Showing posts with label jill mccorkle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jill mccorkle. Show all posts

Thursday, July 11, 2013

GIVEAWAY and Book Review: July 7th by Jill McCorkle

Title: July 7th
Author: Jill McCorkle
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: September 3, 1985
Source: received as a gift

Plot Summary from Goodreads:

Just after midnight Charles Husky, the cerk at the Quik-Pik in Marshboro, North Carolina, is found lying facedown near the Slurpee machine, suffocated with Saran Wrap. For the next twenty-four hours, novelist Jill McCorkle brings us into the lives of a cast of delightful small-town characters as they sort through the facts.

My Review:

This book came to my attention last Christmas morning.  I unwrapped a package from my husband, saw this book, and was immediately delighted.  You see, Small Fry's birthday is July 7th, so I thought it was pretty cool that DH hunted down the one random novel that happened to have that very title.  At the time I'd never heard of it, but I intended to save it and review it for you on (you guessed it) July 7th, in celebration of Small Fry's second birthday.

Well, you know my life has been crazy lately, so yes...I'm reviewing July 7th on July 11th.  Close enough though, right?  (And side note, Small Fry had a great birthday on Sunday.  I can't believe how big he is getting:)

Wait, book review?  Okay, let's get to that.

After I finished the last page, this book left me wondering how to pin down its genre.  It has a little bit of everything.  It's part murder mystery and part family drama.  It's romantic, humorous, and introspective all at the same time.  I'll admit that this could be a little disorienting, as I wondered what the author's central purpose was for much of the novel.  But in the end, I think it works and it has a little something for everybody.  I'd say it's especially good as a summer read, since the more serious parts are often lightened by the humorous situations and coincidences in which many of the characters find themselves.

The story begins and ends with Sam Swett, a recent college graduate who hitchhikes down I-95 and ends up abandoned and drunk at a truck stop in Marshboro, North Carolina.  Sam is trying to find his place in the world by observing others; this seems to be his attempt to find meaning in life, by discovering how others do so.  And he certainly gets to do a lot of observing in Marshboro.  At the truck stop, he witnesses a murder, and is quickly pulled into the life of this small town as its citizens attempt to figure out the identity of the culprit.

The introspective, serious nature of Sam's personality is quickly levied by the quirky cast of characters that he meets in Marshboro.  Granner, the 83-year-old woman celebrating her birthday, who's convinced she is being courted by a "foreigner" over the phone...Bob Bobbin, the local cop who sees himself as a real macho-Casanova...Juanita Weeks, who recently cheated on her husband but "didn't mean it"...the list goes on.  All of their stories overlap over the course of this one day (July 7th) in some very odd and hilarious ways.

I was impressed by McCorkle's ability to balance Sam's character with the big personalities of Marshboro's citizens.  While the situations they ended up in often made me laugh, McCorkle always brings you back to Sam: how he is processing the situation, what he's learning about himself, etc.  And the end of the novel wraps that up nicely, as Sam finally makes a decision about his next steps in life.  Despite the silliness of some of the things that happen on July 7th, in the end, the book does make you think about finding purpose in life, the meaning of "happiness", etc.

I've got to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  It's a lighter read that still has a thoughtful message behind it, and the author balances her characters perfectly.  (Plus, who doesn't love a novel written in the 80's?  Hot pink shorts, high teased hair, "going steady", Princess Diana references left and right...AMAZING.  You should read it for that reason alone.)  July 7th definitely makes me curious about McCorkle's other novels, and I hope to check one out soon.'s GIVEAWAY TIME!

See, my husband had a little issue with Amazon when he ordered this for me, and he ended up getting 2 copies for the price of one.  You know I'm a good book blogger when my first reaction to that was, "AWESOME, the second one can be a giveaway copy!!!!"  Always thinking of you, readers.  Always.

So, this giveaway is for one (used) paperback copy of July 7th by Jill McCorkle.  Giveaway is open to US/Canada only, and will be open through July 17th.  Use the Rafflecopter below and get entered, y'all!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Monday, so tell me what you're reading!

Hope you all had a great weekend!  What's everybody reading today?

Reading time has been cut short around here lately, but for good reason.  Our house sold last week!  The inspection is tomorrow and we are crossing our fingers for no more flooding before then (2-3 inches of rain expected today, OMG).  Also, we found an awesome house in Rochester this weekend and I am staring psychotically at my phone, waiting to hear if our offer was accepted.  I forgot how AMAZING home buying/selling is (or not).

Despite all that, of course I'm doing some reading anyway!  (Usually for 5 minutes before my eyes close at 9pm, but still.)

My current read:

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed. (from Goodreads)

I'll have my review of this up for you tomorrow, as part of a TLC tour.  I'm nearly done, and this has been an interesting read so far.  Very complex interplay between the lives of the characters and the greater social/scientific issues that Kingsolver tackles.  Lots to discuss in my review tomorrow!

What will I be reading next?

Probably July 7th by Jill McCorkle.  Small Fry's birthday is July 7th (this Sunday!) and my husband bought me a copy of this for Christmas.  Only fitting to read it in time for the big day.  :)  Stay tuned because there will also be a giveaway involved!

After that, I have lots of good books on the horizon, including The Never List by Koethi Zan, The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison, and The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown.

What are you reading this week, friends?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Extravaganza!

I don't normally take part in the "stack your shelf" or "mailbox Monday" posts, because sharing book hauls isn't my usual cup of tea.  But thanks to some lovely gift cards this Christmas, I raided Amazon and Barnes and Noble this week, and I had to share the spoils!

Generally, when I use gift cards, I try very hard to stick with bargain-priced and marked-down books, because I figure I can always borrow the full-price hardcovers from the library (or wait until they go on sale).  I'm not impatient enough with book releases to spend the $$ on new arrivals.  So I'm fairly proud of the amount of books I was able to get with just two $50 gift cards!

First up, my Amazon haul for my Kindle:

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
Why Have Kids? by Jessica Valenti
Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Amazon doesn't let you search by price (BOOOOO), so I never do as well there as I do at B+N.

Here's my B+N haul (shipping this week!):

Fragile by Lisa Unger
William Shakespeare: Complete Plays
Dracula by Bram Stoker (with a very cool cover design)
The Inferno by Dante
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
Crashers by Dana Haynes
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
The Brightest Star In The Sky by Marian Keyes
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
The Promised World by Lisa Tucker
Promises to Keep by Jane Green

I also received one book as a gift from my husband: July 7th by Jill McCorkle. 

July 7th is my son's birthday, so my husband snagged me a copy when he found it online!

What are your book shopping strategies?  Did you receive any good reads this holiday season?
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