January 14, 2011

June 2010

It is so awesome when the author of one of your favorite books is as cool as the book.  I've met a few authors who sorely disappoint, and that was definitely not the case Wednesday night when Wendy Bounds of Little Chapel on the River phoned in.  It was such a delightful time talking to her!  Wendy, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us and for sharing your stories.  We hope to get more books out of you in the future.

Speaking of books, we all had to swap or go to various libraries to get a copy of LCOTR, and Tom's had a square from the Page a Day Calendar dated October 16, 2009.  It said:
Little Chapel on the River - Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Home is where you find it or where you make it.  WSJ writer Gwendolyn (Wendy) Bounds was suddenly without a viable home or workplace after 9/11.  Reaching out to friends and family to get back on her feet, she found herself at Guinan's, an Irish Pub in Garrison, NY and she and the Guinans - and the pub and the town - turn out to be soul mates.

Nice to know there's a soul mate out there who left it in the book.  I bet they'd like to chat with Wendy, too.

Here's what else we covered:

The Calligrapher's Daughter - Eugenia Kim
The Rape of Nanking - Iris Chang
U is for Undertow - Sue Grafton
The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls (turns out she was here Aug. 7, 2007.  Where were we? But she's coming to Cleveland at the end of October.)
The Imperfectionists - Tom Rachman
The Emperor of Ocean Park - Stephen Carter
Falling Angels - Tracy Chevalier
Life List - Olivia Gentile  (biography of the birder Phoebe Snetsinger who had 8,674 birds on her list - out of a possible 10,223!  Take that to your next cocktail party.)
Tales of Terror - Alfred Hitchcock
Alice Munro short stories
Brave Companions:  Portraits in History - David McCullough
Truman - David McCullough
We're all invited to go to the John Adams Historical Society and read his letters
The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson
The Girl Who Played with Fire - Steig Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next - Steig Larsson
Somewhere Towards the End - Diana Athill
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - Beth Hoffman
Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo - Jancee Dunn
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
The Little Chapel on the River - Gwendolyn Bounds
(And she said the secret password Pride and Prejudice Is The Greatest Novel Ever Written!)
Have you written your 500 words today?
Let's have Jane & Michael Stern (Roadfood fame) and Wendy Bounds over for dinner.
Last Call - Daniel Okrent
Please visit www.theodorewaterfield.com for poems from the Sandusky native who is also Mick's brother
Game Change - John Heilemann & Mark Halperin
Regina Brett's column on positivity in Cleveland:
The Shipping News - Annie Proulx
There's a new book coming out on Emily Dickinson that Jane is thrilled about but doesn't know the title.  Stay tuned.

From Mary Lou in Maryland:

Ben Logan, The Land Remembers (1975).  Like David Rhodes’ novel Driftless, this book is set in southwestern Wisconsin.  It presents recollections of the author’s childhood on a hilltop farm in the 1920s and 1930s.  The narrative follows the cycle of the seasons: Spring – Summer – Fall – Winter; with anecdotes from a dozen or so years for each of the seasons.  The narrator is the youngest of four boys who have their share of pranks as well as chores.  Chapter titles include “Scrambled Eggs for Easter,” “Haying,” “Hunting for Bee Trees,” “Ghosts,” “The Cat with a Right Angle Tail,” and “Blizzard.”   It is both nostalgic and humorous and the pace is easy.  For anyone with a rural childhood, this is a delight to read.

Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001).  I couldn’t resist this title.  The pants are somewhat faded blue jeans purchased in a thrift shop by the narrator, a 15-year old girl.  When she and her best friends are packing for the first summer of their lives they will be separated, they discover that the pants are a miraculously perfect fit for all four of them. They agree to share the pants for the summer, and off they go to their separate trials and adventures.  One goes with her sister to Greece to visit grandparents, one sets off to South Carolina to visit her father, one goes to a soccer camp in Baja, and one stays home.  The rules for the sisterhood of the traveling pants include:  “You must never wash the Pants,” and “Upon our reunion you must write on the left leg of the Pants the most exciting place you have been while wearing the Pants and on the right leg the most important thing that has happened to you while wearing the Pants.”  The story and the point of view shift from one girl to the next.  Each section begins with a saying, e.g., “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” and “Wish for what you want. Work for what you need.”  This is an excellent “coming of age” novel but it is much more.  It is entertaining, thought-provoking, poignant, wise, and funny.  I‘m looking for the sequel.

Barry Unsworth,  Losing Nelson (1999).  I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as others of his.  I’m sure it’s just as well researched – yes THAT Nelson – but it is a dark book.  The narrator is a loner who identifies obsessively with the Admiral and struggles to write his biography, seeing him only in the most heroic of terms, despite research indicating the contrary.  The message is There Are No Heroes, but that’s a truth the narrator cannot accept and he devolves instead into schizophrenia.  I found this an unpleasant book.

Martin Cruz Smith, Stalin’s Ghost (2007).  This is another novel in the series featuring Arkady Renko, the discredited Senior Investigator of the Moscow prosecutor’s office.  Arkady is the thoroughly modern protagonist, a flawed, underestimated, shrewd, and lovable outsider.  This adventure begins with a mass hallucination (Stalin, of course) late at night at a Moscow Metro station.  It includes tales of World War II (Arkady’s father was a Red Army general), the Chechen war, a street urchin who is a chess wizard, an aging eccentric chess champion, police corruption, a political campaign with a porno film-maker as publicist, and lots of corpses and vodka.  The plot is intricate, the mysteries are challenging, and the pace is fast. 

From Dwight in FL:
Just started a new Nelson deMille, The Lion, ALSO NY based...ah, Thomas Wolfe be damned, I AM home again.

We're all invited to friend Wendy on facebook and to follow her blog on the Little Chapel.  Links for all that can be found at www.gwendolynbounds.com.

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