In the 1890′s, Nellie Bly was a reporter for the New York World. An ambitious reporter, Bly covered sensational news stories, even having herself admitted to a mental hospital in order to report on the conditions inside. Determined to find a story to capture the imagination of the city, Bly proposed a trip around the world, planned in order to beat the Eighty Days journey by the Jules Verne character Phileas Fogg. With the approval of her editor, Joseph Pulitzer, Bly set out from New York to England on November 14, 1889. The editor of the Cosmopolitan was not to be outdone and set their literary reporter Elizbeth Brisland off on her own journey around the world, but heading in the opposite direction, across the American west and the Pacific. This is a fascinating look into the journeys of the two women who are both defying gender stereotypes, the adventures they experienced and their reactions to their travels. Each woman’s travel was planned to exact hours and minutes in order for them to race around the globe, and the entire nation became riveted by their competition. They viewed the world very differently and the insights into their personalities are fascinating, as are the countries and cities that they travel through. Author Goodman has filled the book with extensive research about the women and the times they live in. This story provides an absorbing, in-depth and compelling view of two amazing women and of the world at the turn of the century
Chris Honeysett, artist and private investigator from Bath, is tired of the cold, snowy weather of England. When offered the opportunity to investigate a missing woman in the sunny, Greek island of Corfu he borrows an old motorhome and starts driving south. Chris stays with an old friend from the past who lives on a remote part of Corfu where she struggles to make a living boarding tourists and giving painting lessons. Her warm welcome doesn’t compensate for the barren, austere, backward living arrangements. Soon Chris is feeling the hostility of the locals as he snoops around for the missing business woman. Strange things begin happening such as snakes appearing in bedrooms and turtles turned into walking incindiaries with lit candles on their backs. As Peter continues to investigate the danger increases and he wonders if he has taken on something he will regret. An Inch of Time is Peter Helton’s fourth Chris Honeycutt novel.
Finding Rapture Here On Earth a Memoir
by Brenda Peterson
Brenda Peterson tells her story of her love of this earth and all nature. She sat by the ocean and watched over seal pups. She went down the Colorado River in the depths of the Grand Canyon. She tells of many of her adventures in nature. She loved the earth and all it’s pleasure. She tells of her family of Southern Baptists and there ideas, which were ideas she had rather leave behind. Even her nieces and nephews called her Aunt Wuu Wuu, because of her strange ideas. I Want to Be Left Behind is told with much humor and you’ll grow to care about Brenda and her family.
In the town of Wall, there is a stone wall with a gap that leads to a meadow where the Faerie Realm begins. Every 9 years, there is a fair in the meadow where once Dunstan Thorn fell in love with a beautiful woman from the other side of the wall. 9 months later, a baby, Tristan Thorn, is left at the wall. Dunstan raises the boy and Tristan falls in love with Victoria Foster. As they walk hand in hand , they spot a falling star and Victoria agrees to marry Tristan if he brings her the star. Tristan crosses through the wall and his adventures begin. He encounters deadly trees, a unicorn, talking animals, faerie sprites and he finds the fallen star, who turns out to be the daughter of the moon, Yvaine. As they make their way back to Wall, they are pursued by the Lords of Stormhelm, who want a jewel that Yvaine is carrying, and by an evil witch who wants Yvain’s heart to find eternal youth. When they reach Wall, Tristan realizes that what he thought he wanted isn’t what his heart wants, and that he is not who he always thought he was.
Stardust is a charming story, filled with wonderful images, good and evil characters and a very likeable main character who learns about life and himself on his quest for love–a terrific fairy tale for adults!!!
Choose this delightful movie when your spirits need a lift. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a story with a ridiculous premise- but haven’t we all heard of some pretty far out accomplishments that sheikh money have produced, such as the world’s largest indoor ski resort. Author of the book by the same name, Paul Torday, has a very rich sheikh desiring to be able to salmon fish in the desert of Yemen. Nothing will stop him from finding someone to accomplish this. He hires a financial and land management group with lovely Ms. Harriet Chetwode-Talbot to lead the project. She in turn contacts the National Center for Fishiers Excellence in England to work out the difficulties. No one can dream that this will be possible, but plans begin to fall into place. This is a story with humor, romance, faith, intrigue, delightful characters, and much charm.
In this true life adventure tale, Colin Angus and two of his friends decide that it would be a great idea to raft down the entire length of the Amazon River from its source to where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world, and the largest by volume, so this was no easy task. Their journey started on the Peruvian coast where they began trekking across the desert to find the source of the Amazon in the Andes Mountains. Before even setting foot on the river, their lives were in danger of ending from dehydration as they realize their 50 year old maps are not entirely accurate. As they near the wild Apurimac River, the start of their rafting, countless locals warn them against embarking on this quest. The Apurimac drops from an elevation of 17,700 feet to 4,900 feet in only 37 miles, and other adventurers before them have perished in its violent waters. After finally beginning their trek down the Apurimac, they come close to drowning themselves on only their second day on the river. The river isn’t the only source of danger, however. Part of the river runs through areas which are known for harboring terrorists and at one point they even come under fire from bandits. At least two thirds of the book takes place in Peru, so there are bits and pieces about Peruvian history and culture that were fun to learn. If you like adventure or travel tales, give Amazon Extreme a try.
Based on the first book–Game of Thrones– in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga A Song of Fire and Ice, the award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones is an epic story of violence, war, family, treachery and murder. Filled with scheming families, mysterious lands and intrigue at court in the mythical land of Westeros, HBO has created a sweeping fantasy series. The plot is intricate but the DVD set is accompanied by extras that include descriptions of family relationships, the Seven Kingdoms, maps and other information to assist viewers who have not read the book series. Visually stunning and filled with atmosphere, the film sets are detailed and costumes are lavish, with actors that bring the huge cast of characters vividly to life. The series has won many awards, including Golden Globe and Emmy Awards for Best Television series. Watch the series then read the books while you wait for the DVD set of Season 2 to be released. * Explicit sex and violence make this a series for mature audiences.*
Jennifer Pharr Davis spent four months hiking the Appalachian Trail after her college graduation. How many women would wear the same pair of socks for days on end while hiking mostly on her own for 2,175 miles, encountering moose, rattlesnakes, armies of bugs, lightning storms, blizzards, rain and hail? Unlike her fellow hiker, Cheryl Strayed whom I wrote about in the review, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Jennifer chose to backpack with a lighter pack getting along without the best equipment. Her trials were similar but her background was far less ‘wild’, coming from a stable southern Christian family. Jennifer’s experiences with people she meets along the way are funny, frightening and an education. Her miles traveled per day seemed nearly impossible to me. The second time she hiked the AT she set the fastest record for men or women on thru-hikes averaging 47 miles per day. This book is a great motivator to get outside and enjoy nature while you exercise!
Cheryl Strayed has written a frank memoir of her life journey as she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl chose to hike the 1,100 mile trail after the devastating death of her mother from cancer and her divorce. This remarkable tale of her hike is composed of harrowing and painful experiences such as rattlesnake near misses and hiking in boots that are too small with a back pack, The Monster, considerably larger than anyone else carried. This book is also composed of beautiful discoveries about life and how she wants to live it and helpful, good people she meets along the way.
Oprah chose Cheryl’s book as her first book club selection for her new 2.0 book club in June. She said her thought was after reading Wild, ‘Where is the Oprah Winfrey show when you need to announce and tell everybody about this book?”
Mountaineers have been climbing in the Himalayas for years, and without the assistance of the guides and porters–men from many ethnicities in the region including Pakistanis, Bhote and most famously, the Sherpas–climbers would be unable to carry the equipment and items necessary to summit the tallest peaks in the world. The term sherpa has now come to identify any person who acts as a guide for the groups hoping to “bag a summit” such as Everest or K2, and many sherpas have climbed Everest many times as part of western expeditions–fixing rope on routes, carrying oxygen and guiding climbers in trouble. Buried in the Sky tells the story of a disastrous day in 2008 on K2 when 11 climbers perished on the mountain, several of whom were sherpas who, after making it back to base camp exhausted and freezing after a long day of climbing, returned to the slopes to attempt to rescue others in the climbing party. The book details the history of the attempts to conquer K2 as well as the history and culture of the indigenous people of the region. The authors chronicle the series of events of that day in 2008 that resulted in the highest death toll ever on the mountain, detailing the ambition and choices that resulted in life or death. Portraits of the sherpa guides provide an insight into their culture, beliefs and courage, despite their knowledge and experience being discounted by many of the climbers in the group. Research is thorough and writing is clear and factual while remaining exciting and suspenseful–this is an enthralling book for anyone interested in extreme sports or mountaineering. If you enjoyed Into Thin Air, you will find this book equally fascinating.
Is a hot July in Kansas getting you down? How about spending a few hours in frigid New England during a December snowstorm? In the Bleak Midwinter is a riveting mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming set in Millers Kill, a small town in the Adirondacks of New York. This first story begins a series with Clare Fergusson, an ex-army helicopter pilot and rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and the local chief of police, Russ Van Alstyne. A baby is found in a box on the steps of the St. Alban’s Episcopal Church by the new-to-town former Army chaplain and she calls for the assistance of the police to identify the parents. This tough, former helicoptor pilot is a determined and kindhearted sidekick to the chief of police and the sparks begin to fly between these two as they cross paths looking for answers. This chiller is guaranteed to give you goosebumps during the hottest 100 degree July days. There are six books in this series with the seventh due out late 2012.
To the Last Breath is a memoir by Georgetown physics professor Francis Slakey that recounts his exploits of climbing the highest peak on each continent and surfing every ocean. On the surface this is an adventure tale, and Slakey does a great job of recounting some of his experiences. You can feel the tension as he is climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard and encounters several climbers whose lives hang in the balance. In Morocco, while being driven over treacherous mountain passes by a crazy driver, Hassan, (who insists that he is the best driver in Morocco) his car nearly plunges off of a cliff. In Indonesia, after climbing Pucak Jaya in the jungles of New Guinea, he is ambushed at gunpoint while driving through a large gold mine, but the soldiers eventually let him through. He discovers he has dodged a bullet, when he finds out that a few hundred yards from this very spot a group of American school teachers was ambushed with several of them killed and wounded. This memoir, however, is more than just an adventure tale. Slakey’s exploits are told with the purpose of showing how these experiences changed his life. At a fairly young age he determined he would never buy a house, get married, or have children. He then became a rather cold, guarded individual with few if any close, personal relationships or ties to anything. By the end of the memoir, he has experienced many extreme adventures, but even more remarkable are the changes within himself and his outlook on life.
The Hungry Ocean was published in 1999 and became a New York Times bestseller. Recently I found it while looking for something totally different to read and I was not disappointed. This riveting tale of a woman swordboat captain is the reason I love reading non-fiction. Linda Greenlaw leads such a different life from me and any of my landlubber friends that I can’t imagine she lives on the same planet. What an amazing story of a gutsy lady from Maine who spends her life on the ocean.
Linda Greenlaw is captain of the Hannah Boden, a sister ship of the Andrea Gail, a boat that was lost in the horrible storm of 1991 and portrayed in the movie The Perfect Storm. Captain Greenlaw is in command of five men who spend month-long trips fishing over 1000 miles off the northeast coast in the Grand Banks. She has to fight weather, mechanical failures, close quarters with very little time for personal hygiene, disagreements, illness, and all the decisions of where to fish in order to bring home a full boatload that will pay their expenses. The story of her personal experiences in how to run a complex operation is fascinating.
This political thriller by Adam Johnson deservedly gets starred reviews from BookList, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal. The Orphan Master’s Son takes place in modern-day North Korea. The book follows the life of Pak Jun Do, from an orphanage, to a tunnel soldier, kidnapper, hero, starving prisoner, and impersonator. I had difficulty putting this book down even though I knew there were most likely horrors waiting around the corner. It was like watching a train wreck about to happen but being unable to take your eyes off of it. Reading about some of the physical and mental torture, starving people, and other brutalities inflicted on individuals was hard to stomach. To give a further sense of living under a dictatorship, the book is interspersed with narration by the national radio station that spouts propaganda all day long. As people are starving and living in constant fear, the national broadcasts paint a rosy picture of North Korea while portraying western nations as villainous. Some of the propaganda is so darkly funny that I would almost catch myself laughing at its absurdity. And of course the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il is ever present, if not physically then always in thought. The reader gets a real sense of the fear that the North Korean constantly lives under, where one misspoken word from yourself, lie from another, or bad luck can spell doom for yourself and your family. Amidst all the tragedy, there are some very touching moments and the love story is truly heartwarming. Obviously, don’t pick up this book if you’re looking for a light, feel-good read, but if you want a book that is intense and thought provoking, that will keep you thinking long after you have finished reading it, put this on your to-read list for 2012.
>by Leanna Ellis
Dottie and Abby’s Grandmother worked on set with Judy Garland in the making of The Wizard of Oz. Dottie is happy keeping the family’s Kansas farm going, but Abby has her heart set on becoming a “star”.
When Dottie suffers from a head injury during a tornado, Abby moves her to a nursing home in California. With a bit of amnesia, Dottie takes awhile to realize that Abby is going to or has already sold the family farm. Then a pair of rubby slippers are left for her by her father, whom she hasn’t seen since childhood. Sophie, one of the residents at the home, encourages Dottie to search for her father. The two of them take off on an adventure with Sophie behind the wheel. As they travel, they soon realize someone is after the shoes, which are believed to have been worn by Judy in the movie. When Sophie’s son joins the group, there is trouble around every corner, but there is romance in the air. Ruby’s Slippers by Leanna Ellis is a fun story of adventure and love.