We got home from our trip late last night and I was too tired to post
This week is one of transition – eldest is seriously looking for work and we packed youngest up and dropped him off at college. Since he has chosen the University of Portland, I have had the pleasure of spending a few days with my mom as Himself has done orientation duty. On Thursday, we moved Youngest into his dorm (he is in a former study lounge converted into a quad) and we were pleased to see that his dorm had the only music blasting, the only large gorilla on the roof, and the only assistants in kilts! Himself and I are planning a trip back that will take us near Mt. St. Helens (one can only drive through Eastern Oregon and the Gorge just so many times in a short period) and then we will be home – to our not so empty nest as Eldest seems to be ensconced for at least a while.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
Diane from Bibliophile by the Sea (hope all is well with you and the hurricane) puts the spotlight on a slim novel written by a reclusive Italian author with the pseudonym Elena Farrante called The Lost Daughter. This short novel is about a middle-aged woman alone for the first time. Her two daughters have left to go live with her former husband and Leda revels in the freedom of only having to care for herself. She goes on vacation and a chance encounter with a young mother and her daughter lead Leda in to an introspection of her own life. This sounds like a good book group read because you could discuss motherhood, identity, career fulfillment, etc.
Everyone has roads no taken, forks in the road where you could go one way – for example, pursue a relationship with Man A, or the other, a relationship with Man B. Iris on Books reviews Q: A Novel by Evan Mandery where these roads are explored. The narrator is visited by various aspects of himself from the future. Each future self gives the narrator advice about the upcoming fork in the road, big and small forks. For example, don’t marry her, go running, go on a glutton free diet. If your future self came to you and gave you advice, would you take it? The reviews call this novel “bittersweet” and a “love story”. It sounds like a funny and wise discussion about life, the choices we make, and what it all ultimately means.
One book that came out this week and has been getting quite a bit of buzz is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (her debut novel). The Language of Flowers is based, in part, on the Victorian custom of certain flowers having certain meanings. For those of you who have read Louisa May Alcott’s Jo’s Boys (a sequel to Little Men), there is a part in there where the young man proposes with three different colors of roses. Which ever rose the young lady chose to wear would give him his answer. I have always thought that was a really sweet passage in the book and I would like to know more about this custom. Fortunately, the author includes a Flower Dictionary in the book. The novel is about an eighteen year old girl who has just aged out of the foster care system in San Francisco. She camps out in a park, setting up her own flower garden and eventually gets a job working with flowers. The book is about connections and how to make them even if you have never done so before. A review can be found At Rhapsody in Books and it also received a good review in The San Francisco Chronicle which called it “an unexpectedly beautiful book about an ugly subject”.
If you liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, another book on the occupation of the Channel Islands has been released called War on the Margins by Libby Cone. The novel arose out of the author’s work on her masters and she uses real documents, as well as real people, to give her book an authentic flair. It started out as a self-published novel but received so much acclaim that it was picked up by Duckworth Books (which in itself is a great name for a company!). Marlene works for the Alien Registry office on Jersey. During the occupation all Jews were required to register but Marlene decides not to. She later gets involved in the resistance and there are several other plot lines that cover the gamut of what the occupation meant to the islands and their inhabitants. Reviews can be found at Shelf Love, The Literate Housewife, and Dove Grey Scribbles who has a more in depth discussion on literature that covers the Channel Island occupation.
Finally, I mentioned The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson on a recent Sunday Posting and I can hardly wait for my hold to come through at the library. The Lantern is a literary Gothic novel set in Provence France. It is all the harder to wait when I read descriptions like the following from Bookstack:
Reading The Lantern was a bit like stepping into a warm pool of water that starts out calm and quiet and just a little sleepy, but soon sucks you in with a surprising undertow and finally whirls you in a vortex of questions and emotions. When at last you come up for air, you find yourself basking in the placid sunlight of a summer day, wondering if it was all just a dream.