At the end of October I put up a post inviting recommendations be made to this blog to give to my wife, Sharon, for Christmas book presents for me. Each year she asks me for a list of Christmas books. My sons usually give me books but like to pick out on their own what they think I will like for Christmas.
A nice variety of books were proposed by fellow bloggers and readers including Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller, A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames, Mayhem by J. Robert Janes, Sycamore Row by John Grisham and White Heat by M.J. McGrath.
Out of the group Sharon chose Sycamore Row which had been recommended by Kathy D. and who was so enthusiastic about the book that she followed up with two more comments on the book.
I started reading it today. It is off to a good start. I am optimistic because it is set back in rural Mississippi. I have enjoyed every one of the Grisham legal thrillers set in the Deep South. When he sets a book back in Mississippi the book has a deep connection with the people, culture and geography of the state.
Sycamore Row was not the only book I received at Christmas. My sons gave me a total of 4 books. They are immensely varied.
Michael, who returned from a semester of law at the University of Copenhagen on December 22, gave me a couple of books connected with Denmark.
The first, Hitler's Savage Canary by David Lampe, was first published in 1957 and is sub-titled A History of the Danish Resistance in World War II. I have also started to read the book.
The second is Hornet Flight by Ken Follett. It is a thriller from 2002 based in Denmark.
Jonathan gave me a pair of books.
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin won the American Pulitzer Prize and is sub-titled Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism. Jonathan knew I had enjoyed her previous book, Team of Rivals - The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I thought the movie inspired by the book was brilliant.
The other book is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I told Jonathan that I had looked at the 2013 Man Booker Prize Winner in bookstores but hesitated to buy it because of its length of 800 pages. The choice has now been made for me. In Canada there was some claim of her as a Canadian author as well as a New Zealand author as she was born in Canada. I will not delve into how to designate the country of an author.
Jonathan, Sharon and Michael joined together to get me The Forgotten by Nathan M. Greenfield. It is sub-titled Canadian POWs, Escapers and Evaders in Europe, 1939 - 1945. I am looking forward to the part on the Great Escape which became the subject of a classic movie. From a radio interview with the author it appears Canadians were far more involved in leading the Great Escape than they were given credit for by Hollywood.
The books will be the focus of my winter reading. After a few years in which books given to me by my family have languished I have told them their gifts will be priority reading. I do not know why it took me so long to recognize that I should put to the top of the TBR piles book gifts from family.
- Bill Selnes
- Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
- I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.