By the River Piedra, I Sat Down & Wept
by Paul Coehlo

Paul Coehlo’s writing voice is melodic if once could use “melodic” to describe the written word. Reading his books is like watching a river flow. Once sentence blends and flows into the next, paragraph into paragraph, page into page until before you know it, you’ve finished reading a marvelous story.

This book does not waiver from that form. In it, we meet Pilar, a student who is looking for deeper meaning to her life. She is studying abroad when she learns that the boy she loved as a child is there too, but is now a spiritual leader and is considered a miracle worker. She goes to hear him speak and begins to fall in love all over again.

Together, they tour the French Pyrenees, discussing religion and their past as well as their possible future. Could a man who belongs to the church turn his back on the church and love her? Could Pilar live with the situation?

The story delves into religion, sex, love, spirituality and friendship. It is a beautiful love story and well in keeping with Paul Coehlo’s style and grace in his writing. I recommend it highly.

The Book of Bright Ideas
by Sandra Kring

Button Peters is 9 years old when her summer and her young life charges, perhaps forever.

That summer in 1961 was the summer that Winalee and he wild sister, Freeda, came into Button’s sleepy little town in Wisconsin. Winalee was everything Button was not: she had long flowing blond hair, ran around barefoot and talked back to her sister.

Button’s mother, Jewel, disliked the newcomers on sight. She thought Freeda was a big flirt and Winalee was a spoiled bratty kid. She didn't want to have her well-behaved Button associating with Winalee and she worried about how Freeda looked at her husband.

Little by little, Freeda and Winalee weave their way into everyone’ hearts. After an explosive argument, Freeda helps Jewel become more confident and Winalee helps Button remember to be a child. The title of the book refers to a blank book that Winalee carries around, where she is keeping a record of all the important things she needs to know in order to have a perfect and happy life.

This is a great story, filled with sisterhood, friendships and discovering for each of the characters. It’s a great read. Pick it up and enjoy!