Monthly Archives: January 2014

murder in the yoga store: the true story of the lululemon killing

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yoga store Murder in the Yoga Store by Peter Ross Range is our neighborhood book club pick this month.  At first, I did not think it would be a great discussion book.  However, after reading it there are a lot of social and racial issues to talk about at book club.  Unfortunately, I took the book one step further — when I was done reading it I googled the murder.   I saw pictures of the murderer and the crime scene.  It is haunting, to say the least.  While, I didn’t love the book, it turns out there may be a lot to discuss at book club.

Goodreads describes the book:

MURDER IN THE YOGA STORE is the true story of the brutal killing of a beautiful young woman at a chic Lululemon yoga-wear shop. The grisly murder was committed on a pleasant Friday night in upscale Bethesda, Maryland, a leafy suburb of Washington, D.C. In this riveting narrative by veteran journalist Peter Ross Range, the author for the first time brings together the tale of what really happened in the yoga store murder. He portrays the personalities of both victim and murderer, along with the strange and convoluted circumstances of the crime and its cover-up. Range meticulously exposes layer upon layer of deceit and confusion. His account builds the tension of the police investigation until the real story, so odd and creepy, takes your breath away. The drama of the murder trial is a moving emotional roller coaster built around the prosecutors, the detectives and the family of the victim. Peter Ross Range is a longtime Washington, D.C., magazine writer. A former White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report and foreign correspondent for Time, Range has covered politics, international affairs and war. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic and many other publications.

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the invention of wings…

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wingsI received an email promoting this book, The Invention of Wings.  It is written by Sue Monk Kidd, the author of The Secret Life of Bees, which I loved.  Once I read the description of her new book, I purchased it immediately (again, I always fall for those email and TV promotions!).

The Invention of Wings is a wonderful book.  It is written from the voices of two women, Handful and Sarah.  Sarah is the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and Handful is the slave who was given to Sarah when she was 11 years old as a gift.   It is amazing to hear both voices and you will be moved hearing of their unlikely friendship and hardships.

On a side note, Sarah Grimke is not a fictional person (although the book is a work of fiction, based on true facts).  Her and her sister, Angelina, spoke out in the 1800’s against slavery and were the first women abolitionists.  They were truly amazing women who were lost in history and not well-known at all.  Sue Monk Kidd does an amazing job bringing life into the history she uncovered regarding these incredible sisters.

I loved this book. 

Goodreads describes the book:

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

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half broke horses…

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half broke horsesI chose to read the book Half Broke Horses because it was written by Jeannette Walls.  She wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Glass Castle.  While I enjoyed reading Half Broke Horses, I actually put the book down for weeks without reading it.  I didn’t think about it much and didn’t really care what happened next.  To put this in perspective, I read The Glass Castle in one day.

Jeanette Walls writes that Half Broke Horses was a work of fiction based on facts. It is written about the author’s grandmother.  I thought the main character was interesting, her life was hard and she made it work.  The part that intrigued me most was the daughter in the book, Rosemary (Jeannette Walls’ mother in the future).  You will read about her in The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls’ memoir.  I wanted to know how someone could grow up and only think of themselves and not their children.  How a mother could buy art supplies before feeding her kids.  In Half Broke Horses when Rosemary met her future husband, Rex Walls, it made my heart hurt to think about what would happen in The Glass Castle.  Two self centered people found each other and had a family.

Jeanette Walls is a great author and her family is more than interesting (to say the least!).

Goodreads describes the book:

Lily Casey Smith, this novel’s feisty Texas protagonist, is a frontier teacher, a rancher, a rodeo rider, a poker player, and bootlegger. In Half Broke Horses, she survives droughts, tornados, floods, poverty, and whatever else fate can throw against her. Based on author Jeannette Walls’s grandmother, Lily is a plausible character because she has a voice that synchronizes with her history. This novel lives up to the still gathering acclaim for Walls’s novel The Glass Castle.

Please view “reading now” for current and past book postings.