Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011 Top Ten(ish)

There are hundreds of "best of" lists out there to remind you of your favs, or tell you what you missed, so you hardly need my humble list to guide your reading choices.  However, the compilation of the list is practically book-blog law, and it's mostly for my own reference and entertainment, so here goes . . .

This year I broke the list into categories - Best New Books I Read, Honorable Mention New Books I Read, Best Books I Read Published Prior to 2011... (Catchy titles, don't you think?)  And since we're not strictly adhering to the rules, there are eighteen books on my list, rather than ten.  'Cause that's the kind of free-spirited rebel I am!

So, the Oscar goes to . . .

Best New Books: (in no particular order) 

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
11/22/63 by Stephen King (review not written)

Honorable Mention New Books:

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
Litigators by John Grisham
Before I go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
If You Were Here by Jenn Lancaster

A few I really liked that weren't so new:


Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Still Alice by Lisa Genova  
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

And a Couple of Excellent Rereads:

Soaring Eagle by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Mrs. Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

Friday, December 30, 2011

Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter

Meet Stanley Banks, a normal fellow who’s about to embark upon a heroic ordeal that will take him and his bank account to the limits of endurance. For, you see, he is the father of the bride…and the wedding circus has just begun.

The basis of the 1949 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy (and the 1991 remake with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton), Edward Streeter’s Father of the Bride is the hilarious novel about a bewildered man who’s tossed from crisis to crisis—from the dreaded meeting of the in-laws to the rising costs of, well, everything—when his little girl tells him she’s getting married. 

Complete with original illustrations, this is a classic in every sense. You’ll laugh with sympathy and enjoy every word.

I've never seen the 1949 movie version of this story, but love the Steve Martin remake, so when Doubleday Book Club offered the 85th Anniversary volume of the book that started it all, I jumped.  It's a cute story about a father who is totally lost in the world of out-of-control, over-the-top wedding preparations.  Although wedding customs have changed in the past 85 years, the obsession with "the perfect wedding" hasn't - If you doubt me, watch just one episode of a wedding reality show, and you'll see my point - so the story still feels current in spite of outdated protocol.  A fun read - especially for those who have ever tried to give their daughter everything she wants, only to have her want something totally new.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Litigators by John Grisham

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. And then change comes their way. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. 

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money. A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!  It almost seems too good to be true.  And it is.

Years ago, I got hooked on Grisham's writing with The Firm.  It was my first legal thriller, or maybe my first thriller of any kind, and I loved it.  It was followed by The Client and The Pelican Brief, and my ardor dimmed.  All three stories were basically the same plot with varying protagonists - a male attorney, a child, a female law student.  Then I discovered A Time to Kill, actually written before The Firm, and was head-over-heels all over again.  Since then, Grisham has written a string of legal thrillers - with divergent and varying story lines - and I've enjoyed every one.  All this to preface my initial disappointment with his newest book, The Litigators.

Throughout the first half of the book, I was reminded of The Rainmaker, and lamented that, once again, Grisham was rehashing a plot.  The idea of a young, talented attorney joining up with a bad-rep, ambulance-chasing firm to fight "the giant" - in this case a pharmaceutical behemoth rather than an insurance company - was annoyingly familiar.
But shame on me for doubting - the last third of the book destroyed my doubts.  The ending I had predicted never happened - twists and turns led down an entirely different path.  Even after the resolution of the law suit, surprises continued to pop up.

And the lesson we've learned once again:  This is why (insert name of famous author here) makes a living writing books and I don't.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

We will return to blogging after Christmas.  We wish you each a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brownville Christmas Gala

Totally by accident, we recently discovered an unusual "oasis" of sorts among the small towns of Southeast Nebraska.  Brownville had a population of 146 in the 2000 census, yet it hosts a string of Broadway veterans and produces an annual Repertory Theater made up of music/theater majors from across the country.  Both are housed in former churches which have been remodeled and updated to accommodate performances.  We got our first taste of the Brownville Concert Series with the finale' of the 2011 season, The Christmas Gala.

Specially created and staged for Brownville by acclaimed singer and director Eric Michael Gillett, The Christmas Gala brings together two Brownville cabaret veterans with new faces and talents from the Broadway stage.

These five talented artists put on a wonderful show of Christmas tunes - old standards and some new tunes.  I still can't quite believe we found a show of this caliber less than twenty-five miles from Green Acres.  I am looking forward to the 2012 season which kicks off in the Spring.

Brownville, the oldest town in Nebraska, is also home to galleries, book shops, the River Inn Resort (a bed and breakfast aboard a paddle-wheel boat on the Missouri River), a vineyard and winery, the Spirit of Brownville - available for scenic river cruises - museums, restored historic homes and, of course, the summer theater I mentioned earlier.  I foresee many hours of enjoyment in Brownville.  Regardless of how it sounds, I'm not a paid spokesperson for the city of Brownville, so I'll let you click the links to find out more for yourself.

Here's a brief rundown of the musicians who were part of the Christmas Gala:

Eric Michael Gillette was seen on Broadway in the original casts of “Kiss Me Kate”, “Sweet Smell of Success” and “The Frogs.”  He has appeared in movies such as “The Brothers”, “The Producers” and “Maid in Manhattan.” Gillett appeared on TV in “Law and Order".

Valerie Lemon has performed across the United States as concert soloist for Academy Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch for 12 years. 

Raissa Katona Bennett performed the leading role of Christine in “Phantom of the Opera" and appeared in the Actor’s Fund Benefit Concert of “Chess” with Josh Groban.  She appeared in the first national tours of “Cats” and “Parade”.

T. Oliver Reid's Broadway credits include, “Chicago”, “Kiss Me Kate”, “Follies”, “Thoroughly Modern Milllie”, “Never Gonna Dance”, “La Cage Aux Folles”, “The Wedding Singer”, “Mary Poppins”, “Damn Yankees” and the 25th anniversary concert of “Dreamgirls.” 

Jeff Cubeta is in demand as a vocalist, musical director, pianist and vocal technician.  As a vocalist he performed the tenor solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana with The Three Rivers Choral Society.
 (Personally, I don't know why they don't list credits as a pianist - he is amazing!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Holiday Flash Mobs to Entertain You

We're coming down to the wire on Christmas preparations, so I'm sure you need a break from all the business.  Watch the videos below and enjoy.  Merry Christmas!

Six Word Saturday is sponsored by Cate at ShowMyFace.  Want to play along?  Just describe your life (or something in it) in a phrase using exactly six words.  For more information click here.  You can add an explanation, a video, a song or nothing at all.  Visit Cate's blog to link your entry or to read all entries.

A Holiday Treat . . .

You'll either have a tear or a big grin . . . or maybe both.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren

Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season: planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her youngest son’s team in their bid for the state championship. Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot—the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea. When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can’t come home for Christmas. As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of the holidays?

This book was my sister's choice for our personal book club during December - something light and fun to fit in between shopping trips, baking cookies and addressing cards.  And that's all I was expecting - just another Christmas-themed story with a string of calamities, a little holiday magic and everyone lives happily ever after.  But I got a little gift in this unusual twist on the Christmas novella.

First we have the "church ladies" who insist that the Christmas Tea be hosted just as it always has, nothing can change; and then there are the young mothers who want to change everything.  Anyone who has ever been involved in a church of any denomination knows these women! But Marianne takes her responsibility as Hospitality Chairman seriously and searches for the true meaning: service.

On the family front, her picture-perfect Christmas vision is falling apart as, one after another, her children announce that they won't be able to make it for Christmas.  I am the Queen of the Norman Rockwell Fantasy - and the fact that they never work out as envisioned doesn't deter me from trying again.  So I really connected with Marianne on this issue:

"I realized I needed to surrender.  No more perfect Christmases.  it was over, the season when my children would join me to chop down our tree, decorate it with oohs and aahs.  The precious Christmas Eve dinners by candlelight, when we told each other the gifts we'd give to the Baby Jesus.  The magic when they'd arise from their beds, surprise in their eyes as they opened their stockings.  Over.  I'd had my mom season.  And now, it was just me and my fake tree and a really big turkey."
 There are several other favorite quotes that I would like to share with you, but I don't want to ruin the ending.  I will tell you that I cried through the last two chapters, and I'll share part of Marianne's response when she's asked, if she had it to do again, would she raise five children:

Would I do the chaos, the late night feedings, the challenge and worries?  Would I do the book reports and the piles of laundry and the illnesses?  Would I let them take over my heart so that when they grew up and left home, it created this hollow space that seemed cavernous?
But you have to read the book to learn the rest.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Virtual Advent Tour: I'll Be "Home" For Christmas

The song I'll Be Home for Christmas by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent has become a traditional part of Christmas in America.  Bing Crosby first recorded the song in 1943, at the height of WWII, and it became an instant anthem for soldiers who were away from their families.  The tune was recorded by Perry Como in 1946 and then by Frank Sinatra in 1957 and, since then, by nearly every artist who's ever made a Christmas album.  My own personal poll of people standing nearby in the office shows that 98% of Americans can sing along with the familiar words: I'll be home for Christmas.  You can plan on me.  Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree.
But what does it mean to be "home"?  Is home the structure we clean, maintain, insure and pay the mortgage on each month?  Is home the town, the church, the shops that we visit routinely?  Or maybe home is the house where we grew up.  Our family moved to the house on the farm where my father still lives when I was 16, so it was home for two years before I left.  My mother lives in town. Her current address was never mine, yet I've spent so much time there it feels homey.  Unfortunately, the beautiful home of my childhood memories was destroyed several years ago.  Maybe home is the town where I was a child, attended school, met my future husband...  But I haven't lived there for over thirty years.  Since we married, Dave and I have lived in a dozen towns spread over three states and each of them was "home" for a time.  Currently, we call Green Acres "home."  So, if I'll be "home for Christmas", where will I be?

I am the middle child of three.  My younger sister still lives in our original hometown and my older sister has moved to another small town about twenty miles away.  I am the only one who moved a significant distance.  With the exception of 1999-2001, we have lived a three to five hour drive from my family, so we have always traveled for Christmas.  But it's been a long time since I've thought of that annual pilgrimage as "going home".  Dave  and I moved to Verdon last March, so our grown children are now revamping their concept of home.  Is Mom and Dad's house "home" even though they've never lived there?

Here's the reason I'm pondering all this... For the first time in twenty-one Christmases, there will be no time where our family - Dave, I and kids - gather at "home" to celebrate.  Mitch and Amanda are both in college and have jobs that keep them there at least a portion of school breaks.  Amy is far away so we had our celebration with her at Thanksgiving.  So, rather than be separated on Christmas, Dave, Amanda and I are packing up (to paraphrase Dr. Seuss) "the ribbons . . . the tags . . . the packages, boxes and bags" - not to mention food - and taking it to Hays where Mitch will be on call.  Mitch and one other young man will have the fraternity house to themselves so they are responsible for purchasing a Christmas tree and setting it up.  I'm taking some inexpensive ornaments and lights.  We'll hang our stockings by the fireplace with care, and consider ourselves "home" for Christmas. 

Home, I guess, is wherever the people you love are.  Sometimes, home is not so much a physical place as a feeling - comfort, belonging, contentment.  Christmas Eve will find me where the love light gleams.  I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.

May Christmas find you surrounded by people - related or not - that you love; by people who make you feel warm and accepted and "at home".   And may you pause to reflect on the manger, the Wise Men, the Shepherds - and Christ, who came to Earth to offer you a chance to, truly, go "home."

Here is one of my favorite arrangements of I'll Be Home For Christmas - Love the harmonies.  I hope you enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!

The Virtual Advent Tour is sponsored by Kailana from The Written World and Marg from Adventures of An Intrepid Reader,  Visit the web site to see the daily entries from all participants.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Love: Audio Book Style*

I'm not a fan of listening to the radio in the car, so I always try to keep an audio book handy.  And, since the majority of my driving is in fifteen-minute stints, I usually select light books for less strain on my limited memory.  But perhaps it's time to change my ways.  The last two selections have been disappointing.  While I may not be the most assertive person and occasionally allow myself to get walked on, it annoys me when my heroine does it.

Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie: Quinn McKenzie is dating the world’s nicest guy, she has a good job as a high school art teacher, she’s surrounded by family and friends who rely on her, and she’s bored to the point of insanity. But when Quinn decides to change her life by adopting a stray dog over everyone’s objections, everything begins to spiral out of control. Now she’s coping with dognapping, breaking and entering, seduction, sabotage, stalking, more secrets than she really wants to know, and two men who are suddenly crazy . . . for her.

"The world's nicest guy" turns out to be a psychotic stalker and Quinn turns out to be a non-too-bright wimp.  This story was a cross between The Three Stooges and Fatal Attraction - and if somehow that sounds like a good mix, I haven't adequately described it.  I did finish listening just to be sure that the happy ending came through - and it did.  

Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis: Emily has a tendency to live with one foot out the door. For her, the best thing about a family crisis is the excuse to cut and run. When her mother dramatically announces they've found a lump, Emily gladly takes a rain check on life to be by her mother's side, leaving behind her career, her boyfriend, and those pesky, unanswerable questions about who she is and what she's doing with her life.  One evening, Emily opens the door, quite literally, to find her past staring her in the face. How do you forge a relationship with the father who left when you were five years old? As Emily attempts to find balance on the emotional seesaw of her life, with the help of two hopeful suitors and her Park Avenue Princess sister, she takes a no-risk job as a receptionist at her father's law firm and slowly gets to know the man she once pretended was dead. 

Ditto!  Different situation, different names, same personality, same ending.

So, I'm swearing off romances.  Life's too short to read mediocre books and I'm tired of listening to myself whine after I do.  I don't usually make New Year Resolutions, but here goes - 2012 will be the year of deeper reading.  Don't get carried away, I'm never going to completely abandon thrillers and cozy mysteries - occasionally you run across one that is exceptional - but I resolve to keep the "fluff" to a minimum.

*In case you're too young to remember, there used to be a TV show called Love: American Style which was a series of short, silly sketches about, obviously, love and romance.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Cookies

The tradition of decorating sugar cookies for Christmas has been part of my family's Christmas celebration for at least five generations.  If you want the background, read my Virtual Advent post from 2009.  The short version is that Grandmas make sugar cookies in holiday shapes and grandchildren gather around the table to decorate them - and eat them.  Due to distance, I had never gotten the chance to carry on the fun with our grandsons, but during the Great Thanksgiving Disaster of 2011 we found a few quiet moments to pull out the icing and sprinkles.

Zerrik - age 5
At first, the boys were more interested in Legos and K-Nex than cookies, so the "big kids" (Amanda and Amy) helped me out.  They are amazingly creative ladies and took more time decorating each cookie than it took me to bake them all.

Eventually the little ones got curious (or finished constructing their Lego creations) and joined us.  Their creative efforts were more along the lines of "how much sugar can you pile on one cookie?" - much like my own at their age. (My apologies to Trey, the eldest grandson.  My snapshots of him were more blur than picture.)

We ate a large portion of the finished product, but there are some in the freezer awaiting Christmas Eve. We will continue the cookie tradition - even if we have to do it in July - and I look forward to the day that the table is full of grandkids making memories that they can pass on.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Dog Ate My Nativity

In the early 1990's, Avon made the "My First Christmas Story" nativity set for children.  The figurines came in three three-piece sets of soft rubber figurines:  1.  Mary, Joseph and Jesus 2. Three Wise Men, and 3. cow, donkey and sheep.  If my memory serves me correctly - and I'm pretty sure this is one of the rare times it does - Mitch and Amanda were ages 2 and 1 the year I bought the whole set so they could have their own nativity, and to distract them from wanting to play with the breakable figures in our larger nativity.  
Image from E-bay Auction
And, what's a nativity without a stable?  So Dave and Mitch built a stable out of scraps of lumber with a wood shingle roof.  Of course, Dave made the cuts, but Mitch helped pound the nails with his own little 2 or 3-year-old hands.  For nearly twenty years, this little nativity has been a part of our family decorations, always placed on a low shelf or under the Christmas tree where little ones were free to play and rearrange to their little hearts delight.  

It became a sort of running joke for Dave to put one of the Wise Men behind the stable (claiming it had been a long trip so naturally he needed a "rest stop") just so Amanda would get annoyed and move it back.  Then she would put all the figures inside the stable - where it's warmer and they could see better - and I would move most of them back out so the arrangement looked nicer....

Last Saturday, the My First Christmas Story scene met a tragic end.  Dave and I went to Manhattan to the KSU/ISU football game and returned home late - thanks to a faulty speed sensor which would not allow the transmission to shift, which meant we drove 120 miles at a max of 40 mph, but that's another story - to find that the stable and it's inhabitants had been chewed to bits (literally) by Gabby the Big Red Idiot Dog.  Below is all that remains - a lone Wise Man and the baby Jesus in a roofless, slightly gnawed stable. Somewhere in a box in the basement is a very grateful lamb who got separated from the others during the move and so avoided the massacre.

Though we are long past the need for our kids to have a plastic nativity, I still loved it for the sentimental value and hoped that grandkids would play with it some day.  The stable can be repaired so, just out of curiosity, I searched E-bay for replacement figurines.  The only full set I found was going for $76!  So I guess it is not to be.  But I think I will continue to display the sad little Wise Man and the baby Jesus as a monument to . . .  Well, I'm not sure to what - I suppose to having your pets spayed or neutered to avoid more Big Red Idiot Dogs.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dec. 2 Puzzling Post: The Answers

Evidently this puzzle turned out to be more difficult than I had intended, but thanks for playing along anyway.  Here are the answers:

1.  Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) 
2.  The Boy in the Suitcase (Lene Kaaberbol)  I'll admit this was the toughest for three reasons: a) it is such a new book (published Nov. 2011) but I chose it because it's making the rounds on the book blogs  b) when searching for a picture of a "suit" I intentionally chose a suit on George Clooney to make it more difficult and  c) those not familiar with farm equipment may not recognize the tractor as a Case - but in my defense it is printed on the side of the tractor in very, very small letters.  
3.  The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) 
4.  Middlemarch (George Eliot)
5.  Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) - Alice Cooper + Holiday Inn + Wonder bread + land
6.  A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickins) 
7.  No Country For Old Men (Cormac McCarthy)
8.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson)
9.  The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (David Wroblewski) - finger pointing at one story of the building + Edgar Allan Poe + a saw + tell (as in tell a secret)
10.  The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

Now that you see how my diabolical mind works, we'll revisit this type of puzzle someday.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ranchero by Rick Gavin

Repo man Nick Reid had a seemingly simple job to do: talk to Percy Dwayne Dubois about the payments he’s behind on for a flat screen TV, or repossess it. But Percy Dwayne wouldn't give in.  Instead he decided that since the world was stacked against him anyway, he might as well fight it. He hit Nick over the head with a fireplace shovel, tied him up with a length of lamp cord, and stole the mint-condition calypso coral-colored 1969 Ranchero that Nick had borrowed from his landlady.  And he took the TV with him on a rowdy ride across the Mississippi Delta.
Nick has no choice but to go after him. The fact that the trail eventually leads to Guy, a meth cooker recently set up in the Delta after the Feds ran him out of New Orleans, is of no consequence - Nick will do anything to get the Ranchero back.  And it turns out he might have to.

Dave and I read this book in one sitting during a recent drive to Manhattan - or should that be two sittings?  On the way there, and on the way back?  Either way, we read it in a day.  It just seemed like a natural choice for a road trip, as the plot revolves around a prolonged car chase.  The main characters, Nick and his sidekick, Desmond, reminded me of Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Hawk, with a southern accent.  The chase was fast-moving and fun, with a slew of quirky characters and vivid descriptions of the Mississippi Delta.

The writing is full of unique phrases - the bad guy "saw fit to go all white-trash philosophical" - that added to the southern flavor, but we agreed that the author needs to step away from the thesaurus.  The regionalisms added flavor, but combined with a love of complex sentences and big words, they almost made us wish we had a decoder ring to unravel some portions.  

Our combined rating for this book would be three out of five stars.  It kept our interest and was fun to read, but - as Simon Cowell would say - it was "forgettable".  Although there was nothing seriously "bad" about the book, neither was there anything outstanding. If it comes up in conversation we'll be saying "I know I read that, but can't remember what it's about."

Our copy of Ranchero was courtesy of Macmillan Library Marketing through a Twitter give-away.  (@MacmillanLib)

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Puzzling Post

Each row of pictures below represents a book title.  Some small words (the, a, an, of...) have been omitted, and some license has been taken with homonyms.  How many can you piece together?  All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.











Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Starting with the cover art (the picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice), The Night Circus is a book of beauty.  The circus, the clocks, the attractions in the tents, even the people themselves, are intricate and creative yet there is room for interpretation.  The reader can create her own magical world.

The story is also intricate, sometimes to the point of confusion, but in an intriguing way.  The characters and their histories are revealed in minute increments, like blossoms from a circus garden - little surprises springing open at just the right moment.  Like the writing, the plot somehow blends detail with space for each reader's imagination.  The Night Circus is unlike any other book I've read, and I'm anxious for the next unique world that Ms. Morgenstern creates.