My To-Be-Read Pile Has More Than 32 Flavors

(This is part of my Blogging101 education. Thanks for learning with me!)

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For some, running the table of a beloved author’s titles is a great tribute and accomplishment. I tried that strategy with the Nancy Drew books only to realize that the more I read, the more appeared in the stores. Just as I enjoy trying new local foods when I travel, I strive to expand my reading horizons by sampling the “32 Flavors of Reading.” Now, I haven’t actually counted the genres or categories of titles I have on my shelves but here are a sample of some of the groupings not found in most bookstores:

  1. Mysteries by local authors in places I’ve visited
  2. Writers on reading (memoir or commentary)
  3. Cookbooks with cultural narratives
  4. Histories that read like literature
  5. Re-tellings of classic stories in different cultural settings
  6. Contemporaneously written novels of countries in the midst of war

While I may initially pigeon-hole a book, many end up in very unexpected categories after talking with others about them.  I’m fortunate to have spoke to some authors about their books. It turns out they are often surprised by the insights readers have about their characters and their motivations. Books provide endless opportunities to read between the lines and recalibrate my outlook.

What does your list look like?

Serendipity, a rocket and poetry

Sometimes being in the right place at the right time is magical. Here I thought my time in Florida would be limited to traveling from ballpark to ballpark with an occasional meal to cap off the days.  Was I wrong! Continue reading Serendipity, a rocket and poetry

Coming to a (small) screen near you! Part 2 – The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Getting a chance to read an upcoming title before the critics have weighed in is a real treat.  I was fortunate to snag a copy of Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers the summer before its publication in 2011. Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.54.35 PMHoffman imagines the final days of the 900 person Jewish community on the mountain top of Masada in 70 CE as the Romans came to destroy them. Told through the eyes of four strong women, it is a novel of personal challenges, love and magic – all traits that run through much of Hoffman’s work. The only contemporaneous account of the tragic destruction of the community was by Josephus, and that has been called into question by many scholars.

I loved the pacing of the book and its ties to the changing seasons and natural elements.  I could feel the dry heat of the mountain and the dust on my feet as I read. Each of the women had a distinctive voice and look that stayed with me throughout the novel. Magical realism doesn’t usually carry me away but I was prepared to stay on the journey to follow the story to its end. A long read, it is worth the effort.  It is nice to have an earthbound story completely different in time and setting with very strong female characters.

On March 31 and April 1 (right before Passover and Easter) CBS will show a version of the The Dovekeepers. Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.54.00 PMHaving watched the trailer it’s clear it will differ quite a bit from the book. So what’s a reader to do? Well, if you’ve had The Dovekeepers on your to-be-read (TBR) pile, I’d get cracking. Once you’ve seen a director’s take on a book it can be difficult to create your own mental imagery, even if the plot lines and characters don’t match up. Roma Downey of Touched by An Angel and The Bible fame brings a very definite perspective to her work, one very different from that of the author.

So, will I watch The Dovekeepers on TV? Well, my guess is it will be on in the background as I prepare my kitchen for the upcoming holiday. Having watched the trailer, I’m glad the actors aren’t all speaking upper crust Victorian English. Imagination can only take me so far.

Interested in Part 1 – The Book of Negroes/Someone Knows My Name? Find it here!