Monday, March 2, 2015

Good Books I Read In 2014 ~ Part 2. And A Short Update.

After driving to L.A. last Wednesday, I drove down the mountain to Bakersfield on Thursday for a medical checkup. I got very emotional as I came out of the radiology lab, saw the empty Jeep, where hubby always was waiting for me before. A beautiful drive though, through the mountain pass. 

The good news about my husband is that he is now maintaining a normal blood pressure without medication. The rest is about the same; he's been moved to the ICU in the liver specialty suite. He's still not awake. I get very frightened when I think about how long this has gone on - since Valentines's day. So I'm not doing so well today. 

Until I can come up with a new post (and catch up on yours), let me share this old draft with you. It's part two of the good books I read in 2014. I hope you enjoy it:

I know this much is true, by Wally Lamb

I love Wally Lamb's humanity and the poignant books he writes. This book tells a pretty disturbing story of the lives of twin boys, one who later becomes a paranoid schizophrenic. His brother, Dominick, narrates the book and touches your heart as he feels the burden of caring for his brother. There's a book within this book, a forgotten manuscript written by the boys' Italian immigrant grandfather. It becomes a big part of the story, as Dominick, the healthy twin, studies it in an attempt to learn more about his family's history.

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

After I finished The Goldfinch, I decided to read The Secret History, Donna Tartt's first novel. I soon realized that I had read it, I guess when it was first published in the 1990s. Even though the characters in this book are just as psychologically damaged (worse, actually) as the ones in The Goldfinch, they are without the whiny self-pity I so didn't like in that book. Instead, I enjoyed this tightly wound mystery a lot.
Clara and Mr Tiffany, by Susan Vreeland 

The story of Clara Driscoll, a professional woman in the late 1800s, who is also an artist. As the head of the women's division at Tiffany's New York studio, Clara conceives of, and designs most of the leaded-glass lamps that became the iconic signature for which Tiffany Studio is still remembered. Clara is never recognized for her artistic contributions and, since Mr. Tiffany does not employ married women, Clara must eventually make a difficult decision. 

I found this to be a very interesting book about the life and struggles of a professional woman a little over 100 years ago. As talented as she was, both as a manager and an artist, Clara had few options. It brought to mind how much we take for granted today.

Children's and YA Books of 2014

The Fault in our Stars, by John Green

A book about teenagers with cancer that somehow helped me deal better with my husband's diagnosis. After all, the boy and girl were so very young......  

A best seller with a movie out, I think nothing more needs to be said. Except that it made me want to read other books by this author. 

Hibbs The Cub with No Clue, by Roland Yeomans

Hibbs came into my life as hungry bears, real live ones, were raiding our trash bins. Falling in love with this clueless, but always hopeful cub, who learns about life while walking through a strange and dangerous valley, I wanted to grab a real cub and hug it. Instead I read on, smiling.

The Butterfly Basket, by C. A. Waldman

I posted an in-depth review of this book about life in our canyon during the Great Depression here. It is a delightful book about a young girl learning about life, nature, traditions, and friendship. 


2014 was a tough year for me, and when life gets difficult I read mysteries, police procedurals (in the great Swedish tradition), and fast moving detective novels. Those of you who are familiar with Kathy Reichs' books can perhaps understand how thrilled I was to come across them.

Once I discovered her books, around October, I spent much of my time reading about the adventures of Dr. Tempe Brennan, a crime- solving forensic anthropologist (also featured in the popular TV show Bones, which I have not seen and don't plan to watch). 

And then there was S, which I began to read and put away after reaching the middle of the book. It is a strange, unpleasant even, read, but intriguing as well. I will definitely get back to it eventually. 

Please click  here if you are interested in checking out Part 1 of the good books I read in 2014.


  1. I read I know This Much Is True several years ago. It is still a haunting book. I am so glad to hear that hubby's BP is better. I continue prayers for you Inger. And here is a huge hug!

  2. I also enjoy Kathy Reichs. A long time to wait, Samson and Faith will be at your side, and I, along with many others, send hugs and loving thoughts.
    Have you read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" it is a historical novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows that was published in 2008 ,I could read this again and again. Another one suggested, not read yet, " The Rosie Project". Hugs from NZ

  3. I've only read one of those, Inger, Roland's Hibbs book, and I loved it too. I prefer to keep bears at a distance in real life, however. I am hoping for better days for your hubs and hope your checkup was good, too. Take care of yourself. We have good and not so good days, but we must be strong for our beloved. Hugs to you from me, too.

  4. Sending hugs and prayers Inger. I have not had time t read anything in book form this year sad isn't it? I am going to change that this year less Netflix:):) HUGS B

  5. Wally Lamb is a brilliant writer. I loved the movie of The Fault In Our Stars and hope to read the book.


  6. i have read Deju Dead and a lot of those books and do not watch Bones... sorry you are feeling sad and hugs coming your way. nothing we can do but listen when you can update us, but we do care

  7. You're going through a rough time but you are certainly maintaining a positive attitude and you are handling things as they come up. I very much admire that.

  8. you have the right to get emotional. this is terribly difficult and taxing on both of you. i'm glad he's in the liver specialty wing, now.

  9. Wow, clearly we have the same taste in reading. Except for the YA books, I would definitely read every one on your list. I hope you can find other ways as well to keep your mind occupied during this difficult time.

  10. Hi Inger, I can understand how frightening it must be for you to find yourself alone when you're used to have your husband by your all these years. Like Tex Wis Girl said, you have every right to get emotional. It's all unfamiliar to you.
    I'm so glad your husband blood pressure has stabilized without medication. You are much stronger than you could ever know and just waiting every day to see some improvement must be draining.

    I haven't read books this year other than cookbooks, very sad.

    Sending prayers for courage, strength and healing.

  11. Take every good development in your husband's progress as a good sign, Inger. I can only imagine how difficult this is for you.
    Sending healing thoughts your way.

  12. That there are positives in your husband's journey is so encouraging. Hang on to them and hopefully, he will soon get his transplant. Prayers still on the way for you both.
    I enjoy Kathy Reich's books also and the Bones series. Good books give us a respite from the everyday world. They are a blessing.

  13. I've read some of these and will jot down the others. I hope this Spring brings good changes and you are able to read for fun again. I keep you and your precious husband in my prayers. Sweet hugs, Diane

  14. It is a long road you've been traveling. There is no map that will show you all the pot holes and by-ways to avoid. I can just pray that the Father grant you the light to know where to place the next step and the strength to take it.

    I am not worthy to be put into the company of those great writers, but thank you for doing it. Hibbs is now curious about those trash cans of yours!!

  15. I read (& enjoyed) Clara and Mr Tiffany, I believe on your recommendation. I will look into Kathy Reichs. Glad your hubby is showing even some slight improvement!!

  16. Every bit of improvement helps. I wish him good health and further improvement.
    Thanks for sharing such good info about books. Take Care.

  17. Good to hear of some improvement Inger. You are both in my thoughts. xo

  18. I've read many of these but not S and the Wally Lamb book -- shall have to investigate..

    Holding you and your husband in my heart....

  19. These all look so good. Just like a fine dining menu when you just can't decide what to try first.

  20. Hello Inger! I read the Wally Lamb book a few years ago... I really like him as an author. I can't remember if I finished it or not. There was one book that he wrote that I couldn't finish but I'm not sure... it may have been another one. Hope you are all are doing well.

  21. Just finished "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" an unusual novel by Jan-Philipp Sendker about love story set in Burma. I like Nordic mysteries very much, but hard for me to read the Nesbo ones, a little too bloody. Reading does help to transport one for awhile, away from our sometimes difficult reality. Healing thoughts for your t

  22. Sorry, about the lost thought above which should read, healing thoughts for your hubby.

  23. Dear Inger, is good to hear that your husband is now maintaining a normal blood pressure without medication.
    I can feel and I am sorry that you got sorrowful when you came out of the radiology and did not saw your husband waiting for you as usual in the Jeep...
    Thanks for the list and review of the good books you read in 2014. Really they sounds very interesting.
    Sending healing energy and good thoughts for your husband.
    Lots of hugs to you too.

  24. Dear Inger - I hadn't realised you'd posted on Monday .. but it's good to see what you're reading ... I bought Clara and Mr Tiffany on your recommendation .. sadly I'm still a hopeless reader: must change that this year. Kathy Reichs has been a good find ... while your Butterfly Basket brings back memories of those posts and the stories for the baskets. The other books look to be fascinating reads - with lots to educate us ... Everytime I see Roland's books .. there has to be a wonderful series there for us all to read ... a huggable bear learning about life as it comes down the Canyon ...

    I do hope all will be well with your hubby - and that he is resting right now and recuperating a little despite not being awake. So difficult for you ... my thoughts for you both and I sure hope you can rest up a little too - with lots of love and hugs - Hilary

  25. I am so sorry to hear about your husband! My post today may warm your heart just s little. Hope you have good news to report soon.

  26. I can imagine that this is taking a heavy toll on you emotionally, Inger. I've been away a few days and haven't read very much, so it's possible you have another update I haven't yet read, but I'm hoping that you can take the encouragement of a better blood pressure and just hold onto the hope that the transplant will come through. I enjoy your "book reports" and except for "I Know This Much is True," I haven't read any of them. I do like Wally Lamb. I will make a note to check out the other books you've enjoyed. Thank you. Love and prayers, Debra (breatheighter)


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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