Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

Tigers in Red Weather
by Liza Klaussmann
Little, Brown and Company, 2012
384 pages
source: purchased (cover lust definitely played a role!)

Summary (from goodreads):
Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha's Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their 'real lives': Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.

Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena's husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena—with their children, Daisy and Ed—try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.

Brilliantly told from five points of view, with a magical elegance and suspenseful dark longing, Tigers in Red Weather is an unforgettable debut novel from a writer of extraordinary insight and accomplishment.

My thoughts:

This book has all the ingredients I tend to love in a summer/vacation read - beach house, family secrets, multiple viewpoints - but it was not as compelling as I'd hoped. Each section, narrated by a different family member, jumps around in time (the bulk of the action occurs between the 1940's and 1960's) and the reader is able to piece together events and fill in the blanks as the narratives unfolds. By the final section I was impressed with what the author had accomplished, but it seemed like it took too long to get there.

Overall, it was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of afternoons on the beach, but for a truly great summer read pick up A Hundred Summers instead.

My rating:
(an extra half star for the cover)

Bottom line:
Tigers in Red Weather is a good book with moments of greatness.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: More Birds

Instead of my current view, which unfortunately resembles the tundra, here are two more bird photos taken on our recent trip to Florida. Both were taken with my iPhone (I need to pack a camera next time) and have been previously shared on Instagram.



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Intro: We Are Water

Gualtiero Agnello 
August 2009
"I understand there is some controversy about the coroner's ruling concerning Josephus Jones's death. What do you think, Mr. Agnello? Did he die accidentally or was he murdered?"
"Murdered? I can't really say for sure, Miss Arnofsky, but I have my suspicions. The black community was convinced that's what it was. Two Negro brothers living down at that cottage with a white woman? That would have been intolerable for some people back then."
"White people, you mean."
We Are Water 
by Wally Lamb

I  just love Wally Lamb - every single book he's ever written. So of course I added my name to the library hold list the moment his latest novel was released, and now it's finally my turn. When I stopped by the library yesterday afternoon, the director made a point of telling me she had the opportunity to meet the author at BEA last spring... such  a delightful, funny man, she said. {Why didn't I go to BEA?} I couldn't wait to dive into this story. My expectations have been tempered by mixed reviews from trusted bloggers but, after just a few pages, I know I am in the hands of a master storyteller. It's going to be quite ride, I'm sure.

What do you think of the opening? Would you keep reading?

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. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Sunday Salon: Trying to Stay Warm

Greetings from the icebox!

The scene//  9 AM, my favorite chair, sipping hot coffee, Zelda napping at my feet, the thermometer outside the window showing 3 degrees.

Reading//  I finished The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman last night and loved it! Today's question is what to read next. Four books are waiting to be picked up at the library (including The Boys in the Boat, our next book club selection), so I hate to start something new from my shelf today. Maybe I'll read The New York Times a little more thoroughly and spend some time writing reviews… or perhaps a short story or two.

Listening// One more CD left in The Signature of All Things and I don't want it to end.

Watching// Syracuse basketball… They barely slipped past Miami yesterday afternoon. Although these guys are still undefeated, the games are killing me. I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode of Downton Abbey - only twelve hours to go!

In the kitchen//  I'm making lasagna this afternoon - perfect comfort food for a cold day. My parents and brother are coming to dinner.

Blogging//  It's back to business this week for sure! Twin A returned to college yesterday and we're  settling back into our 'normal' routine. It's time to catch up on reviews.

Grateful for//  Smart wool socks from Daughter #1. I want to keep them on my feet forever!

Have a wonderful Sunday and stay warm, friends.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Intro: The Gravity of Birds

August 1963
Alice haunted the mossy edge of the woods, lingering in patches of shade. She was waiting to hear his Austin-Healey throttle back when he careened down the utility road separating the state park from the cabins rimming the lake, but only the whistled conversation of buntings echoed in the branches above. The vibrant blue males darted deeper into the trees when she blew her own sweet-sweet chew-chew sweet-sweet up to theirs. Pine seedlings brushed against her pants as she pushed through the understory, their green heads vivid beneath the canopy. She had dressed to fade into the forest; her hair was bundled up under a long-billed cap, her clothes drab and inconspicuous. When at last she heard his car, she crouched behind a clump of birch and made herself as small as possible, settling into a shallow depression of ferns and leaf litter. Balancing her birding diary and a book of poetry in her lap, she peeled spirals of parchment from the trunks and watched as he wheeled into the gravel parking space at the head of his property.
The Gravity of Birds
by Tracy Guzeman

Birds and art seem to figure prominently in this novel and, although I'm not especially knowledgeable about either, the story is totally absorbing. Alice is a teenage girl fascinated by birds and the man in the car is a soon-to-be-famous artist. Chapter 2 opens forty plus years later when the artist, now a recluse, calls an art historian and a disgraced young authenticator to sell a never-before-seen painting from the summer at the lake. It depicts Alice and her sister, along with the artist. The girls, now women, seem to have vanished. Dark secrets from that fateful summer are bound to emerge...

What do you think of the opening? Would you keep reading?

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. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Return to Reality

Hello, friends… it sure has been a while. I hope your New Year is off to a good start. Out time in Florida was glorious - lots of work on the condo, but also plenty of time for walking on the beach, biking, visiting friends, and just relaxing in the sun.

The return to reality has been rough. It's not easy to go from sandcastles

to shoveling snow in a single day.

The snow continues to fall this morning and they say another polar vortex is on the way. Sigh.

Yesterday was filled with laundry, organizing, and getting reacquainted with Zelda.  Some serious grocery shopping will happen later this morning but, due to the holiday, mail must wait until tomorrow. It's going to be quite a job dealing with three weeks of the stuff.

What did I read in Florida?

Julia Child Rules by Karen Karbo

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

I enjoyed them all, especially The Girl You Left Behind, and plan to work on reviews this week.

On audio: Nothing - can you believe it? I did plenty of walking on the beach, but always had my husband or one of the twins to keep me company. This is the longest I've ever gone without listening to an audiobook. I practically went through withdrawal!

I was on the 14th (of 18) CD of The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert before we left (last year!) and look forward to returning to the story.

Current reading:  The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman  - only 25% in, but really like it so far.  Like The Girl You Left Behind,  a painting is at the center of the story. I seem to be on an art kick this year.

Watching: Downton Abbey and sports… mostly football and college basketball

In the kitchen: We went out to dinner a lot on vacation, but now it's back the regular routine. Twin A returns to college at the end of the week, so there will be plenty of cooking and baking before then to ensure a well-stocked freezer for the spring semester!

Blogging: I hope it's not hard to get back into the groove after so much time away. Fingers crossed for at least a couple of posts this week.

I've missed you all… can't wait to see what you've been up to!


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