Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

If the Creek Don’t Rise – a tale of Appalachia both heartbreaking and beautiful

I added If the Creek Don’t Rise: A Novel to my summer reading list because the setting and description reminded me of Hillbilly Elegy.

This book is fiction, but many of the themes are the same as in Elegy: people in isolated communities, living in poverty, with addiction and violence, and no easy way out.

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

First of all, It includes strong women characters, one is Sadie, who has followed the usual path in marrying a bad husband too young, but she has a plan. And another character who isn’t even mentioned in the publisher’s notes, Miss Shaw, a teacher who comes to the area to attempt to make a difference, was my favorite. No previous teacher has lasted very long in this area.

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Celebrating “The Glass Castle” before the movie

Let’s celebrate the The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls as the movie is released.

For me, never before has a memoir read so much like fiction and never before have I both loved and hated the same “character” so much.

If you haven’t read this book yet (of course many of you have as it was on the bestsellers list for a few years) I highly recommend doing so either before or instead of the movie.

Even if you have already read the book I hope you will enjoy reminiscing a bit with me.

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My visit to the American Writers Museum

During my recent trip to Chicago, I checked out the new American Writers Museum.

I highly recommend this experience to all fans and beneficiaries of American literature (and if you are reading my blog I’m assuming you are both of these!!). I found it interesting, inspiring, and even emotional.

This museum just opened in May, and I think the word is still getting out about it. I am excited to tell you more!

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After seeing The Killers at Lollapalooza!

In 2005, I listened to “Mr. Brightside” from the Hot Fuss  album all the way to my sister’s law school graduation, about a 3 hour drive! This was the beginning of my – maybe obsessive – relationship with The Killers.

But my (perceived) personal relationship with them began when I happened across the recording of their live performance, The Killers: Live from Royal Albert Hall, on Palladia. This, to me, is the best concert ever, featuring many songs from Sam’s Town. We had it on DVR at the time and I watched it so many times I developed a close relationship with all these songs and with Brandon Flowers. He is so dynamic and beautiful to watch, and the songs are magical to me.

“The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun
When you read my mind” – from “Read My Mind”

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What do people REALLY ask Google?

I stepped away from my summer reading list to read (quickly!!) some non-fiction: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.

The author, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, spent several years analyzing Google data.

What is Google data? It is that phrase or question you type into the search bar in the privacy of your own computer or device.

Would you tell people everything you ask google? Probably not. And thus the appeal of this book (to me anyway). I wanted to know what people are asking Google!! Stephens-Davidowitz takes it further, of course, to explain how this data can be used.

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Win a book from my summer reading list!

We’re halfway through summer, and I’m about halfway through my summer reading list. That means it’s time for a giveaway!!

One lucky winner of my raffle will be able to choose ANY BOOK from my summer reading list, and I will ship it directly to the winner (continental U.S. only).

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Peruse my summer reading list at this link or below. Note that I have added my own reviews on several of the books already.
  2. Choose one that you are most excited to read.
  3. Complete the steps below in my Rafflecopter giveaway.

I will contact the winner to confirm which book he or she would like.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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A thriller to read before Aug. 21

The latest selection from my summer reading list  is engrossing, informational, and timely; you’ll want to read this before August 21.

He Said/She Said is a psychological thriller set around a complete solar eclipse and characters who chase this phenomenon.

In 1999, Kit and Laura attend the eclipse festival in Cornwall, England. After they behold this rare and beautiful event, Laura witnesses a crime that has lasting implications on their lives and relationship.

The story models the five stages of an eclipse. As usual in modern thrillers (at least the ones I have read), it is told with alternating points of view and chopped-up time frames. This format has become the norm, I suppose, because it usually works to keep the pages turning.

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New TV show about a young Shakespeare – Will

I was “accidentally” eavesdropping on a conversation the other day – it looked like a first date and I just couldn’t help myself because I was well within earshot! Well thank goodness because that’s how I heard of this new show on TNT, Will, about a young Shakespeare.

The girl said she and her roommates or friends were getting together to watch it later that evening (this was Monday – it airs on Monday nights on TNT and is also “On Demand” if you have Comcast.)

Oh how I remember those fun days when I would watch my shows with friends! But now I prefer everyone to be in bed before I even start my show, so I can enjoy the TV to myself in the dark – ha!!

But I am soooo thankful to this girl for turning me on to this show which I checked out last night.

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Magpie Murders – so much fun!

I am thrilled (pun intended) to give the latest recommendation from my summer reading list: 

Magpie Murders!

Billed as a mystery/thriller especially for fans of Agatha Christie books, this book shines because of its clever use of intertextuality (don’t be scared of that word – instead just click on that word to read my previous post on this literary technique!). It is a book within a book.

For the record, I have never read anything by Agatha Christie, and I still loved this “tribute” to classic British crime novels.

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Hunger: A memoir of a body

Because Roxane Gay writes with such raw honesty in Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body it will be difficult for me to write a blog post in response. The story was so powerful and HERS that it is daunting to attempt to reflect upon it. But because I loved the book and want other people to read it (and I do have a book blog – ha!!!) I will give it a shot.

Roxane Gay, also the author of bestselling  Bad Feminist: Essays, is fat, very fat. She uses this word – “fat” – about herself over and over.

“When I use the world I am not insulting myself. I am describing myself.”

Much of her story is about living as a fat person in this world, including the embarrassment, the despair, the hopelessness.

But her memoir is also about WHY she is fat.

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