MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Mitford Series #10)
ISBN: 9780399167447
Publisher's Synopsis:
After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a so-called pleasure trip to the land of his Irish ancestors.
            While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion.
            His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his own passion—for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner, and his vision to become a successful country vet. Dooley’s brother, Sammy, still enraged by his mother’s abandonment, destroys one of Father Tim’s prized possessions. And Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child and her hard-won business.
            All this as Wanda’s Feel Good Café opens, a romance catches fire through an Internet word game, their former mayor hatches a reelection campaign to throw the bums out, and the weekly Muse poses a probing inquiry: Does Mitford still take care of its own?
            Millions of fans will applaud the chance to spend time, once more, in the often comic and utterly human presence of Jan Karon’s characters. Indeed, they have never been more sympathetic, bighearted, and engaging.

MrsK's Review:
 2015 First Choice
When my daughter called and told me "I've gotta say, I'm loving Karon's newest book!" I was devastated, I didn't own it yet... how dare she tantalize me with such an emotional hook... And yet, there under my tree was... Father Tim, Cynthia, Dooley, and all of Mitford!

 "And there she went, hooting with laughter. 
It was very hard to have a dispute with a woman who wouldn't stay aggrieved,
 but was ever looking to put a shine on things."

With a huge smile and a heart that sang, "Yes, I'm home," I nestled into my quiet corner and encircled myself with these dear friends. I must thank Jan for making every connection to previous books and characters completely seamless.

As the story begins, Father Tim and Cynthia have just returned to Mitford. From the first paragraph, images began emerging, giggles were bubbling forth... especially with Father Tim envisioning what it would be like as he tried on his old tux. This beginning was enough to remind me just how dear of a character Father Tim has become. For goodness sake, when you listen in on conversations with Puny one can't help but feel ashamed over the way we make life so complicated. Next came the unveiling of Dooley as a man and Father Tim's quest to love Sam (Dooley's brother) into a life worth living. Once again I was reminded as to the depth of wisdom in raising children. That calling requires wisdom which comes from the Word of God... modeling from those around us... and insights from authors whose talent is touching our hearts and quieting our fears.

I enjoyed the gathering at the "new" diner in which a "better" name had to be chosen. My heart ached when Father Tim had to face the congregation with the hardest news they would ever hear from him. I rejoiced the moment Father Tim opened the door to the Happy Endings book store (oh, how I want to retire and work there). I was thrilled that Esther continued giving her OMC to those in need (Mitford cookbook or Talk of the House or CBN ). And I wasn't sure that Father Tim was ready for a red pick up truck, I really thought the mustang was worth saving.

Entertained is not a strong enough description for Mitford's responses to their local paper, the Muse. So many character's perspectives (attitudes) as they enthusiastically responded to the following questions: "Does Mitford Still Take Care of Its Own?" and "Who is Mitford's Leading Citizen?" Plus there was all of the "Today's Helpful Hints," which made me stop and wonder... would that really work?

Then there were the surprises in the story line:
  • Being a bit of a detective as Father Tim tried to locate Cynthia's love note proved to be just the right dash of engagement
  • Trying to help Coot read to his mother
  • Praying for Hope's little one
  • Watching brothers learning to rely on each other
  • Welcoming strangers into a town where life is always turning into a blessing
Finally, this would not be a Father Tim novel if it weren't for the heart aligning prayers. These are the jewels within each novel. If you have a journal for wisdom, quotes, and prayers add these to your pages (if not... start one):
  • Setting your prayers before our Lord (pg. 66)
  • Casting away the snares of the enemy (pg. 127)
  • Seeking evening peace (pg. 160)
  • Cleansing the thoughts of our hearts (pg.251)
"Maybe it's too soon for you to try and figure things out.
Know that God has a plan for your future.
Watch and wait for His timing, 
and when it comes, hitch a ride. You'll know."

So many tantalizing discoveries. Beyond visits with characters that are so full of life they truly become family... Beyond settings which open your senses to life as it is unfolding... Beyond tears and giggles... There are ongoing postings of "bookish" quotes... and Father Tim's prayers which will resonate into your heart, mind, spirit and hopefully upon your tongue... 

And once you find your journey is at an end... You know that you will always come back home to Mitford!
Delightful Read... Excellent Book Club Enjoyment... 
A must for all book shelves! 
For "Mitford takes care of its own..."
me and mine...
you and yours... 
 "All that happens to us, including our humiliations, 
our misfortunes, our embarrassments, 
all is given to us as raw material, as clay,
so we may shape our art." 
 JL. Borges
Meet the Author:
Jan Karon  During her years in advertising, Jan kept alive her childhood ambition to be an author. At the age of 50, she left her career in advertising and moved to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to pursue that dream. After struggling—and failing—to get a novel underway, Jan awoke one night with a mental image of an Episcopal priest walking down a village street. She grew curious and started writing about a character she named Father Tim Kavanagh. Soon, Jan was publishing weekly installments about Father Tim in her local newspaper, The Blowing Rocket, which saw its circulation double as a result. “The installment plan certainly worked for Mr. Dickens”, says Jan.
The installments became Jan’s first Mitford novel, At Home in Mitford. That book has since been reprinted more than eighty times and was nominated three times (1996, 1997, and 1998) for an ABBY (American Booksellers Book of the Year Award), which honors titles that bookstore owners most enjoy recommending to customers. A New Song won the Christy and Gold Medallion awards for outstanding contemporary fiction in 2000. A Common Life, In This Mountain, and Shepherd’s Abiding have also won Gold Medallion awards. Since the publication of Out to Canaan, Jan’s books have ridden high atop the New York Times bestseller list, frequently landing at #1.
Jan has also published two Christmas-themed books based on the Mitford series, The Mitford Snowmen and Esther’s Gift, as well as Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader. Other Mitford books include Patches of Godlight: A Compilation of Wit and Wisdom and A Continual Feast: Words of Comfort and Celebration. In addition, Jan has written two children’s books, Miss Fannie’s Hat and Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny, and an illustrated book for all ages, The Trellis and the Seed. For readers interested in Cynthia’s legendary cat books, Jan presents Violet Comes to Stay and Violet Goes to the Country.

Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader

At Home in Mitford (Mitford Series #1)  Patches of Godlight: Father Tim's Favorite Quotes  The Mitford Bedside Companion: A Treasury of Favorite Mitford Moments, Author Reflections on the Bestselling Series, and More. Much More    

 The Mitford Snowmen: A Mitford Christmas Story 
The Trellis and the Seed  Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny
 Violet Comes to Stay  Violet Goes to the Country   
Miss Fannie's Hat
Jan Karon Quotes at Good Reads

"Tween us an' the' Lord.."
At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years)
"There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book."
Marcel Proust

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MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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