The Silver Linings Playbook; Matthew Quick

An unlikely love story centered around mental illness and Philadelphia Eagles football.  Great book – read it in 24 hours.  I saw the movie several years ago and liked it – but as is usually the case the book is much better.  Actually – we watched the movie again this week as we both read the novel and loved it and was quite suprised how different the movie is from the book in several important ways.  In any case… great book.

PJH Rating: ****1/2

A Blue Spool of Thread; Anne Tyler

Tale of family in Baltimore whose matriarch is in early stage of dementia.  The novel goes back and forth between three generations.  A typical Anne Tyler novel, but definately not one of her best in my opinion.  I think she needed a better editor – especially the sections going back to the 1940s towards the end.  yawner.  This was the first book I ever listened all the way through “on tape” in the car – actually on Overdrive on an iPad.  We listened to it 15 hours out of our recent 17 hour straight drive from FLA.  Painful – but doable.  It took us another week and a half listening driving to and from work.  Maybe that influenced my opinion… but I doubt it.

Anne Tyler is definately one of my favorite authors and I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of her novels.  Anne Tyler trivia: she is now 73 years old; Her first novel was published in 1963; she has published 20 novels; She won the Pulitzer for Breathing Lessons in 1988 (so good); She doesn’t do book tours or interviews.

PJH Rating: ***1/2

Shotgun Lovesongs; Nickolas Butler

Enjoyable read about a group of friends who grew up in a small mill town in Wisconsin in the 1970s and 1980s.  One is a farmer who still lives in the town, one became a world famous rock star, one became a trader in Chicago.  Told from different point of views I thought it was well written and a nice story about friendship and love.

PJH rating: ****1/2

The Invention of Wings; Sue Monk Kidd

Historical fiction novel about two sisters who grew up in a slave owning Charleston family in the early 1800’s and eventually became abolitionists in the North.  The novel goes back and forth between the point of view of the older sister, Sarah Grimke, and the slave, Hetty, that was given to Sarah as her personal slave on her 11th birthday.  Enjoyable book to read that I would recommend, yet another awful example of the history of our country.

PJH rating: ****