Backlist Review: Cataloochee

Between the Civil War and the government’s creation of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park lives were lived in Cataloochee, a town in the mountains of North Carolina.

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You can visit when the roads are open. It’s a great alternative to the crowded main parts of the park. And if you do go read this book, because the multi-generational family saga is the perfect compliment to a day spent exploring the trails, crossing the creek, and exploring abandoned homesteads.

The book begins with gunshots. In the chapters that follow we go back and learn the story of Ezra Banks, and the years of hard work and darkness that brought the shots on. This book is everything I love in a novel. It’s a slow build of a multi-generational classic.

For fans of Cataloochee:

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November Quick Lit

Reading in a tent, just a few short weeks ago.

Reading in a tent, just a few short weeks ago.

Each month I link with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit as a way to talk about the books I liked, but didn't review.

For three quarters of the year I am a very mindful, list driven reader. This time of year I use reading as a form of self-care, and pick up whatever feels good. This is what has felt good lately.

I really enjoyed Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry. It's about a woman working on Wall Street in 2008. I have never made $500k a year, or had anyone grab my butt at work, but other than that this book reflected my experience more than any other working mom book I've read. I loved the tangent at the end that seemed to say the financial crisis would have never been so bad if a few more women had been in leadership positions.

I'm getting ready to host a family Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, and Immoveable Feast by John Baxter really got me in the mood. It's about a family's Christmas feast in Paris, and the background of each of the courses. If you really love putting together huge dinners, and sourcing each ingredient, read this book.

My son and I are reading through this series by Lauren Tarshis, and we both love it. We started with I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980, and quickly followed that with I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic. My son claims to "hate reading" but he begs me for one more chapter each night for like five chapters. (I can't wait until I can hand him Into Thin Air!)

Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs wasn't the best book I've ever read, and I don't think I'd seek out anything else from this series, BUT when I needed something simple to read on a dark night it fit the bill. It's a classic bad boy meets good girl and she makes him believe in Christmas and fall in love type story.

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REVIEW: Left For Dead by Beck Weathers

I have a high threshold for scary stuff in books. I can read Stephen King books by the dozen and sleep well at night. So when the first section of Left For Dead by Beck Weathers had my heart pounding, I couldn't wait to read the rest. But sadly, it was just, meh.

I can't think of anything scarier than being alone near the summit of Mt. Everest. Weathers' vivid descriptions of what it was like to wake up and realize he was alone, and most likely going to die were like nothing I've read before. The premise of the rest of the book (how depression led him to take such crazy risks, and how his mountain climbing left a scar on his family life) sounded just as interesting. The book didn't deliver though, and I just barely finished. Sadly, I can't recommend this one, but if you find yourself with a copy the first section is worth a look.

If you too have a fondness for books about disasters on high mountains may I suggest:

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