Good Reads recommends: From our nightstand to yours

Good Reads1 copyBy John Hoover
©2015-Telegraph Publishing LLC

Most readers have a favorite reading spot: a comfortable chair with a table nearby to hold a lamp and books or snuggling under the bed covers to keep warm. Mine is the end of the couch next to the fireplace with a floor lamp over my left shoulder.

arctic summer001For the March Good Reads, I asked the staff at Misty Valley Books, “What’s on your nightstand?” Most of us have more than one book going at a time and we have varied tastes, so we hope you’ll find a book on this list that you will want on your nightstand.

A look at Lynne’s nightstand reveals several books she is reading concurrently: Arctic Summer ($17) by Damon Galgut, and Fire Flowers ($17) by Ben Byrne.

“These are both interesting Europa Editions, which are quality editions of international literature. Arctic Summer is a beautiful, fictionalized imagining of File Flowers003E.M. Forester’s trip to India and the exploration of his sexuality. Forester is also the author of Passage to India and Room With a View. Fire Flowers, the second book I’ve read this year on the aftermath of the Tokyo firebombing during World War II, follows four characters – three Japanese who have lost everything, and an American officer working as a journalist for the Stars & Stripes. A frightening yet hopeful picture of the aftermath of the war in Japan.”

Bill’s nightstand, on the opposite side of the bed from Lynne’s, has a book by a former Misty Valley Books New Voices author. “I am reading The Kind Worth Killing ($25.99)by Peter Swanson, and should be done in no time, becauseKind worth killing005 this is a page-turner.  Many people will remember Swanson from his great presentation of his debut novel, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, at Misty Valley Books’ New Voices 2014.  The new book is as riveting as the first, and the characters as unpredictable as the plot.  As before, we are talking love, sex, murder and intrigue, and I can’t wait to see what happens.  I suspect I will be surprised.  No less a master of the genre than Lee Child calls The Kind Worth Killing  chilling and hypnotically suspenseful.  I certainly agree so far.”

Jory, our young adult specialist, says, “ On my bedside table: All the Bright Places ($17.99), by Jennifer Niven. This brand-new YA romance opens with two The Bright Places009high school students on the ledge of their school belltower, shocked to find another person there also contemplating what would happen if he/she jumped. Violet and Finch, whose paths have never crossed before, find their lives meaningfully interwoven as one talks the other off  the ledge. Friendship, romanceand lots of tears all make this a one-day read.”

On Kim’s nightstand, or possibly in her backpack when she leaves the house, are two books: The Men Who United the States ($16.99) by Simon Winchester and Mortal Arts ($16) by Anna Lee Huber. “The Men Who United the States is another of Winchester’s delightful non-fiction books, Men who united the states006this time exploring the history of the United States by following the footsteps of some of our greatest explorers, inventors and leaders. Mortal Arts is the second novel in the Lady Darby historical mystery series. A customer came into the store earlier this fall and told me about them. Sort of a cross between a British cozy with a dose of Jane Austen romance, these novels are set in Scotland in the 1830s, and follow the adventures of Lady Keira Darby and investigator Sebastian Gage, an enjoyable series of mysteries.”

Sylvan finds herself reading a book that she normally wouldn’t read. “Tim Johnson’s Descent ($25.95) is not the kind of book I typically have on my Descent002nightstand. Described on the jacket as a stay-up all night thriller, this story about the abduction of an 18-year-old woman was one I needed to digest in small doses. Johnson’s third-person narrative unflinchingly moves in and out of the minds of many characters, describing complex emotions with beautiful prose. Unlike what I typically think of as “thrillers,” the story carefully revealed the effects of a tragedy on those touched by it so well that the questions about whether the girl would escape or evil would be punished became almost irrelevant.

Amanda’s response to my question was somewhat cheeky, or at least it started out that way. “What books are by my bed?  Wouldn’t you like to know!  Girl on a trainSeriously, though, currently at the top of the stack is The Girl on the Train ($26.95) by Paula Hawkins.  Stick with this one – the first few pages might seem a bit slow but once you get in to it you won’t be able to put it down, despite being comfortably in bed.  Divulging even a few details risks giving away the plot but suffice it to say that shades of the Alfred Hitchcock movie Rear Window permeate the mood here.  A thrilling murder mystery that keeps you guessing to the end and hoping that Hawkins will write a sequel.”

I’m reading a book Bill recommended in January, David McCullough Jr.’s You Are Not Special ($21.99) and finding it every bit as good as Bill said it was.Revival I’m also reading Stephen King’s newest opus, Revival ($30). King, the author of 54 published novels, is one of the best storytellers today and, from what I’ve read so far, Revival is another masterpiece. The book jacket says, “This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written.” I can’t wait to find out what happens!

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeGood Reads

About the Author: After a 35-year career as a high school social studies teacher, John Hoover and his wife, Sally, retired to Vermont. He lives in Windham where he serves as a Justice of the Peace and Library Trustee. He works part time as a book-seller at Misty Valley Books, is active at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and sings in several choral groups.

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