The persimmons have spoken in agreement with the Farmers’ Almanac and meteorologists who are watching El Nino. Snow is coming eventually, but we all know how fickle Mother Nature can be. Sometimes she waits until spring is knocking at the door before she allows winter to come out to play.
Most of us will stock up in hopes of a white Christmas. Cupboards will have several boxes of hot chocolate mix, a canister of the genuine cocoa, along with marshmallows to dress up this favorite cold weather staple. The supply of coffee and flavored creamers will be supplemented, and just in case the cold settles in the bones, we might stock up on the ingredients of hot toddies.
I will also stock up on recommended readings. Here are a few of mine.
And There Was Light, by Jacques Lusseyran, is a gripping WWII saga, a true account by the author about his personal involvement in the French Resistance. I first read of this autobiography in another reference about Lusseyran’s uncanny ability to know if a speaker was telling the truth simply by sound, a great asset during the chaos that prevailed. A great read for non-history buffs as well; It’s shorter than Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, another astounding WWII account of one airman Louis Zamperini.
If you prefer historical fiction, try All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Doerr did his homework. The factual aspects mirror the accounts in Lusseyran’s book, while giving us a unique though imagined account of personalities on both sides of the WWII conflict. I had to keep reminding myself it was fiction.
On a student’s recommendation years ago, I read a novel by Nicholas Sparks. The movie was out, but she suggested I read the book first. That was the only work by Sparks that I have read until recently, when I grabbed True Believer off the library shelf. Skimming the jacket I could tell it would involve a journalist, paranormal activity associated with a cemetery, small town hoopla, the Outer Banks, and of course, a romantic plot twist. The plus for me was that it did not require a box of Kleenex to read.
The Outer Banks appears as the setting for The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate, an inspirational author who does not back down from the realities of society in her fiction. The main character promises herself to kick a pill habit, struggles to raise two kids as a single mom, deals with the haunts of a broken marriage, seeks solace in the not-always-serene sea, sand and sun in the Outer Banks. I will read others by Wingate.
Some of my friends young and old are into reading a series. I gave it a try with the four by Lois Lowry. It was surprising to find them in the adolescent section at the bookstore. I purchased the set one by one because of the waiting list at the library. When I finished one, I hated the wait for the next. The titles in the series are The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. This series is classified as social science fiction. A sci-fi fan I am not, but I devoured these four novels.
For intriguing who-dun-it mysteries set right here in Southeast Missouri, try the books by author duo Bill Hopkins and Sharon Woods Hopkins. Retired judge Bill has penned Courting Murder, River Mourn, Bloody Earth, and Unfinished Grave. His expertise guides Judge Rosswell Carew in his compelling drive for justice. Sharon Woods Hopkins also uses Southeast Missouri as the setting for her main character Rhetta’s insightful, obstinate pursuit of truth in her novels Killerwatt, Killerfind, Killer Trust and Killer Ground. As a plus, she patterned Rhetta’s sidekick after a co-worker and Doniphan native, Baxter Hoover.
This first appeared in the Dec. 8th, 2015 issue of the Prospect-News, the local weekly paper.