Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#4: Don’t Go (Lisa Scottoline)

I just finished this novel last night and was so sad to see it end. Don’t Go was such a compelling story from a gifted writer that I have come to enjoy very much.

Dr. Mike Scanlon was serving as an Army doctor in Afghanistan when the unthinkable happened — his young wife was found dead in the kitchen floor of their home from self-inflicted wounds while her young daughter was on an outing with her aunt. While dealing with the tragedy, things go from bad to worse for Mike. His medical practice is failing. He must endure pressure from commanding officers who want to see him re-enlist. His young daughter does not recognize the father that left when she was an infant.

Filled with heartbreak, frustration, betrayal, and intense emotion, Don’t Go is a beautiful examination of the struggles faced by vets returning home. Mike’s war wounds — both the physical and mental ones — impact his ability to find work once he returns home. The strain placed on the family is central to the novel and will keep the reader turning the pages to discover how this nightmare is going to resolve.

If you haven’t already discovered Lisa Scottoline’s works, Don’t Go would be a great starting place. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

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#3: The Practicing Mind (Thomas M. Sterner)

I finished reading this book earlier this month and never got around to writing a blog post about it. Here it is….better late than never, I suppose.

The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life is applicable to all areas of life. With special attention to the study of music and golf, Sterner looks at the steps necessary in “mastering any skill by learning to love the process.” To summarize the book very quickly, Sterner advocates using a DOC approach to practice — Do, Observe, Correct. His emphasis on the observation step and its non-judgmental, non-self-depreciating aspects are extremely valuable to the growing musician.

Written in an anecdotal style, The Practicing Mind is an extremely easy┬áread. Its thought-provoking ideas will challenge the reader in the early stages of the work. As Sterner continues through the book, his prose and ideas become rather repetitive, which I found to diminish the power of the work. (To be fair, the idea of repetition is central to Sterner’s argument and its use in his writing may be intentional. However, the repetition without the addition of new ideas was grating for this reader.)

Will I assign The Practicing Mind to all of my college students? Certainly not. I do think it can be a powerful tool in specific situations and has earned a place on my resource bookshelf.

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#2: 2nd Chance (James Patterson)

I’m continuing to work my way through the Women’s Murder Club series and thoroughly enjoying the easy reading. The central characters return, facing personal danger as they search for a serial killer. This time, events spiral as the murders begin with the death of an 11-year-old black girl exiting a church choir rehearsal. What first appears to be a series of hate crimes quickly turn much darker.

This installment also features the return of Lindsey’s long lost father. At times touching, this personal narrative becomes painful to watch. I’m not sure if I want to see Dad return in future episodes or not. I suppose I’ll just have to see what Mr. Patterson has in mind for his readers.

My only complaint about the book involves the ending. I’ll be careful not to include spoilers. When the suspect is finally apprehended, Lindsey dramatically realizes he is the wrong guy. In a head-spinning series of events, the hunt leads back to a minor character briefly appearing earlier in the story. Personally, I felt a little cheated, as though the author was simply looking for a way to stretch things out for another 50 pages.

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