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Chapter 42 - The Dry

I have to admit that I had really hit a dry spell of reading since mid-October. I think there are a few reasons for this. First, the unfortunate loss of our dog, Boh, really took Dave and me by surprise and while we waited for his lab results I did not spend my time head down in a book. We also took a trip to Baltimore to watch our grandson while his parents went on an anniversary weekend. It was so much fun being with him that I didn't really read at all. Then we had a fantastic few days with our friends, John and Kathy, and we talked, and talked, and talked. I don't think any of the readers in the group actually got much reading done.

I am reading a really good book, nonfiction, No Man's Land by Wendy Moore. It is about women doctors in England who staffed an all-women hospital first in Paris, then in London during World War I. It was a time where women were not allowed the vote and female doctors were given very little encouragement or support. At times they were even refused the right of practice. While it is good, it has failed to keep my undivided attention. So what do I do?

In the past, during difficult times, I have often retreated into books and picked books to reread - sort of like eating comfort food. This time I have gone in an entirely different direction. Here are the books that jump started my reading recently.

Will You Ever Change? by Amelie Valognes - This was a short read, only 166 pages, which my friend Claudia loaned me after we went to France. It is a story of opinionated Jacques, long-suffering Martine and their three sons and significant others. Jacques always seems to have a comment or want to quibble about others and Martine has given him the ultimatum - behave or we are through. The book is funny yet reflective of how we may be perceived by those who love us.

The Lost Ticket by Freya Sansom - This book was a feel good trip to London for me. The story is about an 80+ year old man who rides the 88 bus everyday to find a woman he met in 1962. A young woman whose boyfriend has just broken up with her befriends him and makes it her mission to help him track down the missing woman. Of course, she has troubles of her own and is helped through them with the friends she has made along the way. If you read and liked Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley this book is for you.

The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim - This is a book I received as an Advance Readers Copy (ARC) for a review. I was interested in it from the start because it takes place in South Korea, a country I know very little of aside some from historical fiction reading (The Coldest Winter and Pachinko). Between 1975 up to 1986 the South Korean government support the removal of "vagrants" to institutions for "rehabilitation." Sadly many of those who were removed were children with families who were abducted off the streets. They were put into these homes and made to complete piecemeal tasks. They suffered abuse and even death at the hands of the rehabilitators. This novel is a family saga, coming of age story about children who resided in one of these "homes". It is not for the faint of heart, however.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros - This book was recommended by Lydia Lowe a few weeks back and while I am not usually a fantasy reader - Wow! The story is about a young woman, Violet, who has planned to live her life as a scribe but under orders from her mother, she becomes a rider - a dragon rider that is. The book has the friendship elements of Harry Potter, the danger vibes of The Hunger Games, the romantic leanings of Twilight and the political elements of 1984. Of course there is plenty of good vs evil to go around. If you are looking for something exactly the same but different from the books I listed here, this would be a good one to try.

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros - This is the next one in the series with the further adventures of Violet and Xaden and their friends. At this point I am back in full reading mode and enjoying every minute of it. I thought this one was as good as the first and of course there is a clift hanger at the end. Hopefully it won't take a year for the next installment.

What do you do when you are in a slump? Do you go for a re-read or something totally out of your comfort zone? Give me some suggestions for the next time it happens to me!


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