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Carol Hays

I don’t remember I time where I didn’t have a book in my hand or a pile of books on my bedside table to read.  Books offer escapes into realms we cannot reach, they offer comfort in times of sadness, wisdom when we need courage and simple solace.  Books educate, enlighten, brighten and broaden my mind.  Highlights of my early childhood were the days my mom dropped my brother and I off at the library, returning for us hours later and finding us sitting on the floor reading to our heart’s content.  

It’s hard to pin down a favorite genre – I love historical fiction, general fiction, mystery and thrillers, booked steeped in regional history and I also try to keep up with published high school reading lists and also lists on Pinterest, both which challenge me to re-read classics and also authors I am unfamiliar with and selections I may not have otherwise picked.

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Do you ever have ‘monkey mind’? I loved how Michael Singer reminds us that our thoughts are simply thoughts and teaches us to step back and “watch” them, rather than allowing them to control our life. There are simple reminders in this book to slow down, experience life and to not take everything personally.

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There are so many stories in history that often go untold. I am so glad I read "The Alice Network", the story of women spies in World War I as told through the story of a fictional character, Eve, but the Alice Network did exist. The book will make you want to read more about this era and all the efforts that were off of the front line but were so instrumental to the success of the allies defeat of the Germans.

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The Four Winds is a heartbreaking story about survival during the Dust Bowl era of the Great Depression and follows the story of a woman desperate to find a new life for herself. This story is an eye-opener to prejudices against those struggling to make a way and competing for survival with so many others on the same path. The Dust Bowl is just a footnote in our history books, but this story brings that footnote to life and makes it a story all its own.

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Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, one that I would read again and again. This little book pays homage to the phrase ‘you can’t go home again’ as told through the story of a man who goes home for a funeral and finds that nothing he remembers is the same anymore. The book is a bit fantasy, a bit mystery and a bit coming of age and does a great job of introducing you to the writings of Neil Gaiman.

I slowed down to read this book – each chapter is a delight and you are cheering for the characters along the way. The author did such an incredible job of bringing each character to life and making you fall in love with the four children, Odie, Albert, Emmy and Mose. I laughed, cried and just cherished this book – it will go on my short list of books to read again and again.

This is a heartbreaking story. It follows the life of a Victoria Jones, whose childhood was filled with betrayal and desertion and unfolds as she discovers her true self-worth and uses her gifts to connect to those she meets. I applaud the author as she dealt with difficult subjects that some may find cringe-worthy. I kept hoping that Victoria would find her happy ending throughout the story, even if sometimes that place is only to reconcile yourself with your past mistakes and move forward.

This is a heartbreaking story. It follows the life of a Victoria Jones, whose childhood was filled with betrayal and desertion and unfolds as she discovers her true self-worth and uses her gifts to connect to those she meets. I applaud the author as she dealt with difficult subjects that some may find cringe-worthy. I kept hoping that Victoria would find her happy ending throughout the story, even if sometimes that place is only to reconcile yourself with your past mistakes and move forward.

What if you could change the course of your life? This book covers this topic as Nora Seed wanders into the Midnight Library and faces infinite choices where she could reshape her life. Are we bound by the decisions we make or what if there really is a ‘do-over’ that we could choose?

This Pulitzer Prize winning book does not disappoint! Travel with Arthur Less as he connives to avoid the wedding of his former partner by accepting speaking engagement invitations around the world. Some of his adventures are laugh out loud funny, others are bittersweet. I was always looking forward to where the next plane would take him and his fancy custom made blue suit.