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‘Good reads’ make longer nights bearable

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Updated: November 7, 2012 6:08PM



Bummer! Daylight saving time has ended. We gain an hour, but we’re plunged into darkness an hour earlier.

Trying to find the plus in this miserable time of year, I look forward to spending these long, dark evenings with a cup of hot tea (OK, sometimes, it’s a glass of wine) and a good book.

My friend, Gloria, who lives in Indianapolis and is also a voracious reader, graciously shares piles of books with me when she’s finished. For a reader, they are as good as gold.

I most recently finished “State of Wonder,” by Ann Patchett, the story of a doctor-scientist who works for a pharmaceutical company. She travels deep into the Amazon (the forest, not the company) to seek answers about the purported death of a close colleague.

The reader gets a picture of a world infested with insects, overgrown foliage and snakes. This is a world so far removed from our experience that it’s fascinating, yet unimaginable.

It’s interesting when you follow an author. I’ve read Patchett’s book, “Run,” and I had the same experience with “State of Wonder.” It’s not a heavy plot; you finish and ask what filled all those pages. The saving grace is her style; both books are beautifully written.

Here’s what some of your neighbors are reading.

John Helfen, Schererville: “I’m reading Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot.’ I’m of that generation that remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news. For me, it was during history in my eighth-grade classroom.

“This remains an unclosed chapter in history, especially for those my age. I don’t think we’ll ever tire of questioning the ‘whys’ and exploring the possibilities. This was a sad event that changed us and the face of our country.”

Here’s another O’Reilly fan.

Cliff Katorek, Hammond: “My son and I are reading O’Reilly’s ‘Lincoln’s Last Days.’ It’s written for younger readers, but adults will enjoy it, too.

“The book looks at the last days leading up to Lincoln’s assassination, but also takes you through the funeral and the capture of John Wilkes Booth. We’re both learning a lot about history.”

Marilyn Zarek, Highland: “Books with confusing plots or heavy intrigue put me right to sleep. I’m a fan of Debbie Macomber and just finished her book ‘Thanksgiving Prayer.’ It’s your typical man meets the woman of his dreams and they overcome obstacles until the happy ending. I know it’s on the light side, but there’s no profanity or graphic sex — just an enjoyable story.”

Jennifer Matusek, 14, Schererville: “My mom and I rented the DVD of ‘Hunger Games,’ and I really liked the story, so I asked if I could get the books. Right now, I’m reading ‘Catching Fire’ (Suzanne Collins). It’s about another time when teens are in these games on TV where they have to fight to the death. I like reading about another time, but I’m glad I’m not there.”

Cindy Lukas, Merrillville: “I’m a big fan of Jodi Picoult and have just finished ‘Keeping Faith,’ the story of a couple’s divorce and their daughter, Faith, who is caught in the middle.

“Although she’s not from a religious family, Faith starts to hear voices from heaven. Pick up one of her books; she writes a good story.”



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