Wild Wild West Summer Read
I have no shame in saying I am a judge a book by it's cover kind of gal. Usually before I click on the 'buy' button I will peruse through several copies of the same novel until I find that one perfect cover that will inspire my imagination and launch me into my reading journey. My copy of News of the World has that old west painting kind of feel with the look of a bygone age but with vibrant colors that gets you reading ready. As of now there is only one edition and it's a lovely cover to hold. Do you share my affinity for book cover culture as well?
Now onto the book! News of the World a novel takes place in 1870 Dallas, Texas making its way south near San Antonio. Seventy year old civil war soldier Captain Jefferson Kidd and ten year old Johanna Leonberger are unexpectedly thrown together and sent on a dangerous journey to reunite the troubled young girl back with her relatives. Johanna, kidnapped by the Kiowa Indians four years earlier yearns to be back with her people and struggles with readjustment into her previous life while learning to trust in her reluctant guardian Captain Kidd. As they travel from town to town Kidd makes his living by being a 'reader' charging a dime to hear the newspaper articles he chooses to read to the townsfolk. The insight the author writes into Captain Kidd's readings are fascinating as he knows what articles to read and how to read them to a crowd that could either revolt or be calmed by what he reads. This books ending tops my all time favorite finales and gives you that happy, satiated feeling after eating a heavy meal. You will not be disappointed.
News of the World received a five bookmark rating from our reading group for its wild west adventure, a heart stopping shoot out and a sweet friendship that builds over a journey's time. This book is just under 200 pages and our group wished it could of gone another one hundred more!
Paulette Jiles's writing style was new to our book club. The author writes with minimal punctuation and no quotes from character to character. It may take a few pages in to get use to the lyrical format but when you do you will be quickly immersed into the story so much that you won't be able to put it down.
Included in the first few pages is a map that was used excessively by my book club as it was very handy when envisioning the route our characters used to get home. Also included is a P.S. Insights, interviews and more... which kept our book club on track and enhanced our discussion.
Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.
A Book Club Dessert
When your read is a top novel (and now a book club favorite) it shows in your book party with a southwestern dinner theme and my side dish contribution... a Texas Sheet Cake! This was a much requested birthday cake in my home growing up so I was excited to combine News of the World and its Texas location. Interestingly enough, this cake shares similar ingredients with a German chocolate cake as ex-captive Johanna of German heritage is being returned to her relatives in a German American town near San Antonio, Texas. I'm all about connecting our book club meal with our novel no matter how big or small the reference!
Recipe to maker your own chocolate sheet cake on The Pioneer Woman and one more News of the World fun treat on Book Party Ideas
Happy reading book friends~
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I love books, book club and book friends.