Lightning by Dean Koontz - book cover

A Week of Impactful Books, #3

My third book is Lightning by Dean Koontz. The basic plot for this book is summarized as, “A storm struck on the night Laura Shane was born, and there was a strangeness about the weather that people would remember for years. Even more mysterious was the blond-haired stranger who appeared out of nowhere again and again to save Laura from tragedy.”

I first read this book in 7th grade. I remember that in English class, we were supposed to bring in a word we didn’t know each week, from whatever we were reading. The books which were considered age appropriate (Babysitter’s Club and the like)? Knew all of those words. And, I really wanted something with more intense plot. (Although I liked the BSC books, even as a 7th grader, I found it super annoying that they *never* leave 8th grade — hundred some books later? Still 8th graders!)

I needed books which were considered more challenging to my age group, although, admittedly, this was not more challenging *to me*.

I knew all of the English words in this book too. So I brought in the German ones (which I either knew the meaning of, or could figure out with context clues). Then I got in trouble. Such is the life of the advanced reader?

Anyhow, Lightning is extremely engaging. Riveting. It involves time travel, but the time travelers are from the past. They can’t change their past, but they change their future.

And the time travelers? They’re from Nazi Germany — trying to change the outcome of the war.

But what happens when one of them isn’t so sure it’s the right path, and then finds a reason in his future — a future he can still change – to stop Hitler’s plans? I can’t say too much without giving it all away.

It really makes you think — what WOULD happen if people from the past were still living out their lives concurrently with the timeline we’re in now, and changing things . . and we wouldn’t even know a change had happened.

I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book, but each time it is just as engaging as the first. The time travel reads so logically that you really want to believe it is a possibility. A frightening one, to say the least, but a real one. And the characters are well-rounded; full of depth, emotion, feeling — you can truly sympathize with what they’re going through, even if you haven’t had all of the same experiences. You’ll finish the book feeling like you really know them.

Have any of my followers read Lightning? What did you think?

Clan of the Cave Bear book cover

A Week of Impactful Books, #2

For my second book that made an impact on me, I’m sharing Jean M. Auel’s “The Clan of the Cave Bear”. This is another book that my Mom read in sections, and then told me about (so even though I didn’t physically read it when it came out — it feels like I did!).

“It is the first book in the Earth’s Children book series which speculates on the possibilities of interactions between Neanderthal and modern Cro-Magnon humans.”

The following books, in order: The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone, and The Land of the Painted Caves.

CotCB may not be as historically accurate about the neanderthals now as it was considered then (expected as research teaches us more and more about the past), but it is still a very interesting and engaging look at how two very different versions of humans started to come together.

For me, this first book in the series is the most engaging, followed by The Valley of the Horses. The final book in this series — I’ve only made it through once. Sadly, it’s really lacking a lot of the intensity that the first two books had.

If you can ignore the fact that some of the research Auel did for this book is outdated (the book came out in 1986, after all!), I think you will find this book to be a good read. It is one of the reasons I became so interested in history. The way history was taught in K-12 years really dulled my interest in it in the classroom, but with these books? The more to learn, the better!

In college, I would finally find a professor who could, and did, teach history in a way that was just as engaging as CotCB (and my first book, Pillars of the Earth). That would lead me to earn a third of my BALS in History.

I still have my first copy of this book, but it is getting very fragile — even though I take very good care of my books. 

Pillars of the Earth - early cover version

A Week of Impactful Books, #1

I was nominated by my Aunt Jody to post 7 books, one per day (without skipping) that I love and that have made an impression on me.  This is a Facebook challenge, but I decided to share my posts on my blog as well.
 
#1 Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Pillars of the Earth - early cover version

Pillars of the Earth – early cover version

 
My Mom first told me about this book when I was growing up. She’d read some, and then tell us what happened. When I went to Europe in 1994 on a school trip, the tour guide mentioned Pillars of the Earth. I decided I had to read it when I got home. Having just seen so much of Western Europe brought the book even more to life than was already done by Follett’s masterful storytelling.
 
It’s a historical fiction novel about the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. The greatest Gothic Cathedral ever known. You have the main characters cast of fictional people, and then you’ll come across real people along the way — such as Thomas Becket (aka Saint Thomas of Canterbury).
 
“It is set in the middle of the 12th century, primarily during the Anarchy, between the time of the sinking of the White Ship and the murder of Thomas Becket. The book traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romanesque architecture, and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory and village against the backdrop of historical events of the time.”
 
There’s a lot going on between royalty and the church; a lot of the end justifies the means — even if the end is personal, not for the church/not for the people.
 
Though not religious, I enjoyed reading about how they made stunningly beautiful, and large, churches, without the technology and machinery we have today.
 
(It is also a miniseries, which was pretty good, despite the changes they made. Many of the cast were unknowns or relatively unknown at the time, making it easier to see them as their character.)
 
I wrote to Ken Follett years ago about how much I enjoyed the book, and asked if there was a movie version of it. That I could swear that I’d actually heard the song in it somewhere, and seen it — he replied and said I wasn’t the first. But no, at that time, there was just the book. That should tell you something about how much you are drawn into this book, and how well you can really see what is happening!
 
It is a fantastic and interesting read. It really brings the past to life. The characters are personable, relatable. I’ve gone through about 5 copies of the book, before finally giving up and getting it on my Kindle app (but I still have 1 physical copy)!
 
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If you do this on your own blog, please let me know the link in comments so I can come read about your 7 books!

January – June 2018: Books read

So, how many books have you read so far this year? Any books; new or ones you’ve read over and over? Tell me in the comments why I should read your favorite book (or just a book you think is really great – I know it’s hard to have just one favorite book)!

Here’s my list so far, in no particular order:

  • 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley (authorized sequel)
  • Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig (authorized sequel)
  • Face of Fear by Dean Koontz
  • Watchers by Dean Koontz
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • It by Stephen King
  • Mandy by Julie Edwards (aka Julie Andrews)
  • The Road to Happiness is Always Under Construction by Linda Gray (aka Sue Ellen Ewing from the classic show Dallas)
  • The Adventures of Sissy Van Dyke & Further Adventures of Sissy Van Dyke by Sissy Van Dyke
  • Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson
  • The Earth’s Children series by Jean M. Auel (6 book series)
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  • Lightning by Dean Koontz
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Painkiller by Steven Spruill
  • The Blue Adept series by Piers Anthony (7 book series)
  • Ashleigh’s Wonder by Joanna Campbell (Book 1 from Thoroughbred series)

2018 Book Reading Challenge

A friend shared this challenge in a group I’m in, and one of the responses was that perhaps we could share books we enjoy which fall under each challenge week. I have so much going on in my life right now, I doubt I could meet the challenge — even with as much and as fast as I read. But I loved the idea of sharing the titles/authors of books I love with others who are looking to complete this challenge. And If I see anything that catches my fancy (new or old), I’ll do the weeks that I can.

Are you up to the challenge?

There is a 26-book and 52-book challenge. And on this post you can find my suggestions.

The 26-book 2018 reading challenge

  1. A book you read in school
  2. A book from your childhood
  3. A book published over 100 years ago
  4. A book published in the last year
  5. A non-fiction book
  6. A book written by a male author
  7. A book written by a female author
  8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer (think Paul Kalathani or Richard Branson)
  9. A book that became/is becoming a film
  10. A book published in the 20th Century
  11. A book set in your hometown/region
  12. A book with someone’s name in the title
  13. A book with a number in the title
  14. A book with a character with your first name
  15. A book someone else recommended to you
  16. A book with over 500 pages
  17. A book you can finish in a day
  18. A previously banned book
  19. A book with a one-word title
  20. A book translated from another language
  21. A book that will improve a specific area of your life
  22. A memoir or journal
  23. A book written by someone from another country
  24. A book set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year
  25. An award-winning book
  26. A self-published book

OR

The 52-book 2018 reading challenge

  1. A book you read in school
  2. A book from your childhood
  3. A book published over 100 years ago
  4. A book published in the last year
  5. A non-fiction book
  6. A book written by a male author
  7. A book written by a female author
  8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer
  9. A book that became/is becoming a film
  10. A book published in the 20th Century
  11. A book set in your hometown/region
  12. A book with a name in the title
  13. A book with a number in the title
  14. A book based on a true story
  15. A book someone else recommended
  16. A book with over 500 pages
  17. A book you can finish in a day
  18. A previously banned book
  19. A book with a one-word title
  20. A book translated from another language
  21. A personal growth book
  22. A memoir or journal
  23. A book by someone from another country
  24. A book set somewhere you’ll visit this year
  25. An award-winning book
  26. A book you were supposed to read in school but haven’t yet
  27. A book with a character with your first name
  28. A book with a place in the title
  29. A book set in the future
  30. A play
  31. A scary book
  32. A funny book
  33. A book of short stories
  34. A trilogy or series
  35. A bestseller
  36. A book you own but haven’t read yet
  37. A book about philosophy
  38. An epic poem
  39. A Victorian novel
  40. A book of poetry
  41. A book with a colour in the title
  42. A book with an appealing cover
  43. A book about psychology
  44. A book about science
  45. A graphic novel
  46. A self-published book
  47. A young adult book
  48. A book from another country
  49. A book of non-fiction essays
  50. A book by an author you haven’t read before
  51. A book set in a country you’ve never been to
  52. A book set in the place you live today

The challenge is credited to http://www.hannahbraime.com/ and you can find the lists there, as well, both in text and graphic form. (The graphics are great if you want an easily portable list. You could even try saving it as your mobile device’s wallpaper if the screen is big enough!)