My year in books

Text by Nora Vasconcelos

2013 books
If I had to choose a title for my year in books, I would say that it should be 2013: Back to the Classics.

And this is because this year I spend a good deal of time getting amazed (one more time and from an adult perspective), by some of the most well recognized books such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelly; From the Earth to the Moon and Round the Moon, by Jules Verne; Dracula, by Bram Stocker, and of course, my always faithfull companion, the Sherlock Holmes stories, by Conan Doyle.

I also discovered -thanks to my friends-, the magic of old stories such as Superman, particularly the old radio shows from the 40’s and 50’s, which were based on the original comic version of the superheros or on old fiction works from the 30’s.

My love for mystery stories remain fresh thanks to some of the books of the series Murder, She Wrote, by Donald Bain. My favorite one so far is Murder in Minor Key, and I like this one because it’s placed in New Orleans, one of my favorite cities in all the world.

Another suspense book for this year was Inferno, by Dan Brown, and what I liked the most of this story was that it’s placed in Florence, city which I also like a lot.

However, my very favorite mystery/suspense book of this year it the one I’m currently reading that it’s call The burglar in the library, by Lawrence Block. The story happens in an old English style cottage not far from New York city, and then it’s developed by the author in a delightful way, leading the reader from one room to the other in order to solve the mysterious events that are ruining everybody’s weekend.

Not related to this genre, I came back to the Steven Milhausser stories. I started last year with Eisenheim The Illusionist, and I continued this year with the collection of short stories under the title The Barnum Museum. What I love about Milhausser it his attention to the details and the precision of the descriptions of every single part of the rooms where the stories happen, making of the surrounding key elements to the story the same as the characters.

My Christmas book for this year, is one that I’ve just bought. It’s title is The Bridge, by Karen Kingsbury. It’s a sweet love story gone all wrong combined with a stressful situation related to a library that is about to go under. What will it happened? It’s still for me to find out, but by the speed I’m turning the pages, I’m sure I’ll get all the answers before 2014 comes here.

As for Non-fiction books, I’m taking great delight with The Big Bands by George T. Simon, as it tell the story of this music movement that started to be very popular in the States, back then in the 1940’s.

Cooking books, another fiction novels and short stories were also part of my 2013 reading list and for all of them, each one of them, I’m truly thankful.

What will I be reading in 2014? The list it long, the pile is high, and the thrill of going through my new acquisitions is immensely big.

Until then, Happy readings to you all!

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How far would you go for a dream?

Text by Nora Vasconcelos

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For Kristine K. Stevens, the answer was: All around the world. And for this dream to come true, she left everything behind her. She quit her job, sold her house, put all her stuff in a storage unite, took her beloved 16-year-old cat to a friend’s house, packed her clothes in a backpack and got a bunch of plane tickets.

After a six-month trip that took her to Africa, Asia and North America, Kristine came back home, but the dream didn’t end there. She put together, from her 3 journals, a book that captures in its title ,If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough, most of what she went through while making this trip happen.

Wonderfully written, this book is much more than just a memoir of a woman going all by herself on a trip around the world. The story grasps the readers’ attention from the very beginning and makes of them vivid witnesses of Kristine’s joys and troubles.

In a very honest way, the author narrates her story with such a detail that she creates real images of the places she visited. At the same time, she shares with the readers her fears, moments of sadness, times of loneliness and days of joy, making it really easy to relate to her in more than one time.

Who hasn’t faced airport troubles? Who hasn’t felt homesick in the middle of a long journey? Who hasn’t thought that what’s in front of oneself is the biggest and scariest thing ever? Who hasn’t felt that making a dream come true (once it’s been done) is the most frightening and overwelming thing one’s ever done? Who hasn’t ever wonder in more than one ocation: what am I doing here?, why did I ever start this?

Kristine faced all these moments of uncertainty, and even so, she kept on going. She dealt with all the unexpected problems and learned how to make the best of every given moment.

She learned how to loved her adventure, until it was over. Then, back home, she had to regroup, get all her strength together, even when she felt she had none, and go on with her new life as a momentarely unemployed homeless girl whose complete belongings were kept in the storage facility.

All what she had left were her friends, her cat, some savings, her backpack, her journals, and her inner strength that help her find her way into a new journey that seemed, for some moments, even more difficult than the one she had just finished.

In the end, what she didn’t know, was that, her solo journey around the world, would guide her to achieve a fulfilled life with a new job she liked, a new house, a new book, and a loving husband.

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