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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Interview with Craig Storti, Author of Why Travel Matters

I’m delighted to introduce you to Craig Storti and his thoughts on the powerful impact of travel. There is currently no book that explores the travel experience in such depth, makes such a strong case for travel, or offers a detailed guide for how to travel so the experience is truly life-changing for the traveler. Why Travel Matters is not about the trip but the consequences of the trip, about what actually happens to people when they travel. It explains why the individual who comes back from a journey is not the same one who set out—and why that’s important. Craig Storti infuses his own experiences traveling the world for 30+ years with quotations, insights, reflections, and commentary from famous travelers, great travel writers, historians and literary masters. Storti’s vast knowledge of the literature makes him an expert curator of astute gems from the likes of: St. Augustine, Mark Twain, Somerset Maugham, D. H. Lawrence, Bruce Chatwin, Aldous Huxley and more. Enjoy!

A Q&A with Craig Storti about Why Travel Matters: A Guide to the Life-Changing Effects of Travel

Why did you write this book?
I had to. Travel increases our understanding of our self and the world in ways no other human activity can. What could be more important than advancing such a noble cause? Continue reading Interview with Craig Storti, Author of Why Travel Matters

Book Review: Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson

I won this in the late Fall last year, and didn’t receive it until February. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it – then it suddenly arrived. Then it sat on my To Be Reviewed pile – because, again, forgotten…

I’m SO glad I picked it up – I read it in a marathon over a couple of days (I don’t get hours and hours at a time to read anymore, Life constantly interferes, so my marathons these days are longer than they used to be) and the creepy feeling of being watched never left me from the first pages to the last!

Carter Wilson has created a seriously creepy tale of paranoia, fear, love, trust, and twisted emotion that was a marvelous read full of spiderweb corners and pictures with eyes that follow you around the room. Continue reading Book Review: Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson

Book(s) Review(s): Hollow Man and Dominic by Mark Pryor

You’re in for a treat today – two books in a brilliant new-ish series from one of my favorite authors, the exceptionally talented Mark Pryor. I’ve read every book in his Hugo Marston series – it’s a marvelous mystery series featuring an ex-pat former CIA agent who is now living in Paris as the head of security for the American Embassy. The books are populated by a marvelously original cast of characters, the writing is fantastic (as is the pacing), and the story lines are all unique and can be read as stand-alone mysteries but there is a delicious build based on Hugo’s backstory that is finally (as of the latest, book 7) coming to a head and promises great things when it eventually erupts over the edges of everything and everyone…

But enough of that. This is about ANOTHER great Pryor series: The Hollow Man books.

The first, Hollow Man, introduces Dominic – a lawyer, Englishman-living-in-Texas, musician. Who also happens to be a psychopath. Seriously. Imagine Dexter but with lawyers. Then throw out that mental picture. Dominic is infinitely more complex and fascinating than any psychopath I’ve come across in fiction (and, odd though it is to realize this, there have been a lot of them, especially lately!) and because Pryor’s writing won’t leave you any room for comparisons – you’ll be too busy catching your breath at the casual reveals that are tossed out, Usual Suspects-style, at the most unsuspecting and innocent-seeming moments throughout the story… Continue reading Book(s) Review(s): Hollow Man and Dominic by Mark Pryor

Guest Book Review: In the Rearview Mirror by Lee Livingston

Another guest review today, courtesy of Sharon. It’s a quick read, but with a big concept. “A best friend in high school is a friend for life, except when he shoots himself at twenty-nine.” So reads the first line of Lee Livingston’s newly re-mastered memoir, In The Rearview Mirror. Despite the ominous overtones, it’s a touching and inspiring look back at our country, before the deaths of John. F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., before the Vietnam War. In his own words, Livingston says he and his friend were just “two carefree 18-year-olds hitchhiked across a country of wide-open highways and wide-open people.” Times may not have been simpler, but they were a whole lot more free. And the human experience is never quite so simple. It’s an adventure out of adolescence and into the beginning of responsibility, and a moving read.

I was very curious when I read the blurb, and the opening line is so moving and intriguing that it is hard to imagine not wanting to dive right in. Despite my initial interest though, this book did not hold me riveted as some do. Continue reading Guest Book Review: In the Rearview Mirror by Lee Livingston

Book Review: Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

I must confess, this was the book in the trilogy that I least enjoyed… It felt like a political manifesto as much as (rather than?) than the conclusion to the series. The parts that focused on the continuation of the existing relationships (between Terrans and Ekt, between Eva and Vincent, between Rose and Vincent), and on the establishment of new characters/relationships and bits of fill-in backstory that fleshed out what has been happening to Rose et al. since the end of Book Two were very well done and very engaging. But there was A LOT of “this is what’s wrong with the world” played out in the interstices – and those interstices often resembled canyons or trenches (ala Marianas) more than anything actually interstitial…

I understand and appreciate what Neuvel was doing with this book, and how the terrapolitical and geopolitical expositions played into the overarching story. I just felt at times like I was reading an indictment of contemporary political thought and global activity – a philosophical treatise, almost – rather than a scifi novel. That’s fine, but it made the pacing uneven for me and slowed things down a lot. I found myself skimming at times in the middle – and honestly, don’t feel like I missed anything by doing so. Still, the trilogy as a whole was a vastly entertaining enterprise and very original and well plotted and well characterized. I’m just glad it started with the first book – which was five stars all the way for me – because if it had opened with a focus akin to this final book, I probably wouldn’t have made it all the way through…

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.



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