday Book Whimsy: Where the Crawdads Sing

I will admit that upon reading the prologue of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, I was reluctant to read further. While lyrical prose appeals to me (after all, Willa Cather is one of my favorite authors), I need a strong and interesting storyline to keep me engaged. The prologue led me to believe there would be no appealing storyline.

But I kept on, and was rewarded almost immediately with one of the most satisfying books I’ve read in quite some time. Yes, the writing was gorgeous. In fact, it was so beautiful that I was perfectly willing to suspend disbelief when it came to a 6-year-old girl being so capable of caring for herself.

Kya is, in fact, only 6 years old when her mother walks away from the home deep in the middle of the marsh country of North Carolina where she lives with Kya, her older siblings, and her abusive alcoholic husband. Kya expects her to return, but as days go by, she doesn’t. Thus begins the story of the resiliency of humans and the ability of nature to make us strong.

It isn’t long before the rest of her family are also gone, leaving Kya to care for herself. She teaches herself life skills, and with the help of a few kind people, she manages to grow up to be an absolutely brilliant writer and observer of nature.

But every human being yearns for the love and comfort of another human being, and this basic need leads to the girl referred to as the Marsh Girl facing unbearable circumstances.

The book is part mystery and part love story, but mostly an ode to nature. The marsh IS, in fact, the most important “character” in the book.

The book is bound to stay in your mind long after the unexpected conclusion. It is unlikely that the Marsh Girl won’t stick with you for a long time after you put down the book.

Where the Crawdads Sing was a delightful and compelling read, and might be one of my favorite books that I have read — or will read — in 2019.

Here is a link to the book.