First-rate fiction, some of the best I've read in a while. It reminded me quite a bit of what I used to love in the old Anne Tyler, the The AccidentalFirst-rate fiction, some of the best I've read in a while. It reminded me quite a bit of what I used to love in the old Anne Tyler, the The Accidental Tourist Anne Tyler. The characters were lovely and quirky and flawed, and the action was slow, at the pace of life, but it picked up speed incrementally. The romance between two very unlikely characters is so sweet and stretched out with a delicious tension that's rare anymore. I'm shocked that this is Helen Simonson's first novel. Well done, you. She writes like a seasoned author. This is the perfect summer read: not too demanding but not just a cotton-candy beach read. I got my copy at the library but I honestly would enjoy owning this one! ...more
When I couldn't get ahold of Gretel Erlich's The Solace of Open Spaces at the library, I did the next best thing: I found that namesake essay in thisWhen I couldn't get ahold of Gretel Erlich's The Solace of Open Spaces at the library, I did the next best thing: I found that namesake essay in this lovely book of essays and enjoyed not only it but many others besides. Compilations can be tricky and uneven, but editor Joyce Carol Oates has done an excellent job curating truly some of the finest short essays of (and about) the 20th century. (And by the way: The Solace of Open Spaces was an excellent piece, beautifully and poetically written, and I think her full book would be worth buying.)
I don't get into podcasts, but this book fills what is probably that same kind of void for me. It's like listening to one of the long-form-story NPR programs, only I get to READ these wonderful essays myself, taking my time discovering, sampling, and digesting. When my husband and I were first married, we vowed to not buy a TV for a year so we would spend that time with each other instead of lost in a screen. I remember that year with great fondness. We would talk or listen to the radio and discuss what we heard. We'd read the newspaper or books aloud to each other and have lively conversations.
As I read this, it took me back to that simpler time. I thought, this would be a good book to have on the coffee table for a quiet night when there's a fire in the fireplace, the TV's off, and the ever-present smartphones are set aside. Maybe if we had this book handy, we would feel inspired to read aloud to each other--as people did for enjoyment for many years before screens--at least from time to time. Sounds so lovely to me. It's worth a try!...more
To my neighbors who are Bronte fans: Who loves you? I do!
I bought this beautiful coffee table book about All Things Bronte at a library castoff saleTo my neighbors who are Bronte fans: Who loves you? I do!
I bought this beautiful coffee table book about All Things Bronte at a library castoff sale because I thought you'd enjoy it (after I read it, of course!), and I'm putting it in my little free library now so you can enjoy it as well.
Not long ago, I watched the PBS dramatization "To Walk Invisible" about the Bronte family and thought it was interesting, so when I saw this book for sale, I wanted to know more. (Ok, it didn't hurt that it was on the $1 rack.) The text, written by a curator at the official Bronte museum, is comprehensive, covering everything from each person in the family (including long-term servants), the landscape, a summary of each of the sisters' books, their friends and biographers, and how the museum and its collection came together. The book is rich with illustrations the famous siblings drew or painted and beautiful photos, including of places that were the inspiration for locations in the Brontes' books.
To be honest, I have not read all of the books by the Bronte sisters, but this book gave me a broader understanding and appreciation of their novels as well as the life and times of the entire Bronte family. I savored this book slowly for some really enjoyable virtual sightseeing. I hope you get a chance to enjoy it as well....more
This novel was a quick read and had some interesting things going for it, but overall it was just OK. I enjoyed the setting in Boston and all of the dThis novel was a quick read and had some interesting things going for it, but overall it was just OK. I enjoyed the setting in Boston and all of the detail--the author fleshes out the city like another character, and since I visited Boston last month for the first time, it was fun to mentally revisit some of the places and make a mental wish list for new things to see.
The characters are pretty believable in this novel, and the timing well-paced. The best aspect was the focus on art. I'd never given any thought to the difference between what makes a copied work of art a legal copy or an illegal forgery, and the author does a good job of creating a moral dilemma that propels the action. However, there was too much strong language for me as well as a couple of sexy scenes. I know some readers like that, but for me it polluted a pretty good book. When stuff like that comes up as I'm reading, I often just skim over it, but there's enough here that I'd be uncomfortable recommending this book, and it brought my rating down a star....more