Books

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

This novella was not assigned in required high school reading for me, circa late 1970s. I wish it would have been assigned as the story would have created intense discussion with the flirting of Curley’s wife, the violence of killing of Candy’s dog, the accusation of rape against Lennie and the eventual murder of Curley’s wife by him, the drinking in the salon, the racial issues created by a black man working among white people, homelessness, migrant working during the Depression. Yes, it would have been an interesting book to discuss.

Finished : June 2021

Hope Is A Verb by Amy Downs

Inspiring story of a twenty something girl who is working at the Credit Union in the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. She survives the bombing. She goes back to college, becomes the CEO of the Credit Union, completes an Iron Man and becomes an avid cyclist, divorces and marries again. Her story inspires me.

Finished : May 2021

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

A burned out high school teacher is on a summer trip to Yellowstone to spread the ashes of his dead teenage son. His RV breaks down and the mechanic trades the repair cost for taking his two son along on the trip. He agrees. The rest of the story is a slow travelogue through the highlights of National Parks in the western states. Published in 2014.

Finished : May 2021

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

A girl, in her late teenage years, struggles to find who she wants to be and do. There are many “figs” to choose from but she is unable to choose and thus descends into madness. She tries several times to kill herself. In one episode, her suicide attempt becomes a media sensation and she is sent to a public asylum and then to a private asylum where she tries to figure out who she is and what she wants to do. Published in 1963.

Finished : May 2021

Tales of Ordinary Madness by Charles Bukowski

A collection of 32 short stories. I believe most of the stories are auto biographical. Some, probably are not. Most of the stories question the idea of ‘what is a meaningful life’. His writing is coarse, crude and sexual, degrading to women. His freedom to write as such is probably what attracts me to his writing. I’ve read several of his books.

Finished : April 2021

The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry by Stephanie Verni 

A collection of 22 short stories and poetry. My favorite story is “The Message in the Bottle” with a close second being “Beneath the Mimosa Tree”.

Finished : April 2021

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg

Deborah is hospitalized for a sickness we would call schizophrenia. Through her struggles in various wards of the hospital and the therapy by Dr. Fried, she comes to understand the world she created to live in apart from the reality of earth is not the best reality to exist in. She seeks an education to liberate her from the hospital and her internal world and succeeds.

Finished : April 2021

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares

The Fugitive escapes to a deserted tropical island, at least that is what the Fugitive believed. He soon sees a young beautiful maiden, Faustine, who sits on the beach to watch the sunset. He soon falls in love with her yet needs to compete with Morel for her affection. The Fugitive is unable to catch Faustine’s attention after repeated efforts. Soon, the Fugitive discovers that Morel has invented a device that has captured Faustine in eternity which is why she can’t interact with him. The Fugitive finds a way to use Morel’s invention to enter into eternity to be with Faustine, which as he finds is impossible unless the next person who finds the invention releases him into the same eternity as Faustine’s.

Finished : March 2021

Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern

Betsy is exonerated after spending 12 years in prison for a murder she does not commit. It only takes only a few days for her to unravel the mystery behind the who really did murder her neighbor. Great story exploring motives for our actions that we somehow push aside in our minds.

This is my third Cammie McGovern novel.

Finished : March 2021

Little Black Lies by Sandra Block.
Little Black Lies by Sandra Block.

Little Black Eyes by Sandra Block

Dr. Zoe Goldman, a resident in a mental ward of a hospital, treats a patient who as a teenager killed her mother, stabbed her brother in the eye and attempted to kill her baby sister. At the same time, Zoe begins to have nightmares of her birth mother and begins to research to find her birth mother only to find her family is closer then they seem.

Finished : February 2021

Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern

An autistic boy witnesses the murder of a classmate and his mother does all she can to help solve the murder fearing her son will be the POI. She comes to terms about herself and the boy’s father and the pain she’s caused in their lives. Good, fast read. By the cover photo, I expected the story to be where the little girl was luring men and boys into the woods via her luscious eye contact only to murder the poor souls … but that was not the story.

Finished : February 2021