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Adventures of Rusty & Ginger Fox by Tim Ostermeyer
Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea by Lisa Martin
Bird & Squirrel on the Run by James Burks
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Daylight Moonlight by Matt Patterson
Demons are a Ghoul's Best Friend by Victoria Laurie
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Gringa in a Strange Land by Linda Dahl
I Love My New Toy! by Mo Willems
I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story by Pete Nelson
Ill Wind by Nevada Barr
Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Naomi and the Horse-Flavored T-Shirt by Dan Boehl
Nicking Time by T. Traynor
Phantom Eyes by Scott Tracey
Rifka Takes a Bow by Rebecca Rosenberg Perlov
School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
So Thick the Fog by Catherine Pomeroy Stewart
Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This Happy Place: Living the Good Life in America by Bentz Plagemann
The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick
A Timely Vision by Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene
Tourmaline by Joanna Scott
Vespers Rising by Rick Riordan
What Color Is My World? by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8




Comments for This Happy Place: Living the Good Life in America

This Happy Place: Living the Good Life in America: 10/19/13

cover artThis Happy Place: Living the Good Life in America by Bentz Plagemann is a short book about life in a small town. (William) Bentz Plagemann's writing career spanned from 1941 to 1990. He died in 1991.

My copy of This Happy Place has sat on my shelves for about six years since it was sent to me from a library cull. Work and young children kept me from reading any of the books that arrived in that box until now.

Although I'm now a librarian, I still approach most of my reading with the same nonchalance I developed in my teens. It's just me and the book. Sure, I have access to reviews and biographies and other news now via the internet, but I usually chose to leave those questions for after I've read the book.

Each of these chapters are more like short fictional (or, I suspect semi-fictional) essays about small town life. They are somewhere in the same literary neighborhood as Big Fish by Daniel Wallace or any of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon books — or the sequel to Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Mind you, I haven't yet read Blandings' Way (it's on my TBR pile, though) but it feels like a potential kindred spirit.

I laughed at the first couple chapters but as the book progressed, I began to grow tired of the protagonist. He's an adult middle aged man who because of his years, feels both obligated and privileged to comment on all aspects of life in his town. It doesn't matter whom he's describing, he is by dint of his years and his sex, an EXPERT. Other people's goofs are ripe for his "amusing" tales which he shares with us, his presumably eager audience.

So what started out as an amusing glimpse of small town life and the unique problems that small towns face, ended up reading more like one of those annoying Tumblr blogs. You know the ones.

Two stars

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