24 Jan Read Far, Wide, & All Over The Place-Just Not Coastal North Carolina
Happy Friday 📚
As previously mentioned, my blog posts of late have been written in 3-5 minute increments during my work day. Today is a perfect example— as I type this, I am on my lunch break.
Often I’m not entirely sure of the direction I want a post to go in, but it’s interesting, because some how a direction will find me.
I think that’s the beauty of blog writing—you get to write, really, whatever you want. In this case my whatever-I-want is always combined with something book-related.
The more difficult part of blog-writing is finding an audience. If I keeping writing, will they come? I have no idea and that’s ok. I’ll just keep on babbling about books.
This week has been a good reading week. It could always be better, but I’m trying to simply enjoy when I do get to read rather than focusing on the time I don’t.
I finished reading Cape May by Chip Cheek this week. It was a fast read that would make a great summer read if you like to match seasons with books.
This story begins in the 1950s. It follows Effie and Henry, who are both somewhat reserved, as they honeymoon on Cape May in a house belonging to Effie’s uncle. What starts off as a laidback and dull trip, ends quite differently. They all but decide to head home to Georgia (CM is in New Jersey), ending their honeymoon early, when they run in to Clara, who was a friend of Effie’s older sister when they were growing up. Clara introduces them to several others and invite Effie and Henry to join them. They all become fast friends and Henry and Effie end up staying at Cape May rather than going home early. This new group of friends end up spending every day and evening together. Effie and Henry both come out of their shell a bit as they spend more and more time with this group. As the drinks flow around the clock, so do the inhibitions. To find out more—read the book 📚
This was a fun read and I do recommend it.
Note: I do not give trigger warnings (ie. spoilers) because they are lame and they take the mystery/surprise out books. We are adults and can read a summary/dust cover and decide if a book is for us or not. Endnote
My friend Jennifer not only introduced me, but had the idea to do a buddy read of The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell. Jennifer and I are huge fans of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist and from reading the back cover of TDA, it sounds like this will be right up our alley. I’m only 15-20 pages in, but it has already grabbed me.
The Devil Aspect begins in Eastern Europe in the 1930s. Dr. Viktor Kosárek, who is a psychiatrist, is heading to Prague to take up a position as head of the infamous Hrad Orlu asylum for the criminally insane.
Part of the reason this asylum is considered infamous is because it houses six of the most treacherous killers. In this new position Dr. Kosárek (who just finished studying under Carl Jung) will be studying these patients to see if they share a phenomena dubbed The Devil Aspect, which is a common archetype of evil.
Chris Bohjalian is a wonderful writer and I have read several of his books. One of the things I really enjoy about his books is they are all really different. From time periods, locations, types/ages of people—his stories are all over the place. I mean this in the best possible way. A huge pet peeve is when an author (a certain one comes to mind) writes more or less the same shit every time.
The author I’m thinking usually writes stories that take place on on the coast of North Carolina, they feature a guy and a girl, some type of letter (that was somehow lost). Someone (guy or girl) is named Dakota or something equally androgynously over used in the early-to-mid 2000s.
Have you guessed? Keep reading for the answer.
Answer: (I seriously hope you were able to figure it out).
Sorry Mr. Sparks, but your stories are falling flat. The Notebook and a few others were good, but enough already.
Obviously people love his books, but a lot of people also struggle with reading different types of books, so Sparks’ books make tons of money because people want to read about Dakota losing a letter a million different times. It’s soothing and comforting ( I get it) and occasionally that’s needed. But it’s also freaking boring. So leave coastal North Carolina and try something new.
Try Chris Bohaljian. His writing style flows and has just enough of an edge to keep you wondering without being a cheesy thriller.
The Red Lotus comes out in March of this year. I was able to read an ARC, courtesy of Netgalley (which I can’t speak highly enough about). This story is about Alexis, who is an ER doctor who ends up meeting Austin in a hospital ER. Austin, who also works in the same hospital, but different department(they had never met) is the victim of a minor gunshot wound received in a bar one evening.
Later on the two begin dating and several months after take a trip to Vietnam together. Once arriving in Vietnam, the two met up with a cycling group to do various long rides together. Austin, an avid and experienced cyclist, had always wanted to visit and ride in the area where his father and uncle served in the Vietnam war. Although the group normally rode in pairs of two or more, Austin wanted to ride alone the day he went to visit the sites of his family served in.
Time goes by during his ride and Austin doesn’t return. Alexis begins to get worried and starts a search. Something of Austin’s is found in the area where he was to be riding and people start really thinking something has gone wrong.
Once again, Chris Bohaljian has written a riveting story. What is the price of life and who sets this price? Go check this book out.
Others by Chris Bohaljian that I love are:
Midwives, The Guest Room, Secrets of Eden, The Flight Attendant,and The Sleepwalker.
One more thing.
It’s always fun to share a good thing and in this case, a great thing. Above I mentioned that I received an ARC (advanced review copy) from Netgalley. These are free digital editions of up and coming books.
I wrote a detailed blog post last summer about how to get started with Netgalley. If you are interested in learning more, check it out:
I can’t recommend it enough.
On that note,
Have a great weekend and try something new.
“Everything about [chance] scares the bejesus out of so many people; it’s the this thing they try to avoid at all costs. Don’t travel to the Middle East these days – there’s a chance something could happen. Don’t get involved with that new fellow on Creamery Street – I hear a lot of mud was scraped off his floor after the divorce. Don’t have your baby at home – there’s a a chance something could go wrong. Don’t don’t don’t… Well, you can’t live your life like that! You can’t spend your entire life avoiding chance. It’s out there, it’s inescapable, it’s a part of the soul of the world. There are no sure things in this universe, and it’s absolutely ridiculous to try and live like there are!”
Chris Bohjalian, Midwives