Author Archives: Rosemary Wolfe, NoChargeBookbunch

About Rosemary Wolfe, NoChargeBookbunch

Avid reader; published writer; itinerant walker; experimental cook...

A List of Fluff to Feel Better

Although heavy tomes can be thought provoking and force analytic thinking in our dusty brains, sometimes a book needs to be a mindless diversion.  When we need an escape from reality, award winning books forcing us to acknowledge the dire consequences of the greenhouse effect or the misery of our fellow man can only drop us deeper into the abyss.  Every now and then, a happy, fluffy, even ridiculous, book is the needed antidote.

images   In the spirit of the list giving season, here are a few authors I turn to for solace, smiles, and silliness:

  • Maria Semple (Today Will Be Different)
  • Sophie Kinsella (Remember Me?)
  • Alan Bradley (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie)
  • Sarah Addison Allen (Garden Spells)
  • Jojo Moyes (One Plus One)
  • Mitch Albom (The Time Keeper)
  • Louise Miller (A City Baker’s Guide to Country Living)

What books can you recommend to brighten a day?

 

List of 2016 Notable Books

unknownThe New York Times recently updated its list of 100 notable books for 2016 – see the list here.   Scrolling through the fiction, I found a few I’ve read and reviewed as well as some still on my to read list.

Notables I’ve Read (click on the title to read my review):

 

Notable Books on My Shelf to Read – Have you read them yet?

  • North Water by Ian Macguire
  • Nutshell by Ian McEwan
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith

 

 

Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary

The anniversary of the World War II bombing of Pearl Harbor is in the news but nowhere as prolific as in my hometown of Honolulu. Men in military uniforms were casually drinking coffee as they guarded their cannons at Fort DeRussy this morning, and high school band members who will later march in the parade were swarming Waikiki in clusters as they made their way to the Hard Rock Cafe for breakfast. The town is as crowded as it will continue to be for this weekend’s Honolulu Marathon on Sunday.

The renovated Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has interactive electronic displays as well as resident survivors who sit at card tables, ready for a live interaction with visitors – sometimes signing an autograph of a memoir.  The gift shop has an extensive display of books, but none appeal to me.  I prefer fiction to the shelves of historical data – not as scary as the reality, usually toned down with a little romance.

41fedy6drol-_ac_ul115_ A few stories I’ve read over the years have Pearl Harbor as a minor character; my favorite is From Here to Eternity – a book by James Jones before Burt Lancaster immortalized the story on the movie screen.  The book is as good as the movie, and you will see Burt Lancaster in the lines.

51g41ygzycl-_sx326_bo1204203200_  Herman Wouk’s Winds of War, is a family saga, made into a mini-series, and ending with the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I’m a fan of Wouk, having also read the sequel War of Remembrance.  Have you read it?

 

 

My December Pile of Books

After returning a few books to the library unread, I picked up a whole new pile.  I like having a selection – my personal lending library collection at home. Those I returned unread, for reasons ranging from not liking the cover to not having the time or the inclination to become absorbed in their drama:

  • Joshilyn Jackson’s The Opposite of Everyone
  • Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed
  • Iona Grey’s Letters to the Lost
  • Stephanie Danier’s Sweetbitter

I might try them again later – whenever the mood hits.  Have you read any you think I should revisit?

Books checked out and waiting to be read:

  • Alice Hoffman’s Faithful
  • Marie Benedict’s The Other Einstein
  • A.L. Kennedy’s Serious Sweet
  • J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy
  • Ian McGuire’s North Water
  • Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop Around the Corner
  • Gale Forman’s Leave Me
  • William Trevor’s Love and Summer
  • Jeffrey Archer’s This Was a Man

9781476799209_p0_v3_s192x300 9781492637257_p0_v2_s192x300 9781503936508_p0_v1_s192x300 9780062300546_p0_v6_s192x300 9781627795944_p0_v3_s192x300 9780062467256_p0_v3_s192x300 9781616206178_p0_v5_s192x300 9780143117889_p0_v2_s192x300 9781250061638_p0_v5_s192x300

If you get to any of them before me, let me know how you liked the read.

 

 

 

 

Jojo Moyes – the Modern O. Henry

9780735221079_p0_v6_s192x300 While reading Jojo Moyes Paris for One and Other Stories, I could not help thinking of William Sidney Porter’s short stories.  Better know as O. Henry, Porter’s romantic tales always ended with a surprise, whether in the selfless romance of The Gift of the Magi or in the story of a sick woman hanging on with The Last Leaf.  In this collection, Moyes offers her wry outlook and, like O.Henry, ends each with a jolt.

The title story, “Paris for One,” is the longest – all 150 pages – and could easily be an hour long Christmas special.  When Nell’s boyfriend is not at the London station, she gets on the train anyway, hoping he is just late for their romantic weekend in Paris. Feeling alone in a strange city, Nell receives his message that he is not coming and decides to return to London. In a series of serendipitous occurrences, the story evolves into Nell’s emergence as a determined woman who finds true love in Paris.  Only Moyes could transform a melodramatic interlude into a funny and heart-warming story, leaving the reader satisfied and smiling at the ending.

The “Other Stories” include brief tales, peeking into the windows of familiar lives: the has-been actor who is being tortured with racy tweets, the frumpy mother who finds a pair of expensive shoes that change her outlook, the taxi driver who gives a harried woman the courage to live her own life, the jewelry store clerk who saves a burglar, the husband who buys his wife a coat they cannot afford, the couple who find their afternoon delight again after years of marriage, the woman who meets her old lover at a party, and the secret communication of a woman with a stranger’s phone.

If you enjoyed Moyes’ novels (see my reviews below), you will be delighted with this collection.  Not all the stories have happy endings but each has the author’s trademark wit and charm.

Reviews of Other Moyes Books: