The Adventures of a Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader. This weekly event encourages bloggers to share the books they have checked out from the library. I always find many new books to add to my reserve list!
If you’d like to participate, just write up your post and link up. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
Library Loot: July 6th – July
I am on vacation this week so have more than my usual number of books checked out from the library! I would hate to get all the way to South Dakota and not like the book I am reading. I have plenty of books to chose from this week. I am actually reading a few at the same time. When I get tired of one, I read a different on from a bit.
My Library Loot for this week (Books) :
The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri - (from Amazon.com) Barbieri (Snow in July) sets her latest in a small Irish town, Glenmara, where a heartbroken American tourist, Kate Robinson, finds her one-night stay extended with the help of some motherly role models. Kate's hostess, chronically grieving widow Bernie, draws the young Seattleite into a gossipy ring of lace makers. Kate, a former fashion designer, takes to them perfectly (one of several head-scratching coincidences), inspiring them to take on an empowering but controversial project. Although the focus is always on the positive, the narrative's strongest when exploring the less charming sides of Glenmara; rich sources of missed potential include the local priest, nicknamed Father Dominic Burn-in-Hell Byrne, and Bernie's irritable best friend Aileen, the only lace society member to regard Kate with anything but syrupy goodwill. The result is a sweet novel with few surprises. Even Kate's pivotal, inspirational idea—embellishing the ladies' undergarments with lace—suffers from murky logic (as do reactions from characters like Father Byrne). Still, Barbieri's world generates convincing warmth and emotion, making it worth a look for Friday Night Knitting Club fans between sequels
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver - (from Amazon.com) Kingsolver's ambitious new novel, her first in nine years (after the The Poisonwood Bible), focuses on Harrison William Shepherd, the product of a divorced American father and a Mexican mother. After getting kicked out of his American military academy, Harrison spends his formative years in Mexico in the 1930s in the household of Diego Rivera; his wife, Frida Kahlo; and their houseguest, Leon Trotsky, who is hiding from Soviet assassins. After Trotsky is assassinated, Harrison returns to the U.S., settling down in Asheville, N.C., where he becomes an author of historical potboilers (e.g., Vassals of Majesty) and is later investigated as a possible subversive. Narrated in the form of letters, diary entries and newspaper clippings, the novel takes a while to get going, but once it does, it achieves a rare dramatic power that reaches its emotional peak when Harrison wittily and eloquently defends himself before the House Un-American Activities Committee (on the panel is a young Dick Nixon). Employed by the American imagination, is how one character describes Harrison, a term that could apply equally to Kingsolver as she masterfully resurrects a dark period in American history with the assured hand of a true literary artist.
A Slender Thread by Katharine Davis – (from Amazon.com) Close-knit ties between two sisters become strained and each girl's relationships with other people nearly unravel in Davis's (East Hope) deeply stirring family drama inspired by Primary Progressive Aphasia, a neurological disease that gradually destroys communication abilities. New York gallery employee and frustrated artist Margot Winkler always looks for guidance to her older sister, Lacey, a talented New Hampshire weaver, but now when her sister is diagnosed with PPA, they're forced to swap roles. Lacey's husband, Alex, wants Lacey to break the news to their college-bound twins, Wink and Toni, despite Lacey's reluctance, and asks Margot to convince her. Meanwhile Oliver, Margot's live-in boyfriend, grows increasingly unhappy with Margot focusing on Lacey instead of their relationship. As they hurtle toward an ultimately enlightening crisis, Davis interweaves her characters' perspectives with amazing dexterity. A cut above the usual family tear-jerker, Davis delivers an insightful exploration of how a terminal illness can affect not only the one diagnosed, but also the people who love them.
Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding by Jessie Sholl – (From Booklist) When her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer, Sholl was faced with a dread worse than the disease, that of taking on responsibility for her mother’s house, filthy and chaotic from years of hoarding. Sholl had grown up in the house in Minneapolis until her parents’ divorce, when she eventually went to live with her father and stepmother not far from the house that so shamed her. She’d spent her adolescence embarrassed by her mother’s mental illness: the hoarding, compulsive shopping, indecisiveness, and occasional cruelty and abuse. Now married and living in New York, she could not rid herself of the obligation and shame or the alternating emotions of fury and protectiveness. Forced to deal with her mother, Sholl waded through garbage (unopened mail, broken appliances, moldy food, and scores of identical items bought on shopping sprees), memories, and research to find a deeper understanding of her mother’s mental disorder. She offers a compelling and compassionate perspective on an illness suffered by an estimated six million Americans that has only recently been explored through reality television programs.
Every Little Thing by Pamela Klaffke - (from Goodreads.com) Before there were mommy bloggers, there was Britt. San Francisco's brassy scandal queen filled her newspaper column with juicy details of her many marriages, cosmetic surgeries and everything about her only daughter, Mason.
Then Britt dies. Suddenly and in spectacularly embarrassing fashion. So Mason—now thirty-five and vehemently un-Britt-like in every way—returns home to settle her affairs….though some affairs are not so easy to settle.
Now caught in her own sordid debacle, Mason finds herself thrust back into the spotlight, and this time it's her own doing.
Struggling to define herself as anything other than Britt Junior, Mason soon discovers that Britt's intensely public life still holds some secrets. And though the overgrown teen rebel has always favored combat boots, she may yet walk a mile in her mother's shoes.
Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine - (from Goodreads.com) Shocked by the commerce in everything from pet cloning to patriotism, frightened by the downward spiral of her finances and that of the trash-strewn earth, Judith Levine enlists her partner, Paul, in a radical experiment: to forgo all but the most necessary purchases for an entire year.
Without consumer goods and experiences, Judith and Paul pursue their careers, nurture relationships, and try to keep their sanity, their identities, and their sense of humor intact. Tracking their progress -- and inevitable lapses -- Levine contemplates need and desire, scarcity and security, consumerism and citizenship. She asks the Big Questions: Can the economy survive without shopping? Are Q-tips necessary?
Not Buying It is the confession of a woman any reader can identify with: someone who can't live without French roast coffee or SmartWool socks but who has had it up to here with overconsumption and its effects on the earth and everyone who dwells there.
For the humor and intelligence of its insights, the refreshment of its skepticism, and the surprises of its conclusions, Not Buying It is sure to be on anyone's list of Necessities.
The Adults by Alison Espach - (from Goodreads.com) In her ruefully funny and wickedly perceptive debut novel, Alison Espach deftly dissects matters of the heart and captures the lives of children and adults as they come to terms with life, death, and love.
At the center of this affluent suburban universe is Emily Vidal, a smart and snarky teenager, who gets involved in a suspect relationship with one of the adults after witnessing a suicide in her neighborhood. Among the cast of unforgettable characters is Emily’s father, whose fiftieth birthday party has the adults descending upon the Vidal’s patio; her mother, who has orchestrated the elaborate party even though she and her husband are getting a divorce; and an assortment of eccentric neighbors, high school teachers, and teenagers who teem with anxiety and sexuality and an unbridled desire to be noticed, and ultimately loved.
An irresistible chronicle of a modern young woman’s struggle to grow up, The Adults lays bare—in perfect pitch—a world where an adult and a child can so dangerously be mistaken for the same exact thing.
My Library Loot for this week (Audio Books) :
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson -(from Goodreads.com) Rose Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee" she's trapped in a marriage that's thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting "Ro" make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy---one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Rose's beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.
Hot-blooded Rose Mae escapes from under Ro's perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she's been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti and behind paintings, Rose and her dog Gretel set out from Amarillo, TX back to her hometown of Fruiton, AL, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate---death by marriage---and become a girl who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best.
BACKSEAT SAINTS will dazzle readers with a fresh and heartwrenching portrayal of the lengths a mother will go to right the wrongs she's created, and how far a daughter will go to escape the demands of forgiveness. With the seed of a minor character from her popular best-seller, GODS IN ALABAMA, Jackson has built a whole new story full of her trademark sly wit, endearingly off-kilter characters, and utterly riveting plot twists
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley – (from Goodreads.com) It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.
For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
Come Sunday by Isla Morley - - (from Amazon.com) In her poignant first novel, former South African magazine editor Morley explores a mother's grief. Abbe Deighton, part-time journalist and full-time wife and mother, finds herself living in Hawaii with her preacher husband, Greg, and precocious three-year-old daughter, Cleo, thousands of miles from her South African birthplace. Her flight from an abusive father and complicit mother is not accidental—her poet brother also fled to America—and when Cleo is killed in a car accident, Abbe re-examines the choices that have brought her so far from home. She and her husband become estranged as he turns to God and forgives the man who killed their daughter while Abbe descends into self-pity and anger at the unfairness of life. Their marriage suffers and Greg loses his job, forcing Abbe to turn homeward for financial help. Upon returning to South Africa, she confronts the ghosts of her family's past and the reality of her homeland's future. Morley convincingly depicts a grief-stricken woman without resorting to clichés, and though she telegraphs the resolution of Abbe's plight early on, the storytelling, line by line, is rather beautiful.
I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and had a wonderful 4th of July. My youngest son and I are in South Dakota visiting my parents. We have had a busy time already. We have gone geocaching, flying kites, visited family, lite some fireworks and played on the slip and slide. We had some storms last night, but overall have had great weather to enjoy out time outside. We are taking it easy this morning, which we need. Maybe I will be able to get caught up on some more book reviews. This afternoon we will play another outing. My son is thinking he might want to go fishing this afternoon.
Hope you are all have a wonderful week.