Quantcast

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?


“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

synopsis from Goodreads:
Heartbreaking and funny: the true story behind Jeanette's bestselling and most beloved novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

In 1985, at twenty-five, Jeanette published Oranges, the story of a girl adopted by Pentecostal parents, supposed to grow up to be a missionary. Instead, she falls in love with a woman. Disaster.

Oranges became an international bestseller, inspired an award-winning BBC adaptation, and was semi-autobiographical. Mrs. Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over the novel and the author's life: when Jeanette left home at sixteen because she was in love with a woman, Mrs. Winterson asked her: Why be happy when you could be normal? This is Jeanette's story--acute, fierce, celebratory--of a life's work to find happiness: a search for belonging, love, identity, a home.

About a young girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night, and a mother waiting for Armageddon with two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer; about growing up in a northern industrial town; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. She thought she had written over the painful past until it returned to haunt her and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also about other people's stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.

Publishing March 6, 2012 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over by Geraldine Brooks p. 38

"I had a brainwave the other day, thinking you might like to be my pen-friend." I held the letter as if the offer it contained was an admission to Harvard.

And so Geraldine gets her first pen pal! As this book is entirely about her childhood pen pals (and her tracking them down decades later), that's very significant.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

Books completed last week:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Books I am currently reading/listening to:
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr (audio)
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Up next:
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter by Thomas Cahill
The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) by Carol Fisher Saller
The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Book Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

About 15 years ago, my step-sister E, with whom I share a lot of literary likes, recommended Ender's Game to me. I bought it, but I never read it. Over the years I heard wonderful things. It was suggested for my book club 2-3 times but never picked. I wanted to read it, I knew I would probably like it, but I just couldn't ever read it on my own. Finally, we had the right mix of people at book club and it was chosen! And I did love it.

Ender is an extremely precocious 6-year-old who has been chosen to be trained to possibly be the next great military leader, hopefully on par with Alexander the Great (who was a General when he was only 16 after all.) Earth has been attacked twice by aliens they call the buggers, and while it did survive, everyone knew that our technology, weaponry, and tactics are not up to par with the buggers'. And so Ender is the solution to the tactical problem. He is taken from his family to a battle school in space, where he is an outcast, but also a brilliant tactician, rapidly coming up with new methods and skills and navigational moves. But will he survive the mental games? Will he be in time? What will the buggers bring to the table next time? Can Ender really save everyone? What will happen to him, and to us all?

This book of late has been marketed as a young adult novel, although it was originally published as an adult novel. I can see how it would be a great book for high schoolers to read and analyze. It was a terrific book discussion for our book club! The questions of morality and psychology in the book are top notch. Is it moral to basically take this child and make him into a killing machine? Even if it will save all of mankind? What about war in general? I don't want to spoil the book so I can't even discuss a lot of the issues that arise, but it has been a topic of discussion in my house for several days as well.

The book is a fast read, I zipped through it in about 5 hours. Even though the short story was written in 1977 and the novel published in 1985, it doesn't feel very dated (except for references to a Second Warsaw Pact). Normally I not only don't read science fiction, but I avoid it. Ender's Game however transcends genre. It was a terrific read that I would recommend to anyone.

I bought this book over 15 years ago.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery


The last Anne book! And luckily, it was a great one. Also, if you're a Downton Abbey fan, this would be a great book to pick up.

Anne's youngest daughter, Rilla (named for Anne's adoptive mother, Marilla), starts out her teen years a little flighty, worried about boys and dresses, and just when she gets to go to her first grown-up party and has a serious romantic conversation with Ken Ford (the son of Anne's best friend from Anne's House of Dreams), disaster. War breaks out.

Rilla's oldest brother Jem signs up, other boys from the village also head overseas. Rilla, Anne, and Susan hold down the home fort and keep very abreast of the news, as best one can without even a radio. Eventually Walter also joins up, as does Ken, and after a few years Shirley does too, so all of Rilla's brothers and her sweetheart are off fighting. Her sisters Nan and Di try their hand at nursing. Rilla feels too young to be useful but with Anne's encouragement, she starts a junior Red Cross chapter. She also ends up fostering a baby whose mother dies and father is off fighting too. After a while she starts to worry Ken won't return to her, that he will have forgotten her. She's also of course very worried about her brothers and other town boys, and with good reason as of course no one gets through war unscathed. Sadly, that's also true of the Blythes.

This book was published in 1920. It was written immediately after the war which was fascinating. The author had no idea there would be a WWII. This book isn't written in retrospect, but contemporaneously. Susan's blow-by-blows of the progress of the war helped quite a bit to orient me, who doesn't know much about the war. In fact, I'd bet you could really track the progress of the war with her comments on newspaper articles. It's interesting that they don't have radio in the town, although they have a telephone (or a 'phone as it's charmingly written) so sometimes the doctor in the next town calls with important war news before the newspaper comes out. It's maddening that they don't have more access to news and their daily worry and forced patience was anxious for me to read about. It also made me feel quite lazy, seeing how much work the home folks were doing to keep up with things. I was startled when I realized that when England declared war, the Blythes automatically assumed they were going to war as well. But then I figured out -Canada was still a part of England at the time! Wow! It was neat reading it after Doctor Zhivago which takes place in the same time - and to have Susan's occasional opinions about the tsar and the subsequent rulers.

Luckily for me the war gave the novel a very clear through-narrative so it wasn't one of the Anne books that's basically a short story collection, as I don't like those as much. Rilla was an engaging character, and even though we don't end the series with Anne (at least, as a major character), we do end with Rilla at about the same age as Anne began the series, 25 years earlier. Rilla is definitely her own girl, without Anne's academic aspirations but with a little of her romantic imagination. She is determined, hard-working, and thoughtful. She doesn't tend to get in scrapes quite like Anne, as she is more sensible, but her aspirations are lower. The war actually helps there, as with the Junior Reds and her "war baby," she finds she's good at organizing, working, and even raising a baby (even though she doesn't like babies!) Rilla really matures and becomes quite an impressive young woman by the end. Rilla of Ingleside was a wonderful end to the Anne of Green Gables series and I am sad they are over, but glad I finally read them all.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I borrowed this book from a friend.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Beginnings on Friday: Ender's Game


Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Katy from A Few More Pages. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

"I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one."

Hmm, very intriguing! He's the one what?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Real Mad Men


“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

The Real Mad Men: The Wizards of Madison Avenue and the Memorable Ads that Shaped Our World by Andrew Cracknell

synopsis from the publisher:

Advertising is a business rooted in art, an art rooted in business, and it reached its peak in a specific place at a specific time: New York City at the end of the 1950s and into the '60s. Like AMC's award-winning drama Mad Men, this book looks at the industry that shaped a culture.


The Real Mad Men is a visual history of key major ad campaigns during the 1950s and 1960s and the people responsible for them. Beginning with the iconic VW campaign that kicked off the "Creative Revolution" it covers campaigns such as Avis, Alka Seltzer, Benson & Hedges 100s, Volvo, Chivas Regal, and Braniff Airways. The Real Mad Men reveals the true players of Madison Avenue in the era of the "Mad Men" and provides a behind-the-scenes look at key agencies, including 150 full-color illustrations of the main ad campaigns as well as numerous inset campaigns

This book is publishing 2/28/2011 by Running Press.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: Ender's Game


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card p. 10

"And they won't elect you if your opponents can dig up the fact that your brother and sister both died in suspicious accidents when they were little. Especially because of the letter I've put in my secret file in the city library, which will be opened in the event of my death."

I am not sure what's going on here, but it sounds ominous.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

Books completed last week:
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

Books I am currently reading/listening to:
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr (audio)
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Up next:
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Beginnings on Friday: What Alice Forgot



Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Katy from A Few More Pages. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

"She was floating, arms outspread, water lapping her body, breathing in a summery fragrance of salt and coconut."

Sounds lovely, like maybe she's in a pool on vacation, but I know from reading the book description that she's actually unconscious from an accident. Poor thing, maybe she'll wish she was still on vacation when she wakes up.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


Alice fell and hit her head, hard, at the gym. Except that Alice doesn't go to the gym. And why does her friend Jane suddenly look so... old? And why isn't Jane worried that her fall might have hurt her pregnancy - after all this is Alice's first child.

But it isn't. Alice isn't pregnant. She does go to the gym, religiously. She has three children. She hit her head harder than she thought. Because she thinks it's 1998 and she's 29, when it's actually 2008 and she's 39. And no, her darling husband, Nick, isn't going to rush to her side at the hospital because they're divorcing.

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and it was 2022 instead of 2012? How would your life be different? How would you adjust? What if your 2002 you showed up in your life today - what would she think of how things have turned out? The decisions you've made?

Sure, Alice is happy to suddenly find her abs ripped and flat as a washboard but her friends seem annoying, her sister Elisabeth cold and distant, her children baffling, and her divorce unfathomable. What has gone so horribly wrong in her life and how can she fix it? Notwithstanding the gorgeous house, yummy mummy body, impeccable clothing, some things Alice just can't understand. Not know when (or even if) she'll get her memory back, she needs to learn quickly how to deal with her children, her mother's remarriage, her soured relationships with Nick and Elisabeth, and find out how she got to here from there.

It is fascinating to see how a younger, more innocent Alice deals with overwhelming wrenches hurled at her repeatedly (inevitable when three children you don't remember are dumped in your lap and you don't even know their names!) With more patience, less baggage, and a better perspective, she does a lot of things differently than she used to. But as her husband Nick keeps telling her, when she remembers, things will be different. As she pieces together the clues, tied somehow to her disappeared best friend for the last decade, Gina, she starts to marry the old and new together. Will the result be worse, for her lack of experience, or better for her optimism?

I found the situations pretty realistic and understandable. I was expecting something a bit more lightweight - I frequently found myself discussing the book and thinking about the questions it raised. It made me appreciate my boyfriend (wow, the scene when Alice first talks to her estranged husband after the accident was chilling), and made me think about decisions I've made. There were a couple of places where I was a little frustrated that her family weren't telling her what exactly happened with Gina though it made sense for sake of the plot and pacing. The characters were well-drawn, the conflicts completely believable, and there was a little kookiness (particularly on the part of Alice's mother and father-in-law) to add in a little fun and levity. The children were also three-dimensional and believable, and I felt both like I know the 2008 Alice - I know so many over-achieving soccer Moms like her, and yet I felt sad for her in some ways. I thought the way the author worked out the ending was fairly clever. Without giving too much away, it makes sense that no matter what happened, Alice would have to try to merge the "old" and "new" Alices to some extent - even when/if she got her memory back, that wouldn't make everything go back to the way it was, because she would have the memories of how her younger self had viewed her life and her decisions and the perspective.

This would be a terrific book club book! There's so much to discuss and ponder. It's well-written and I couldn't put it down. I found myself thinking about it all throughout the day and anxious to pick it back up again. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I bought this book at a Borders going out of business sale.

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Forgotten Country


“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung

Synopsis from Goodreads:
On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Her father tells tales about numbers, and in his stories everything works out. In her mother's stories, deer explode in fields, frogs bury their loved ones in the ocean, and girls jump from cliffs and fall like flowers into the sea. Within all these stories are warnings.

Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family's silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents' sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement.

Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.

Publishing March 1, 2012 by Riverhead.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: What Alice Forgot


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty p. 39

"She put her hands to her face. If she was supposedly sending out 'invitations to her fortieth-birthday party,' if she was... thirty-nine -- she mentally choked and gasped for air at the thought -- then her face must be different. Older."

Alice has hit her head and has forgotten the last 10 years, so she thinks she's still twenty-nine. While intellectually she's grasping that it's 2008, not 1998, it's still a very difficult concept to wrap her mind around. Would your ten-year-ago self look in horror in the mirror, or be happy and impressed with you you turned out?

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

Books completed last week:
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry - finally, yay!

Books I am currently reading/listening to:
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr (audio)
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Up Next:
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Home Town by Tracy Kidder
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry


More than ten years ago when I first met my best friend, I remember being somewhat surprised when she told me her favorite author was Larry McMurtry and her favorite book, Lonesome Dove. I don't think I questioned her on it exactly, but I remember thinking, "Really? Isn't that a Western?" But I trusted her so I kept it in mind, but was further thrown when I discovered quite how long it is (975 pages!) Nevertheless I picked it up a few years ago at a used bookstore. And I was further surprised and intrigued to see that it won the Pulitzer Prize.

I took a trip last month where I not only had the usual flying time to read but on my trip I had a lot of useless down time (work for 15 minutes, nothing to do for 45 minutes, work for 15 minutes, nothing for 1 hour, and so on the three days.) So I thought it was the perfect time for an extra-large tome. Unfortunately, I also had to read Doctor Zhivago for my book club which bogged me down so I only read a little bit of Lonesome Dove on the flight home.

Wow, what a wonderful book! I can't believe I waited so long to read it! In fact, I am annoyed that I did not read this years ago!

In the 1870s, Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call are former Texas Rangers who live in Lonesome Dove, Texas and run a livery stable. When Jake McCall, a former fellow ranger who is on the run after having accidentally shot and killed the mayor of Fort Smith, Arkansas, turns up in town waxing rhapsodic about Montana, Call decides they're going to start the first ranch in Montana, despite the fact that neither of them are cowboys or ranchers. Gus and Call and the rest of their crew, Deets, Pea Eye, and Newt rustle several thousand cattle from Mexico, Call hires a bunch of local hands and cowboys including Dish, the lead hand, and they set out for Montana. Jake declines to go but ends up kind of tagging along, with the town whore Lorena, until bad things happen. Meanwhile the Fort Smith sheriff is looking for him, the deputy is looking for the sheriff, the sheriff's new wife is looking for her former lover, and eventually everyone converges.

I don't want to tell any more for fear of giving away spoilers, but the book is just fantastic! It's not so much the plot - although that is wonderful with me getting quite worried about a few of them and being rather upset at a few deaths (and not at all upset about a few others.) But the way McMurtry tells the story is so masterful, so evocative, and so melodic. Normally I hate the descriptions lyrical and epic as to me they indicate a lack of plot and a love of too many words. Yet I would say both apply here in a positive way, and McMurtry obviously does have a great love of language which he uses to great effect (especially in the character of the verbose Gus.)

Other authors should not emulate him - no one else could write a nearly 1000 page epic of cowboying without it devolving into a caricature of Western novels, no one could treat Lorena and Clara (Gus's long lost true love) with such care, no one could make me care so much about a bunch of whoring, poor, uneducated cowboys traveling across the country. Some of his techniques, such as his omniscient narration from most all of the characters' point of view, switching frequently and unevenly, are handled so stunningly that after reading this novel, I think no other author should even attempt that as they will always come in a dingy second place, at best, and be proven inept at worst. I was thrilled the book was so long as I never wanted it to end. I loved spending so much time with Gus and Call and the boys.

That said, I have looked into the 3 other books in the series (Lonesome Dove was written first but chronologically is the third) and I think I'm going to pass. The above mentioned friend who recommended Dove is sure she's read them but remembers nothing. Another friend said they're okay - but next to a masterpiece, okay just doesn't cut it. And I want to remember Gus and Call and the boys as they were, with nothing to tarnish my memory. Everyone should read this book. I have no doubt why it won the Pulitzer, and it's the best book I've read in a very long time.

I bought this book at a used bookstore.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chunkster Reading Challenge wrap-up


So. I did not finish this challenge! But I did get 5.5 of 6! Alas. I finished the last one last night, 10 days late. Super-bummer. Here is what I'd signed up for:

February 1, 2011 - January 31, 2012
A chunkster is 450 pages or more of adult literature. A chunkster should be a challenge. No Audio books in the chunkster.

I signed up for:
Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the reader who can't resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories:
2 books which are between 450 - 550 pages in length; CHECK
2 books which are 551 - 750 pages in length; CHECK
2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length. ONE

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious - 512 pages
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee - 470 pages
Shogun: A Novel of Japan by James Clavell - 1210 pages
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - 567 pages
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky - 675 pages

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (975 pages) was my last one. I made a big mistake in both increasing my Chunkster level AND aiming to read 100 books in 2011 (which I did). Either one would have been much easier than trying for both together, alas.

So I was thinking I was done signing up for challenges this year but the Chunkster is so tempting. And this year I am already planning on definitely reading:
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (692 pages)
The Fatal Shore: The Epic Of Australia's Founding by Robert Hughes (688)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (550 pages)
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (496 pages)

Which means I can easily make the Chubby Chunkster level (4), but since I can count Lonesome Dove towards my 2012 books, I think it would be relatively reasonable to aim for The Plump Primer - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months. But unlike Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? I don't have to commit to the three subcategories. While I did enjoy my two Chunky Chunksters, I don't foresee those this year and might struggle to add them in with everything else. I can do six, but only if they're all just at the 450 page cutoff. And I am definitely not aiming for 100 books this year, so fingers crossed, I should make it this year.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Beginnings on Friday: Rilla of Ingleside


Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Katy from A Few More Pages. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

"It was a warm, golden-cloudy, lovable afternoon."

This seems like an appropriate start for a Montgomery book - they are always poetic and optimistic. I am particularly looking forward to this one because it's the last in the Anne of Green Gables series, and also it's set during WWI (and was written during that time - when they couldn't conceive of a WWII) which makes me think of Downton Abbey.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Lost Saints of Tennessee


“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

The Lost Saints of Tennessee: A Novel by Amy Franklin-Willis

Synopsis from Goodreads:
With enormous heart and dazzling agility, Amy Franklin-Willis expertly mines the fault lines in one Southern working-class family. Driven by the soulful voices of forty-two-year-old Ezekiel Cooper and his mother, Lillian, The Lost Saints of Tennessee journeys from the 1940s to 1980s as it follows Zeke’s evolution from anointed son, to honorable sibling, to unhinged middle-aged man.

After Zeke loses his twin brother in a mysterious drowning and his wife to divorce, only ghosts remain in his hometown of Clayton, Tennessee. Zeke makes the decision to leave town in a final attempt to escape his pain, throwing his two treasured possessions—a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and his dead brother’s ancient dog—into his truck, and heads east. He leaves behind two young daughters and his estranged mother, who reveals her own conflicting view of the Cooper family story in a vulnerable but spirited voice stricken by guilt over old sins and clinging to the hope that her family isn’t beyond repair.

When Zeke finds refuge with cousins in Virginia horse country, divine acts in the form of severe weather, illness, and a new romance collide, leading Zeke to a crossroads where he must decide the fate of his family.

Publishing February 7, 2012 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: Lonesome Dove


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading

Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry p. 733

"Newt, the Rainey boys and Pea Eye got to go into town the next afternoon. The fact that the first group drug back in ones and twos, looking horrible, in no way discouraged them."

These boys haven't been in a town in a few months. For Newt and the Rainey boys, it's their first opportunity ever to visit a whore and they're excited and apprehensive.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This meme is now hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

Books completed last week:
alas, none again. But I am over halfway in Lonesome Dove!

Books I am currently reading/listening to:
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr (audio)

Up next:
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over by Geraldine Brooks
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Ragnarok


“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt

Synopsis from GoodReads:

Recently evacuated to the British countryside and with World War Two raging around her, one young girl is struggling to make sense of her life. Then she is given a book of ancient Norse legends and her inner and outer worlds are transformed.

Intensely autobigraphical and linguistically stunning, this book is a landmark work of fiction from one of Britain's truly great writers. Intensely timely it is a book about how stories can give us the courage to face our own demise. The Ragnarok myth, otherwise known as the Twilight of the Gods, plays out the endgame of Norse mythology. It is the myth in which the gods Odin, Freya and Thor die, the sun and moon are swallowed by the wolf Fenrir, the serpent Midgard eats his own tail as he crushes the world and the seas boil with poison. It is only after such monstrous death and destruction that the world can begin anew.

This epic struggle provided the fitting climax to Wagner's Ring Cycle and just as Wagner was inspired by Norse myth so Byatt has taken this remarkable finale and used it as the underpinning of this highly personal and politically charged retelling.

Publishing Feb. 7, 2012 by Grove Press.

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Doctor Zhivago (part II)


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy aka Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

taiga p. 241
"In the black distance over the black snow, these were no longer streets in the ordinary sense of the word, but like two forest clearings in the dense taiga of stretched-out stone buildings, as in the impassable thickets of the Urals or Siberia."
The coniferous evergreen forests of subarctic lands, covering vast areas of northern North America and Eurasia. (see picture)

skete p. 293
"It clung to the elevation in tiers, like Mount Athos of a hermits' skete in a cheap print, house above house, street above street, with a big cathedral in the middle on its crown."
A settlement of monks or ascetics.

corymbs 419
"It grew on a mound above a low, hummocky bog, and reached right up to the sky, into the dark lead of the prewinter inclemency, the flatly widening corymbs of its hard, brightly glowing berries."
A form of inflorescence in which the flowers form a flat-topped or convex cluster, the outermost flowers being the first to open.

drumlin 419
"This height, like a drumlin, ended on one side in a sheer drop."
A long, narrow or oval, smoothly rounded hill of unstratified glacial drift. (see picture)

diselter 438
"And how can I tell him, brothers, when I'm a real diselter if there ever was one."
I cannot find a definition for this word!

ataman 438
"I'll tell you right now. The ataman Bekeshin."
The elected chief of a Cossack village or military force.

satrap 459
"For instance, there was this petty satrap, from Sapunov's men, and, you see, he took a dislike to a certain lieutenant."
A subordinate ruler, often a despotic one.

platbands 480
"Half his way lay under the shady trees hanging over the street, past whimsical, mostly wooden little houses with steeply cocked roofs, lattice fences, wrought-iron gates, and carved platbands on the shutters."
A flat structural member, as a lintel or flat arch. (see picture)

boyar 481
"It was faced with faceted, glazed tiles, the triangular facets coming together to form a peak pointing outwards, as in ancient Moscow boyar mansions."
A member of the old nobility of Russia, before Peter the Great made rank dependent on state service.

entresol 569
"By means of an additional floor, the shop had gained an intermediary entresol, with a window strange for an inhabited room."
A low floor between two higher floors, the lower one usually being a ground floor; mezzanine. (see picture)