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Paul D. Parsons, the author of the Baden-Powell's Beads series, talks about why he thinks it's important for writers to read, not only the classics but contemporary works as well. He also shares some of the authors who have inspired his own writing --- including Vince Flynn, Wilbur Smith, James Michener and Stephen King.
January 9, 2014

What I Read on My Holiday Vacation

Posted by carol
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While on my two-week Christmas/New Year’s vacation I posted commentary on the Bookreporter.com Facebook about many of the books that I read. Here I have compiled that copy, as well as some notes about books that I never had time to post about there. I had dozens of books with me and as I unpacked when we arrived in North Carolina I placed them on shelves in a small office area in the house. Each time I finished one I would peruse the shelves of my personal library looking for the next; I love weeks like this. So here is my vacation reading recap....
Philip Shenon, the bestselling author of THE COMMISSION: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, was a reporter for the New York Times for more than 20 years. His most recent book, A CRUEL AND SHOCKING ACT: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination, seeks to answer the questions that have haunted our nation for half a century: Was President John F. Kennedy killed by a single gunman? Was Lee Harvey Oswald part of a conspiracy? Did the Warren Commission discover the whole truth of what happened on November 22, 1963? Here, too, in our last Holiday Author Blog of 2013, Philip writes about a topic that is every bit as pervasive --- although slightly less conspiracy-oriented: the luxury of reading for pleasure and the joy it brings.
Belinda Alexandra is an internationally bestselling author whose love of other cultures and languages is matched by her passion for her home country, Australia. Her latest novel, TUSCAN ROSE, is a richly woven tale of passion, longing, witchcraft and magic set in Italy during World War II. In her Holiday Author Blog, Belinda writes about the power of a good book to change its reader and transport him or her to new and exciting places, as well as the first book that really moved her.
In 14 years as a SEAL officer, Rorke Denver tangled with drug lords in Latin America, stood up to violent mobs in Liberia, and battled terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has spent the past four years as executive officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center’s Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California, directing all phases of the basic and advanced training that prepare men for war in SEAL teams. His memoir, DAMN FEW: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior (available in paperback on January 14th), takes the reader inside his own personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now oversees. In his Holiday Author Blog, Rorke talks about the one book that sparked his “flame” and inspired him to become a SEAL.
In Jason Mott's debut novel, THE RETURNED, readers are introduced to Harold and Lucille, whose son died tragically at his eighth birthday party. When Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep years later, they must navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human. In his Holiday Author Blog, Jason talks about one soggy Christmas when he received THE ODYSSEY --- after going on a real-life cow-chasing odyssey --- and how he found a new world, and himself, in the Homer classic long before he was creating worlds of his own.
Carla Buckley's third novel, THE DEEPEST SECRET, releases on February 4th, following INVISIBLE and THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE, which was nominated for a Thriller Award as a best first novel and the Ohioana Book Award for fiction. In her forthcoming book, Eve Lattimore's son has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that there are some crises Eve cannot control --- and some secrets that not even love can conceal. In her Holiday Author Blog, Carla writes about the unusual children’s books she received as gifts when she was pregnant with her first child, and how they are still fan favorites among her three kids.
Jan-Philipp Sendker published his first novel, the international bestseller THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS, in 2012. The sequel, A WELL-TEMPERED HEART, releases on January 21st and finds successful Manhattan lawyer Julia Win at a crossroads in her personal life. She is lost and exhausted, until one day she starts hearing a voice in her head, asking her exactly the questions she’s been avoiding and making her seriously reconsider her life. In his Holiday Author Blog, Jan-Philipp admits that while he might not be the biggest fan of Christmas, having children of his own has helped him remember the anticipation and excitement the holiday inspired when he was a kid.
John Searles is the author of the national bestsellers BOY STILL MISSING and STRANGE BUT TRUE, and his essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other national newspapers and magazines. His latest book, HELP FOR THE HAUNTED, is about Sylvie Mason, whose parents have an unusual occupation --- helping “haunted souls” find peace. They are brutally murdered one night, and only a year later does Sylvie pursue the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night --- and to the truth about her family’s past and the secrets that have haunted them for years. In his Holiday Author Blog, John talks about the first book he gave his sister as a Christmas gift, and then --- thrilled by the joy it brought her --- gave it to her again and again through the years. Hey, if it ain't broke...
In addition to her debut novel, REAL LIFE & LIARS, Kristina Riggle has published short stories in the Cimarron ReviewLiterary MamaEspresso Fiction and elsewhere. Her most recent book, THE WHOLE GOLDEN WORLD, is about a 17-year-old who shocks her parents and her community with one simple act: She chooses to stand by her high school teacher, who everyone else believes has exploited her. In her Holiday Author Blog, Kristina remembers the best book she ever received --- a gorgeous, blood-red, leather-bound copy of ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS --- and how sometimes books make very delightful objects.