Halloween Read: “We Sold Our Souls” by Grady Hendrix


I love Hendrix’s books.  I talked about Horrorstor and My Best Friend’s Exorcism on previous Halloweens, and I’m so glad he’s got a new book out just in time for this year’s countdown.  While it’s not straight-up Horror, it’s definitely creepy, with plenty of biting social commentary and gory bits.  It’s also got a ton of heart and hope.

Kris was the guitarist for a metal band back in the 1990’s.  Now, she’s working at a Best Western and about to lose her house.  Looming over her life is Terry, her once-friend and bandmate, who was responsible for the messy breakup of their band Durt Wurk, and now has a legendary solo career.

But Kris can’t remember the exact circumstances of the crazy night the band broke up.  Craziest of all, Kris realizes that the trajectory of her life seems to be following the storyline of the album she poured her soul into, Troglodyte.

The songs on that album told the story of Black Iron Mountain, which controls the world, and the slave Troglodyte, who fights for freedom.  Kris knows she has to fight for her own freedom as well as her soul as she crosses the country to get to Terry’s final concert out in the desert.  Because Terry sabotaged a lot more than just the band all those years ago.

Menacing, full of black humor, heartfelt, and a love song to metal, this supernatural thriller is definitely one to add to your reading list this Halloween!


November Simply Books! Meeting

This month’s meeting was jam-packed!  With conversation, with debate, with laughs, with friendly sharing of hobbies and travels, and with people.  November’s meeting had the most people attend so far this season, which is great!

Unfortunately I had to duck out at the two-hour mark.  The meeting continued well beyond that, however.

Here are the titles that generated so much conversation!


“Daughters of India: Art and Identity” by Stephen Huyler
A local expert on India, this book of Huyler’s focuses on many women folk artists from India.  It gives a great sense
of their lives and their region, with beautiful photography.

“Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others” by Stacy Horn
A memoir about choir singing.  Horn’s experiences are weaved together with a history of choral singing
as well as scientific findings about singing in a group.

“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
A novel set in a future America, post-flu pandemic, where a group of nomadic artists travel from settlement to settlement
performing the classics.  A bit sci-fi, but mostly in a “Fahrenheit 451” kind of way–compelling and very much about the survival of culture.

“Dancing with Einstein” by Kate Wenner
A novel inspired by the people involved in the Manhattan Project, the story follows a woman named Marea as she tries to deal with her past–namely, the role her father and family friend Einstein played in the Project, as well as her father’s death.  The story moves back and forth in time, giving a sense of both historical novel and coming of age story.

“East is East” by T. C. Boyle
A “black farce” without much heart or insight to it.  It’s ironic and wry, but never goes much deeper than that.  The plot concerns a young Japanese man who jumps ship en route to America and winds up in backwoods Georgia, filled with both rednecks and the denizens of an artists’ colony.

“Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant” by Roz Chast

“New and Selected Poems” by Mary Oliver
Thanks to the man who shared this for a lovely reading of a few of the poems from this collection!  Nature, heart, and spirit abound in these poems.

There you have it!  One housekeeping note: due to many scheduling conflicts in December, the group decided to NOT have a meeting.  Our next Simply Books! meeting will be on Saturday, January 3rd at 2pm instead.


Happy Halloween, Everybody!

The great day has arrived!  Eat candy, watch a scary movie, read a scary book (preferably aloud!), play some games, and have a horrifically fun time!

Don’t forget to dance, dancing is important!  Here, I made you a playlist of some of my personal favorites:


Our Halloween decorations and displays are still up at the library, and, as promised, I’ve tucked some candy in among the scary books.  Enjoy!

Until next year, fellow Halloweenies.






Simply Books! February Meeting

“What do introverts have to say to extroverts?  What can we teach them?”



The above pretty much sums up the February meeting of the Simply Books! group.  It was hilarious.  OH, and we talked about some great books, as well.   We talked about the power of music and how it influences and enhances the human experience, we discussed an original take on literary criticism (Passionate Minds, below, which the reader, in a description I love, called “yummy and fun”), and then we all commiserated about the joys and challenges of being an introvert in an extrovert’s world.

And those were just the longest subsets of our book chat!  There was a lot more that we chatted about, laughed about, and shared, and it was as great a meeting as ever.

Below please find the books that we all read for February:

 GolemThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Six SongsThe World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature by Daniel J. Levitin

StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

eleanor and parkEleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

AndthemountainsAnd The Mountains Echoed by Kahled Hosseini

passionate mindsPassionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World by Claudia Roth Pierpont

QuietQuiet: The Power of Introverts In a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

14931493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles Mann

motherdaughtermeMother, Daughter, Me by Katie Hafner

cat senseCat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw

Just a reminder, we now meet on the FOURTH Saturday of each month.  So our next Simply Books! meeting will be March 22nd at 2pm, in the Jean Picker Room.

Hope to see you there!