Thrills, chills, travels abroad and book sellers entertain

By Lynda Rego
Posted 1/30/19

Colder weather brought indoor reading again. It’s not the same as reading outdoors overlooking the garden, but it has its own charms. Now, I curl up (usually with a cat on my lap) with a cup of …

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Thrills, chills, travels abroad and book sellers entertain

Posted

lrego@eastbaymediagroup.com

Colder weather brought indoor reading again. It’s not the same as reading outdoors overlooking the garden, but it has its own charms. Now, I curl up (usually with a cat on my lap) with a cup of tea and try for a couple of hours at a time. So many books, too little time!
“NOS4A2” (2013) by Joe Hill. As most of you probably know, a TV version of Hill’s book has been filming in Warren for a series on AMC that will air in 2019. Rumors are that it’s about vampires. It’s not. (But, the villain of this supernatural thriller does suck the life out of children, and he has NOS4A2 on the license plate of his 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith). The book is pretty gory and frightening. But, Hill has the same talent as his father, Stephen King, to create memorable characters you root for.
Vic McQueen has a gift that allows her to find lost objects. As a young girl, she rides her bike across a local covered bridge and comes out on the other side wherever the lost item is … even after the bridge has been demolished! It’s her “inscape.” Charles Manx, the Rolls Royce owner, has the same ability, but his inscape is Christmasland, an unholy amusement park where he takes the children he steals. Vic tangled with him and escaped. Now she’s an adult with her own son and has put her abilities behind her. But, when Manx steals her son, Vic is the only one who can stop him and save the children.
“I Know You Know” (2018) by Gilly MacMillan is a murder mystery set in Bristol, England. Twenty years ago, 11-year-old Cody Swift’s best friends were murdered and their bodies left near a dog racing track near the housing project where they lived. A local man was found guilty, but there were questions. Now, Cody has decided to get at the truth. He starts a podcast and begins to dig up everything he can from that time. Construction near the site of the boys’ deaths has unearthed a corpse, someone who disappeared at the same time as the murders.
So, the police are revisiting their files. The story alternates between the past and present, and introduces the victim’s families, the police involved, the man found guilty, witnesses and more. It’s very cleverly told and has some great twists and turns. I found the invasion of privacy caused by the podcast really upsetting. Justice is important, but I had great sympathy for loved ones having to dredge up unpleasant memories.
“The Little Paris Bookshop” (2015 in the U.S.) by Nina George. This charming, and sometimes heartbreaking, book takes the reader on a trip along the rivers of France from Paris to Avignon. Ms. George invokes all the colors, scents, flavors and flowers, vineyards and fruits of the French countryside. Jean Perdu owns a bookselling barge in Paris and calls himself a literary apothecary. He “prescribes” books for his customers, intuiting just what they need. But, what does Jean need?
When a new woman moves into his apartment house after a failed marriage, the landlady asks him to give her some furniture. This causes Jean to open a room that’s been closed for 21 years. It also reopens his heart to an old loss. He will head off on his barge on a quest to discover how to grieve and how to live again. Ms. George said: “We are all traveling on an invisible literary riverboat, one that carries us down the stream of life. It shapes, holds and comforts us.” And, there’s a Literary Pharmacy at the end with book suggestions “to be taken in easily digestible doses.”
“The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” (2015) by Katarina Bivald. Sara Lindqvist lives in Sweden and meets Amy Harris of Broken Wheel, Iowa, when they exchange books through the mail. Over two years, they become friends through letters, and Sara learns a lot about Broken Wheel and its inhabitants. When she loses her job at a bookstore, she agrees to visit Amy for a couple of months. They will talk about books and Sara will see all the places and people Amy has written about. But, things don’t go quite as planned. And, Sara will have to leave the world of books she has inhabited for most of her life and begin to live in the real world, with real people.
The author says it’s about a “book nerd finding comfort and friendship and realizing there might be some things that are better in real life than in books.” Book lovers will love this book. (I even picked up a few new authors). Sara opens a bookshop in the dying town and tries to get the residents interested in books by labeling them a little differently than your local Barnes & Noble. For instance, “Happy Endings Where You Find Them” and “Sex, Violence and Weapons” for the adventure type books she thinks men would like. This book has a lot of humor and heart and it’s fun being able to name the books Sara mentions characters from.
“The Luster of Lost Things” (2017) by Sophie Chen Keller. I loved this delightful book. Walter Lavender and his mother Lucy live above their bakery, The Lavenders, in New York City. It’s where Lucy makes magical pastries, such as angel food cakes that float. Walter has a childhood disorder that blocks the signals from his brain to his vocal cords, so he doesn’t speak much, but loves helping his mother in the bakery before and after school. His father, a pilot, was lost on a flight, and Walter keeps a light burning in the window to help him find his way home.
When the bakery’s magic disappears with a special book they kept in the bakery, they could lose their lease, putting their home in jeopardy. Walter, who is a master at finding lost things, sets out on a quest to find it. This is Keller’s first book and it’s a whimsical joy to read and an uplifting story about the wonder of life and finding what you need. I can hardly wait to see what else she will write.
Visit Lynda Rego on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lynda.rego where she shares tips on cooking, books, gardening, genealogy and other topics. Click on Like and share ideas for upcoming stories.

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