Hello from beautiful Oregon. I arrived on Saturday and on Sunday I drove youngest back to school and stopped at one of my favorite places (The Container Store). Last Thursday was Oldest’s 24th birthday. Himself and I made him a steampuck inspired shelving unit for his wall to hold beer bottles and books. The perfect combination for a guy who likes steampunk, fiction, and craft beer. The shelves are painted to look like galvanized metal so most of my week was spent doing layer after layer of primer, base coat, and faux painting. In the past two weeks I did have some good reading time…The week before last I finished the Patrico Pron novel and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – both based on true events and one labeled Fiction, the other non-fiction. In fact, my book group had a really good discussion on what is fiction and what is non-fiction. I have also finished Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole, The Seance by John Harwood, and To Love and be Wise by Josephine Tey. I did not finish The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay. While I enjoyed the bookish atmosphere, I did not like it enough to renew it. I am also in the middle of three books: The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud; Heading to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick; and Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
If you have ever wanted to crash a party in a novel you have read, you have your chance with A Curious Invitation: The Forty Greatest Parties in Fiction by Suzette Field (reviewed by Bloggers Recommend) which features parties as different as Pooh’s Party to the prom in Carrie. There is a party from Thackeray, Defoe, Proust, Fitzgerald, and even the party my friends and I tried to replicate in high school – Bilbo Baggin’s Birthday party. This sounds like a wonderful read, easy to pick up and put down – a great nightstand book.
I listened to the Semple novel on the drive down and it has me thinking of what other books might be good listens. And then I read Matthew’s (A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook) review of Past Caring by Robbert Goddard. In the 1970’s an unemployed historian is asked by a wealthy South African to investigate the life of a disgraced politician who after WWI, lived out the rest of his career on the Island of Madeira. Was Edward Stafford’s fall due to an failed love affair with a suffergette or was there foul play involved? Using Stafford’s memoir as a base, the historian becomes involved in a mystery that spans three generations. Matthew writes, “The characters are well drawn and all have hidden motives. Not only are they bound by an entanglement of intrigue, misunderstanding and betrayal, they are all colored in shades of grey. They only come into full focus and shading at the end of the story.”