When it comes to mystery writers, Dick Francis was one of a kind. Before turning to writing, the man had already enjoyed a full, and very successful career as a steeplechase jockey. He hadn’t been just any jockey. He was good enough to ride for the British Royal Family. He was astride one of the royal mounts when a tumble cost him a Grand National Championship.
Sitting around and being lazy wasn’t Dick Francis’s style. He was a doer. He wanted to be busy, so he turned to mysteries. His debut novel was Break In, a delightful tale about a young jockey who is struggling to deal with a family enemy, a blooming romance, and a brother in law who has managed to get himself in trouble. The book was a success and set the tone for more than fifty more books.
Although they weren’t all set in the world of horse racing, all of Dick Francis’s novels did have a great deal in common. They’re written in a very simple, matter of fact style, have well developed characters, and vivid settings. The books are usually written in first person and from a male point of view. Francis was able to write a story that married Agatha Christie’s charm with James Patterson’s tension. It’s a winning combination that fans of the mystery genre will appreciate.
If you enjoy well written books that are light on sex but high with action and mystery, you’ll want to check out Dick Francis. It won’t be long before your entire book case is full of his titles. In addition to his mysteries, Dick Francis also wrote a biography and a collection of short stories.
The world of books has changed a great deal over the past two or three years. When e-book companies made the announcement that they were going to provide a platform that allowed writers to self-publish their books the industry scoffed. Self-publishing wasn’t new, it had been around for years. However most of the authors that chose that route seldom experienced any real success. At the time Tolkein and Harper Lee were the few success stories and it took years before they achieved commercial success.
In this case, the publishing world missed a step. Not only has the self-publishing provided want to be authors with a chance to do something with their unpublished books, but many have enjoyed huge success. Success stories include Amanda Hocking, the Shades of Gray trilogy, and Beautiful Disaster; these books started out as ebooks and were so popular the authors were offered publishing contracts.
Obviously not everyone can hope to get rich from publishing their manuscript through Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords, most don’t but publishers and agents have started to worry. They’re not getting the high number of submissions they used to receive, many of the stories they’d like they’re not even getting a crack at, and, most alarming, writers are expecting a much higher advance than they would have ever dreamed of asking for five years ago. The refusal of the big publishing houses to evolve with the industry has made it possible for some of the smaller, indy publishers to make some really good deals on great books that were written by authors who still wanted traditional publishing.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for books sales.
The agriculture world seems to be getting attacked from all sides. Foodies are worried about the quality and health of their food. Animal rights activist are convinced farmers are abusive and cold-blooded murders. The government and banks make funding nearly impossible to get, and on top of all of that, the weather never seems to cooperate. Some of the issues stem from a lack of understanding between producers and the consumer.
Michele Payn-Knoper hopes her book, No More Food Fights, will help take at least a little of the pressure off by helping show producers and consumers how to communicate. The hope being that if common ground can be found, everyone will be able to relax a little.
The book is written from two sides. One side of the book focuses on the consumer, and provides names and twitter handles where consumers can connect directly with farmers and producers. It explains what questions to ask as well as trying to dispel some erroneous myths.
The other side of the book focuses on the farmer, urging them to not stay silent or get defensive when someone attacks their way of life and career choices. Instead it encourages them to address the situation and to invite people to their property.
Although it’s slender, the book is packed full of interesting information and facts about how food gets from the farm to the table. Experts on both sides of the argument are quoted, and it’s written in a light, fun voice that makes it very easy to read.
Anyone who enjoys eating and have ever worried about their food needs to add No More Food Fights to their collection.
I’ll admit it, I really didn’t know what to expect when I started reading the first book in the Game of Thrones series. I had watched a few episodes of the show and like it, but when I’ve never really enjoyed epic fantasy books, and with each book of series having more than 700 pages, the series is about as epic as things get. Now that I’ve read the first book in the series, I’m glad I took the chance. I can’t wait to read the second book, which I’ve been told is just as good as the first.
Every single chapter is told from a different character’s point of view. The interesting thing about the way it’s done is that the writing style never changes, but you do see the world through the different character’s eyes. Each chapter is titled with the particular character’s name, which prevents the book from getting to confusing.
A good bit of the first half of the book is backstory, something you don’t get from the HBO series, but which does help flesh out the characters a bit. Unlike Tolkien, Martin did an excellent job setting up the story in a way that’s never tedious. Although the book is long, the chapters are short, creating nice stopping points.
Although the book’s content is dark, the story is basically the War of the Roses set in an alternative universe, the writing style is surprisingly light and enjoyable. I was surprised by how quickly I was able to read the book. I hope the style continues throughout the series.
The book is rather violent, and won’t be a good choice for everyone.
If there’s one thing that’s been underutilized in Young Adult fiction it has to be the circus setting. J. J. Howard is working to correct that oversight, by setting her debut novel in a traveling circus. For a debut novel, That Time I Joined the Circus is well-written and shows great insight into the emotional state of teenagers.
After the unexpected death of her father, Lexi is forced to leave New York City and everything she knows and loves to go in search of her mother. Since the last time anyone heard anything from her mother was when she worked as a singer at the circus, that’s where goes. She doesn’t find her mom, but she does find a job. Shortly after that, she finds the circus people, strange though they are, becoming her new family.
That Time I Joined the Circus doesn’t focus on the life in the circus nearly as much as I would have liked, the main character is more involved with the carnival aspect than the circus part. The book does have a very intense group of people who call the circus home and a rather wild love quadrangle that keeps thing interesting. It’s impossible to determine which guy the main character will ultimately fall in love with.
While I wish the author would have spent more time developing the setting, I have to admit she did a wonderful job creating multi-dimensional stories and not overloading the book with angst filled moments.
I urge anyone who enjoys YA literary fiction and who wants a good book that will keep them engaged on rainy afternoons to read That Time I Joined the Circus.
Welcome to Wyoming Big Read! Our website is dedicated to all things related to literature. We are passionate about books and the difference reading can make in the lives of people in our community. From the smallest child to the oldest adult, books can unlock a whole new world of experiences that will set your imagination ablaze with adventures and provoke deep thought and reflection. Take some time to browse our book reviews to find a great new book to enjoy. Read our tips to learn how to get more out of your literature class or how to ace that next big literature assignment. Pull up a chair, grab a good book, and let’s get started on the journey into Wyoming’s best literature.