22 Feb Friyays: February 22
Hello everyone and welcome to the third week of February, which seems insane. Wasn’t I just complaining about how long January was? I digress. I’m traveling a lot – per usual – and spent most of this week in rain-soaked North Carolina. My favorite rainy day activity is reading (you’re shocked, I know) so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite reading recs this week, along with a few news items that made me happy.
This week in Frozen on Broadway, original cast member Greg Hildredth made his final bow as Olaf. Replacing him is Ryann Redmond, making her the first female in the role. I love when theater allows us to step out of the bounds of what is into what could be and this is a great example. Besides, by all accounts, Ms. Redmond is fabulous in the role and this has certainly made me even more eager to see the production for myself!
Seeing Vermeer Differently
This tweet got me thinking about the Dutch Golden Age painter Vermeer. There is a sentence you didn’t think you’d see, did you? The glory in the ordinary. What a gift.
Almost all of Vermeer's paintings are of women doing ordinary things: cleaning, eating, writing letters. He illuminated ordinary moments, showing the glory glimmering beneath.
Today, while you're washing dishes, answering emails, imagine Vermeer painting you. Notice the glory. pic.twitter.com/snkh3KX7ez
— Joy Clarkson (@joynessthebrave) February 21, 2019
And now, on with the books…
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
Here’s the blurb from Penguin Random House
One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster. Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?
I read this thing in one sitting, barely able to put it down to use the restroom. The prose is captivating – fans of The Night Circus will find a lot to love here – and the questions it asked have haunted me since I closed the back cover. What is human connection? What do dreams mean? What is prophesy? How do we deal with the unknown?
Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
My go-to genre for reading is romance. Romantic suspense, sports romance, ones set in Scotland in the 1500s, ones set in New York in the 2000s – I read widely. One of my and Dr. Hinson’s favorite authors released her newest this week and it is a delight. If you enjoy historical fiction with a healthy dose of happily ever afters, I highly recommend Kleypas’s work in total.
Here’s the blurb from Avon:
Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.
West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.
Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?
Spoiler, the answer is yes. Because that’s the beauty of genre fiction – you know the structure before you come in. The fun of it is how the structure works for those particular characters. And, let me tell you, the structure certainly works for West and Phoebe.
The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan
There’s a bit of a stereotype in publishing that American women write romance well because they believe in hope and Irish women write crime and suspense well because they know there’s no such thing. I think that is a biiiiiit of a stretch, but you cannot deny that some of the absolute best suspense writing is coming out of the women of the Emerald Isle. The most recent addition to my pantheon of fantastic Irish women writers is Dervla McTiernan, whose second book The Scholar was released this week.
Here’s the blurb from Penguin Random House:
When Dr. Emma Sweeney stumbles across the victim of a hit-and-run outside Galway University early one morning, she calls her boyfriend, Detective Cormac Reilly, bringing him first to the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID that will put this crime at the center of a scandal–her card identifies her as Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy–it has even funded Emma’s own ground-breaking research.
As the murder investigation twists in unexpected ways and Cormac’s running of the case comes under scrutiny from the department and his colleagues, he is forced to question himself and the beliefs that he has long held as truths. Who really is Emma? And who is Carline Darcy?
This is a follow-on from her first (ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC) book The Ruin, but can be read as a standalone. However, if you like suspense writing, definitely grab both. I inhaled this book on a recent flight.
That’s it from me for this week. Dr. Hinson will be back next week (the first of March!) with her Friyays. Until then, y’all!