THE ALPHABET SOUP CHALLENGE: PART ONE

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The 2019 Alphabet Soup challenge has come to an end. Actually, I finished a month ago but was so busy with Cybils that I am just now posting my results. Here are the alphabetized book titles I read during 2019 for this challenge:

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.  This mystery/thriller has a very surprising ending and was a most enjoyable who dun it. Although the writer was a well-known one in mystery circles, she was new to me, and I am putting her name on my TBR list. I had a copy that some kind donor left in my Little Free Library. I put it back, and in one day it was gone again.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefione.  There are several books by this title, but I was lucky enough to find this mystery/romance, “darned good read” at my local library.

Coming Home was a “find” in my church library. Themed around the Prodigal Son parable in the New Testament, it was a challenge to draw closer to God and return home to a Loving Father who is waiting with open arms.

The Distant Hours introduced me to author Kate Morton and to one of the most enjoyable novels I’d read in a long time. It had something for everyone: dark, gloomy castles, British humor, memorable characters, and even a bog monster whose appearance unreeled a family mystery.

Eherald City by Jennifer Egan was a switch to the short story in a collection a friend grave me for Christmas. The stories were set in New York City, thus the title. This was a very readable title by the author of Manhattan Beach, Egan’s novel I interrupted my challenge to read.

The Fortelling by Alice Hoffman. This lovely, with just the right touch of the supernatural, YA novel is by one of my favorite authors, and was one of my favorite reads in the entire challenge.

Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser was a left-turn in my reading, provided by a donation to my LFL. It was a treatise on gun control, written in the form of a novel, a highly effective, very persuasive “what if” from the point of view of a young, mass shooter.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson was a choice I bought from Half Price Books and recommended it to my book club. They felt it was strange and depressing, and a good friend and I got into a spirited discussion about the ending at the meeting. It is a good piece of contemporary literature, and that, in itself, makes the novel worth reading.

I Thought I Was the Only One (But I Wasn’t) by Brene Brown took me into the genre of non-fiction, something I don’t read enough of, and an introduction to this Houston-based professor and writer. It was an excellent read which led to several Ted Talks by Brown on shaming and other timely topics for self improvement and self-love.

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘For I Diiie was a collection of poetry by the wonderful Maya Angelou, one of my favorite poets since undergrad days. She did not disappoint.

Kiss Her Goodbye by Wendy Cross, whom I’d read before,  was another murder-mystery that appeared in my LFL and provided a sccratch-your-head who dun it that gave me a break in my serious reading. I needed a quick page-turner and found it in this novel.

The Last Apprentice Book II of the series, titled “Curse of the Bane” by Joseph Delaney read well as a stand-alone YA novel, thanks to the author giving just enough background from the first novel. There was plenty of witchcraft, white magic and supernatural to keep the book interesting.

BOOK “Y” OF THE ALPHABET SOUP CHALLENGE: A Review

A Year of Wednesdays by Sonis Bahl, a 2019 publication, is “…a story that will make you laugh, cry, and think again,” according to the jacket blurb. I found it warm, humorous at times, and full of contemporary cultural allusions. Two people, an arrogant businessman and a mother with a baby are thrown together as seatmates on a 15-hour flight.  Wednesdays is a “One time, one encounter that lasts a lifetime.” Even though they separate after the flight, the cool, Wall-Street guy escapes as quickly as he can from the “mom-with-the drool-stained-sweater” who is lugging an under-two year old, puzzled that the woman’s philosophy of life shared during the 15 hours is so different from his. Not only are they diametric opposites, but she has also refused to give him information for further contact, making it clear she has no interest in him or (to him) his successfully glamorous life.

The rest of the book, alternates from chapter to chapter consists of internal conversations he has with her and she has with him. They can’t get each other out of their respective minds. As the jacket blurb says, “…somehow they continue to travel together” if only in their thoughts. This strange relationship goes on for a year of Wednesdays, the day he had suggested they meet at a tiny coffee shop. Somehow, these two are “unexpectedly connected” as ludicrous as that may sound.

My favorite quote from the book is about my favorite beverage–coffee. “Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love.” This story is about two people as different as night and day, who share a connection as strong as life, and as sweet as confusing “non-traditional” love.