Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

After Anna (Lisa Scottoline)

B541AFA0-9FB7-4998-8FFA-424D18EB8E33I finally managed to finish a novel this week! It’s an exciting accomplishment to say the least. This time, the novel was Lisa Scottoline’s After Anna. This gripping family drama tells the story of Noah, a pediatric allergist, and his wife, Maggie. Maggie lost custody of her infant daughter after her powerful ex-husband had her declared unfit. An unexpected call reunites Maggie with Anna, her long-lost daughter. Anna moves into Maggie and Noah’s home in hopes of beginning a new family.

Things do not go smoothly for the family. As the novel opens, the reader finds Noah on trial for the murder of Anna. When the prosecution’s witness reveals that Anna had accused Noah of sexual abuse while she lived in his home, Noah’s fate seems to be sealed. As Maggie deals with her own grief over the loss of her daughter and her marriage, she receives another disturbing phone call. Just when you think you know where Scottoline’s story line is headed, an unexpected twist lands in your lap, making After Anna an enjoyable read from start to its dramatic finish.

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The Weekly View From My Reading Chair (Feb 8)

This may be a very short update. Why? Because there’s nothing to share. Since my last post on this site, I haven’t cracked a book. I’ve not read a single sentence for pleasure. Nothing, Nada.

It wasn’t intentional. It just happened. Last Sunday, I found myself on the road headed to El Paso with a colleague and friend for a few days of intense recruitment. There’s was absolutely no time to read during the day as we zipped from one school to another. When we had a break, we were normally checking in on students at home and checking our email. By the time we got to the hotel each night, we were ready to collapse and simply enjoy some downtime. Besides, there was WAY TOO MUCH LAUGHING for any reading to go on. I tried to read a short chapter as we were preparing to return home, but I simply could not focus my thoughts for a single moment.

I wish I could say that things will change in the new week, but I seriously doubt it. On Tuesday, I’ll head to San Antonio with the same friend and colleague to man the recruiting booth at TMEA again this year. (I’m so glad Anthony and I get along so well and don’t have to worry about spending so much time with him!) The hall is always noisy and there’s lots to talk about as we are visited by students, alumni, colleagues, friends, and recruits. There’s just not going to be much time to do any reading…and I’m perfectly okay with that.

I may try to do a little reading over the weekend, or I might decide for the less intellectual option and watch some mindless television. Either way, I know that my books will be there waiting for me when I get the opportunity to return to them. Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Until next time…..enjoy the view from your own reading chair this week.

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The View From My Reading Chair (Feb 2)

Nausea returned to my world on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I didn’t get much accomplished at all! That included my reading life. I want to read, I just don’t feel as though I have enough time to dive into a book other than my Bible at the moment.

Here’s the low-down on the tiny bit of reading I did get done this week:

Clash of Crowns (George Martin) – 381/728 — 17 pages this week.

Frederic Chopin (Alan Walker) – 381-671 – 0 pages this week.

Year of Yes (Shonda Rhimes) – 35/240 – 35 pages this week.

Yep…..that’s a grand total of a whopping 52 pages of personal reading this week. Ugh! I’m headed to El Paso for a few days in the upcoming week with a colleague for work. I’m hoping that I can get back into a normal reading routine while I’m there….but we will just have to see how that goes. In the meantime, I hope that you are enjoying a little quite time — however small it may be — in your own reading chair. Happy reading!

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In This Moment (Karen Kingsbury)

This week, my reading focus changed significantly. I needed a break from serious biography and the war-torn fantasy world of the Starks and dragons. The announcement that my local library was finally a member of an ebook consortium served as the perfect means for feeding my reading shift. While I carried around the biography and saw Clash of Kings sitting next to my reading chair, this week I returned to visit the Baxter family I grew to love a couple of years ago and read Karen Kingsbury’s In This Moment.

In This Moment features Luke Baxter as our hero, a lawyer specializing in religious freedom cases. When the principal of Hamilton High begins a voluntary after-school Bible study group, positive results are noticeable immediately. Attendance and test scores improve. Gang violence and other crime rates plummet to an all-time low. Hamilton High is no longer a hopeless void that is sitting on the verge of being shut down. More importantly, students’ lives are being changed as they come to know more about Jesus and begin a personal faith journey with their new-found Savior.

To celebrate the club’s first anniversary, the principal decides it is time to share the facts about the after school program with the parents of his students. Reaction is mixed, but it appears as though things will be fine for the school and its principal. All of that changes in a moment when a single father of one of the school’s students is furious over his daughter’s involvement. He blames Christianity for the failure of his marriage and his wife’s unfaithfulness, so he makes it his personal mission to destroy the faith — starting with the local after-school Bible study.

In This Moment is an excellent examination of religious freedom in the United States, the societal opinions about modern Christianity, and the courage required to stand firmly for your beliefs when faced with challenges that could result in the loss of your career, security, and everything you hold dear. In This Moment was a little more than just a great story for me. I found myself thinking about what I would do in a similar situation. Would I be willing to risk everything for the cause of Christ? This is a story that I won’t soon forget.

In the coming week, I plan to get back to Clash of Kings and Alan Walker’s Chopin biography (although I did manage to start reading Shonda Rhimes’ memoir Year of Yes and am fascinated with I’m seeing there). But this week, I took a detour and am very glad that I did!

For those who are following the statistics, here was the View From My Reading Chair for the week ending on January 26, 2019:

  • In This Moment (Karen Kingsbury) 254/254 – FINISHED! 192 pages this week
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The View from My Reading Chair (Jan 18)

The semester finally got under way this week. There has been a lot to do and I haven’t really felt as though I had lots of time to read. I do need to mention, however, that I am reading a LOT of Scripture at the moment. I decided to tackle the Horner reading system this year — 10 chapters each day. I’ve been at it for nearly a month and have completed the 10 chapters on most days….and really enjoying the process. That reading is not reflected here because I do not consider my daily reading of Scripture as “pleasure reading.”

Another change this week was the announcement that my local library finally joined the e-book consortium, so I can easily access digital books — and for me, those are always fluff reads — so I’ve added a third book to my routine late this week. Karen Kingsbury’s In These Moments has grabbed my heart from the outset, so I’ve devoted a little more reading time there in the past few days than I have my other books.

Enough explanations…..here’s the statistics from this week.

Clash of Kings (George R.R. Martin) 364/728 = 65 pages this week.

Fryderyk Chopin (Alan Walker) 381/671 = 40 pages this week.

In These Moments (Karen Kingsbury) 62/254 = 62 pages this week.

That brings my reading total for the week to 167 pages.

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The Weekly View from My Reading Chair (Jan 12)

Life has been incredibly busy this week. I traveled back to west Texas and had meetings and office work at the end of the week to prepare for the beginning of the Spring semester. Needless to say, I did not get a lot of reading done, so I can’t tell you much about my progress except where I am in the books. Hopefully next week will see me spending more time in my reading chair!

Clash of Kings (George R.R. Martin) – 299/728 pages (47 pages this week).

Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times (Alan Walker) – 341/671 pages (62 pages this week).

Total pages read this week: 109 pages (down 17 pages from last week).

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The Weekly View from My Reading Chair (Jan 4)

Happy New Year! I hope that 2019 has gotten off to a good start for you and that you are enjoying some great reads to start the year off right. Here’s how things are progressing here.

Clash of Kings (George R.R. Martin)The story has finally started to grab my imagination and I’ve found myself drawn into the pages. Even though this is a relatively quick read, I’ve not made as much progress as I would have liked because I’m absolutely ENTHRALLED by the Chopin biography. Current status: 252/728 pages (98 pages read this week.)

Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times (Alan Walker) – I cannot get enough of this book right now. I have always loved Chopin’s music and been interested in the Polish composer who found refuge in Paris, but this is the first time I am reading a thorough biography of the composer and his works. I find myself pausing at every turn to reflect and digest as much as I can. This leads to a slower reading pace, but I am thrilled with the experience and don’t want it to end any time soon.

Let me give you a sample of what I’m enjoying so much about Walker’s text. As an introduction to Chopin’s significant impact on piano repertoire, Walker provides the following commentary. I think you will see right away why I am really having a lot of fun with this well-written, insightful, and witty biography.

When Chopin arrived in the French capital, it was full of composer-pianists, each one vying with the others for a place of supremacy at the keyboard. ….. It did not take Chopin long to assess the situation in which he found himself, and he delivered an opinion from which he never wavered: “I really don’t know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or whether you can find anywhere more asses and virtuosos. Is there a difference?” (Alan Walker, Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times, 239-40.)

Yep….that’s the kind of commentary I need to keep my attention while helping me to connect and identify with the composer. Current status: 279/671 pages (126 pages read this week.)

For those of you who enjoy stats (I certainly do!), that’s 224 pages read this week and over 850 pages still to read in these massive tomes. I hope I can pick up the pace once I’m back in west Texas and my normal routine. If all goes as planned, I’ll begin my journey back to reality on Monday. Tune in next Friday to see how things turn out in my reading adventure.

Have a great week and enjoy your own reading view!

Kennith

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Reading Update – August 2, 2017

In an effort to make my posts on Reading for Me a bit more regular…..and to help me see what is happening between the actual review posts about each book…..I’ve decided to begin providing a weekly update about my reading when a new review is not ready for publication. In other words, when I haven’t finished reading a book within the week, I want to talk about what’s been going on and why the book isn’t getting read more quickly.

After finishing James Patterson’s Unlucky 13, I decided it was time to dive into something a little more intellectually stimulating and began working my way through Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. Shortly after getting started, I managed to sprain my ankle and have been hobbling around on crutches and a cane for most of the past week. Now, I can hear you asking what a sprained ankle has to do with my failure to read…..all I can say is that my brain must have moved to the little toe of my left foot this week! It was far easier to spend time with Hulu and Netflix while recovering than in deep thought trying to read Mbue’s novel. I am slowly making my way back to the book as my foot is finally getting better after a re-injury.

Let me tell you my thoughts about the book so far. Behold the Dreamers is the newest selection for Oprah’s Book Club and has received wonderful reviews from the New York Times. The story centers around two men — Jende and Clark — and their families. Set in New York City around the time of the Lehman Brothers’ 2008 collapse, Clark is a senior executive for the bank. Jende is a Cameroonian immigrant who works as Clark’s chauffeur in order to provide for his family. The story centers around how the lives of these two families intersect and how they have contrasting views of the American Dream, success, and family.

I’ve read just over half of the novel’s 382 pages so far. I’m finding it a challenging read thus far. Part of the issue is my lack of familiarity with the Lehman collapse and the economic principles at work. Additionally, the legal challenges facing the Cameroonian immigrants are fascinating and thought-provoking, given the current political climate. I’ve decided to savor the pages and allow myself to become engulfed in Jende’s experience that Mbue has written so beautifully. 

That’s where I am. I plan to have my final review of the book ready for your consideration next week. What’s up next? Back to James Patterson and 14th Deadly Sin…..I’m really ready to be current with the Women’s Murder Club books so I can move into something else.

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#17: 12th of Never (James Patterson)

I’m back to the Women’s Murder Club series and totally enjoyed this installment! The story moved quickly and smoothly — unlike the slow plod of the last few novels. 12th of Never gave me hope that the adventure that the series began with will make a return appearance.

The 12th episode of the series centers around a sleazy lawyer that Yuki is prosecuting for murdering his wife and young daughter. The trial scenes are nothing if not interesting. Claire is forced to take a leave of absence as coroner when one of the bodies under her watch mysteriously disappears. Lindsey and the SFPD are up to their eyebrows as they deal with convicted serial killers, NFL players, and a Stanford professor who seems to be vividly dreaming about murders hours before they actually occur. 

Additionally, our characters face personal crises. Cindy and her fiancé may call it quits because they cannot agree about the possibility of having children. Lindsey and Joe face uncertainty as their newborn daughter is inexplicably sick and everything seems to point to cancer. Yuki’s career may hang in the balance if she is unable to get a win in this highly publicized case.

12th of Never will keep the reader glued to the page and hoping for quick resolution. The book concludes with a cliff-hanger that will certainly be the source of much tension for our friends in the 13th novel of the series.

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#11: 10th Anniversary (James Patterson)

I’m continuing through James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series and have now read the tenth installment. Perhaps I was in a bad mood while reading this one or was still enjoying the success of 9th Judgment, but I REALLY did not enjoy this book at all.

As with the previous books in the series, several crime mysteries run simultaneously as we learn more about the four heroines’ personal lives. The crimes investigated this time include a baby-selling scheme, a rogue taxi driving rapist, and a renown heart surgeon on trial for the murder of her playboy husband. While all of this is going on, three of the leading ladies find love to one degree or another.

For this reader, all of the moving pieces made the reading tedious and lacked direction. It was only in the final 150 pages of the novel that things finally became interesting. If this had been the standard set in the earlier novels, I doubt I would have invested this much time into reading the series. Now, it’s a matter of principle! There are only 6 books currently remaining in the project. (However, if we know anything about Patterson, you can expect that there will be more to follow in the near future. A quick glance at his website does not reveal information about book 17 of the series at the time of this post.)

So once again I find myself needing to move away from these works and dive into something a little less predictable. What’s in my book stack at the moment? I just began two new books — Most Wanted (Lisa Scottoline) and Am I Alone Here? (Peter Orner). I’ll keep you posted on how those progress, but early indications are that the Scottoline is going to be another hit for this reader!

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