Teacher Book Talk

Hi, I'm Julie and I'm a readaholic. I have loved to read since I learned how back in first grade. My addiction was fed by living right next to our town library. Soon I was reading every Walter Farley book on the shelves, then Nance Drew, then . . . pretty much anything. A couple years ago I discovered Goodreads and I love keeping track of my books because, frankly, I can't remember them otherwise - there's too many. If you are on Goodreads feel free to follow me (I'm there as Julie Sawyer). As of today I have finished 25 books in 2017, well ahead of my goal for the year. Anyway, I thought I'd pick out three that I have really liked this year and share a little about them. Click the book pictures to find them on Amazon.

1. The Keeper of Lost Things

At this stage of my reading life I find myself sticking with authors I know and like. Nothing wrong with that, but there is a special kind of joy in finding someone new to read. This book is a debut novel (great way to find someone new!) and I have Goodreads to thank for finding it. I read about it there and marked it as "want to read." Then I put it on hold at my library. I'm so glad I did, because it turned out to be a wonderful read. It's a quiet, lovely story set in England where Anthony Peardew has gathered a large collection of things people have lost. He inventories them, recording details of where and when they were found, and keeps them in his house. He also writes stories about the objects. He hires an assistant, Laura, who is struggling to put her life back together after an unpleasant divorce (she is kind of another lost thing). 
Anthony becomes concerned that he hasn't tried to reunite the lost things with the people who lost them. Nearing the end of his life, he decides to leave that as a mission for Laura, along with his home. The main part of the book is Laura's story, as well as some other characters. My favorite character is Sunshine, a neighbor child who decides to befriend Laura after Anthony's death. She explains that she has "dancing drome," and I admit it took me awhile to realize she has Down's Syndrome!
There are several stories going on inside this story, and connections are made as you get toward the end. I'm not doing it justice here!

2. The Last Lion

This is my favorite non-fiction book so far this year. Over the last couple years, I have found myself reading a number of WW II books, both fiction and non-fiction. This book is the third volume about Winston Churchill and covers the war years. (I have not read the others)
I have a 40-minute commute to work so I listen to an audiobook. This helps me get non-fiction in, because I am definitely a fiction reader first! This book took me weeks - in print it is over 1,000 pages. It's a fascinating story if you enjoy learning about that period in history. The author, William Manchester, was in poor health at the end of his life and chose Paul Reid to help finish this book. He had huge amounts of research done but died before the book was finished. 
The book does not sugar-coat Churchill's flaws, which makes his story even more remarkable. It's hard to imagine that anyone else could have stood - often alone - against the evil of Hitler's Germany. 

3. Red Knife (Cork O'Connor #8)

I enjoy reading series, so when I find a new one that I love it is so exciting. One of my Goodreads friends was reading books from this series and I had never heard of the author or the books. Once I read the first one I was hooked. This is the most recent one I have read, number 8 of 16 (currently). I'm forced to move slowly through them as several are not in my county library's collection. Right now I'm waiting for #9 to come through Inter-Library Loan which often takes weeks.
The hero of these stories is Cork O'Connor and the setting is Minnesota. Cork and his family live in his home town and he has had two stints as the county sheriff and is now doing private detective work at times. I love the characters of these books and how they grow and change as I read through the series. The mysteries are always interesting and the racial tensions - between whites and The People on the reservation (Ojibwe) are a thread that runs through the books. Cork himself is of mixed heritage - his maternal grandmother was a well-respected member of the tribe.
If you decide to check out these books I recommend you start with Iron Lake, the first novel. 

Happy Reading!


  1. All three of these titles sound good, Julie. And all three are on my wish list. Hard to decide which is top priority... I think Keeper of Lost Things. I love stories set in England... not that The Last Lion is not :) Thanks for sharing news of them. Kathleen

    1. Kathleen, it surprised me how much I like it. Not usually my style, but it was absolutely lovely.

  2. Uh oh! Another book to read... Keeper of Lost Things sounds right up my alley. I am going to have to retire in order to get all of my reading completed. LOL! Thanks for sharing such great titles.


  3. Thanks for the book suggestions! I have been reading like crazy this summer, so I am always looking for a new book recommendation. I have a notebook that I started to keep track of the books I've read this year, but I definitely need to look into tracking them on Goodreads!


    1. One thing I love about Goodreads is that if I'm in a store and see a book I can scan it into the app and mark as want to read! I'd miss a lot of good reads (pun intended) if not for that.


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