Brother Odd, by Dean Koontz
This is the third in Koontz’s Odd Thomas series and I must say, it only made me want the fourth to come out sooner. LOVED IT. (Yes, there is plenty more to say!)

The Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K. Chesterton (courtesy of LibriVox)
This was my first exposure to Chesterton, and what a wonderful introduction to an author I’ve heard so much about. It made me want to read more by him – fiction or nonfiction. The LibriVox recording was well-done (How cool is it that you get FREE audio downloads? *Pause while I marvel, again*), but really, it was the WRITING that captivated me. I thought I had the story figured out, knew where it was going, and was playing along as a good reader. And then…I DIDN’T have it figured out. At all. Wow. It was delightfully surprising and, though it took me a while to listen to it all (my iPod time being what it is), it’s not a very long novel at all (15 chapters).

China Court; The Hours of a Country House, by Rumer Godden (courtesy of Forgotten Classics)
And here we have the best of the lot. Julie’s reading of it was fantabulous, but really, Rumer Godden gets the credit for it being so wonderful. I was captivated from the first, and as we wound our way through it, met the characters (who were so much like members of my family at the end that I almost just started the book over!), and began the process of understanding where things were heading, I found myself looking around MY world differently. China Court is an old house, and Godden’s writing about it made me appreciate, once again, this hulking, bug-ridden, drafty farmhouse here in Ohio. She made me think about the STORIES that my house would have to tell, if I would listen to the creaks and groans with the right attitude. She made me wonder about where the gardens used to be, about how the bricks were made on-site over 100 years ago, about how the winds through the century have stayed the same, even as the inhabitants have changed. Julie assured me that I would enjoy In This House of Brede even more, and it only took two sections of China Court to make me click right through and get myself a copy.

China Court is the kind of book that you reread (and I am NOT a great rereader of books). It’s woven in a tapestry of lives and story and images. The people are real, and it has a timeless feel.

I can’t wait to get a hard copy and curl up with it. This book is definitely going on my “books to buy for bibliophiles in my life who already have everything else” list. Thanks, Julie, for introducing me to a lifelong friend in this book!

Pushcart Prize XXXII: Best of the Small Presses, 2008 Edition
I have a sneaky aunt (I was just talking about her the other day) who has been sending me the Pushcart collections in an effort to inspire me in my writing. She called me a writer long before I would admit it to myself. This year, I have actually FINISHED the Pushcart in a timely manner (sad to say, I have not yet finished either of the previous two; perhaps they will make the summer reading cut). As a busy mom without much time to sit down and keep track of where I’m at, this is a perfect sort of book to lug around. It’s 600 pages of whatever you’re in the mood for – poetry (and some luscious good poetry, I must say!), essays, and, my favorite, short stories. I forget just how much I love short stories, until I pick up a magazine that features one or I pick up a collection like the Pushcart. YUM. ’Nuff said. 🙂