More About Books: Mystery and Suspense

Books and reading are among the most satisfying pleasures in life, and this year’s offerings are an inspiration to write more about books. Starting with Gillian Flynn’s wildly successful novel, Gone Girl (Crown Publishing, 2012), psychological suspense has grown as a popular book genre.  As an early fan of the works of Daphne du Maurier, including the classic, Rebecca, I am drawn to the genre, but have been disappointed by many of the contemporary novels. There is nothing disappointing, however, about novels written by Jane Harper.   Most recently I read The Lost Man (Macmillan, Flatiron Books,…

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The Room Where it Happens
Hamilton the Revolution

The Room Where it Happens

Live theater is the room where it happens, where stories come to life and leave you enchanted and spellbound.   Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is such a show, where the music, lyrics, and staging linger on long after the performance is over. Hamilton the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter We were latecomers to the extraordinary phenomenon of Hamilton, despite the early urging of our New York cousins.  When the show first opened on Broadway, Michael and Amy suggested facetiously (I think) that even if we had to take out a second mortgage on our house, it…

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Never Too Young

An expression of gratitude is always welcome. An expression of gratitude is always welcome, and one is never too young to write that all important thank you note.  As an added bonus, children who are taught to write thank you notes tend to craft more creative and thoughtful notes when they become adults The act of hand writing a thank you note has the added benefit of becoming a learning experience for a child.  It is an exercise in manual dexterity, helps teach spelling, and encourages creativity.  For this reason, some schools sponsor letter-writing exercises, such…

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About Books and Reading
Bedside reading

About Books and Reading

Each year, I look forward to the fall months for news about books and reading.  Magazines, newspapers and trade organizations choose the fall to announce their selections for “best books” of the year.  It is a good time to compare our favorite books with these lists, hoping to add undiscovered gems to our reading lists. Many prestigious book awards also are announced in the fall.  The National Book Awards were unveiled in November; the Man Booker Prize was announced in October.  The publication of outstanding books and the awarding of prestigious prizes, however, are by no…

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Parlor Games
Photo by Mink Mingle, Unsplash Photos

Parlor Games

At a party late last year with long-time friends from a walking group, the guests enjoyed playing parlor games.  This followed the usual drinking and chatting and eating, including a delicious cassoulet made by our hosts. Parlor games, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, are games suitable for adults to play indoors.  My personal lack of knowledge of pop culture has always led to poor performance in competitive parlor games such as Trivial Pursuit, but in these games, there were no losers, just people letting down their hair, acting silly, and having a good time. First…

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Diaries: Letters to Ourselves by Kay Roberts

A few months ago, I rediscovered a diary I kept when I was thirteen years old.  This find made me think that diaries might make good Christmas presents for my grandchildren, ages ten and thirteen. I cautioned them to avoid dumb entries such as my own: “Washed my hair, went to the show.”  I do like my entry about liking Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, except for being "stuck beside somebody who smelled like barn" (I grew up in a little farm community in Wisconsin).  I had hoped my old diary would give me a glimpse of who…

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The Reveal
Street level window for Local Edition

The Reveal

The word “reveal,” according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, means “to make (something secret or hidden) publicly or generally known.”   Or, according to Merriam-Webster online, reveal means “to disclose, divulge, or tell.” In screenwriting, “the reveal” generally comes near the end of the script, when the viewers finally become privy to hidden information that explains all that came before. The most interesting stories written by professional journalists include a reveal. This can happen in a feature story or profile, but in investigative journalism, the reveal can make or break a story, not to mention the reporter’s…

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Love Letters
Valentine greeting card

Love Letters

Does anyone write love letters anymore? Last week, my husband and I attended the beautiful wedding of his great niece in Las Vegas.  There was so much joy, happiness, and tears going around that one could literally feel the love in the air. The young bride and groom met in a creative writing class at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Their writing instructor served as the best man at their wedding. The couple bonded over their shared love of reading and writing.  I like to think that there will be many love letters in their future,…

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Frederick Douglass:  Gentleman of Letters
Frederick Douglass's private study

Frederick Douglass: Gentleman of Letters

  Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895), African American writer, orator, and social activist, was a gentleman of letters. Born into slavery, he was largely self-taught, learning to read and write prior to entering his teens. His eloquence and fiery oratory gave him great influence as an abolitionist, social activist, and diplomat throughout his adult lifetime. Last month, on a visit with my daughter in Washington, DC, we had the opportunity to tour Frederick Douglass’s final home, Cedar Hill, located in Anacostia. Douglass, who purchased Cedar Hill from the Freedmen’s Bank in 1877, lived there for seventeen…

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Favorite Books 2017

New enticing titles are on the horizon in 2018, but looking back, I would like to share some of my favorite books from 2017. Many “best books” of the year lists are compiled near the end of the year – check out New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and Publishers Weekly, to name just a few. While some of my favorite books are crossovers from these lists, and/or appear on local and/or national bestsellers lists, my lists are by no means comprehensive or definitive. The following reading suggestions are merely those that I found most enjoyable…

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