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).
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!