Always a work in process, I have a few more wooden crates in my garage being spray painted; yes, this was my best option when buying a new house and building a library before worrying about any other room.
I have books stacked on crates, items that need to be hung on the walls, and still have to put in my tin ceiling that Menard’s denied me over a year ago.
Still unpacking books, and trying to make room.
I love too many stories to make a theme in this library, other than reading books!
There has been a lot of discussion about this story, with people either loving it, or hating it. I myself seem to be stuck somewhere in the middle. I loved the story, and the whole idea of it, but the way it was written made it a difficult read for me. There are spoilers below, which I normally try to avoid, but they are necessary in this instance.
The premise of the story takes place on the night of young Willie Lincoln’s death, and the subsequent days that followed. Unable to bear the loss of his son, President Lincoln visits the crypt where Willie has been placed; several times.
The President is unaware that in this cemetery are many souls who have chosen to not move on, including his son. Only one of these souls is aware that they are all truly dead, while the others are all waiting for their loved ones to come back to get them, believing they are only sick. This place where the souls are lingering is what is known as the bardo.
The initial visit of the President has the others all hopeful that their loved ones will indeed come back for them.
The reason I had a hard time reading this story is the way the chapters are written. I literally was over two chapters in before I had any idea what was going on. The first chapter was of conversations between souls stuck in the bardo. I had no idea this is what I was reading. An example is below. Hans and Roger are lost souls, and I thought I was reading a normal conversation between two persons, such as you would read in any other story. I had no idea they were dead.
The other chapters in between were all cited excerpts from many, many sources of stories that had been written concerning the Lincolns, the night Willie died, and the party that was taking place down stairs. The Lincoln’s had been assured Willie was indeed on the mend, so President Lincoln opted to not withdraw the hundreds of invitations to the dinner that had been sent out. Below is what these chapters look like. (I apologize for the blurriness of this page, I could not get a sharp photo for some reason, although I took it right after the photo above 😦 )
As you can see (I hope!) after each excerpt is the source of what book, newspaper, conversation, or diary the information came from. I hate to admit, but I am the type of reader who cannot skip over reading something, so I found myself reading Every. Single. Citation. After a few chapters of this, I just let it go and ignored all the rest of the citations. If I hadn’t, I never would have gotten through it.
I loved the story, the true emotions expressed by not only what the President was going through as he continued to visit and hold his deceased son, but the emotions of those souls stuck in the bardo. The felt hope that their loved ones would also finally come for them, fear in moving on as happened to very few throughout the story, and the final realization that they were indeed dead.
I am curious as to what anyone else who has read this story thought! Did you realize right from the beginning what you were reading, or were you confused like I was?
Having long been a fan of Lillian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who mysteries, I was pleased to finally find this book on the library shelf. I discovered these fantastic stories about 20 years ago (or more) and have read all of them; most more than once.
Jim Qwilleran is a journalist who moved to Moose County, 100 miles north of everywhere, after receiving a windfall of money from a benefactor. He and his two Siamese cats, KoKo and YumYum, solve mysteries all over Moose County and its adjoining counties. The characters through all 20+ books quickly become familiar friends you want to spend the day with.
This set of short stories is based on tales from local residents about some of the long-held beliefs and superstitions that have made Moose County what it is. I read this book in about an hour, and it is a great addition to any nightstand for some quick reading before sleep!
Are you familiar with the Cat Who Mysteries? How did you like them?
This is book #1 of the Charlie Parker Mysteries. I randomly came upon it while searching through books on Amazon.
Charlie Parker is an accountant who shares office space with her brother, who is a private investigator. While her brother is out of town, she decides to take on a case for her ex-best friend (the best friend who married her fiancé), and a missing watch turns into a murder investigation.
I loved the idea of this story, but I could not finish it. There were so many plot holes that I could not handle it any more. I literally spent as much time rereading to see if I missed something, as I spent actually reading it the first time around.
On page 12 she talks about using her inheritance to help open the business with her brother. What inheritance? Who left her money? Why was her brother not left money? Yes, I get it could have been a husband that died, friend, etc. But come to find out later, it was her parents. The same exact parents as her brother. But we don’t know what her brother did with his money.
Another plot hole? Her part time secretary asks who was just in the office. Charlie states “A friend from school but you wouldn’t know her and there is a good reason why.” End of conversation. A bit further ahead, Charlie and her secretary are deep in discussion about this ex-friend and all the horrible things she did, but she hasn’t yet told the secretary any of this.
Minor issues? Maybe. But when I am engrossed in a story, and all the sudden read something that has me saying…. “Well where in the hell did that come from?”… I go back rereading what I read only to see I did not miss any information; it was never there.
So there you have it. I see there are several books in this series, and I hope this issue was due to it being a first book.
If you’ve read this series and love it please let me know!