Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What's on Your Nightstand: February 2014

My continuing exhaustion from last month's pneumonia and my new phone making WORDS WITH FRIENDS happen even MORE have seriously cut into my reading time! Coupled with the fact that I've spent most of my reading time on some serious history books again, I accomplished little in terms of books actually finished. Finally. selecting an audio book with 30 discs for my daily commut meant I finished only one! But WHAT a GREAT audio!!!

In another life I want to BE Doris Kearns Goodwin! Few writers in any genre, let alone historians, write such compelling prose. I've long said that every teacher in the USA should be required to read her book, No Ordinary Time. Her newest book, The Bully Pulpit, is an engaging and thought-provoking look at Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, the Muckrackers (such as Ida Tarbell) the magazine McClures that published their stores and so much more. Unlike Team of Rivals, Goodwin's (in my opinion) only slow moving book, Bully Pulpit is engaging from start to finish. This is neither a strictly personal nor a strictly political "biography" of any of the main characters. It is not a typical "life and times," either. Each person portrayed is fleshed out with a type of vividness only a true observer of people can accomplish. Goodwin's trademark painstaking research, good humor (never snarky unless in a quote from someone else) and her refusal to dish sex and bedroom antics (there is, sadly this time, one teeny-tiny mention of a woman's body part--I must think it was a requirement for publication) or to speculate on a character's previously unremarked upon sexuality, makes this the type book nonfiction aficionados will applaud for years to come. A history lovers book of the finest order. It is an art to tell a thoroughly research historical and political story in such a readable manner. There is not a slow spot in this book. I highly recommend The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

I am not a fan of fantasy, but I LOVE Sarah Addison Allen's wonderful little novels!! Her stories have that tiny touch of whimsy, more like a sprinkling of the finest quality of pixie dust, that make them sweetly fun. I think, truly, she deserves her own genre for her marvelously light touch with this--they are books so special, so engaging and wonderful, that I anxiously await each new release. Lost Lake tells the story of Kate and Wes, of George, Eby and Lizette, of Billy and Devin and how they deal with loss in their lives. It is not, however, a sad wallow thru grief!! It is a marvelous book peopled with characters who come alive as you read. I took down so many quotes about life experience, about families, about love from this sweet little story. This is the first of her books that I have read in print--the others I have enjoyed in audio. Either way, she never disappoints. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen.

I also enjoyed another William Monk book by Anne Perry: Twisted Root. I found one scene truly outrageous, but I loved, as always, the interplay between Monk and Hester. Ready to start the next one in this fun series! Twisted Root by Anne Perry.

Need ideas on what to read next? Head over to 5 Minutes for Books and see all the February "Nightstand" posts.


Susan said...

"Lost Lake" does sound promising. I'll have to add it to my list. I've read and enjoyed DKG books several years back. I was a bit bummed by her scandal -- was it plagiarism?? But I agree that her writing makes compelling reading.

Hopewell said...

I don't think there's anyone left who hasn't been touched by plagiarism. It's epidemic and often unintentional. I don't recall hers at the moment. I was afraid she'd lost her touch with Team of Rivals--it was a huge snooze and so was the movie.

Barbara H. said...

I'm glad to know of Goodwin's books - I like reading history when it is not written drily.

Carrie said...

I like the sound of The Bully Pulpit!

And I'm sorta laughing at your WORDS WITH FRIENDS phone dilemma.

Hopewell said...

Carrie..... the truth will out!

Tonia L said...

Words with Friends sucks me in every time. Glad I don't have quick access to it all the time!

Thank you for recommending Anne Perry - I read the first William Monk book and really enjoyed it.

Lisa notes... said...

I'm afraid to ever start WORDS WITH FRIENDS because I'm afraid I'd get addicted immediately. ha. Glad to hear your rave review of Bully Pulpit--I'll add it to my TBR list for sure (and also No Ordinary Time).