Awesome Authors #15: Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

I was first introduced to Orson Scott Card when I was entering high school. We were assigned to read Ender’s Game, something that I initially dreaded!

Born in Richland, Washington, in August 1951, he is the third of six children. He is a great-great-grandson of Brigham Young. His older brother, Arlen Card, is a notable composer and arranger. Card was raised in Santa Clara, California; Mesa, Arizona; and Orem, Utah. Raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church, or Mormon church) church, Card was a missionary in Brazil, and graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU). He also attended the University of Utah, and spent a year at the University of Notre Dame in a Ph.D program.

Card started primarily as a poet. While a theater major, he began doctoring scripts, and eventually wrote his own one-act and full-length plays. Several were produced by faculty directors at BYU. He delved into fiction writing, and his earliest stories evolved into The Worthing Saga.

He was an associate editor at the Ensign, and moved to Salt Lake City. He currently teaches English at Southern Virginia University. In addition to writing under his given name, Card has written under multiple pseudonyms.

He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine. They have had five children, all named after authors their parents have admired: Michael Geoffrey (Geoffrey Chaucer), Emily Janice (Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson), Charles Benjamin (Charles Dickens), Zina Margaret (Margaret Mitchell), and Erin Louisa (Louisa May Alcott). Charles had cerebral palsy, and passed away just after his 17th birthday. Erin died the day she was born.

He has been awarded the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award multiple times, and has been the only author to win both science fiction’s top U.S. prizes in consecutive years. He was also recognized by the American Library Association (ALA) in 2008 with their Margaret A. Edwards Award, in which a writer and a particular body of work is recognized for “significant and lasting contributions to young adult literature.”


Ender’s Game (1985)

Cover shows a futuristic aeroplane landing on a lighted runway.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one of the best science fiction books that I have ever read. Although it was assigned reading, I ended up re-reading it while still in high school. The movie adaptation (2013) was also very well done.

For someone who used to be a huge sci-fi skeptic, this is the book that turned it around for me.

Speaker for the Dead (1986)

Speaker dead cover.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is one book that has been on my radar, but have yet to read.

Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (1996)

OSCpastwatch.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’ve always been fascinated by alternate histories. This one looks interesting.


What about you? Have you read any of Orson Scott Card’s books or work?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Book Review #61: “Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide”

Girls Auto Clinic - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

I first heard about this book when Patrice Banks was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast!

Here’s the link from the NPR archives:


I wanted to buy this book the minute I saw the podcast episode in my library.

I’m a bit biased, I think. Being the only child, my dad made sure that I was comfortable around cars from a very early age. Since he was an engineer, he wanted me to be as confident as possible with math and science, and anything related to it. Cars are complicated, don’t get me wrong, but being naturally curious, I learned quickly.

My dad taught me how to change the oil in our Volvo station wagon before I entered middle school. I also learned the essence of a gas and maintenance log, checking tire pressures, and having an emergency kit ready to go.

I also learned that my parents keep their cars for as long as possible. Our family only had/went through five cars by the time I graduated from college in 2011.

  • White Volvo 240 station wagon, 1988-2016
  • Gold/beige Saturn SL sedan, early 1990s
  • Forest green Volvo S70 sedan, 1998-2011
  • Gold/beige Ford Ranger truck, 2005-present
  • Gold/beige Toyota Camry sedan, 2010-present

The only new cars my parents ever purchased, in my lifetime, were the Volvo station wagon, and possibly the Saturn sedan. Everything else was/has been used. I learned how to drive stick on the Ford Ranger when I was in high school, although the Saturn sedan was also a manual transmission. The Camry is my baby, whom I call “Sandy.”


I really appreciate Banks writing this type of guide. It’s important for everyone to know the basics about the car you drive, but especially women. Banks has said this book arose out of her own experiences, and shame, with being incredibly intimidated by mechanics, car repairs, dealerships, and more.

Although I was fortunate to have a wonderful dad who taught me many things about cars early on, I know many women aren’t so lucky. Even some men I know aren’t handy with their cars, and trust their mechanics to fix whatever is wrong.

Banks does a great job with breaking a car down into its basic components, and making everything less intimidating right off the bat. She founded Girls Auto Clinic as a series of workshops, where women were encouraged to bring their cars and be prepared to get their hands dirty. She’s learned from her mistakes, and tries hard to educate others. When she was younger, Banks found she was getting a new car every three-four years, dropping a ton of extra money on repairs because she was ignoring or was intimidated by routine maintenance, and zoning out when mechanics were explaining the work that was being done.

She encourages, implores women (and men) to learn the basics first, then to become very intimate with your vehicle, and to continue a similar relationship with every vehicle after that. Once you’re armed with knowledge, everything becomes easier.

Here are a few basics Banks encourages everyone to learn:

  • How to pop and raise your vehicle’s hood
  • What the lights on your dashboard or instrument panel mean
  • How to check your tire pressure
  • How to add air to your tires
  • How to measure your tire tread
  • How to check your fluids under the hood
  • How to change a tire
  • Finding and keeping a great PCT

Banks doesn’t encourage the common driver to change their own oil, although Al and I do that with our own cars. We know how, and the amount of money spent is a little less than the traditional oil change services.

The biggest tip to keep in mind: Beware of cheap car services. Oil changes aren’t normally $5.00 flat. Your car is a big part of your life – Don’t automatically spring for something cheap to save money.


Now that I’ve read the book, I plan to keep this in my glove box. It’s chock-full of valuable tips, tricks, diagrams, and recommendations.

I hope that she expands the Girls Auto Clinic across the country, too. It’s a valuable organization that empowers women in a male-dominated profession.

For more information, check out https://girlsautoclinic.com/.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #72: Books That Every Reader Needs To Read

Books Everyone Should Read - Imgur

This is a consensus cloud of Books Everyone Should Read. Image Credit: Imgur

Thrice Read! You ladies are on a roll!

Here’s the link to their post:


So, without further ado, here’s my list!

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • I’ve expressed multiple times how much I love this book. I re-read it every year. It’s amazing sometimes how you fall in love with assigned reading!

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

  • This was another assigned reading book. It was incredibly powerful for me. I don’t re-read it every year, but I have read it multiple times.

The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks

  • Aside from the movie (2004) being excellent, the book is one of my all-time favorites from Sparks. It’s a classic romance, in my opinion.

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

  • Another assigned reading book that has stuck with me. Learning Anne’s story was pivotal, as I have Jewish relatives and ancestry. Plus, I’ve been fascinated by anything related to World War II for as long as I can remember.

The Giver, Lois Lowry

  • Lowry is one of my favorite authors. This book initially scared me, and gave me nightmares, so it was left unfinished for years. I think I finally got through it for the first time in college. It’s a powerful book. Plus, the movie adaptation (2014) is decent, too.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

  • I don’t think I will ever not mention Harry Potter. Although I was a late bloomer in terms of reading the series, once I started, I was absolutely hooked. Rowling is a literal wizard!

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

  • I dove right in after it was published. This started the big dystopian kick for me. This book, and series, are ones that I will always keep on my bookshelf.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

  • I love historical fiction, especially set in the 20th century. I devoured it within a few days, and then my mom read it. The movie (2011) is a great watch, too. Mom and I saw it together.

The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls

  • I can’t remember who recommended Walls’ memoir, but I’m so glad they did. I could not put this book down, although I probably should have been studying at the time. Walls is an amazing writer and storytelling, and her family’s adventures are something to behold. This, and her other books, will always be on my shelves.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

  • This was another assigned reading book, for one of our first presentations in Mr. Degnan’s ninth-grade English class. Originally, I hated the book. But, years later, I re-read it, and now I love it.

Night, Elie Wiesel

  • My school district focused on World War II and the Holocaust in middle school. We did a huge unit on the Holocaust, and this book was a big part of it. However, this is one of those books that I’ve only read once, since it absolutely haunted me.

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton

  • I don’t remember when I first read this book, but it’s always stuck with me. I found myself re-reading it several years ago, when I was going on job interviews right out of college. It’s one of those pivotal books that has so many lessons wrapped up in a good story. Plus, the movie adaptation (1983) is excellent – One of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen.

The Awakening, Kate Chopin

  • I agree with Thrice Read on this one. You either love it or hate it. I loved it from the first read.

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

  • Although fictional, Steinbeck perfectly captures the essence of despair as a family leaves Oklahoma to escape the Dust Bowl. But, life isn’t as rosy as they thought once they arrive in California. It’s a classic book about such a tumultuous time in American history.

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg

  • I’m going to recommend Allsburg’s books as a whole (He’s written many, including Jumanji and Zathura), but The Polar Express was a childhood staple. My parents had the hardcover book, the cassette tape, and the bell. We also went to see the movie (2004) as a family. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

This was such a fun post! So much nostalgia!

What’s a book you believe ever reader should read at some point?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #60: “A Girl Named Hillary: The True Story of Hillary Clinton”

A Girl Named Hillary

Image Credit: Amazon

Like A Girl Named Rosa, this book was a fast read.

I appreciated that Hillary was considered for this series, given her recent presidential campaign.

Like Rosa’s book, I learned several new things about Hillary. Since her childhood, she’s always stood up for herself and tried to help others.

I literally grew up watching Hillary as First Lady from 1993-2001. So, in a way, she has always been inspiring to me. I think this book can be just as inspiring to other girls, now, and in future generations.

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #59: “A Girl Named Rosa: The True Story of Rosa Parks”

A Girl Named Rosa

Image Credit: Amazon

American Girl just started releasing their “A Girl Named” series, and I definitely wanted to get my hands on them!

When A Girl Named Rosa arrived, I was a little dismayed. It was a very short book! I then realized that this series is clearly designed for much younger readers. However, I still wanted to read it!

The book is beautifully illustrated, and is packed with facts and a good story. It’s like a mini-biography. I even learned a few new things!

While initially disappointed, I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and I imagined parents reading these books to their children at night before bed. Also, it’s a great history resource.

It’s designed to be inspiring to young girls, which I can certainly appreciate.

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #122: My Take on “Down The TBR Hole”

down-the-tbr-hole_4

Image Credit: papertrail rambles

As I mentioned in my May Goals post, my TBR has just spiraled out of control! I was searching for a way to cut it down, or at least rein it in a bit.

Enter Destiny, from Howling Libraries.

She does this awesome series of posts called “Down the TBR Hole,” which I’ve been eagerly reading, and studying, for a while. She uses her Goodreads account to cut down her list.


Since I don’t use Goodreads as religiously, here’s my plan.

I’m going to take my wild list and reorder it, similar to Destiny’s standing TBR, where books are ordered alphabetically. Let’s see what happens.

Here’s the link to my most recent TBR recap, which was published on April 10th:

My original TBR, as of April 2018, had approximately 186 books.

YIKES!


First, I decided to tackle the “Remove” list.

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR:

  1. The Language of Silence, Tiffany Truitt
  2. Black Rabbit Hall, Eve Chase
  3. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  4. The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  5. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
  6. New Boy, Julian Houston
  7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
  8. Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
  9. Library of Souls, Ransom Riggs
  10. Tales of the Peculiar, Ransom Riggs
  11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling
  12. Quidditch Through the Ages, J.K. Rowling
  13. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, Emma Straub
  14. Modern Lovers, Emma Straub
  15. In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume
  16. You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott
  17. Dare Me, Megan Abbott
  18. The Fever: A Novel, Megan Abbott
  19. Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott
  20. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  21. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand
  22. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
  23. The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
  24. Loving Day, Mat Johnson
  25. The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, Gretchen Bakke
  26. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
  27. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe
  28. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney
  29. Bright, Precious Days, Jay McInerney
  30. Underground Airlines, Ben Winters
  31. A Good Month for Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad, Del Quentin Wilber
  32. Teardrops of the Innocent: The White Diamond Story (True Colors – Volume 1), Allie Marie
  33. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
  34. Caraval, Stephanie Garber
  35. Jefferson’s Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Children, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  36. Autumn Street, Lois Lowry
  37. The Giver, Lois Lowry
  38. Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry
  39. Messenger, Lois Lowry
  40. Son, Lois Lowry
  41. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
  42. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  43. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  44. Emma, Jane Austen
  45. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  46. Persuasion, Jane Austen
  47. The List, Patricia Forde
  48. Hello Me, It’s You, Anonymous; edited by Hannah Todd
  49. Use The Force: A Jedi’s Guide to the Law of Attraction, Joshua P. Warren
  50. Digital Fortress: A Thriller, Dan Brown
  51. Deception Point, Dan Brown
  52. Inferno, Dan Brown
  53. Origin: A Novel, Dan Brown
  54. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  55. Camino Island, John Grisham
  56. The Rooster Bar, John Grisham
  57. Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self, Manoush Zomorodi
  58. Lost Laysen, Margaret Mitchell
  59. Before Scarlett: Girlhood Writings of Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Mitchell; edited by Jane Eskridge
  60. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane
  61. Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane
  62. Uglies, Scott Westerfeld
  63. Pretties, Scott Westerfeld
  64. Specials, Scott Westerfeld
  65. Extras, Scott Westerfeld
  66. Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery, Robert Kolker
  67. Into the Water, Paula Hawkins
  68. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
  69. In the Lake of the Woods, Tim O’Brien
  70. July, July, Tim O’Brien
  71. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han
  72. P.S. I Still Love You, Jenny Han
  73. Always and Forever, Lara Jean, Jenny Han
  74. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn
  75. Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
  76. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  77. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
  78. The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls
  79. Half Broke Horses, Jeanette Walls
  80. The Silver Star, Jeanette Walls
  81. Because You Exist (Light in the Dark Series) (Volume 1), Tiffany Truitt
  82. The Goldfish Boy, Lisa Thompson
  83. Postcards from the Edge, Carrie Fisher
  84. Shockaholic, Carrie Fisher
  85. Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
  86. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
  87. In A Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware
  88. We Can Be Mended, Veronica Roth
  89. Carve The Mark, Veronica Roth
  90. Sing, Vivi Greene
  91. West End Quartet, Ariadne Apostolou
  92. Defining Sexism in the U.S. (Sexism in the United States) (Volume 1), Elizabeth Hall Magill
  93. Sexism and U.S. History (Sexism in the United States) (Volume 2), Elizabeth Hall Magill
  94. What Yo Mama Said, Elizabeth Hall Magill
  95. Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy, Seymour Reit
  96. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace
  97. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
  98. The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli
  99. Mary Jane’s Ghost: The Legacy of a Murder in Small Town America, Ted Gregory
  100. The Dark Lake, Sarah Bailey
  101. The Innocence Treatment, Ari Goelman
  102. Haunting the Deep, Ariana Mather
  103. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
  104. Jesus’ Son: Stories, Denis Johnson
  105. Tree of Smoke, Denis Johnson
  106. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories, Denis Johnson
  107. The Secret, Bryon Priess
  108. Warcross, Marie Lu
  109. Nothing But Sky, Amy Trueblood
  110. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Mackenzi Lee
  111. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert
  112. Husband in Hiding (The Unde(a)feted Detective Series), Karina Bartow
  113. With Malice, Eileen Cook
  114. The Year They Burned The Books, Nancy Garden
  115. Last Night, Kerry Wilkinson
  116. Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser
  117. The Life of Jesus, Ernest Renan
  118. A Doll’s House, Heinrik Ibsen
  119. Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson
  120. The Old Wives’ Tale, Arnold Bennett
  121. The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
  122. The Red and the Black, Stendahl
  123. Victory, Joseph Conrad
  124. The Revolt of the Angels, Anatole France
  125. Sanctuary, William Faulkner
  126. Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust
  127. Within a Budding Grove, Marcel Proust
  128. The Guermantes Way, Marcel Proust
  129. South Wind, Norman Douglas
  130. The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield
  131. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  132. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  133. The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
  134. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  135. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
  136. The Dinner, Herman Koch
  137. The Time-Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  138. Green, Sam Graham-Felsen

Whew! That’s so much better! I feel so much lighter.

At least 50 of these books have been on my TBR since I started my TBR recap posts in January 2017. Yeesh.

Removal Rate: 138/186 = 74%


Keep & Re-Classify – Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Bader, Bonnie, and Connie Porter, The Underground Railroad (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  2. Bader, Bonnie, A Girl Named Helen: The True Story of Helen Keller (American Girl: A Girl Named)
  3. Banks, Patrice, Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide
  4. Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker, The War I Finally Won
  5. Calonita, Jen, The Real Z (American Girl: Z Yang, Book 1)
  6. Calonita, Jen, Z On Location (American Girl: Z Yang, Book 2)
  7. Carlson Berne, Emma, The Titanic (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  8. Casanova, Mary, Menace at Mammoth Cave: A Kit Mystery
  9. Choi, Mary H.K., Emergency Contact
  10. Crowley, Cath, Words in Deep Blue
  11. Desmond, Matthew, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  12. Ehrenreich, Barbara, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
  13. Falligant, Erin, The Legend of the Shark Goddess: A Nanea Mystery
  14. Garrison, Margaret, Prez: A Story of Love
  15. Gaskell, Elizabeth, North and South
  16. Gilbert. Kelly Loy, Picture Us in the Light
  17. Green, John, Turtles All the Way Down
  18. Haddix, Margaret Peterson, Among The Hidden (Shadow Children #1)
  19. Hite, Sid, My Name is America: The Journal of Rufus Rowe, Witness to the Battle of Fredericksburg
  20. King, Stephen, 11/22/63
  21. Lehr, Dick, Trell
  22. Lyons, Kelly Starling, A Girl Named Misty: The True Story of Misty Copeland (American Girl: A Girl Named)
  23. McNamara, Michelle, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
  24. Miranda, Megan, All The Missing Girls
  25. McKinney, Ruth Ann, Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert
  26. Murphy, Jim, My Name is America: The Journal of James Edmond Pease, A Civil War Union Soldier, Virginia, 1863
  27. Myers, Walter Dean, My Name is America: The Journal of Joshua Loper, A Black Cowboy
  28. Nijkamp, Marieke, Before I Let Go
  29. Paley, Rebecca, The Boston Tea Party (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  30. Paley, Rebecca, A Girl Named Hillary: The True Story of Hillary Clinton (American Girl: A Girl Named)
  31. Patrick, Denis Lewis, A Girl Named Rosa: The True Story of Rosa Parks (American Girl: A Girl Named)
  32. Prose, Francine, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
  33. Ritter, Krysten, Bonfire
  34. Rowling, J.K., The Casual Vacancy
  35. Shetterly, Margot Lee, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
  36. Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  37. Swanson, Jennifer, Pearl Harbor (American Girl: Real Stories from My Time)
  38. Teagan, Erin, Luciana
  39. Teagan, Erin, Luciana: Braving the Deep
  40. Teagan, Erin, Luciana: Out of This World
  41. Toobin, Jeffrey, American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst
  42. Toobin, Jeffrey, The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson
  43. Tripp, Valerie, Read All About It: A Kit Classic Volume 1
  44. Tripp, Valerie, Turning Things Around: A Kit Classic Volume 2
  45. Tripp, Valerie, Full Speed Ahead: My Journey with Kit
  46. Yee, Lisa, Lea Dives In
  47. Yee, Lisa, Lea Leads the Way
  48. Yee, Lisa, and Kellen Hertz, Lea and Camila

This is so much better! I don’t feel like I’m drowning in books anymore!

Plus, with a more manageable list, I don’t feel so overwhelmed now. With so many books on the list for a long time, it was getting overwhelming to just a pick a new book after finishing one.

I love reading – I don’t want a long list to detract me from doing something that I normally love.

Keep Rate: 48/186 = 26%


Thanks for the inspiration, Destiny!

My original TBR posts, which I publish every quarter, will likely follow this format going forward.

I’m excited to tackle more reading!


Do you have a TBR?

Have you gone through your list and done a Keep and/or Remove exercise?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #58: “Prez: A Story of Love”

Prez: A Story of Love

Image Credit: Amazon

I learned about this book through my P.E.O. sisterhood. The author, Margaret Garrison, is the sister-in-law of one of my chapter sisters, Cathy W.

Since our chapter typically plans our programs about a year in advance, I knew I definitely wanted to be there when Margaret was discussing her book. I had my money ready, because I was pretty sure I was going to buy the book on the spot. She even signed all books that were sold!

During her talk, she enveloped us in the often-mysterious world of college and university administration, having worked in the higher education arena for much of her adult life. She’s also a professor.

Her book, although a work of fiction, combines several of her real-life experiences and passions.


Although this book is Garrison’s first novel, you wouldn’t know it. It’s a hefty book, but a lovely and solid read!

I love all the characters she created for the book, but Katherine Embright shines as the protagonist. She’s breaking new ground in the small university town of Hurley, North Carolina – She’s the chancellor of Wickfield University during the 1989-1990 academic year. You could say she’s breaking the proverbial glass ceiling.

She’s tested multiple times throughout this watershed year – In her chancellor duties, her love life, and reacting to both current and world events.

Reading Prez gave me impressive insight into the challenges that higher education officials and administrators go through. I laughed a lot, and definitely shed my share of tears, I found myself thinking back to my days at Longwood University, where I covered the Board of Visitors (BOV) for The Rotunda student newspaper for several years. Longwood had an impressive female president, Dr. Patricia Cormier, for nearly 15 years. She proudly served from 1996 through 2010.

I thought of her life as I was reading about Katherine’s.

Although it took me more than a month to finish the book, I can only think positive thoughts about this book. It’s a wonderful story, especially for it being the author’s first novel.

The story certainly has its share of controversy – No spoilers. But, in spite of several characters’ transgressions, the book gives an incredible message of hope and faith, among other positive qualities.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a feel-good love story. One that, at the time that I bought it, I didn’t know that I needed.

The book came into my life at a time where, when I was more than halfway through it, my family was experiencing several losses – Three uncles passed away in a matter of two weeks.

This book helped me renew my faith, and helped me recognize the true importance of family.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂