Bookfest : : A Splendid Hodgepodge

I handed my card to the librarian, with a cheerful 'Good Morning!' and a bit of a smile.  

'Oh, so you're Linda Stoll!'  

'Uh, yeah,' I replied, a bit surprised as I wondered what she was getting at.

'I see your name here all the time to pick up reserved books,' she chirped.  

I smiled. 'Yep, I love reading.'


The library's been a welcoming haven, a site tinged with pleasant anticipation, a bit of a treasure trove as far back as I can remember.

The scent of many books gathered under one roof is like no other.  Scientist Matija Strlic attempts to describe it as, 'a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.'  

And in a test of unlabeled and concealed smells, a vast majority of 79 participants identified old books as smelling kind of like chocolate and coffee.

No wonder an armload of books is sheer delight! 


The year's half over, with 27 books read.  About half and half, fiction and non.  

Most of the fiction would be classified as historical fiction =  love of biographies + love of a good novel.  And yes, most of what I read is from the 36 CLAMS member libraries on the Cape and Islands.

Six Reviews ...
Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age  ~ Bob Cutillo, M.D.
'Despite all the care available to us, our society is more concerned about health than ever.  Increased technology and access to health care give us the illusion of control but can never deliver us from the limitations of our bodies.'  

This book has nothing to do with political posturing and maneuvering and everything to do with 'a bigger view of health care and a hope that is more secure than our physical wellness—hope with the power to transform our communities.'  

Dr. Bob writes from a strong faith worldview mixed with a lifetime of serving vulnerable communities here and abroad. This is a wise, gentle, intellectual offering for all Christian health care professionals as well as those with a heart for justice, the pursuit of health care for all. 

{Bonus ... Bob's wife Heather is a dear childhood friend of mine!}

Monticello : A Daughter and Her Father; A Novel ~ Sally Cabot Gunning  
I loved this novel ... complex and beautiful, detailed and mesmerizing.  You won't put it down.  Promise.

The author says, 'I can't tell you how excited I am about this novel.  When I discovered a letter Martha Jefferson wrote to her father when she was fourteen, "I wish with all my heart all the poor Negroes were freed . . . " I knew I had to read more about her.  I poured through her letters to her father and his to her and realized that she and I had embarked on a similar mission: to figure out her father. This now meant, of course, that my new mission was to figure out Martha. The relationships between father and daughter, between daughter and husband, between daughter and children, complicated by the reappearance of an old love who haunts her conscience kept me happily awake over many long nights.' 

Camino Island: A Novel ~ John Grisham
I'm a huge Grisham fan ... but this latest novel was a bit disappointing.  It's a good read, but the riveting trademark Grisham twists and turns that we've grown to love and expect were few and far between.  However, if you're fascinated with authoring and publishing, funky bookstores and mysterious rare books, the storyline will do more than hold your attention. 

The story's locale?  A seaside island.  And that makes this an ideal book to toss in your beach bag. 

Fuel Your Faith: A Practical Guide to Fueling Your Spirituality ~ Jean Wise  
This is a lovely little guidebook, not a heavy theological tome, but a source of encouragement for those who desire to cultivate a deeper, healthy spiritual life.  The author leads us to ...

•  Discover a potpourri of spiritual practices to move you from stuck to unstuck. 
•  Gather ideas applicable right away to your life to awaken your spirit.
•  Learn ways to pray, study, connect, and celebrate God’s presence.
•  Find inspiration, encouragement, and courage to explore your faith.

I appreciated Jean's thoughts on topics that are near to my heart - journaling, community, and gratitude.  And that she's offering a FREE Kindle version is an incredible grace.  She talks about her book here.  What a meaningful addition to your devotional library. 

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel ~ Barbara Kingsolver
This is my second read of this 1998 classic novel, 'a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.  They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil.  What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.'

Powerful, beautifully written, disturbing, compelling.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End ~ Atul Gawande
'In the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.  Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs.  Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot.  Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.'

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families.  He puts four simple yet profound, clarifying questions on the table that will assist those struggling with endless options, helping shed light and sanity to huge personal choices that can enable us to live well right to the end of our days.

A second read for me, I see this as a solid, vital resource for those facing life-altering medical choices ... and a must-read for every health care professional out there.


Upcoming books by two of my favorite authors ...
Adam McHugh ~
Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Introverted Culture {Revised and Expanded} - August 1
The author chats with Psychology Today about listening and introversion here.  A great interview!
Sarah Bessey ~
Everyday Resurrection: Living Out the Biggest Story Ever Told - March 2018


What books are keeping the midnight oil burning around your house?


talking books with