First a brief word…Friday I was off with friends and knew nothing about what was happening on the East coast. When I came home – reality confronted me in the face and I, like everyone else I knew, was stunned beyond words. And it is still hard to come up with the words because the depth of loss is unaccountably deep. As we adjust to this latest shock to our sense of who we are as a nation, at some point in time we will need to have a conversation. This won’t be easy as the issues are varied and complex. But somewhere there must be a starting point that we, for the most part, can agree on. It is my hope that we can find that starting point and with respect, listen to each other.
As for the rest of the week, not much reading happened at my house other than Himself starting a new book. I did meet with both my book groups and had good conversation. I will be glad when January comes and I am back to a normal book group schedule. I did go see Anna Karenina and was enthralled. The stage setting took some getting used to – I found myself having a lot of resistance (not helped by the frenetic pace of the beginning) but at some point in time, my resistance melted away and everything about the structure just fit. Tom Stoppard did a phenomenal job of boiling down the essence of the story into snippets of dialogue. And the little details in the production just added to the story, for example, Anna’s veils became more and more opaque as the story progressed. Definitely worth seeing.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
Danielle from A Work in Progress offers up a crime novel where plot and characters are “in this case the plot and the personal, as in the personal lives of the characters, are tightly intermingled.” And the setting almost becomes a character in itself – just the type of book I like. Peter May is the author of a new series set on the Isle of Lewis, part of the Hebrides. The first in the series is The Blackhouse, the story of Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod who returns to the island to see if a death on the mainland is connected to a death on the island. And of course his past comes into play.
The next book, reviewed by Bibliophile by the Sea, is set in the 1930′s and it describes how women sometimes have to settle in order to get by. Boston artist Desdemona Hart Spaulding is forced to marry in haste in order to provide a home for her elderly father. She moves to a small town coping as best she can until events unfold that unsettle both her and the town. Cascade is destined to be flooded, the town destroyed. Perhaps I am drawn to this book because I have just seen Anna Karenina – a woman who also struggled between passion and responsibility. Maryanne O’Hara has written many short stories and Cascade is her first novel.
If you are interested in non-fiction, Alyce of At Home with Books reviews Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster by Lucy Birmingham and David McNeill. The authors tells the stories of six survivors mixing third person accounts with both historical information and discussions of future impacts. I guess after Friday, I need a little resilience in my life and Alyce writes that this books was one of the best non-fiction works she has read this year.