Thursday, October 30, 2014

book review: Redeployment by Phil Klay

The backstory: Redeployment, the debut short story collection by Phil Klay, has been honored twice by the National Book Award. It's on the 2014 shortlist, and it's also a 5 Under 35 pick.

The basics: This thematic collection of short stories focuses on soldiers fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Klay served in the U.S. Marine Corps and in the Iraq War.

My thoughts: There's been a surge of fiction about the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars in the past few years. I've read and reviewed several titles here: Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter, Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, and You Know When The Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon. Just as I've come to compare books about World War II to one another, I've also apparently reached the threshhold where stories about the Iraq and Afghanistan cause me to reflect and compare them against one another. In this sense, Phil Klay is at a disadvantage, as the bar has been set pretty high with my enjoyment of these other titles. He's also at a disadvantage because I typically prefer novels and memoirs to short stories. Still, I started this collection with excitement.

Redeployment, unsurprisingly, is not a cheery or uplifting collection. It's raw and gritty, and it's not a sentimental look at war or soldiers as heroes. Its characters are often crude and misogynistic (note: writing authentically misogynistic characters does not mean Klay himself is misogynistic.) Reading Redeployment is an uncomfortable experience. Perhaps it was more uncomfortable for me as I read some of it while holding my baby. Imagining him as a soldier in eighteen years adds a curious new layer to my reading of stories about mostly young men.

Favorite passage:  "How drunk the girl was, whether she really wanted you or whether she let you, or was scared of you, that doesn’t bother most Marines when they get laid on a Friday night. Not as far as I can tell. I doubt it bothers college frat kids, either. But walking back from Rachel’s, it started to really bother me." from "Bodies"

The verdict: Redeployment provides unflinching looks at the experiences of soldiers who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Its insight is often dreary, but it isn't necessarily surprising. Despite my experience reading and watching films about these wars, the darkness in Redeployment often seeped in deeper than other have. Redeployment offers important insights and perspectives, but its stories are seldom easy to read or digest.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 304 pages
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Redeployment from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Phil Klay's website and follow him on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

book review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The backstory: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of my book club's November picks. The other is We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, which I LOVED. (My book club meets every other month and reads two books.)

The basics: A.J. Fikry is a widowed book store owner on Alice Island, a fictional Martha's Vineyard-like place. His prized possession is a valuable and rare copy of very early Poe poems has been stolen, and he is rather miserable all around.

My thoughts: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a story for book lovers. It's filled with recommendations and inside jokes:
"He wants Maya to read literary picture books if such a thing exists. And preferably modern ones. And preferably, preferably feminist ones. Nothing with princesses. It turns out that these works most definitely do exist. He is particularly fond of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Emily Jenkins, Peter Sis, and Lane Smith." 
At times the novel gets somewhat meta, and I found these moments interesting but ultimately not as successful: "You're a good reader, and you'll probably see it coming. (Is a twist less satisfying if you know it's coming? Is a twist that you can't predict symptomatic of bad construction? These are things to consider when writing.)" There are twists in this novel, and some I saw coming. Some were satisfying, and those were often the ones I didn't see coming.

As I read, I was fascinated by this novel, but not always in a good way. I didn't get carried away by the characters. Instead, I was carried away by trying to think like Zevin: what was she trying to accomplish with this novel. There are clues, including this passage about listing an average novel among one's favorites:
"How to account for its presence when I know it is only average? The answer is this: Your dad relates to the characters. It has meaning to me. And the longer I do this (bookselling, yes, of course, but also living if that isn't too awfully sentimental), the more I believe that this is what the point of all is. To connect, my dear little nerd. Only connect."
And therein lies the problem I had when I finished this novel. I didn't connect. I enjoyed it as I read. I was curious what would happen, as well as how and when the twists I guessed were coming would come. I can't say what made me not connect, but I think that's the key difference in my lukewarm thoughts on this entertaining novel that so many have utterly adored.

Favorite passage: "The thing I find most promising about your short story is that it shows empathy. Why do people do what they do? This is the hallmark of great writing."

The verdict: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a fun, entertaining read. It's clearly an ode to the love of books, which I quite enjoyed while I read, but ultimately the story lacked depth and emotional resonance. The characters felt like characters in a story rather than real, multi-dimensional characters.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 273 pages
Publication date: April 1, 2014 
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Gabrielle Zevin's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

audiobook review: The Expats by Chris Pavone

narrated by Mozhan Marno

The basics: The Expats is the story of Kate Moore, a D.C. policy analyst whose husband Dexter receives a compelling job opportunity in Luxembourg. Kate and Dexter, along with their two young boys, soon make the move to Luxembourg, where Kate joins the thriving expat community for morning coffee, but all is not what it seems in this spy novel.

My thoughts: Please ignore the basics of this book. It was quite challenging to remember what I thought was the setup early on in this novel, and I think it's most exciting to read without the knowledge of some of its secrets. Pavone has his characters start spilling secrets very early on, and the twists keep coming throughout the novel. It's clear from the beginning that The Expats is a spy novel. What isn't clear initially is who the spy is (or who the spies are.) The characters weave a complicated collection of secrets and lies, and I enjoyed every single reveal. Some I correctly guessed before the characters, but many left me surprised.

Audio thoughts: Mozhan Marno's narration was quite good. She conveyed the many complicated emotions of Kate beautifully, and she expertly added in pauses I doubt I would have had the patience for if I read in print. The audio is a little long for a book of that length, but Marno's pacing escalated the tension is this addictive thriller. Some listeners might have trouble keeping the two timelines straight, as the action jumps back and forth between the present day and the flashbacks without obvious audio markers, but I didn't have a problem with it thanks to Pavone's attention to detail.

Favorite passage:  "The joke, like most of his kisses, had become perfunctory."

The verdict: The Expats is a smart, twisty thrill ride of an adventure across Europe. Like Kate, the reader never quite knows who or what to trust. The Expats is also a surprisingly thoughtful exploration of marriage and love. That Pavone managed both in his first novel is even more exciting.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 12 hours 27 minutes (338 pages)
Publication date: March 6, 2012
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Expats from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Chris Pavone's website and like him on Facebook

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Monday, October 20, 2014

book review: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

The basics: Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" is part memoir, part thematic collection of essays, part humor, part advice, and part self-help vignettes.

My thoughts: I'll start with the disclosure: I'm a huge fan of Lena Dunham. Although I know of no actual relation to her Dunhams, I still try to claim her (and I'm only a Dunham by marriage.) So it was with huge excitement that I started Not That Kind of Girl the moment I picked it up from the library. It's no secret Lena Dunham can write dialogue, but how would it transfer to prose? She can build a scene beautifully in prose too:
"On Saturdays my friends and I load into somebody's old Volvo and head to a thrift store, where we buy tchotchkes that reek of other people's lives and clothes that we believe will enhance our own. We all want to look like characters on the sitcoms of our youth, the teenagers we admired when we were still kids."
And she can still write a hilarious one-liner: "This relationship culminated in the worst trip to Los Angeles ever seen outside of a David Lynch film." There are a lot of great moments in Not That Kind of Girl, but I'm still somewhat confused by Dunham's intentions with it as a complete book. At several points she refers to the pieces as essays, and I wouldn't have labeled them as essays, but I can sort of see that. I'm more inclined to call the varied pieces in this collection vignettes. There are essays, short and long pieces, humorous pieces, serious pieces, and pieces that tell stories rather than reflect on them. The collection is arranged thematically in five parts, which made it feel somewhat disjointed. Dunham mines her childhood frequently, but it doesn't feel like memoir because it's not organized chronologically.

Dunham is intentionally poking fun at her age with the book's subtitle: "a young woman tells you what she's "learned."" Yet as amusing as I find the subtitle, I'm not convinced it reflects the book itself. There are nuggets of advice, but I didn't find this book nearly as reflective as I hoped. Dunham is a great storyteller, but I longed for more than amusing stories from this book.

Favorite passage:  "Another frequently asked question is how I am “brave” enough to reveal my body on-screen. The subtext here is definitely how I am brave enough to reveal my imperfect body, since I doubt Blake Lively would be subject to the same line of inquiry...My answer is: it’s not brave to do something that doesn’t scare you. I’d be brave to skydive. To visit a leper colony. To argue a case in the United States Supreme Court or to go to a CrossFit gym. Performing in sex scenes that I direct, exposing a flash of my weird puffy nipple, those things don’t fall into my zone of terror."

The verdict: Not That Kind of Girl is smart and funny, but it's also somewhat uneven because it tries to be so many different things. There are moments of brilliance, tales that made me cry, and sentences that had me guffawing, but there were also portions that made me wish I was re-watching Girls from the beginning instead of reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 290 pages
Publication date: September 30, 2014
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Not That Kind of Girl from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Follow Lena Dunham on Twitter

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Salon: a very Iowa weekend

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday! The nomadbaby and I are having a very Iowa weekend. Unfortunately, I did not get to participate in the readathon yesterday (tear!), but I hope those who did had a great time (and are doing something not related to reading today--I always needed a break the day after a readathon.) Mr. Nomadreader and I are still sometimes getting used to the idea that we have a baby. We know we have a baby, of course, as we're with him every day, and he's in our thoughts constantly, but sometimes it doesn't quite seem real, as if I'm not old enough or something enough to be a parent yet. I feel similarly about raising an Iowan. I know I live in Iowa, and I even love living in Iowa, but somehow it seems odd to me that the nomadbaby was born in Iowa and will grow up here. And yet, it's a great place to grow up. I just hope he finds his way to a different part of the country for college or some adventure.

Yesterday I had a meeting in Greene, Iowa for my very part-time job coordinating the annual convention for Iowa P.E.O. (a philanthropic educational organization.) Greene is about a two-hour drive, and most of that isn't on the interstate. After finishing my current audiobook Friday, I decided to treat myself to the new Jane Smiley novel, Some Luck, on audio. Some Luck covers thirty-three years. It's the first in a trilogy (and even better news for impatient readers like me: the second volume comes out in the spring and the third volume next fall. No waiting years in between volumes!) The trilogy covers one hundred years of an Iowa farm family in the fictional town of Denby. It begins in 1920, and each chapter covers one year on the farm through a small number of moments. I listened to an interview with Smiley on Iowa Public Radio last week that made me move Some Luck up my TBR quickly. As I drove through rural Iowa, which is astonishingly beautiful with autumn colors this time of year, listening to an Iowa family farm saga with my baby peacefully snoozing in the backseat, I realized I've never felt like more of an Iowan. I'll be squeezing in as much audiobook time as I can this week to finish this one.

Today the nomadbaby and I are enjoying a quiet morning at home cooking breakfasts and lunches for the week ahead and relaxing. This afternoon we're heading out for another very Iowa activity: the political rally. One of the most fun things about living in Iowa is the parade of politicians who come to campaign and the celebrities they bring with them. Typically the excitement is limited to the Iowa caucus and the Presidential general election, but this year there is a very tight race for one of Iowa's Senate seats. Today's treat is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a woman I admire greatly. She's here campaigning for Senate candidate Bruce Braley. Last week, I went to see Michelle Obama campaign for Braley. Hawthorne typically loves any public outing, but I'm curious how he will fare at his first political rally.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Friday, October 17, 2014

book review: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

The basics: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is a collection of unrelated short stories.

My thoughts: Hilary Mantel is an author who intimidates me. Although many rave about her two most recent novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, both of which won the Booker Prize, I don't find myself as drawn to them. Still, I wanted to read Mantel, and her new collection of stories presented the perfect opportunity. The title story and book cover are audacious, and I was eager to dive in.

There is no link, thematically or otherwise, to these stories. In that sense, the collection doesn't feel like a collection. If pressed, I wouldn't even guess the same person wrote all of them. As is typical, I enjoyed some more than others. The standout story in this collection is "The Heart Fails Without Warning," which tackles anorexia by examining the perspectives of each member of a family with two daughters, one of whom is anorexic. It's haunting and beautifully written. It comes late in the collection, and as much as it moved me, it didn't seem to fit with the other stories.

Favorite passage:  "What a good thing, that time does that for us. Sprinkles us with mercies like fairy dust." [from "Comma"]

The verdict: As a collection, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is uneven. There are some highlights, particularly "The Heart Fails Without Warning." The title story is also an intriguing one. After reading these stories, however, I don't have a sense of who Mantel is as a writer, and I'm left with more curiosity.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Length: 256 pages
Publication date: September 30, 2014
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Hilary Mantel's website and like her on Facebook

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

book review: Reunion by Hannah Pittard

The basics: Reunion is the story of Chicago screenwriter Kate Pulaski and her brother and sister. The titular reunion happens in Atlanta when their estranged father dies, leaving behind their many half-siblings and ex-stem moms. Kate is shocked her siblings want to go to the funeral, but she begrudgingly joins them.

My thoughts: Not very far into Reunion, I looked up Hannah Pittard's biography because I figured she had to be from the same part of Atlanta in which I grew up. She nails the details of geography and attitude of the city in a way only someone who shares my love/hate relationship with it can. As I read, I was simultaneously homesick for Atlanta and reminded of why I left. Kate certainly shares my ambivalence of Atlanta: "It's that it reminds me of all that is fake about the sweetness of the South."

As much as I enjoyed the setting of this novel, I would have loved it if it were set anywhere. Reunion is far from a feel-good family story. The Pulaskis are dysfunctional and realistically flawed. As close as Kate is with her siblings, each is keeping secrets. The dark humor of Kate infuses the novel's tone with some levity as they individually and collectively face many challenges and divulge secrets. Reunion is so good because of Pittard's characters and writing.

Favorite passage: "I give Atlanta a hard time and I certainly give my father's people a hard time. When it comes right down to it, though, I like being from Georgia. But it requires being somewhere else for me to appreciate how special it is. It's a bad relationship--or maybe the truest kind of relationship. Look. I'm trying to be honest. I like it best when it's not around. Because it lives in my memory, completely malleable, completely disposed to my own fantasies and imaginations. It's a cool thing to be able to say when I'm in Chicago--that I'm a Georgia peach--but when I'm here, the skin isn't so fuzzy."

The verdict: Reunion is an engaging and wise novel. Like Kate, I found humor at inappropriate times. I devoured this slim novel in twenty-four hours and loved every minute I spent with the Pulaskis and Hannah Pittard.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 288 pages
Publication date: October 7, 2014
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Reunion from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Hannah Pittard's website and follow her on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Monday, October 13, 2014

book review: How to Be Both by Ali Smith

The backstory: How to Be Both is on the 2014 Booker Prize short list. Update: It also won the 2015 Baileys Prize and was shortlisted for the 2015 Folio Prize.

The basics: How to Be Both is told in two parts, one from the point-of-view of George, a 16-year-old Cambridge (England) girl in current time, and the other from the spirit of Francesco del Cossa, a 15th century Italian artist. Which narrative you read first depends on the book; half the copies were printed with George's narrative first.

My thoughts: A few years ago, I read my first Ali Smith novel, There But For The (my review), when it was longlisted for the Orange Prize. I didn't love it, but I was impressed with Smith and her ideas, so I was eager to see what she would do next. Before starting this book, I did something I rarely do: I looked at a professional review (I usually think reviews give too much away.) I'm so glad I knew there are two orders in which to read this novel before I started (my copy had George's narrative second.) As a reader, I couldn't help contemplating how my reaction to this novel might be different depending on which version I read. It also made me pay attention to how the two narratives would overlap, which heightened the experience of reading (and made it a little easier.)

Because The Blazing World was also longlisted for this year's Booker Prize, at times I found myself comparing the two novels, as both have an unusual structure and examine issues of gender and art, albeit in very different ways. For me (and apparently the judges, as The Blazing World did not make the short list), Smith does both better. It's audacious to publish a book in two different orders. I'm partial to the order in which I read it, but I see how it could work well with George's story first. I imagine new layers would emerge on multiple readings, particularly if the reader opts to reverse the order for a second read (I'm particularly curious to know if the judges all read it in the same order the first time, as well as if they reverse orders for subsequent readings.)

Smith's prose is remarkably wise in its observations of both its fictional world and reality, and at time it's also humorous: "Is her mother really dead? Is it an elaborate hoax? (All hoaxes, on TV and the radio and in the papers and online, are described as elaborate whether they're elaborate or not.)" How to Be Both is that rare novel that feels longer than it is because Smith does so much with it. Despite how much I adored We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, I find myself hoping How to Be Both wins instead.

Favorite passage:  "In hell there is no mystery cause in mystery there is always hope."

The verdict: How to Be Both is utterly brilliant. It's inventive, provocative, and mind-bending. The prose is beautiful and smart. The characters are richly drawn. The historical sections are beautifully imagined. I'm rooting for it to win the Booker Prize because it's original, thought-provoking and emotionally affecting.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 384 pages
Publication date: December 2, 2014
Source: purchased

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy How to Be Both from the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Salon: Team Gale?

The Sunday Salon.comLast week, two big things happened: I went back to work and I finally captured Hawthorne's smile on camera. I'm so very grateful this kid decided to enter the world in the middle of the week because starting back to work on a Thursday really helped me transition back to the reality of dressing professionally and waking up to an alarm. So did having this picture to stare at while I missed him during the day:

Now that I'm back at work, I feel like we're embracing our new normal. As lovely as maternity leave was, it didn't feel like real life, and I was ready to be back at work. I'm so glad to love my job because even though I miss my baby when we're apart during the day, I'm happy to be at work. I imagine the alternative would be pretty devastating. 

Speaking of Hawthorne. I named my baby Hawthorne and not one person book blogger has made a Team Gale joke? When you're a librarian and a book blogger and the person most people in real life think of as a Reader-with-a-Capital-R, choosing a first name for your son that is best associated with an author has meant most people assume Nathaniel Hawthorne is my favorite writer (he's not) and that we named our son after him (we didn't, but we do like the association.) I do love that Hawthorne's name is literary, but I am truly surprised no one mentioned the other obvious literary reference: Gale Hawthorne. I'm disappointed, y'all. (And, no, he's not named after Gale either.)

Facing my first full week back at work, I'm off to spend as much time snuggling Hawthorne as I can (and as much time reading Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham as I can while he sleeps.) It's a big week in literary awards too: Tuesday brings the Booker Prize winner (I've only managed to read half the short list, but two are five-star reads) and the National Book Award short list(s) (I've still only managed to read one of the fiction longlisted titles.) I'll weigh in on all the new developments on Twitter and eventually here, but it may not be until next weekend. Happy reading!

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

book review: Us by David Nicholls

The backstory: Us was longlisted for the 2014 Booker Prize. I also adored One Day, the last novel David Nicholls wrote.

The basics: Us is the story of Douglas, a middle-aged biochemist, his wife Connie, an artist, and their seventeen-year-old son Albie. Connie announces she thinks she wants to leave Douglas, but she isn't sure yet. They set out on a tour of Europe with Albie as a last family trip, both before he goes to college and perhaps for their marriage too. The present day unfolds in the narrative while Douglas also tells us the story of their marriage from the beginning.

My thoughts: After loving One Day, I was already excited for Us. When it made the Booker longlist (before I could get my hands on a galley), I was surprised and ecstatic. My expectations were high going into this novel, and although I didn't love it quite as much as One Day, it is a smartly crafted, well-written, thoughtful exploration of marriage. It's also a medium-paced travel adventure novel. This combination works quite well, but a few times I found the flashback scenes out of balance with the present-day narrative. Most fit perfectly, but some were so fascinating I was sad to leave them behind. A few were less interesting and slowed the over all narrative pace.

From the novel's opening pages, I was laughing and snickering. Douglas narrates a clear picture of himself, including his shortcomings. So much of what I loved about One Day was the style of observational writing Nicholls uses. It's present in Us too:
"My wife, when we first met and felt compelled to talk constantly about each other's faces and personalities and what we loved about each other and all of that routine, once told me that I had a 'perfectly fine face' and, seeing my disappointment, quickly added that I had 'really kind eyes,' whatever that meant. And it's true, I have a perfectly fine face, eyes that may well be 'kind but are also the brownest of browns, a reasonable-sized nose and the kind of smile that causes photographs to be thrown away."
While this story is told through Douglas's eyes, and he admits he does not often understand Connie or Albie, his careful observations help the reader clearly see Douglas and events from their points of view too. Douglas is a character who is so different from me (and at times so frustrating because of these differences) that I often marveled how well Nicholls could sustain his voice in this novel. In this sense, I felt the exasperation Connie and Albie sometimes felt; I felt like part of the story too.

As the ending of the novel approached, I was surprised to find myself as invested as I was. I had not thought I cared how the novel ended, but I soon found myself sobbing as I read the last vignettes. Us was a smartly constructed, enjoyable novel, but it's climax and ending elevate the rest of it.

Favorite passage: "But awe is a hard emotion to sustain for hours on end and soon it all became rather boring."

The verdict: The emotional impact of Us caught me by surprise. I enjoyed the novel throughout, even if the flashback scenes hindered momentum occasionally. Douglas was a fully realized character who was both funny and sad. He fascinated me, even as I often felt sorry for him. As well-written as it is, this novel is rather straight forward, and yet the ending had me crying for pages. I was so moved, I realized Nicholls somehow let this novel sneak up on me, for the whole truly is greater than its very good parts.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 416 pages
Publication date: October 28, 2014
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Us from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit all the tour stops, visit David Nicholl's website, and like him on Facebook, and enjoy this video about the novel:

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!