Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tirra Lirra by the River

"Tirra Lirra by the River" was a find I picked up at Women and Children First.  It was novella length and put out by Melville which is usually a good sign.  This was our pick for August so I'm a bit behind in posting about it.  I really liked this book.  It was very quiet and reminded me of Marilynne Robinson and Paul Harding.

How does it feel to look back at your life?  Maybe when you are in it day to day the small details take over but when you take it in full it's pretty amazing.  I'm not sure the main character of this book felt she had a good life but she did have accomplishments.  "Who does she think she is?"  Did she ever find out?  Did she ever know?  Also a lot to discuss with England v. Australia and power over another person/country. We talked about how the book was published in 1978 but felt much older.  Did women's rights come later in other countries or areas?  Did that cause us some frustration with the story?  A good book for a book group and also one we all agreed we could re-read.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


"Landline" was a suggestion from Women & Children First when I said I wanted something to read that wasn't too challenging and would have some humor.  Sort of asking for a Reading Prescription!  This one fit the bill.  Remember when you had to be AT the phone for someone to reach you?  Or when long distance phone calls were expensive?  The book follows a married couple through some issues and the landline allows them to connect in a different way.  It's more intimate if you think about it because instead of taking a call when you are anywhere you have made a commitment to talk to someone on the phone.  And listen to them, too.

"Call Me" by Blondie came up on Pandora during dinner the other night and I made a similar comment.  When she sings "call me anytime" it's at a time when she would need to be near the phone, waiting around, to get the call.  Now "call me anytime" can also mean "I can be anywhere".  It's not as special or difficult.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Must Read for Book Groups

"Desperate Characters" by Paula Fox was the June selection for our Novella group, but, due to some timing, we ended up pushing it to July.  I'm still thinking about it!  It's a great book group book - reasonable length, easy language, engaging and provoking topics.  Gentrification in Brooklyn?  But not now, in the early part of the 60s at the beginning of Civil Rights and social change.  I know I'll be re-reading this one for sure.  So if you pick it for your book group will you invite me?

I stumbled across this one at a bookstore in Knoxville and just picked it up because it was the right length.  I thought it was a new book since it was with the new releases.  It's one that has gone out of print so maybe that is why it was with the newer books.  The author has a fascinating back story - if you want it let me know - or find it out yourself.  It blew minds at our discussion.  We went for a solid hour without even looking at the clock.  Now THAT is a good book.  I know others are still thinking about it because we have had some email sidebars.

We had to push our Novella group back a month this year so we'll be reading all the way into football season!  Summer started late in Chicago so that's ok, we'll still be able to sit outside I hope!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

That's It...I'm a Marshmallow

I've given in hook, line and sinker to Veronica Mars.  I've now watched Season 1 and 2 and the movie and will circle back to Season 3.  I firmly believe that people often come to the right books at the right time and right now I can't handle anything too complicated.  I just let Veronica and her friends take me along for the ride and that is ok.  Entertainment at its finest.  The best part, the books are good.  I've read enough mysteries and these keep me guessing.  It was interesting to be watching the show from the start and reading the books from the future.  I ended up causing myself some spoilers but that was all right.  I will be sad when I've exhausted all that Neptune has to deliver and may have to check out Rob Thomas' other shows.
"Mr. Kiss and Tell" seems to have the most connection with Season 2.  Story lines in that season are featured in this book and I liked the way they were woven into the new mystery.  I checked both the books out from the library but am now in a state where I might have to buy them to re-read.  Yes, I'm a Marshmallow very late in the game but proud to own it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Absolutely Magical

Thank you, once again, Nancy Pearl!  I bought this for P. a few years back for Christmas.  He was after me to read it but I kept putting it off.  Toward the end of June I picked it up and was sucked into the Circus.  I wish I would have had more time, and attention, to read it in larger chunks.  Never fear if you are a slower reader - it's very easy to put down and pick back up without forgetting the plot.  A truly magical book.  I loved the stories, the characters, the scenes.  It would make an incredible movie if done correctly.  I want to knit something in black and white and red now.  You will understand once you read this.

If you are going on a trip this summer and have a long drive or flight bring this one along!  We have it in print but I actually ended up checking out it via Overdrive so that I could have it with me on my phone or iPad at all times.  It was also good for a few nights when I could not fall asleep.  The iPad is great for sleepless nights - which thankfully don't happen that often - because it is a book and a nightlight all in one.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I'm so Sick but not of you, Jack Reacher

In the 50s one day, the 80s the next = summer cold a few weeks back.  Ugh....it was so awful.  I had one day I just stayed in bed.  I finished "Personal" in a day.  I had checked it out from Chicago Public Library on Overdrive so I even read it on my iPhone because I could curl up in bed and easily hold the phone and read.  You don't read Jack Reacher books as much as look out for the familiar signposts - his hyper awareness, his experience, his stature among his peers, his drifter lifestyle, etc.  In this one he actually does read (something he has not done in previous books and one person I know gave up on the series because of that).  So enjoyable even while using huge amounts of Kleenex and napping in between cold medicine doses.  Thank you Jack Reacher for keeping my company when I wasn't feeling that well.

Novella Group - Year #9

9 years!  Can you believe it?  The idea I had 9 years ago to get my friends to meet during the summer when Newberry takes a break is still going strong.  We have read some really interesting, and thought provoking, books under 200 pages.  "So Long, See You Tomorrow" by William Maxwell kicked off the start of our new season.  I thought this book was much older but it was published in The New Yorker in 1979 and came out as a book in 1980.  Which reminds me, I want to see if I can find The New Yorker and see where the story was split for serial publication.

I can see re-reading this one - even just picking it up and skimming it.  There are so many layers.  We had a great discussion even though we had to meet inside and compete with some disco on the stereo since the 50-degree Chicago weather did not reflect summer at all.  William Maxwell reads the audio book for this one and I would like to hear his voice tell this very quiet, powerful story.  Another one where children are affected by events way more than adults can understand.  Also a story where children my understand more than an adult realizes.

So thank you to my friends who join me each summer to discover more novellas!  This one would be a solid selection for any book group.