a book recommendation, and give away.

Aside from clearing out the front porch and working on a couple of small projects last weekend, I really didn’t get much accomplished.  Which means, I don’t have a fabulous furniture transformation to share with you today.  I seem to have fallen into a groove with my blog, and I generally post something on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  As a result, not having a post at all on a Wednesday just feels, well, wrong somehow.  The truth of the matter is that I spent a good deal of last weekend just chillin’.  Every once in a while, I need some downtime to just be lazy.  This often includes staying in bed on a rainy Sunday morning with coffee and a good book.  So today, you’re getting a book recommendation!

I know, weird right?  And no, this isn’t an April fools joke!

So, if you aren’t a reader, feel free to ignore this post as a blip on the radar and come back on Friday when I plan to post about a quick chair makeover.

But if, like me, you are always in the market for a good read, then keeping reading …

First a little background.  I LOVE to read.  I watched an interview (on Ellen) with Jim Parsons (plays Sheldon on Big Bang Theory) the other day, and he admitted that he factors in reading time every night before bed.  Well, he and I have this in common.  I read every night for at least a little bit.  I look forward to weekends when I can read late into the night and not have to worry about getting up the next morning.

The main thing that I look for in a book is the author’s ability to immerse me in their story, whatever it might be.  I crave books that are so good I can’t put them down.  The kind where I keep reading until the book falls forward and hits me in the nose because I’m dozing off despite myself.  For some reason, I have found such books hard to come by lately.  I’ve started lots of books, only to give up on them because I just don’t care what happens next.

However, recently I was in the Valley Bookseller in Stillwater (Mr. Q was promoting the latest Chicken Soup book that he has a story in) and the gal there recommended a book by William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace.


Krueger is a local writer from the Twin Cities.  He might be better known for his Cork O’Connor mystery series, but this particular book is not part of that series.

Here is how his website describes Ordinary Grace:

“New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.

Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.

Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.”

I’ll admit, this description didn’t immediately grab me.  Young boy, coming of age, yada, yada.  Whatever.  But, the book won a bunch of awards, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

Once I started reading, what really hooked me was how I could practically hear the crickets chirping on a balmy summer evening and smell the river flowing past its weedy banks.  I could feel the sun on my head on a hot July day and taste that ice cold root beer after a Saturday of yard work.  I remember that feeling of lying in bed on a hot summer night before air conditioning was something that everyone had.  The book transported me to a hot Minnesota summer and a time when things seemed just a little bit simpler (even if they really weren’t).

cindyrella gardens

I enjoyed the book so much, that I was inspired to tell you all about it.  Then, I thought, gee, I’m done with the book, why not offer it up as a giveaway?

If you would like to have my copy of the book, please leave me a comment by Friday, April 3 at midnight.  I’ll draw a name from the comments and mail the book off to that person.

So,  good luck if you are hoping to win, and even if you don’t, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Ordinary Grace.

And if you’re really just looking for an awesome chippy chair makeover, come back on Friday!

53 thoughts on “a book recommendation, and give away.

  1. This sounds like a good book!
    I too always read for awhile before bed, and LOVE a book that’s hard to put down.
    Thanks for the recommendation! Love that bookstore in Stillwater, too!


  2. I love to read too! I’m kind of a nerd and usually read non-fiction though. I’m up for trying a good fiction book though 🙂


  3. I take your advice in matters of furniture re-fabbing quite seriously so I am sure your book recommendation is just as worthwhile 🙂
    I will trade you a recommendation – I am currently reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, book 1 of a trilogy. It too is rich and transports me to the world of 1914. So, if you haven’t already read it – put it on your list.


    1. Fin-de-siecle history is one of my enthusiasms. I have recently read “The War that Ended Peace” by Margaret McWilliams and it gave a very human account of the pre-war zeitgeist. I enjoy Ken Folet, so a good non-fiction of that same period should deliver up the same flavor. Thanks for the recommendation! – Mr. Q


  4. I am right there with you – book hitting my face in bed at night. That’s when you know it’s really good read. This one sounds delicious.


  5. Your statement about getting into a book and finding out that you just do not care how the story ends hit home with me. I am usually pretty forgiving but with as many wonderful books out there to read, I say “why waste my time” on something mediocre? I would love to win a copy of this book!


  6. This books sounds so wonderful. I am like you in that I love to immerse myself into the story and feel the environment and almost smell the smells etc. Sounds like that kind of book. Thank you so much for the chance to read this wonderful book.


  7. I love to read when I exercise, so I always love a good book recommendation – I agree, it seems the good ones are harder to come by any more (which is sad, really). Thanks for the recommendation!


  8. I have been craving a really good book for awhile now! I have had an awful time finding something to hold my attention. Glad to know it’s not just me! Please enter my name in the drawing! Thank you!


  9. Hello,
    Looks like just the kind of book I like. I too have had times when death has visited me more than it visits others. In fact today is the day my brother died unexpectedly one year ago. I think I would really relate to the character and understand his struggle.
    Thank you for your recommendation.


  10. Hi and Happy Easter to you and your family. Reading (and reading blogs) a good book is my passion. I love to imagine myself in the writers story and this book sounds like a real page turner, Hope I get a chance at it.


  11. I love to read, and a book just like that, one you can’t put down. Though I don’t seem to find the time lately. Sounds just like my 1970’s Iowa summer nights. Might have to get me a copy.


  12. Like you, the books that I just can’t put down seem to be few and far between these days. I’m putting this one on my list!


  13. There’s nothing better than a book that draws you in…….so glad you found one and are willing to share! Thanks for the opportunity!


  14. Put me in for the drawing. It sounds like something I would like to read. And if I win you won’t have to mail it to me. No cheating.


  15. Being a complete book freak, this is right up my alley! I always have a new book that I am reading and sometimes two! I just finished “A Fireproof Home for the Bride” by Amy Scheibe. The story based in Moorhead, MN in 1958, and it is a very good book! So your giveaway sounds good to me!


  16. I LOVE to read and am intrigued with this book. Good to have a solid recommendation though as there are some not so good books out there and time is to valuable to waste on a bad book when there are so many good ones to delight in.


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