Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Summer Reading: What’s In Your Tote?

 

I just finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I picked it up for 50 cents this past spring at our local library sale. The movie, touted a “chick flick,” is no comparison to this fascinating book.

Frances Mayes is an extraordinary writer because she writes what she thinks and sees – no filters. You can see, taste, and smell the Italian countryside, and many times cringe, with what it’s like to rescue a 300-year-old piece of abandoned foreign history, and rescue a life. Her love of cooking and great recipes make you want to run to the nearest farmer’s market for fresh peaches, crisp fragrant herbs like basil scattered across mozzarella and drizzled with oil from just pressed olives, and roasted hazelnuts.

While she reveals parts of herself throughout, it’s not until toward the end that her Southern roots start oozing from her pores, setting you up for her openness of growing up in the South, called Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. Just browsing the pages, it appears a brutally honest, funny and soul-searing experience, next on my reading list.

She writes from Italy:

I love the heat. I see a shriveled, pasty man who clearly is dying. He has been propped up in the doorway with the sun fully on him, his last chance for revival. His wife sits beside him and appears to be waiting. She’s his guard for his trip to the underworld. His life force siphoning off; the great solar energy coming at him, filling him up.

A woman of about sixty with her daughter and the teenage granddaughter pass by us, strolling with their arms linked, sun upon their vibrant faces, so beautiful. They look as though they should be immortalized on a Roman coin. In San Francisco, everyone seems to have cracked the door two inches to see who’s there. I see you through my two inches; you see me through yours. We are monumentally self-reliant.

I’m also re-reading Father Elijah by Michael O’Brien. This is, I think, my third read, but “the times we are a-livin’ in” demand this book be re-read. Penned 22 years ago, I don’t think there’s a more prophetic novel in print to this day.

I love spy books, preferably non-fiction. Any recommendations? A Secret Life by Benjamin Weiser was one of the best books I’ve ever read, about a Polish officer entrenched in the Soviet system, who uncovered a massive plot by Russia to overtake Western Europe in the 1980s. Polish officer Kuklinski spied for the United States for 10 years. It is a riveting, dangerous and humbling example of a human soul who gave all for the cause of freedom – in his case, for Poland, but ultimately, to the world.

My sister told me she spent Memorial Day weekend at her friend’s farm and they stumbled into a local library sale. For a mere five dollars, you got a tote and were encouraged to fill it – with proceeds to build a new library. My sister bought two totes, and when she got to the counter, the woman said,”You could add these into your tote, no extra charge.” My sister said, “Lady, you have no idea, I have books here for ‘a mother-in-law’ that’s not even mine (note: she’s mine) who loves to read, and others. Please take the extra money, build the new library — promote reading!” She picked up a few gems for me … I can’t wait.

I’m anxious to read some of the old mysteries that grace my own bookshelves. I look forward to reading Brett Baier’s new book, Three Days in Moscow. I want to know more about the power that held back evil and allows freedom and democracy to thrive because I believe it is and will always be challenged.

My love of books, old or new, is really a passion. When my sister came to visit last October, she grabbed from my shelves at random, an old, tattered hardback from 1959 called Station Wagon in Spain by Frances Parkinson Keyes. I must like authors named Frances. It sat and I never read it. She took it to the beach – a murder mystery, finishing it in seven days and loved it.

When she left, I read it and found sand between the pages and a bright yellow bookmark, really a fortune from Zoltar, the moving gypsy behind glass that runs a creepy finger over a deck of cards and spits out your future for a dollar at a local beach shop. She told my sister to watch her mouth – hah, hah!

While reading it, I felt like she was still here with me, a crazy madcap adventure on creased, weathered pages, like many of which we have shared, some that were life-changing – the power of the printed word. I xeroxed the vintage cover of Station Wagon in Spain and wrapped a bag of Mexican hot cocoa with the copied page (you’d have to read it….) as part of a Christmas gift.

A good book is a wonderful journey – what are you reading this summer?

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  1. LC Member
    LCJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I will forever be reading a book in the Malazan world. 

    • #1
    • June 3, 2018, at 9:37 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    “The Other Woman”, new from Daniel Silva in his thriller series starring Gabriel Allon.

    “An Irish Country Practice”, by Patrick Taylor, latest in his series of Irish Country novels about a rural GP in Northern Ireland. These are not well-known, just absolutely delightful.

    Both are set to be released this summer, so until they arrive I’ll be finishing Joseph Cox’s “City on the Heights” which I had @susanquinn buy for me at his book-signing, and getting into “The Perfectionists” by Simon Winchester.

    • #2
    • June 3, 2018, at 10:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Richard Easton Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    “The Other Woman”, new from Daniel Silva in his thriller series starring Gabriel Allon.

    “An Irish Country Practice”, by Patrick Taylor, latest in his series of Irish Country novels about a rural GP in Northern Ireland. These are not well-known, just absolutely delightful.

    Both are set to be released this summer, so until they arrive I’ll be finishing Joseph Cox’s “City on the Heights” which I had @susanquinn buy for me at his book-signing, and getting into “The Perfectionists” by Simon Winchester.

    @rushbabe49

    You may find my review of Winchester’s book of interest.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RYT8V9Z4ZG30N/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07B6GCRZ6

    • #3
    • June 3, 2018, at 10:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. JustmeinAZ Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    “The Other Woman”, new from Daniel Silva in his thriller series starring Gabriel Allon.

    Oooh! I didn’t know there was a new one. Probably because neither library I use has it yet. I love these books as audio books and I refuse to pay to buy them. Can’t wait til it’s out!

    I read the first three of the Irish Country Doctor but got a little tired of them. Have you read the Mitford books by Jan Karon? I just love them.

    I read almost exclusively fiction and have been enjoying the latest releases by some of my favorite authors: John Sandford (Lucas Davenport & Virgil Flowers), Elizabeth George (Thomas Lynley), Martha Grimes (Richard Jury).

     

    • #4
    • June 3, 2018, at 10:46 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I am reading a novel of St. Benedict by Louis de WohlCitadel of God right now. Although set in the 4th century, it feels very topical. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the need for renewal in the Benedictine model.

    I have promised to catch up on my Brandon Sanderson books after I am done with school, but he writes seemingly faster than I can read…

    I also hope to read some good biographies or maybe some re-read some Churchill over the summer.

    • #5
    • June 4, 2018, at 11:18 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    “The Other Woman”, new from Daniel Silva in his thriller series starring Gabriel Allon.

    “An Irish Country Practice”, by Patrick Taylor, latest in his series of Irish Country novels about a rural GP in Northern Ireland. These are not well-known, just absolutely delightful.

    Both are set to be released this summer, so until they arrive I’ll be finishing Joseph Cox’s “City on the Heights” which I had @susanquinn buy for me at his book-signing, and getting into “The Perfectionists” by Simon Winchester.

    @rushbabe49

    You may find my review of Winchester’s book of interest.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RYT8V9Z4ZG30N/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07B6GCRZ6

    That is a fascinating review Richard which goes to show, you better have the facts straight!

    • #6
    • June 4, 2018, at 11:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    “The Other Woman”, new from Daniel Silva in his thriller series starring Gabriel Allon.

    Oooh! I didn’t know there was a new one. Probably because neither library I use has it yet. I love these books as audio books and I refuse to pay to buy them. Can’t wait til it’s out!

    I read the first three of the Irish Country Doctor but got a little tired of them. Have you read the Mitford books by Jan Karon? I just love them.

    I read almost exclusively fiction and have been enjoying the latest releases by some of my favorite authors: John Sandford (Lucas Davenport & Virgil Flowers), Elizabeth George (Thomas Lynley), Martha Grimes (Richard Jury).

    Interesting! I’ve not read Daniel Silva but I see his books in several of my clients’ homes.

     

    • #7
    • June 4, 2018, at 11:28 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    LC (View Comment):

    I will forever be reading a book in the Malazan world.

    Can you elaborate LC? I’m not familiar..

    • #8
    • June 4, 2018, at 11:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    @richardeaston, I did read your review, and that’s one reason I bought the book. I also loved Krakatoa, which is pretty topical right now!

    • #9
    • June 4, 2018, at 11:43 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Richard Easton Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    @richardeaston, I did read your review, and that’s one reason I bought the book. I also loved Krakatoa, which is pretty topical right now!

    Most of the time I cringe when I read articles or books about GPS. They get so much wrong; I worry how much nonsense I’m reading and accepting because I don’t know better. Winchester’s book covers a lot of ground and mistakes are inevitable. But it does seem like even books published by the big five have had little fact checking done.

    I’m working on an article showing that GPS has always been a dual military-civilian system and hope to get it published in the next month. Quite a few articles have been published recently asserting that Reagan opened GPS to civilian use after KAL007 was shot down. It’s not true, but they don’t know better. Steven Johnson gave a ridiculous TED talk on the subject. My book has sold its thousand and his book has sold its hundred thousand plus. But I’m not bitter. 😀

    • #10
    • June 4, 2018, at 12:07 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. OldPhil Coolidge

    Well it’s not summer yet, but I’ve been bingeing on John Sandford’s “…Prey” series featuring Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport. I’m pretty much a history/biography reader, but I started the series and just can’t stop.

    • #11
    • June 4, 2018, at 12:26 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. EB Thatcher

    On a recommendation from a Ricochet member, I am reading the Royal Cinnabar Navy series. Great adventures with two very likable (and different) characters: Lt. Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy. Highly recommend!

    {Edit} Star ships, not ocean ships.

    • #12
    • June 4, 2018, at 2:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. JustmeinAZ Member

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    Interesting! I’ve not read Daniel Silva but I see his books in several of my clients’ homes.

    Be sure to read them in chronological order. He also has a stand alone book – The Unlikely Spy – which is also very good.

     

    • #13
    • June 4, 2018, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. JustmeinAZ Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Well it’s not summer yet, but I’ve been bingeing on John Sandford’s “…Prey” series featuring Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport. I’m pretty much a history/biography reader, but I started the series and just can’t stop.

    Sandford is one author whose writing has not deteriorated over the years. He still tells a good story. Be sure to read his other character also – Virgil Flowers. They do not have “prey” in the title.

     

    • #14
    • June 4, 2018, at 2:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. OldPhil Coolidge

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Well it’s not summer yet, but I’ve been bingeing on John Sandford’s “…Prey” series featuring Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport. I’m pretty much a history/biography reader, but I started the series and just can’t stop.

    Sandford is one author whose writing has not deteriorated over the years. He still tells a good story. Be sure to read his other character also – Virgil Flowers. They do not have “prey” in the title.

    Flowers is in some of the Prey books. He’s always referred to by the other characters as “that ******’ Flowers.”

    • #15
    • June 4, 2018, at 3:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Hoyacon Member

    I’m going with the never-before-read Sue Grafton, in alphabetical order of course. RIP.

    • #16
    • June 4, 2018, at 6:28 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. El Colonel Contributor

    I will provide a summer read in serial on these pages: “Acadia.” It is about a white bear loose in Acadia National Park. A newlywed couple, camping in the park, stumble upon this animal. It charges. The woman escapes but the man? A thunderstorm washes away any evidence and a search for the “missing man” begins. The story of the bear and the missing man soon attracts the 24 hour media and within days becomes a national obsession. Local politicians hate the bad publicity and the partial closing of the park; they lobby the feds to have the bear hunted down and destroyed. Soon environmental groups and local Indians come to the defense of the bear. The head ranger and local sheriff team up to manage the chaos. Hilarity ensues.

    • #17
    • June 5, 2018, at 11:57 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western ChauvinistJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m in the third book of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. My first go ’round with the books and loving it after taking a class from Professor Pearson on the “fundamentally religious and Catholic” nature of the epic. And, btw, the movies hew very close to the story. Hat tip to Peter Jackson and crew.

    Also, PBXVI’s Jesus of Nazareth and, with our family book club, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Beautiful writing in both cases. 

    My backlog is ridiculous and I keep adding to it. Recent additions: Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules, Andrew Klavan’s The Great Good Thing, and Dennis Prager’s exegesis on Exodus in his (forthcoming) Rational Bible series. 

    I have to cover my eyes as I walk by the bookshelves, or I impulsively grab another book “I’ve been meaning to read.” Sad. I don’t think this is a summer project. 

     

    • #18
    • June 5, 2018, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  19. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Tolkien was VERY popular when I was in college in the early 70s, so I never read any. About three years ago, after having seen the first movie, I started reading the books, and now I have read everything he wrote. They are just wonderful, and once you start you can’t stop. I totally agree about how faithful the movies were to the books, and I thought they were cast very well. You know, I got into Harry Potter that way, too. Saw the first movie, then devoured the books.

    • #19
    • June 5, 2018, at 5:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Dr.Guido Member

    Oh…that Tuscan sun! As an Italophile friend of mine said so well: ‘I miss Italy like it’s a person’. I love all of Italy but Toscana….Toscana!!—it’s absolutely a tactile sense when I’m there. Even though my family roots are in Bologna and Sicily, when I’m in Tuscany I know I belong…I know I’m where I’m supposed to be!  From La Pergola in Radicondoli watching the sun settle into the western hills to Siena and Monteriggioni and Poggibonsi and over to Panzano and up to Firenze and Fiesole—- it makes me stop complaining. I cannot be lost in any normal sense of the word when I’m there because one cannot be lost where one must be….It simply smells and tastes and feels better than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

    (And, the book is a 10+ and the movie is a 2-2.5 at best and a near zero if you exclude the photography and Diane Lane.)

    • #20
    • June 5, 2018, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I’m in the third book of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. My first go ’round with the books and loving it after taking a class from Professor Pearson on the “fundamentally religious and Catholic” nature of the epic. And, btw, the movies hew very close to the story. Hat tip to Peter Jackson and crew.

    Also, PBXVI’s Jesus of Nazareth and, with our family book club, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Beautiful writing in both cases.

    My backlog is ridiculous and I keep adding to it. Recent additions: Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules, Andrew Klavan’s The Great Good Thing, and Dennis Prager’s exegesis on Exodus in his (forthcoming) Rational Bible series.

    I have to cover my eyes as I walk by the bookshelves, or I impulsively grab another book “I’ve been meaning to read.” Sad. I don’t think this is a summer project.

    You may have to start several at once – I usually read three at a time for the reason you state – my husband thinks I’m nuts. Under Magnolia is so good I was reading it while cooking – 

     

    • #21
    • June 5, 2018, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I cannot remain silent.

    Peter Jackson utterly undermined Aragorn by making him fear his crown.

    No way. Since he was 20, Aragorn has been aiming at his seemingly hopeless goal, but never does he lose hope.

    And never is Arwen leaving Middle Earth!

    I could forgive Jackson these crimes if he did not enjoy shattering Gandalf’s staff so much. Yes, the scenes with the Balrog rock, but when the Nazgul appears Jackson has him cringe and be shattered. In fact, there is no fear from Gandalf and his staff never stinking breaks. Never.

    Instead there are horns, horns, horns. Rohan had come at last!

    • #22
    • June 5, 2018, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. barbara lydick Inactive

    I’m in the middle of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Beautifully written, it takes place just after the October Revolution. Even though I’m a couple hundred pages in, I hesitate to make any attempt at a review. Has anyone else read it?

    • #23
    • June 5, 2018, at 6:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Ekosj Member

    Currently reading:

    The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan(1899), by Winston Churchill, concerning his experiences as a young British Army officer, during the Mahdist War (1881–99) in the Sudan. Its the story of the West’s first attempt to deal with an ISIS-like opponent. Churchill was an amazing writer!

    • #24
    • June 5, 2018, at 7:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. LC Member
    LCJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    LC (View Comment):

    I will forever be reading a book in the Malazan world.

    Can you elaborate LC? I’m not familiar..

    It’s a high fantasy world written by Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont. They have written many books and they are very productive writers. I’ve spent the past several years trying to read all of them. I’m in the middle of a trilogy right now.

    • #25
    • June 5, 2018, at 7:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    I’m in the middle of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Beautifully written, it takes place just after the October Revolution. Even though I’m a couple hundred pages in, I hesitate to make any attempt at a review. Has anyone else read it?

    Yes. Yes yes yes. Loved this book. I wept several times as I read it, and laughed many times as well. Simply beautiful.

    • #26
    • June 6, 2018, at 12:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Concretevol Thatcher

    I usually have a couple going. Right now its Suicide of the West (serious reading) and Seveneves (sci-fi novel on the tablet)

    • #27
    • June 6, 2018, at 6:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Tori Member

    barbara lydick (View Comment):

    I’m in the middle of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Beautifully written, it takes place just after the October Revolution. Even though I’m a couple hundred pages in, I hesitate to make any attempt at a review. Has anyone else read it?

    I have read it and it is one of my favorite books. Didn’t want it to end. Still looking for another like it.

    • #28
    • June 6, 2018, at 3:07 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Tori Member

    Absolutely loved A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

     

    • #29
    • June 6, 2018, at 3:08 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Stina Member

    I’m currently reading Mohammad and Charlemagne by Henri Pirenne with a chaser of the Revisited of the same.

    I just finished reading two really great fiction books. The first was The Nightengale, a fictional composite based on multiple first hand accounts of women during WWII. It took place during German occupied France and follows two sisters through their means of “fighting” the Germans.

    The other was The Timekeeper, Father Time who has been punished for his invention of the clock until he understands time. To redeem himself, he is sent to help two people and teach them what he has learned.

    Really great books.

    I have a huge back leg and a competition to read the most books with my son. I’m currently losing.

    • #30
    • June 6, 2018, at 4:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes

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