We actually had some beautiful weather which turned into hot again with a wildfire in the hills (thankfully taken care of with relative ease) and friends in the possible evacuation zone – I would say welcome to summer in the west but it seems that wildfires are everywhere this summer. Youngest and I spent a lot of time in the front yard digging up one of the flower beds. Now youngest is working on the concrete walkway so it can be hauled away and then we will install pavers for a new walkway and patio. It has been a lot of work and I have been appreciating the muscle power and work ethic of youngest. Eldest went camping with friends and had a good, relaxing time swimming in one of our many lakes and having huckleberry shakes made with local ice cream – beats pounding concrete out of the ground. And I have been reading, trying to finish what I need to meet my Monday deadline (the books are not renewable). So far I have knocked off Sugarhouse, Clair de Lune, and Me and You. I have made a significant dent in Self-Help (very stark) and Half-Blood Blues (mixed feelings – and it will most likely be a day late going back). I also only have a little left on The Leftovers and I am looking forward to the discussion tomorrow night.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
I have fond memories of reading Ray Bradbury who recently passed away. His short stories have a way of lingering in your mind and some of his characters and concepts have become part of our cultural legacy. Novels such as Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked this Way Comes, story collections such as The Illustrated Man – especially The Veldt, and individual short stories like There Will Come Soft Rains, among others, will be read by generations to come. Heather, from Between the Covers reviews a collection of stories edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle with an introduction written by Ray Bradbury before he died, the introduction to Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, edited by Same Weller and Mort Castle. The list of authors is impressive including Margaret Atwood,Audrey Niffenegger, and Dave Eggers. Each author included an afterward speaking about Bradbury’s influence on their own writing. Don’t tell himself, but this one may be under the Christmas tree.
One of the books I read over and over when I was young was A Lantern In Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich which is about a pioneer woman and her life in Nebraska. So when I read Wendy’s (Caribou’s Mom) review of The Personal History of Rachel DuPre by Ann Weisgarber, also the story of a pioneer woman, I was instantly sold on the novel. Unlike Aldrich’s novel, this one has an added depth as Rachel and her husband are black. Still the echos of the impoverished life, the struggle to make something of one’s self, and the desire for better for your children rings the same. This one will go on the list for sure.
If you are looking for something lighter, Sam Still Reading has a brief mention of Ada’s Rules by Alice Randall. Ada is the wife of a preacher and she is worried she may be sharing her husband a little too much. Add to that aging and ailing parents, a business, and her own adult children and Ada has her hands full. Then along comes an invitation to her 25th college reunion and all of a sudden those extra 100 pounds she has packed on have to go. So she develops rules to help her and takes us along on her journey. Sounds like a great beach read.
Finally, a few links for your reading pleasure –
- Matthew of A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook as a beautiful list of books set in Hong Kong, some I have heard of and some I haven’t. Some definite possibilities here if you are interested in reading about this part of the world.
- Bibliosue has two books set in Paris that she discusses at her blog – both memiors of people who live in the city (what a nice thing to dream about)
- and last but not least, Kimbofo provides a link to Foyles of London and their list of the best of books set in London in several catagories such as fiction, travel, history, children’s, and the arts. If you are watching the Olympics as much as we have and dreaming of London, definitely click over and get even more ideas to add to your to-be-read list.