Happy Mother’s Day – we had some morning sunshine and it looks like afternoon rain. It is rumored that the hinterland may even get up to 70 degrees later this week. Himself would love to plant his asparagus bed but feels he should wait another week to be sure. For mother’s day I get a strawberry bed – a big deal since himself is allergic and I try to limit the strawberries we have in the house. Eldest called this morning and youngest strolled in an hour or so ago having spent the night after prom at his friend’s house. They went as a big group and had a good time. My friend’s daughter invited me over to see her dress so I wouldn’t miss out on the girl part of prom – she looked absolutely gorgeous. Not much reading or reviewing went on around here but as usual lots has caught my interest:
Francis from Nonsuch Book has a “I have to have” which happens to be a game and not a book. It was a Dark and Stormy Night is a board game for readers where you try to identify the title or author of a book from its opening lines. Unfortunately the company is out of stock at the moment but I will be haunting the website because this looks like a lot of fun. It reminded me of the time my mother was poised to win Trivial Pursuit with a literature question about the author of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. Keep in mind that my mother rereads Jane Austin every year and her adviser in graduate school was Marvin Mudrick, an Austin scholar. After hearing the question, she totally blanked out and couldn’t remember – even after the multiple hints we gave her. Board games and books are the perfect combination.
When one of the bloggers I read says that they are reading a book for the second time in two weeks, I sit up and take notice. I love books like this, that are so good you want to re-read them, savor them once more. Rachel from Book Snob says that William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow is such a book. Rachel says the book is about the past, mistakes, regret and failure and is ” breathtakingly brilliant” – I even love the product description on Amazon:
In this magically evocative novel, William Maxwell explores the enigmatic gravity of the past, which compels us to keep explaining it even as it makes liars out of us every time we try. On a winter morning in the 1920s, a shot rings out on a farm in rural Illinois. A man named Lloyd Wilson has been killed. And the tenuous friendship between two lonely teenagers—one privileged yet neglected, the other a troubled farm boy—has been shattered.Fifty years later, one of those boys—now a grown man—tries to reconstruct the events that led up to the murder. In doing so, he is inevitably drawn back to his lost friend Cletus, who has the misfortune of being the son of Wilson’s killer and who in the months before witnessed things that Maxwell’s narrator can only guess at. Out of memory and imagination, the surmises of children and the destructive passions of their parents, Maxwell creates a luminous American classic of youth and loss.
Jenny from Shelf Love reviews a work by a Hungarian Author, Sandor Marai, entitled Embers. From the description of the book I was hooked – two elderly men meet after 41 years of estrangement. The men were once the closest of friends and somehow something happened that caused the breach. The General invites his former friend to dinner and then spends the time dissecting their relationship. And then I get to the part of Jenny’s review where she states, “To be honest, this was one of the strangest, most interesting books I’ve read in quite a long time. That’s not to say I liked it much. The characters were not inviting, and there wasn’t almost anything in terms of plot. But I found myself riveted by the balance of silence and speech, presence and absence, coming to be and passing away, foolishness and wisdom. And the prose! This book is rich, rich in language. I’ll try to show you a little of what I mean.” and I am sold. Lucky for me it is at the college library so hopefully himself can pick it up for me this week.
Laura from Laura’s Musings has an interesting post on Memorable Mother’s in books based on an article on NPR which led me to Carol Shield’s (author of The Stone Diaries) last novel Unless. Unless is the story of a mother whose college daughter drops out and becomes a pan handler who wears a sign around her neck with the word “goodness”. I love this quote from the end I found, “A life is full of isolated events but these events, if they are to form a coherent narrative, require odd pieces of language to link them together, little chips of grammar (mostly adverbs or prepositions) that are hard to define… words like therefore, else, other, also, thereof, therefore, instead, otherwise, despite, already, and not yet.” However I haven’t ever read The Stone Diaries, which is also about motherhood – which should I read first?