Two Guys Read Jane Austen

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Terrence Hill and Steve Chandler had finished their books discussing Moby Dick and obituaries and were deciding what to do next when their wives stepped in and offered them the challenge of Jane Austen. They expected to have a good time making fun of her work, so they took it on, reading Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. Of course, they loved the books.

Two Guys Read Jane Austen is not serious scholarship, just pure fun. It is two friends writing back and forth chatting about a book they are reading together. They discuss the parts they love and argue over details. They tend to wander off topic, which just makes it more fun. I didn’t agree with everything they said, but it is impossible to resist the feeling of joining in a light-hearted discussion about my favorite author.

Austen scholar or interested novice alike will find this a delightful read.

>Max and his mom are close, real close. Max who is seven, didn’t want his mom to go to work this time. As a stewardess on a routine Japan flight from Hawaii they were Oceans Apart when she was gone. This time would be the last time he would tell his mom goodbye. Due to a malfunction Max would never see his mom again.

Connor, an airline pilot, and Michele are happily married. Everything is going great until they receive that fateful call from an attorney in Hawaii. Max, a son Connor never knew he had, needs a home and the will stipulates that Connor needs to keep his son for 2 weeks then decide whether or not he will be a part of his life. If Connor sends him back he must never tell Max that he is his dad or contact his son again. Michele struggles with Connor’s unfaithfulness and the fact that she never gave him a son. She doesn’t want anything to do with the boy and yet…miracles never cease.

World of Pies by Karen Stolz

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“With each slice from World of Pies, we taste the sweet and sour events of Roxanne Milner’s life as she grows from a precocious nine-year-old to a mature adult…Set in Annette, Texas, this short novel serves stories of Roxanne’s small town life…” Library Journal

Roxanne is our guide through moments of tenderness, poignancy and humor and some pretty great baking moments, recipes included. “If Karen Stoltz’s first novel were a pie, it would be the lemon meringue of your childhood, sunny but a bit tart inside, and topped with a dreamy confection…” Mary Willis Walker

Outliers: the Story of Success

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Trivia can be fascinating and Malcolm Gladwell is good at peaking our interests in his current book, Outliers: the Story of Success. Did you know that 15 of the 75 wealthiest people in world history (in current dollars) were born in the nine years from 1831-1840 in America? What was it about those years that could produce such wealth?

He also has vignettes on other outliers, “men and women who do things out of the ordinary.” What is the secret behind Bill Gates success and a lawyer named Joe Flom who created the most successful law practice in New York? Why do Asian children do so well at math and how is that linked to growing rice? The majority of the best junior hockey players in Canada are all born during January, February or March. Why? What did cultures with high degrees of courtesy and politeness have to do with a Columbian and South Korean plane crash?

The debate continues as to the amount and degree of research that Gladwell has done in regard to this book, but I found it to be very thought provoking and entertaining.

How the World Makes Love: and What It Taught a Jilted Groom

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Franz Wisner was jilted a few days before his wedding. Instead of moping, he invited all his friends and family to come anyway, proceeded with two days of revelry, then took his brother on his honeymoon. He & his brother then decide to travel around the world in an attempt to learn about love. They interview people in several countries about love, marriage, and sex, gaining insights along the way. This book is a delightful read.

True Colors by Kristen Hannah

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True Colors is the story of the Grey sisters–a story which follows three sisters from the death of their mother to adulthood. After the death of their mother, when they are teens, the girls become close friends. As they grow and their interests diverge, the women allow jealousy and rivalries to come between them. As years go by, the sisters learn lessons about forgiveness, redemption and overcoming old grudges and they work to become a family and friends again. Their stories are interesting and the characters well-developed — their story illustrates the enduring bonds of sisterhood.

The Passion of Mary-Margaret

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The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson is beautiful fictional memoir of a religious sister as she nears the end of her life. She sets conventional perceptions of religion askew as she shares her tale of talks with Jesus, taking the unexpected path, and following God’s calling even when it doesn’t seem like the religious thing to do. If you’ve been wanting inspirational fiction with a little more “edge” this is the book for you.

Take Note, Janeites!

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I found another delightful Jane Austen spinoff, Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo. Emma Grant is recovering from a nasty divorce and the apparent end of her career as a professor of Jane Austen studies. She jets off to London to find out more about the mysterious letters she has been receiving concerning her hero, only to find herself sharing a house with someone she thought long gone from her life and chasing around all over the English countryside. She’s running out of money and patience, but she comes to a better understanding of Jane Austen and herself.

Christian the Lion

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With over 50 million hits, it seems like most folks have seen the Youtube phenomenon–the film of Christian the lion reuniting with his human family Ace and John. The story actually took place in the late 1960′s and has recently garnered attention all around the world thanks to the Youtube video. The book “A Lion Called Christian” tells the story of Ace Bourke and John Rendall, who were living in London in the 1960′s when they came upon a lion cub for sale at Herrod’s Department Store. They fell in love with the cub, naming him Christian, purchased him and set out to keep him at their shop in London. Their experiences in raising and training Christian are entertaining and informative, and the bond they forge with the lion is clearly a strong one for all involved. They eventually realize that the city is no place to raise a lion and set out to find a new home for Christian, one where he can be free to roam. They are put in touch with George Adamson, who had been rehabilitating lions and releasing them into the wilds of Africa. The men travel to Africa with Christian and work with Adamson introduce Christian to other captive lions. Eventually, they return to London and leave Christian behind to find his place in the wild. They return a year later, although they had been told that Christian was now a wild lion with a pride of his own and would not remember them. This is a remarkable story of an amazing bond between animal and humans and of their touching reunion. A must-read for all animal lovers!

Lost in Alabama

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I am almost afraid to pick up any book by Rick Bragg, because I know that once I read the first sentence I will immediately get lost in his story and not emerge until there’s nothing left. Even then, the words stick with me, floating through my mind for days. The Prince of Frogtown confirmed this fear for me. Bragg had briefly touched upon the story of his father in All Over But the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man. Then, at the age of 40, Bragg becomes a stepfather to a young boy. This experience forces him to go back and search for who his father was. He has few memories himself, so he interviews relatives and old friends of this extremely complicated man, a Korean War veteran, raised in a notoriusly difficult family. We get to listen in as Bragg comes to terms with his father and learns what fatherhood is about. We also get to read some great storytelling.

The Cove by Catherine Coulter

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I’m going to scare you; treat you to mysteries that will, hopefully, confound you—Grab hold tight and come into a world where illusion becomes reality and truth is a disguise.” Catherine Coulter

The Cove is a quaint little postcard town made up only of old folk who sell the World’s Greatest Ice Cream, a secret recipe that brings lots of tourists into town. Into the Cove comes Sally Brainerd, daughter of murdered Amory St. John of Washington, D.C., seeking sanctuary and also Special Agent James Quinlan who’s undercover and after her. He’s got a murder to solve and he believe’s she’s the key. But is she really?” Catherine Coulter

The Cove is the first book in a thirteen book series titled “The FBI Series.” The latest book is Knockout. The story begins when Ethan Merriweather, a small Virginia town sheriff, goes looking for a missing girl. When he finds her, he realizes that Autumn has brought him a huge problem–a relentless madman who can control others simply by looking at them—a madman who is after her and her mom.