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While away winter with some good books

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The two best times of the year for hunkering down and reading a good book seem to be summer, out on our lounge chairs, and the dead of winter. Well, here we are in the dead of winter, so here are my recent picks and some from our neighbors.

Over a well-deserved Christmas break, I finished “Safe Haven” by Nicholas Sparks. Lo and behold, we’re seeing commercials for the movie.

I can’t vouch for the film, but I did enjoy the book — the story of a beautiful, yet secretive, young woman fleeing an abusive past. She finds friendship and love in a small community, but her past catches up to her. The story isn’t heavy, but the characters are appealing and the plot reads easily.

I’m reading “Enemies of the People” by Kati Martin. This piece of nonfiction isn’t new, but was recommended by a friend. “Enemies” is the story of the author’s family in Budapest during the Cold War and their eventual escape to the United States.

Gaining access to hundreds of previously secret files compiled by the Communist government on her journalist parents, Martin gives a fascinating look at a time and place where freedom was a precious commodity.

Joyce Milner, Munster: “I just started ‘Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife,’ by Eben Alexander. Scientists generally have scoffed at near-death experiences, so when I saw the writer on a talk show, I was intrigued.

“Here was a doctor talking about his near-death experience in spiritual terms, rather than dismissing it as a trick of the brain. For (Alexander), God and science are not mutually exclusive.

“I look forward to really getting into the book.”

Bruce Peters, Merrillville: “My son got me the latest edition of ‘The Best of American Sports Writing’ (edited by Glenn Stout and Michael Wilson). It’s a compilation of the best sports stories over the past year.

“Interesting reading, and I like it because I can read one or two stories, then put it down for a couple of weeks and not have to worry about remembering the plot line.”

Shelby Pancevich, Crown Point: “I’m a big Nora Roberts fan, so I just finished ‘The Perfect Hope.’

“The story centers on three brothers who open a bed-and-breakfast in their hometown. This is the third in the trilogy. Roberts often does that, and I enjoy it because the story continues, but in a slightly different direction. You really get to know the characters.”

Adam Dobrowski, Schererville: “I saw the previews for the remake of ‘The Great Gatsby’ with Leonardo DiCaprio and remembered it was one book I enjoyed reading in high school.

“It’s set in the jazz age, and you get a peek at this vastly different time in our country’s history. (F. Scott) Fitzgerald is a master of the written word.”

Sonia Garrison, Hammond: “I just bought ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter series. This one’s for adults.

“The story centers on dysfunction in a small English town that comes to the surface after the death of a local politician. So far, the story is engaging.”



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