Friday, August 31, 2012

Clarissa Group Read: August Links

Here is the August collection post for our Clarissa Group Read. If you've written a post for Letters 382- 456 or have comments on your August reading of Clarissa, please let me know in the comments and I'll add your link.

1. Lindsey at Sparks' Notes
2. Christina at The Literary Bunny

Thursday, August 16, 2012

See You In September

I haven't felt much like blogging lately.

My mother-in-law passed away Tuesday night - quietly, peacefully and unobtrusively, as she lived her life - with her husband and daughter at her side. Her health had been failing for years, but this is still a difficult time for the family.

Our household, too, is in flux. The twins will return to college over the next couple of weeks, and our oldest daughter continues to prepare for her move to New York City.

Writing book reviews, even jotting down a few thoughts on the books I've been reading, feels like an insurmountable task. I just want to read, so that's what I'll do... for the next two weeks anyway.

I'll see you in September. Thanks for understanding...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Intro: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

"The first time Cora heard the name Louise Brooks, she was parked outside the Wichita Library in a Model-T Ford, waiting for the rain to stop. If Cora had been alone, unencumbered, she might have made a dash across the lawn and up the library's stone steps, but she and her friend Viola Hammond had spent the morning going door-to-door in their neighborhood collecting books for the new children's room, and the considerable fruits of their efforts were safe and dry in four crates in the backseat. The storm, they decided, would be a short one, and they couldn't risk the books getting wet.

And really, Cora thought, staring out into the rain, it wasn't as if she had anything else to do. Her boys were already gone for the summer, both of them working on a farm outside Winfield. In the fall, they would leave for college. Cora was still getting used to the quiet, and also the freedom, of this new era of her life. Now, long after Della left for the day, the house stayed clean, with no muddy footprints on the floor, and no records scattered around the phonograph. There were no squabbles over the car to mediate, no tennis matches at the club to cheer on, and no assigned essays to proofread and commend. The pantry and icebox actually stayed stocked with food without daily trips to the store. Today, with Alan at work, she had no reason to rush home at all."
The Chaperone
by Laura Moriarty
narrated by Elizabeth McGovern

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, read by Elizabeth McGovern, is my current audiobook. I'm listening to CDs in the car (thank you, Penguin Audio!) and find myself inventing excuses to drive anywhere alone. The combination of these opening paragraphs and the narrator's familiar voice (McGovern plays Cora on PBS's Downton Abbey) drew me in almost instantly and, at the halfway mark, continues to enthrall. Listen to a sample here.

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph(s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Snapshot - August 11

Spotted in Lake Placid, NY - a Hello Kitty Cooper! Isn't she cute?

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by:
Alyce from At Home With Books

Find details and more photos here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Life in Books - 2012 Edition

It's time to play again. We had a lot of fun with My Life as a Book in 2011, and yesterday Carrie posted her answers to the 2012 version. Of course, I can't resist. You know the drill - use only titles of books you have read this year to complete the following statements. Won't you join the fun?

Describe myself: 

How do I feel: 

Describe where I currently live: 

If I could go anywhere, where I would go (to):

My favorite form of transportation: 

My best friend(s) is/are: 

My friends and I are:

What’s the weather like: 

Favorite Time of Day: 

What is life to you: 

You fear: 

What is the best advice you have to give: 

Thought for the day:

How I would like to die: 

My soul’s present condition:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

TLC Book Tour: Diving Belles by Lucy Wood

Magical, mythical, a little quirky, sometimes creepy, and just plain fun!

Diving Belles, an engaging new short story collection by Lucy Wood, grabbed me from the opening passage:
"Iris crossed her brittle ankles and folded her hands in her lap as the diving bell creaked and juddered towards the sea. At first, she could hear Demelza  shouting and cursing as she cranked the winch, but the as bell was cantilevered away from the deck her voice was lost in the wind. Cold air rushed through the open bottom of the bell, bringing with it the rusty smell of The Matriarch's liver-spotted flanks and the brackish damp of seaweed. The bench Iris was sitting on was narrow and every time the diving bell rocked she pressed against the footrest to steady herself.  She kept imagining that she was inside a church bell and that she was the clapper about to ring out loudly into the water, announcing something. She fixed her eyes on the small window and didn't look down. There was no floor beneath her feet, just a wide open gap and the sea peaked and spat. She lurched downwards slowly, metres away from the side of the trawler, where a layer of barnacles and mussels clung on like the survivors of a shipwreck."
The collection features women turning to stone, husbands disappearing with mermaids, a house with an attitude, leprechauns, and more. It's no wonder Wood has been compared to Angela Carter. My natural tendency is to breeze through a collection like this in a single day, and this peaceful hotel balcony in Lake Placid proved to be an ideal reading spot. However, I'd recommend that you dole the stories out over several days, or even a week, instead. You'll enjoy returning to Lucy Wood's wonderfully weird world again and again.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. The complete tour schedule for Diving Belles is here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Grapehound Wine Tour

The Grapehound Wine Tour is an annual celebration of greyhounds and greyhound adoption. It was held last weekend in New York's Finger Lakes region. We've been a greyhound family for just over two years, and have been curious about the event. Last Saturday, we decided to head out to the vineyards and see what it was all about.

Atwater Estate Vineyards served as home base, but wineries all around Seneca Lake open their doors to greyhounds and their people.

I love this logo. It's on the souvenir wine glass, too!

Zelda made some new friends.

Vendor tents offered everything greyhound.

We enjoyed gorgeous scenery, wine tastings, and

greyhounds galore!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by:
Alyce from At Home With Books

Find details and more photos here.

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone who has a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up over the weekend.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Sale Bounty

My library hosts a "Friends Preview" the evening before their annual book sale begins. It's almost like a cocktail party with books - supporters have an opportunity to browse and make their selections before the Saturday morning crush, and then relax on the lawn with wine and cheese. This year I was operating under pressure and had just 30 minutes to shop before leaving to meet my daughter at the train station. That was still enough time to fill my bag, but I did miss the glass of wine!
From the top:

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
Many of my friends (Staci, Kay and others) have enjoyed her novels, so I'm excited to finally read Sandra Dallas.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
This keeps coming up as a possible book club selection, so now I'll be ready.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
I enjoyed Behind the Scenes at the Museum several years ago. This has been on my wish list for quite some time.

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
This title has been on my iPod for the past year. I'll listen to it eventually, and a print copy will probably come in handy.

The Gathering by Anne Enright
I really enjoyed The Forgotten Waltz and been wanting to read more by Enright. This novel won the 2007 Mann Booker Prize.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I've wanted to own a copy of this book ever since I listened to it a few years ago.

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
Is it as good as The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency? I'll find out...

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
I Feel Bad About My Neck  was a fabulous audiobook. I hope this is good in print.

The Whore's Child by Richard Russo
Richard Russo is a favorite. I'm looking forward to reading this short story collection.

The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett
The Clothes They Stood Up In  was wonderful on audio (read by the author). I've been looking for a copy of The Lady in the Van ever since.

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
This was very popular a couple of years ago. Now I can finally read it, too.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
I've been meaning to read this for years. It might be a good choice for my book club's book-to-film selection.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
I loved this book, but read a library copy. Now I have one of my own.


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