I know I ran away from my blog for awhile but I’m on my way back. Hope there are still some of you out there.
I was sitting here on Thursday afternoon not quite ready to write a review. I’ve been in a reading slump so I’m kind of behind on my reviews. So, I was trying to figure out what to fill my Friday post with when I noticed the snack I was having. Nothing special just Melba Toast and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Now, if you would have told me 20 years ago my idea of a snack would be Melba Toast and Hummus I would have thought your were mad. In my 20’s a snack was either fried or chocked full of sugar.
That got me to thinking how my tastes have changed. Not only in food but in reading. When I was younger I never really read much non-fiction. I enjoy memoirs, biographies, and history. I never read Historical fiction and now it’s a favored genre. And while I used to love fantasy and romance now, really not so much. Don’t get me wrong some things haven’t changed.
Now don’t get me wrong, just like my food tastes some things never change. I will always have Ice Cream and cozy mysteries in my house. And I will still eat almost anything wrapped in bacon and still read almost any Southern fiction.
There are novels I read and loved when I was younger I won’t read now for fear of losing my love of them. I must have read Camille a million times in High school and now I fear re-reading it and not just not loving it but thinking it was overwrought. John Knowles A Separate Peace was once my all time favorite book I haven’t read it in decades because I know I going to wonder what I was thinking.
So, how have your reading tastes changed? Are there genres you used to read you just can’t stomach anymore? And what’s you Melba Toast and Hummus? What do you find yourself reading you never thought you would?
The other day while reading Shelf Awareness I came across an article written about the Troy, Mich. Public Library(which is currently dodging closure). In 1971, Children’s Librarian Marguerite Hart came up with an idea to encourage young people to make use of the new library. She wrote to many notables and asked for them to write a letter of congratulations and explain the benefits of a library to the children of Troy. She received 97 responses. all of which are here at the Troy Public Library website. There are letters from Dr. Seuss, First Lady Pat Nixon, Issac Asimov, Pearl Baily (who I adore), Vincent Price, and-well, 92 others.
But, the one that really captured my attention was from E.B. White. For awhile now I’ve wanted to write a post about Acknowledgments in books and how much I love them. I’ve wanted to talk about how they add to the reading experience for me and make me feel even more connected to the author. And in writing the post I wanted to say something about my love of reading. While I’ve been contemplating this post a word kept bouncing around in my head-conspiratorial. I wasn’t really sure how to explain why this word was there but I knew it was exactly what I was feeling. Then I read Mr. White’s letter to the children of Troy, Mich. and like many a good author before him he put the words right in my mouth. You can reach the original by clicking on his name or on the copied text below.
Your librarian has asked me to write,
telling you what a library can mean to you.
A library is many things. It’s a
place to go, to get in out of the rain. It’s a place to
go if you want to sit and think. But particularly it is
a place where books live, and where you can get in touch
with other people, and other thoughts, through books. If
you want to find out about something, the information is
in the reference books—the dictionaries, the encyclopedias,
the atlases. If you like to be told a story, the library is
the place to go. Books hold most of the secrets of the
world, most of the thoughts that men and women have had.
And when you are reading a book, you and the author are
alone together—just the two of you. A library is a good
place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book,
you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a
good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided,
for there, in a book, you may have your question answered.
Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for
books are people—people who have managed to stay alive
by hiding between the covers of a book.
And there it was, right there, the words to explain what I was trying to say. “And when you are reading a book, you and the author are
alone together—just the two of you.” Because that’s what it is. There you are, just you and the author, in it together. To the very end the two of us are partners, allies, conspirators in the completion of the tale. And when the author includes a nice juicy Acknowledgment, where little details of research or thanks to those who coaxed the book on it’s way I feel even more connected to the story and author-my c0conspirator.
So, to the authors out there who gives us a nice peek into what it took to get the story done, thank you for including us. And for those who don’t, thank you too for including us. Either way I love being your partner.
Oh, if you haven’t read Issac Asimov’s letter you should. It rocks!! Segueing to….
Coming soon: How much I love libraries
I have plans this weekend to re-tool/redesign my blog and realized my About Section is pretty sparse. So, inspired by Ti of Book Chatter‘s About Me section I decided to do 100 things about me.
100 things about me
- I love babies
- I love sleep
- I love to read
- So, I have a small Day Care in my home (I get my baby fix then they go home and I can read and sleep)
- I’m the youngest of five
- My favorite color is green but the shade of green changes all the time
- I can never have enough pillows
- I don’t wear jewelry except for my wedding ring
- I’m a dog person
- I have appallingly bad taste in TV shows
- I can read anywhere except a moving car
- My two kids are awesome
- People who say axed instead of asked drive me insane
- I can’t wear turtlenecks because I can’t stand anything around my neck
- I’m fairly cynical for being a truly optimistic person
- I bit my fingernails until last year now my nails are the longest they’ve ever been
- I love the smell of fresh cut grass and clean laundry
- I literally bounce up and down in my seat when I get close to Disneyland I love it that much.
- When I was around six my brother was swinging an old trellis with cement on the bottom in a circle and accidentally hit me in the back of the head. I believe this explains a lot about me.
- My favorite insult is Dumb-ass
- I used to be able to sing, but now not so much
- I’ve had my ears pierced twice and let them close up each time
- I’ve worn glasses since the 5th grade
- I prefer cold weather to hot and love the rain
- I don’t own a cell phone but may have to get one when my daughter transfers and leaves home
- I’m not good at and I don’t enjoy chit-chat or small talk
- I pay the bills in our family
- If I could change just one physical thing about my self it would be my neck-I have an almost football player neck and I hate it.
- I firmly believe bacon is always a good idea.
- I’m a little OCD about reading book series in order
- My parents passed away when I was young, Mom when I was 12, Dad when I was 16
- I’m very close to my siblings
- I love old movies
- My husband is a lucky guy because I love getting practical gifts
- I sunburn very easy and therefore avoid direct sun like a vampire
- I read and watch TV at the same time
- I met my husband on a bus in Los Angeles after I swore I would never talk to anyone I met on the bus.
- I have a goofy and sometimes inappropriate sense of humor
- I want to retire to the Coastal Pacific Northwest
- I want to spank entitled children or teens
- A good rendition of God Bless America never fails to move me
- I have had neighbor children remove lizards from my home so I don’t have to
- I got my first ticket at the age of 46
- I love any cozy featuring an actual historical character (Beatrix Potter, Groucho Marx, etc.)
- I can’t spell and totally depend on spell check
- I don’t deal with conflict well, I make my husband take care of it whenever possible
- I purposefully don’t keep my books in any order, I don’t know why
- I eat healthy but I would rather not
- I had really big hair and big glasses in High School
- I have more purses than shoes
- I love doing laundry but hate putting clothes away
- I used to think how proud Olympic athletes must feel, now I think how proud their parents must feel
- I can’t stand a unmade bed
- I still have my tonsils
- The Gettysburg Address is one of the best things I ever read
- My parents are both buried at Arlington Cemetery
- I love plants and flowers but I have a black thumb
- My signature is illegible
- I’m a red head
- I have never not cried at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life
- I would rather eat foil than dust
- I love sarcasm
- I have about 30 desert island books
- I have a horrible memory for adults names but can always remember kids names
- I have no sense of direction
- I go barefoot whenever I’m inside
- I love to fly
- I check my email more than I should
- When I haven’t seen my kids in a long time I smell them behind their ear when I see them again, it’s where they smell the most like them
- I love getting good mail
- I have been on two cruises to Mexico and now really want to cruise to Alaska
- I have taught my kids that after 2 AM if anyone says I have a good idea, they don’t
- I always have gum in my purse
- Books, movies, and sappy TV shows or, commercials can make me cry
- My first major crush was my fifth grade teacher and his name was Olaf Zwicker (awesome name, don’t you think?)
- When I’m old I want to live in a nursing home with my sisters
- When I was pregnant with my son I craved AM/PM hamburgers to this day I’m still grossed out by that
- I hate when people dog-ear books
- I would love to have a soundtrack to my life
- I’m a baby-whisperer
- I hate that exercise and eating right makes me feel better. I would rather be sitting on the sofa eating potato skins
- My favorite place on earth is lying in bed with my husband and kids watching a movie
- The only bone I’ve ever broken is my big toe
- When I was a baby I would cry if I didn’t go to sleep listening to the Beatles
- I think we could achieve world peace if for 30 minutes everyday everyone had to hold a sleeping baby with the little puff of breath on your neck
- I lived through 1 major earthquake and 2 major fires. I can’t recommend either
- My favorite lotion/candle scent is cucumber-melon
- I don’t really need a big deal made of my birthday
- I can eat Chinese or Indian food anytime
- I’m so over vampires, werewolves, fairies, and zombies
- I was suppose to be born in Germany, like the rest of the women in my family, but I was 3 months pre-mature
- I have a birthmark on my knee shaped like pac-man
- I once had a 15 minute conversation with Charles Bronson without recognizing him
- I have always lived with family either parents, sisters or brother, husband and kids
- I make an excellent Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
- There’s always a window open in my house no matter how cold it is, I need fresh air
- I love blue cheese strong enough to make my eyes water
- In my heart of hearts I’d love to be Southern
- My kids are the best thing I’ve done in this world
- I’m a list maker (duh?)
From Goodreads: The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?
I’m not going to say to much about this story. If you’ve read it you know just how charming it is and if you haven’t I don’t want to spoil the wonderful way it unfolds. I really loved this story and the characters. The Major and Mrs. Ali were charming, funny (though not always intentionally) and the only problem I had with the book was it could have lasted a little bit longer.
I did come away from this wanting to live in a small village in England. Okay, I know I said yesterday I wanted to live in Canada and today I want to live in England. It’s not that I don’t love the town I live in, I really do I just want to in the book version of all these places. If I were completely honest and had my ultimate choice I would live either in St. Mary Mead (with Jane Marple), Mitford (with Father Tim), or on Prince Edwards Island (with Anne of Green Gables). Alright back to the review.
I can see why this book has become so popular. Really I come back again to the word charming. It describes the feel of this story so well. I was completely charmed by Major Pettigrew, I want to know and have tea with Mrs. Ali, and I want to know what happens to the wonderful Grace. I hope Miss Simmons visits these characters again. So, if you haven’t read this one yet thing about reading it soon, I think it would make a perfect spring read.
Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention the Major and Mrs. Ali are both readers. I just love that in a book. I have a special place in my heart for any book where the characters read.
Yesterday on the Amused By Books blog (go there, it’s really good) there was a wonderful post about what books say about our personality and with the advent of e-reader, there is the possibility we will have less and less bookshelves. And really who of us haven’t peeked through someones bookshelves to try and figure out just who they are.
She also had a quote from JFK Jr. about his mother and about her love of books. I think if you know much about Jackie Kennedy you know she loved books. She was after all a book editor.
Well, I left a rather long comment about my love of actual books (sorry about that again) and thought before I get back to my regular book reviews (and they are piling up-did I mention I had a 7 mo. old visiting me during the day this week? My kids are 15 and 20 and my day care kids are 2 and 3. You forget how much work 7 mo. old is). Anyway, I thought I’d start back up by talking about my love of physical books.
I love books. Hardback, paperback, new, used, it doesn’t matter I love ’em. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, I love turning pages. I mean really, isn’t turning pages awesome? I know I’m a giant geek but I love the moment when, your just neat the end of the page, and you come to the last word then turn the page. I love that, I really do.
Ever since I was little I’ve loved books. Both my parents were readers and they past it along to all five of the sisters and brother. We’re all readers and shockingly we all were glasses-I don’t think one has anything to do with the other but I thought it was a fun fact. Anyway, when I was younger, you can imagine with five kids there wasn’t a lot of book money but we went to the library a lot. And it was an amazing library to be a little kid in. I grew up in Virginia and we went to the library on the nearby military base. And it was huge (or at least I remember that way) and the children’s section was the size of many library’s entire space and they let you take home as many books as you wanted. What an amazing idea.
So, I’ve always had books in my life. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I get new books. I got two in the mail yesterday-two I was really looking forward to (I’ll post them on Mailbox Monday) and I was in a good mood the rest of the day. I actually walked around holding them, smiling. I did mention I’m a big ole geek, right?
While I can appreciate e-readers and I do have one I don’t thing I’ll be a committed e-book reader. I would miss my books too much. You know I make a pledge every month-this will be the month I don’t get any new books or go to the library. And I never, never make it to the 5th of the month without getting new books.
This is really a rambling, kind of stream of consciousness sort of post. I’m tired and it’s been a long week but the long and the short of it is-surprise, surprise- I love books.
Have a happy weekend everyone. I hope you have a lot of great books waiting for you.
“If America was a melting pot, Butte would be its boiling point,” observes Morrie Morgan, the itinerant teacher, walking encyclopedia, and inveterate charmer last seen leaving a one-room schoolhouse in Marias Coulee, the stage he stole in Ivan Doig’s 2006 The Whistling Season. A decade later, Morrie is back in Montana, as the beguiling narrator of Work Song.
Lured like so many others by “the richest hill on earth,” Morrie steps off the train in Butte, copper-mining capital of the world, in its jittery heyday of 1919. But while riches elude Morrie, once again a colorful cast of local characters-and their dramas-seek him out: a look-alike, sound-alike pair of retired Welsh miners; a streak-of-lightning waif so skinny that he is dubbed Russian Famine; a pair of mining company goons; a comely landlady propitiously named Grace; and an eccentric boss at the public library, his whispered nickname a source of inexplicable terror. When Morrie crosses paths with a lively former student, now engaged to a fiery young union leader, he is caught up in the mounting clash between the iron-fisted mining company, radical “outside agitators,” and the beleaguered miners. And as tensions above ground and below reach the explosion point, Morrie finds a unique way to give a voice to those who truly need one. — Penguin
I first met Morrie Morgan in Doig’s Whistling Season and I remembered him well when I started to read Work Song. I know several members of my book club had a hard time getting into the story and I think my remembering Morrie helped me enjoy it from the start. You don’t have to have read the first book to follow this story. Actually, I think Doig does a really good job working the important story lines from the previous book. I think some authors have a very hard time working in past stories, especially if you’re read the earlier stories, it came seem very clunky and forced. That’s not the case here.
I love almost any book that expounds on the glory of books and boy does this story. A big portion takes place in the fictional Butte Public Library (if it really existed I would be on the first train to Butte to move in). Morrie’s boss at the library, Sandi Sandison or the Earl of Hell as he’s know around town, has a collection of classic literature to make bibliophile drool. An ex-rancher, with his own shady past, he was one of the characters I just loved. He braved frost bite just to get something to read. How could I not love him?
Morrie finds a way to get himself mixed up in the fight between the miner’s union and the copper mine and winds up on the wrong side of two company goons while leading the drive to find the perfect song to become the union anthem. What I liked about this book, which is what I liked about Whistling Season, is the words. Doig has a way of putting words together I find magical. It’s so lyrical I myself captivated by the language. I hadn’t finished it by the day of my book club but couldn’t bring myself to rush through it because I didn’t want to miss a word.
Whistling Season and Work Song are the only two of Doig’s books I’ve read. Most of his others take place in Montana and seem to have western themes. Old West literature is not a type of fiction I read but I enjoyed two so much I’ll have to give the others a try. Even if I don’t love the stories I’m sure I love the words.
(I’m backtracking on some of the book reviews I did earlier but not on this blog.) I know there are some people (one of my sisters to be specific) who don’t like epistolary novels. (I should own up to have to look up the the spelling of this I think it would sound better as epistlatory which of course is dead wrong) Anyway, I know reading a story told in letter form is not some folks cup of tea but I like them or at least I don’t mind them. Especially a well written one. Though I guess that could be said about any book, if it’s well written then it’s a good book, no matter, right?
The story of two life long friends and the ups and downs of their lives together and apart told through the letters they send each other through childhood until a terrible fight tears them apart. Then after life changing events they begin to write again, this time via email, to reveal a secret that will either tear them apart or bring the together forever. Along the way the Val and Lilly share their love of cooking by sharing recipes in their “Recipe Club” of two.
I loved these two girls, then women and the way their personalities are slowly revealed over the course of their letters. Their hopes and dreams and the relationship between their families that will end up effecting their lives more than they could ever imagine.
This was a well told story told in bits and pieces. While the great secret was easily guessed it didn’t stop the story from being very enjoyable and well rounded. Plus the recipes sound very yummy and there really is something for every taste.
For those of you who have read the book, Andrea Isreal and Nancy Garfinkel will be on Book Club Girl’s Blog Talk radio today Wed. Nov. 3rd at 7PM ET. If you haven’t heard Book Club Girl’s Blog Talk radio go today. It’s so good and you can ask questions directly to the authors (by phone or online). It’s always an interesting show even if you haven’t read the book.
(I’m backtracking on some of the book reviews I did earlier but not on this blog.) Mullaby, North Carolina is the kind of small southern town that makes my readers heart beat a little faster. Come on, what’s not to love? There’s the mysterious Coffey family who never venture out at night and their handsome son Win who wants to break free from the family secret. Then there’s the lovely Julia who bakes wonderful cakes in the hopes they’ll bring back a love she lost long ago. Hoping to repair his past relationship with Julia is Sawyer who has a “sweet sense”, the ability to see the sweet scents of Julia’s cake. Enter into this Emily Benedict, who’s come Mullaby to live with her grandfather, a gentle giant prone to checking the dryer several times a day in a house where the wallpaper can change at anytime.
“The Girl Who Chased the Moon” is now ranked among my favorite books. I just loved everything about it. The mystery and magic jump off the page and pulled my right into the story. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. In fact had to stay up till 2 am the second night of reading it to find out what would happen to these wonderful characters. What would happen with Julia and Sawyer? Would they overcome past pain to find true happiness? Would Emily find out about her mother and the reasons she never told Emily about her life in Mullaby?
Everything in this story rung pitch perfect for me. I couldn’t wait to finish and then was so sorry it was over. I cared what happened to each of the characters and the magic of Mullaby definitely cast a spell over me.
I’m always excited to find a new to me author and Sarah Addison Allen is a wonderful, enchanting find for me. She is ranking up there with my favorite authors Adriana Trigiani, Fannie Flagg, and Lucy Maud Montgomery. I’ve added the rest of her books to my “to be read” stack” and, with apologizes to the other authors in my stack, Ms. Allen’s books have been moved to the top.
Set on the coast of Maine over the course of four summers, Red Hook Road tells the story of two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, and of the ways in which their lives are unraveled and stitched together by misfortune, by good intentions and failure, and by love and calamity.
A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter’s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin. As she writes with obvious affection for these unforgettable characters, Ayelet Waldman skillfully interweaves life’s finer pleasures—music and literature—with the more mundane joys of living. Within these resonant pages, a vase filled with wildflowers or a cold beer on a hot summer day serve as constant reminders that it’s often the little things that make life so precious. – Random House
The devastating premise of this book intrigued me. What happens to families when the young bride and groom are killed on their wedding day? How are you related when you’ve been in-laws for an hour? The story deals with the aftermath of a horrible car accident and how each family member comes to terms with their loss.
I’ve read all of Aleyet Waldman’s Mommy Track mysteries and I really enjoyed them. I went into this book wanting to love and sadly I just didn’t. I liked it well enough but it just didn’t catch me. I felt like I was missing something. I’m sure there are going to be plenty of people who love this book unfortunately I found myself pushing to finish it and find out what happened, which I did want.
Jane and Iris, the mothers-in-law were well written but I felt there was something missing about them for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It drives me crazy when I can’t explain why I didn’t like a book better. I’m not sure what wasn’t there for me or what I needed to like it better. Ugh, it’s just so frustrating.
I did like the way Iris and Daniel’s (parents of the bride) marriage was handled. It seemed a realistic reaction to the death of a child. And though I didn’t always like Iris, I could understand some of the things she did and felt. I thought Jane (mother of the groom), a seemingly cold person was fleshed out a little better.
The secondary story of the flower girl finding her talent for music with the world-famous violinist grandfather of the bride was a bit of a miss for me. Again, I don’t know why it didn’t work for me, maybe it was just a little contrived.
This is a hard one for me because I really wanted to love this book and I did like it. Maybe my expectations were too high and I was expecting something else. I have a feeling more people are going to love it and wondering what the heck is wrong with me.
Update: It just dawned on me, I had a head cold this weekend which I’m sure played a part in my feelings about this book. I’m still trying to get over it which is why I’m sure I didn’t pick up on it’s effect on my reaction to this book. Yikes, I may have to do a reread sometime soon.