Friday, May 11, 2018

And One More

Almost forgot this one! I first read it as an adult and it was mind-blowing. My review is posted here, if you want to know more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


There's a book meme going around Facebook and while I don't usually do memes, I was tagged for this one by my sister-friend (we've known each other since our ages were single digits). Between that and my love for books, I couldn't resist.

So far the hardest part of the meme is that you're only supposed to post the covers -- no reviews, no commentary, no explanation. Yikes! I so want to say something, even if it's just a sentence or two.

Therefore . . . . in no particular order . . .

Image result for lord of the rings book

What other thousand-page novel would I reread with joy every year or so?

Image result for the sun also rises

My nomination for The Great American Novel. Imagine if this was your first book. What would you write for an encore?

Image result for their eyes were watching god book cover

So far, the best approximation in print of how it feels to be me. I hope that's not disrespectful, given that I'm a white woman. 

Charming, hilarious, and more meaningful with every passing year. (Skip the part about the cat at the start of the second section, though.)

This novel contains my very favorite scene in literature and (unrelated) a single sentence that makes me cry, every time.

Funny, subtle, and sad, particularly for a dedicated fan like me. This book makes me wish I'd taken a class in the literature of baseball while I was in college. 

This book changed my life. And then, so did the river.

I'm only supposed to choose 7, but I can't stop. This one's a world-rocker, old and new at the same time.

Rabbits and archetypes make a moving tale.

In another life, I might have been an art historian and lived this story . . . complete with a thoroughly surprising pivotal scene.

I think that covers it. At least for now.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Touring Florida

Despite my reservations about short stories -- they're too much, too soon for my taste -- N.M. Kelby's slim volume A Travel Guide for Reckless Hearts drew me in. By the end I was thoroughly enjoying her take on the uniqueness that is Florida.

Kelby has a nice ear and seems to have done her research and/or put her growing up time in Florida to good use. These stories are infused with Florida flavor, but Kelby manages to avoid cramming in too many quirky details, striking a healthy balance. Her ability to hold back just a little also gives her characters the sheen of authenticity, where just one more unusual attribute might have shone false.

And so we have Nordan and Sara, who like each other but aren't quite sure they want to have an affair. We have the uncomfortable daughter of an eccentric widowed mother who's hell-bent on jettisoning her past life for a new one in Florida, with a new beau. We have Bill, a truck driver who's in love -- maybe -- with a former Weeki Wachee mermaid who's dangerous or crazy or a good bit of both. We have Mason, an older lady who spends a lot of time at the airport without ever getting on a plane, rebooking her ticket to Chicago again and again. And so on.

Very engaging, very well written, very Florida.


Sometimes at night, they sit on the steps of his house, a tiny two bedroom painted the color of a peach left too long on the branch. Bill's head on her lap, she tells him the legends of mermaids. For example, how in Ireland they're called "Selkies" and could be either a seal or a woman--though not both at the same time.

"They're addicted to love, you know," she said. "They sneak onshore, shed their seal skins, take on as many lovers as they can. When they're done with 'em, they drown 'em."

"I'll make a note of that," Bill laughed.

When they were together, he laughed all the time. And so did she. He liked to hear her voice, the calliope of its music. Liked to watch her hair trail down her back in the moonlight. He could listen to her for hours. And did. But now he wants answers. Things have gotten out of hand. 

Note: This book counts toward the Color Coded Reading Challenge (yellow) and the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Wrong Number


When my phone rings and I don't recognize the number, I let the call go to voicemail and call back if needed. That helps me avoid the dreaded telemarketers.

Recently I received two such unknown calls. This mysterious caller left a nice but generic message with the first call, along the lines of "I'd love to hear from you and look forward to your call."

I identified it as a wrong number and didn't think any more of it. I figured the caller would receive her return call in time and all would be well without any intervention from me.

But about a week later, another voicemail showed up. This one was so sweet and plaintive: "I know you must very busy and I hope that you are well. I'm worried that you haven't called, after I left you a message last week. I don't want to bother you, but I so enjoy your calls that I am hoping we can talk again soon." All this in the kindest, most gentle mature female voice you can imagine. I could feel the person being brave and not pushy, but yearning for a connection. There was something about the voice . . . .

I realized that the caller had not connected with the person she wanted to reach, and I couldn't leave this message unanswered.

So I called back . . . and reached the St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery in Safford, Arizona. It's a lovely place, judging from the pictures -- a desert landscape, but also fruit trees, olive trees, and a vegetable garden.

My calls came from one of the nuns there, perhaps reaching out to a dear friend or a family member, maybe a niece or nephew far away. Unfortunately, I didn't know the caller's name, but the person I spoke to promised to determine who she was and try to correct the number.

She hasn't called again. But if I ever visit Arizona, I know one place I will go. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Attention to Detail?

Um, not so much.

Avoiding mistakes? Not a chance.