Jan 31, 2013

Booking Through Thursday: On Lending Books

Do you lend your books? Are any out on loan right now? Do you have any that have been loaned to you? Do you put a time limit on these? Do you think people should make an effort to read the loaned book quickly?
We have such a good library system here that I rarely need to lend out my books. I give away some of my books to friends and relatives, but have never been asked for a book loan. Nor have I asked anyone to lend me a book.

I went to a popular branch library yesterday and saw an interesting sign above two large wooden boxes full of donated books. The sign read: NO DONATIONS (until further notice). That gives you a good idea about readers in my city. The library doesn't have the staff to process the book donations quickly enough. They hope future donations will go to another less read branch.

There are also regular book sales at a special library center close by, with very good prices. Some of the books have been read only once.

I plan to take bundles of guitar magazines my sons no longer want to the sale center. To make way for my books, of course.

What about you? Do you loan to friends or borrow books from friends?

Join in BTT here.

Jan 29, 2013

Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB; choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify author and title for readers. 

First Chapter,  First Paragraph is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea.

My teaser this week is from Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman
Published September 22, 2012 by Arrow Books

Genre: contemporary British fiction

Dearest Rose, Our meeting, though brief, has stayed with me and I wanted to write and thank you for your  hospitality when I came to see you a few days ago. You didn't have to be so kind to a stranger turning up, unannounced, but you were and I am so grateful. Although you were not able to help me find the painting, everything you told me about your father was both fascinating and heartbreaking. Why is it, I wonder, that artists are so often capable of creating such beauty whilst doing such harm to themselves and others? I hope that one day you will perhaps be able to reconcile with him and find the answers to all of our questions.
Publisher's description: When Rose Pritchard turns up on the doorstep of a Cumbrian B&B it is her last resort. She and her seven-year-old daughter Maddie have left everything behind. And they have come to the village of Millthwaite in search of the person who once offered Rose hope.

Almost immediately Rose wonders if she's made a terrible mistake - if she's chasing a dream - but she knows in her heart that she cannot go back. She's been given a second chance - at life, and love - but will she have the courage to take it?

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Jan 28, 2013

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

It's Monday: What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Join in with your weekly reads.

Dancing to the Flute, Atria Books, 2013
A Tainted Dawn: The Great War, Fireship Press, 2012
Perfect Hatred, Soho Crime, 2013

What's on your reading shelf this week?

Jan 27, 2013

Sunday Salon: A Book Winner!

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

I have changed my blog URL/address to fit the title of my blog. Book Dilettante's URL is now http://bookdilettante.blogspot.com (and no longer bookbirddog.blogspot.com). I'm happy those of you reading this have found your way here to the new address!

Congrats to Staci of Life in the Thumb for winning The Woman From Paris giveaway contest! It's a great book and I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Today it's 14 degrees outside and so I may stay in though there is some sunlight coming through a thin cloud layer that makes the day pretty bright. Bright! I always love that.

I have several books I'm reading right now: The Blood Gospel: Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, a spirited collaboration by two mystery/thriller writers;
The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin; Perfect Hatred by Leighton Gage; and a few on Kindle, including A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellman, and several light mystery novels. 

My next book tour is Feb. 1 with the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, reviewing A Tainted Dawn: The Great War by B.N. Peacock. So I'll be reading this very soon!

What have you been reading/doing this past week?

Jan 24, 2013

Book Review: The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas

Title: The Midwife's Tale: A Novel by Sam Thomas
Published January 8, 2013; Minotaur Books
Genre: historical fiction set in the 17th century

An English gentlewoman (well born) in 1644, Bridget Hodgson is a midwife in York, helping pregnant women during delivery and helping to ensure their infants survive.
All the women of York called on me when they were in need. I eased new mothers' fears when they became pregnant, swearing to them that with God's help I would deliver them safely.... As a midwife, I helped the women when I could and comforted them when I could not. (ch. 18, from an advance reading copy; final copy may differ.)  
Bridget, as a conscientious midwife, follows the laws strictly, no matter how harsh.
I ensured that men who fathered bastards had to pay for their children and that the women who bore them were whipped....Without midwives, lust would reign, and order would turn to chaos. (ch. 18)  
Over the course of the novel,  Bridget seems to mellow and become a little less arrogant, thanks in part to her new deputy, Martha, a woman she hires to help her.

In the mystery novel, Bridget and Martha risk their lives many times over to find the person who killed Stephen Cooper, a man involved in politics who was poisoned in his home. His wife Esther, Bridget's friend, has been jailed and charged with his murder. Bridget believes in her friend's innocence and uses all her influence to probe into the case and help free her friend.

Martha has some mysterious secrets of her own, including a soldier from her past who tries to kill both her and the midwife.

The historical setting is the conflict between the Royalists, supporters of the King, and the rebels, members of Parliament whose armies have surrounded the city of York in 1644. The murdered Stephen Cooper, may have been killed for being sympathetic to the rebels, or he could have been killed for much more domestic reasons.

The book seems true to history and as such is a bit heavy and depressing at times. The condition of women and those belonging to the underclass, the violence, poverty, prejudices and superstitions of the time. Women could be burned at the stake for treason or murder instead of hanged.

I think this is another valuable addition to the list of historical novels that illuminate the past and help us to understand it. It has an excellent character in the midwife and a very good mystery plot.

Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy and published articles on topics from early modern Britain to colonial Africa.

Connect with Sam Thomas:  WEBSITE | TWITTER | BLOG

For other reviews of the book, visit the Tour schedule hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Thanks to the tour for an ARC review copy of the book.

Jan 22, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Three Good Things by Wendy Francis

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB; choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify author and title for readers.  

A fresh cup of coffee in hand, she went out back to check the kringle and was greeted by the sweet scent of apple mingling with blueberry. She pulled the piping hot pastries from the oven and set them on a cooling rack. 
"Perfect," she announced to no one in particular. (ch. 1) 
Title: Three Good Things: A Novel by Wendy Francis
Published January 1, 2013; Simon & Schuster paperback
Genre: contemporary fiction

Publisher's description: "Ellen McClarety, a recent divorcée, has opened a new bake shop in her small Midwestern town, dedicating herself to the traditional Danish pastry called kringle.

Ellen and her younger sister, Lanie, a successful divorce attorney, both long for the guidance of their deceased mother, who left them with this advice: 'At the end of every day, you can always think of three good things that happened.' Ellen and Lanie are close as sisters, until one begins keeping a secret that could change their lives."

What do you think of the teaser? Does it pique your interest in the book? The book description got me curious about what the "secret" is.

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro. Intellect having "heart" Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of suc...