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Andy Catlett: Early Travels
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Group Reads: Moderator's Choice > Moderator's Choice - December 2017: Andy Catlett. Early Travels

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message 1: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
My choice for December takes us back to Port William, Kentucky, the area described so perfectly by Wendell Berry in Jayber Crow. This time it's Andy Catlett: Early Travels. During the Christmas of 1943, nine year old Andy travels alone by bus to visit his grandparents in Port William. It's a small volume, my copy only has 140 pages, so a good length for a December read, when everyone is so busy with other things. The back of the book describes it this way: "This book is as much a perfect introduction to the world of Wendell Berry's Port William saga as it is a continuation for those already familiar with this richly unfolding story."

Surely this is a good season to read about the importance of family and community.


message 2: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1910 comments Mod
Great choice and my library has a copy.


message 3: by Tina (new) - added it

Tina  | 485 comments Yay! I'm ready to go back. Loved Jayber Crow.


message 4: by Lawyer, Moderator Emeritus (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Thank you, Diane. What a perfect choice. And there's good news for those who enjoy the works of Wendell Berry. The Library of America has added Berry to their list of classic American Authors. Check this out!

LIBRARY OF AMERICA SERIES

Wendell Berry
Port William Novels & Stories
The Civil War to World War II
Nathan Coulter • Andy Catlett: Early Travels • A World Lost • A Place on Earth • Stories
Jack Shoemaker, editor
Library of America #302 / ISBN 978-1-59853-554-9
January 2018

Wendell Berry: Port William Novels & Stories: The Civil War to World War II: Nathan Coulter / Andy Catlett: Early Travels / A World Lost / A Place on Earth / Stories


message 5: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
Thanks, Mike. I have already decided that will be a late Christmas present to myself.


message 6: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim Kaso | 590 comments I pre-ordered a copy when I saw it the other day. ;-). Ah, books. May I live long enough to make a dent in my piles, and keep my brain cells healthy, all those synapses firing away.


message 7: by Lawyer, Moderator Emeritus (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Thanks, Mike. I have already decided that will be a late Christmas present to myself."

Me, too!


message 8: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
Amen, Kim.


message 9: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim Kaso | 590 comments May I get an hallelujah, sisters & brothers!


message 10: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
Sure you're not from the south, Kim?


message 11: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim Kaso | 590 comments I’ve lived a very full life, Diane. Have a wide geographical, familial experience. And my dad’s family was straight out of Hillbilly Elegy, my dad was more like the author than anyone else.


message 12: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
I fully intended to get started on this yesterday, then made the mistake of reading the first chapter of SING, UNBURIED, SING, so this has to wait. It's up next, though.


Candi (candih) | 197 comments I couldn't find this one in my library system, so I just ordered a copy and hope to start next week :)


message 14: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
I started this yesterday, and am happy I read the other book first. This one is like having a warm blanket wrapped around me, Berry has such a way of pulling you in. I find myself reading sentences twice just to savor them.


Franky | 313 comments I just got this one in the mail and will probably get to it more later in the month.


message 16: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
This book has created such a strong sense of nostalgia in me it brings tears to my eyes, and I was born 10 after the setting of this novel. Grandparents and family are the same anywhere, anytime. And old ways giving way to the new is heartbreaking at any time in history.


Connie G (connie_g) | 399 comments Set in 1943, it is a quiet, gentle book about a simpler way of life. Both of Andy Catlett's sets of grandparents lived on farms doing hard physical work, and possessed survival skills that most of us do not have today. He can already see that his father has a different way of life than his grandparents.

With many young men from Port William being sent to fight in World War II, and some of them already deceased, the shadow of death hangs over their families and friends on New Year's Day 1944.


message 18: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
"A quiet, gentle book" is a perfect description of this one. And yet, so much is happening. I think this is true of all Wendell Berry books that I've read so far. There is so much under the surface of every life, even though other people may see them as boring or unimportant.


Candi (candih) | 197 comments I have finished this lovely little book, too. I am having trouble keeping up with my comments and review writing this month though :) I do love reading books that are a reflection of an older adult looking back at his or her childhood. I like the fact that we got to see the two sets of grandparents and their ways of life. Some similarities and many differences. It is amazing how grandparents can keep you in line! Andy thought himself a less than stellar student behavior-wise, and yet was proud of the way he handled himself while staying with his grandparents. He really did respect them. I almost felt myself a part of these little families for a short time. I would have loved to sit down to one of their meals!


Franky | 313 comments Finally just barely got to this one, but I feel like I can probably read this one in a few days. I'm enjoying it. I like Connie's description as "quite and gentle" in describing it. Perfect way to describe the tone and mood. I like the rite of passage kind of feel to the book, and how we are looking at the world through the narrator's eyes.


message 21: by Franky (last edited Dec 30, 2017 12:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Franky | 313 comments Finished this in a few days and really enjoyed it. It seems like a perfect book to finish off the year with. I like the narrative perspective of young Andy, and then older Andy, reflecting and thinking about all those fond family memories, like his mother reading to him, helping out at his granddad, etc. Just so much power in simple every day memories with family. I also really enjoyed the author's way to making Port Williams so alive and symbolic to Andy's recollections.

Diane, thanks for choosing this one.


message 22: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
Franky, if you're like me, it made you nostalgic for childhood. Looking back as an adult, everything seemed so simple then, but at the time you were living through it as an inexperienced youth, it was really quite complicated. Like waiting in the bus station/cafe and trying to pretend to be a coffee drinker.


message 23: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1910 comments Mod
For Wendell Berry lovers, Monday 4/23 PBS Independent Lens (9cst) is airing “Look & See:Wendell Berry’s Kentucky”


message 24: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
Thanks for posting, Laura. That should be a real treat for us Wendell Berry fans.


Candi (candih) | 197 comments Thank you, Laura. I've set up my DVR for that one :)


message 26: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1910 comments Mod
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/sol...

This is a little long, but so worth the read. If you have read Berry you will appreciate the article and I couldn’t help but be in tears by the last sentence.


message 27: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
I loved that article. "Home is a place of safety, where people are good to each other." Best definition ever.


message 28: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura | 1910 comments Mod
Agree Diane. I think we see this lived out in his fictional novels.


Connie G (connie_g) | 399 comments Laura, thank you for sharing the article about Tanya Berry. She sounds like a wonderful character out of one of Wendell's books, and someone I would love to talk with on a farmhouse porch.


message 30: by Connie (last edited May 17, 2018 09:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Connie G (connie_g) | 399 comments Nick Offerman wrote an article about Wendell Berry for the Library of America. I liked this quote:

"As I became accustomed to the world of Port William and the comforting cast of country folk inhabiting the acres therein, I was struck by the reverence that Wendell Berry bestowed upon each and every person, no matter how “simple” they might be, from an urban point of view. His understanding of the contribution made by every plain, hardworking person to the general welfare of a community, and thereby the world, moved me deeply."

https://www.loa.org/news-and-views/13...


message 31: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3825 comments Mod
Thanks for that article, Connie. I made myself a present of that Library of America volume for my birthday in early April ( with a little help from a friend), but I hadn't read the forward yet. Berry has fans everywhere.


Connie G (connie_g) | 399 comments Diane wrote: "Thanks for that article, Connie. I made myself a present of that Library of America volume for my birthday in early April ( with a little help from a friend), but I hadn't read the forward yet. Ber..."

That sounds like a wonderful birthday gift.


Franky | 313 comments Connie wrote: "Nick Offerman wrote an article about Wendell Berry for the Library of America. I liked this quote:

"As I became accustomed to the world of Port William and the comforting cast of country folk inha..."


Nice, thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed this one and loved the article and story. And that is such a perfect quote for the reading of this book :)


Connie G (connie_g) | 399 comments Franky wrote: "Connie wrote: "Nick Offerman wrote an article about Wendell Berry for the Library of America. I liked this quote:

"As I became accustomed to the world of Port William and the comforting cast of co..."


It always feels good to return to simpler times for a few hours when I open a Wendell Berry book.


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