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Friday, February 17, 2006

TBR Challenge for February

Since we're in the middle of winter, getting tired of the cold (at least here in Germany, and I assume elsewhere in the northern part of the northern hemisphere), February's TBR challenge is to read a book that, through the title, subject matter, or picture on the cover, makes you think of warmer weather.

Some examples from my shelves:
  • Dangerous Depths by Kathy Brandt (sailboat on the cover, takes place in the Bahamas)
  • Carnal Innocence by Nora (first sentence, chapter 1: "Summer, that vicious green bitch, flexed her sweaty muscles and flattened Innocence, Mississippi.")
  • Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine (title)
I read Patricia Gaffney's The Goodbye Summer.

This month, the TBR challenge was a real success. Without it, I wouldn't have read The Goodbye Summer for months, maybe years. A few weeks ago, I read Gaffney's Flight Lessons and, while I recognized her writing skill, I didn't like the characters, and the book depressed me (which, now that I think of it, is the same reaction I had to her first foray into women's fiction, The Saving Graces). Still, I buy every single one of Gaffney's new books, in hardcover even, because she is such a fabulous person. Wickedly funny, brilliant, gorgeous.

Anyway. I loved The Goodbye Summer. Yes, it made me cry, but I expected that, and it wasn't at all manipulative, which is my usual complaint about books that make me cry. Mostly, I just loved the characters. And the character growth was so subtle. It never occurred to me to want or like such a thing as subtle character growth, but boy, did it work with this book.

And the fact that my copy is signed, and that I remember reading the first rough scene on the Cherry writing list, and Pat learning to play the violin while she was writing it, and the fact that somewhere out there is a photo in which I'm sitting right next to Ms. Gaffney Herself and she's making devil's horns behind my head, well, that just makes it even more perfect.


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