Archive for April, 2012

Well it is official, March was the rainiest March in history and yes, we also had rain today. The dog is frustrated (she thinks any precipitation should come in the form of snow) and himself isn’t much happier. It has rained so much his hoop house for the Bonsai is dripping making spring work inside not as pleasant. I got a hand load of books at two different libraries (I love having both a city and a county system) and I am  happily reading Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith and loving every word so far.

Here is what caught my interest this week:

I hopped around to some new blogs for me and the first one The TBR Pile has me thinking about reading Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter. I liked Room but haven’t thought to pick up some of her historical work. The Sealed Letter sounds like it might lead to some great discussions as it is based on the Codrington Divorce in England in 1864. It includes Victorian Mores and gender roles, the roles of friendship and intimacy in a woman’s life, and lots of period details. I may put this on the book group list.

Sometimes I will pass by a book mentioned in several blogs and then read a review that makes me see the novel in a new light and reconsider putting it on the list. Tales from the Reading Room has such a review – beautifully written in such a way that makes The Grief of Others by Leah Hagar Cohen more accessible and inviting. The Ryries lose a baby 57 hours after birth. As John and Ricky struggle back to normalcy as well as tend their two older children, John discovers Ricky knew the baby would die. This leads to another discovery which makes it even harder to recover. Litlove writes, “It is a family story, about togetherness lost and found, but it is raised above its familiar domestic concerns by the amazing beauty and luminescence of the prose.”

For those of us who love memoir, Cornflower Books reviews one that sounds wonderful. William Fiennes, author of The Snow Geese (an account of the migration of snow geese in North America and a “meditation on the idea of home”) writes of growing up in a 14th century moated castle in The Music Room. He also movingly writes about his older brother who suffers from severe epilepsy and mental illness. The memoir is about the balance of family life and the accommodations made to achieve that balance – what parents do to nurture and foster growth for each child.  I have actually put both works on my list.

I didn’t include Arcadia by Lauren Groff in my newly published posting because I was a little unsure of it as the basic outline hit a little close to home. We have a family friend that was raised in a commune and his childhood was not a happy one. But The Boston Bibliophile, who calls it “…a must-read for literary fiction readers this spring and summer…” may have changed my mind. She also describes the novel:

Groff writes with great beauty and grace about the life of this place and the people who make it come alive. The book is lyrical and poetic but Groff doesn’t get lost in mere style. She uses her beautiful writing to create unique, fresh characters. Sometimes I had to remind myself that I was reading fiction so well does she bring these people to life. She renders the setting vividly as well, both in terms of the physical descriptions and the idealism that drives the Arcadians to work so hard on their fragile community.

Arcadia is the story Ridley “Bit” Stone. He was born in a commune established in the 1970’s, his parents hippies. The commune has ups and downs trying to maintain its path of an idyllic life under difficult circumstances and Ridley also has to find his own way while dealing with his relationships with three women (his childhood love, his mother, and his daughter).

Happy Reading!


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