Updated: The "Monk" section has been updated to correct when the books started.
“Heaven is For Real” by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
This is the true story of Colton Burpo, a 4-year-old boy who has to have an emergency appendectomy. The little boy never actually dies on the operating table, but over the course of time, reveals that he went to heaven, met family members that have been gone since before he was born, knows what his parents were doing at the time of his surgery, what heaven looks like and says that he met Jesus.
Colton’s story unfolds over several years. When he first announces to his parents that “Jesus really loves the children” and that no one is old in heaven, they have a hard time at first trying to wrap their brains around this information. After awhile, they come to accept the fact that Colton did indeed go to heaven.
I thought it was an interesting story that just confirmed for me that there is more to life than existing here on Earth. If you have recently lost a loved one or find the notion of life after death an intriguing topic, this book is a must summer read.
“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen
I had never heard of this book until I saw the trailers for the movie coming out and I was intrigued visually at first, and once I learned the plot I knew I wanted to read it. I downloaded it that night.
This is the very first book I’ve ever downloaded to my Kindle. I resisted this new technology to the bitter end. That is, until I wanted a new book at 10 p.m. and didn’t feel like driving anywhere. I’m now a Kindle addict.
Taking place in modern day, even though he’s never sure how old he really is, Jacob Jankowski is 90 or 93 years old and in a nursing home when the circus comes to town. Jacob starts to reminisce about his past, how he joined the circus in the 1920s and how he fell in love for the first time with a woman and with an elephant. He tells of life on a train, the days of prohibition, and the cut throat tactics of circus owners.
At times, the book is graphic to animal cruelty and human suffering, which for me made it hard read some parts. Unfortunately, these facts are historically correct and are explained in the footnotes at the end of the book.
This fictional memoir is about love lost, friendships gained and a life well lived. This novel is worth a trip to the store at 10pm.
“Mr. Monk on the Road” by Lee Goldberg
I absolutely loved the "Monk" TV series and miss having new episodes to watch. The Monk book series was started in 2006, while the TV show was airing its second or third season. Only two books out of 12 are set after the series finale, with more stories on the way.
This mystery revolves around Monk and his brother Ambrose, an agoraphobic. Since Ambrose hasn’t left his home for 30 years, Monk and his assistant Natalie decide now is the time to take him on an adventure. But how will they get him out of the house? Sleeping pills of course! Drugged and dragged into a mobile home, the crew take to the open roads with Ambrose almost feeling like he is out in the world without ever leaving the confines of the RV.
Of course, if you’ve ever watched the show, Monk can go nowhere without a murder or two falling at his feet, and this adventure is no different. I’m never any good at solving whodunits and this paperback was a page turner to the end.