Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Wishes

.This is just to say Happy New Year to all of you.  I have a really awful cold and will post the regular Goodweather Report in  the next few days  as soon as the hog jowl, collard greens and black-eyed peas take effect.
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours. . .

Wishing you all the warmth . . .
And joys of the season.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LIV - December 2011

Good grief! Is it December already? Yikes, where does the time go?  It was just the other day I was picking tomatoes and griping about the heat...

And now the tomatoes are in jars and I'm staying close to the fire . . . and the year rolls on. . .
Willa has made her way into our hearts . . . and our closets and our bookshelves and our cupboards. In spite of being in possession of a whole basketful of rawhide chew bones, store-boughten dog toys, and empty plastic bottles (her favorite,) she is always on the lookout for something new. 

These are a few of her favorite things: Old reel-to-reel tapes, a certain pillow from John's office, a tweed cap, a striped decorative gourd from the dining table (it did look like a ball,) the scrunchy out of my hair (over and over,) the glasses out of my pocket, a bar of Chinese soap (abandoned after a few tastes,) books from John's bookshelf (THE END OF GROWTH and my own SIGNS IN THE BLOOD AND ART'S BLOOD were especially satisfying.) 

We are getting better at closing closet doors and drawers (a drawer full of socks! Oh, joy!) putting stuff away (out of reach,) and keeping our ears open for that special little click-click-click of toenails that means Willa has something and is taking it away for deconstruction.

I was delighted to be one of the twelve authors based in or near Western North Carolina asked  to contribute to a serial collaborative novel, Naked Came the Leaf Peeper, to celebrate the 30th year of Malaprop's, our beloved Asheville independent bookstore.  It was great fun to do and the book will be available only through Malaprop's. 

Here's what some heavy hitters have to say about our novel: 

"Some of WNC's best writers--both established and emerging--let their hair down and run a literary relay race.  Except, in place of the baton, they pass along lit firecrackers, greased pigs, whoopee cushions, rubber chickens, and loaded tater guns.  Hugely entertaining for natives, newcomers, and leaf peepers alike."   Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, Thirteen Moons, and Nightwoods.

"There may be places in the world where people are better natural storytellers than the state of North Carolina -- but I have yet to encounter such places, or such people. This book is a blur, a buzz, a local-grown tall tale, and an absolute delight."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love.

"Naked Came the Leaf Peeper is a delight, laugh-out-loud funny and appealingly irreverent. North Carolina literature will never, ever be the same."--Ron Rash, author of Serena

"I just read the manuscript, and abs I did not know I had are still aching, and my eyes are puffy and bleary.  I laughed so hard the tears ran down my leg. . . " --Lucy Doll (okay, not a heavy hitter in the book world but I had to include this for the bit about the tears,)

Malaprop's is currently at the book design stage and hopes to have copies in stock before  the new year. If you'd like to pre-order your copy, you can visit their web page or call the store and they'll let you know when the book arrives.

And, of course, books make great Christmas,Hanukkah, Solstice, or anytime gifts. It should go without saying (but it's not) that I'd love it if some of my own books were on your shopping list . . .

Foul Matter - Martha Grimes .. Great fun-- an inside look at publishing. More HERE.

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood -- Janisse Ray .. Wonderful combination of memoir and nature writing. More HERE

The Good Thief -- Hannah Tinti ...  A charming and very odd coming-of-age/ picaresque tale.

Necessary as Blood -- Deborah Crombie ... Deb never disappoints. More HERE.

Remarkable Creatures -- Tracy Chevalier ... Lyme Regis and the hunt for fossils. More HERE

Mermaid -- Carolyn Turgeon . . . the Little Mermaid for grownups. More HERE.

The Midwife's Tale -- Gretchen Moran Laskas .. Set in West Virginia, but the characters remind me of some of my own. 
Bird by Bird -- Anne Lamott...highly recommended for writers. More HERE.

Eleanor says ---"had to tell you about the book I just finished; called The Night Circus...suffice it to say it is about MAGIC...lots of fun I thought, by Erin Morgenstern."

From JudyR. --  "I, too, enjoyed The Art of Racing in the Rain.  Have you read A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron?  The narrator is a dog who has four incarnations with a memory of each life he lived before.

In each lifetime, he tries to figure out what his purpose is.  It's an easy, glide-through-it read that has a pleasant aspect of death being easy.  Since our dog died in August, I found the book rather comforting as well as interesting.

I'm an Ann Patchett fan and really enjoyed her latest, State of Wonder.  Have you read it? It's an intriguing story with moral and ethical facets to ponder and discuss.

Another fascinating read is Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.  It's about disparate people who witness the same act and whose lives later become entwined in unexpected ways. It's very clever, involving and well-written.

Well, there are many others to recommend - like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - but I know you have a stack always at hand."

  The road goes ever on . . . time to put away the warm fall colors and haul out the red and green, to make lists and address Christmas cards, to finish up the loose ends of 2011.

I'll be back in a few weeks, once our tree is up, with a Christmas/holiday greeting. Till then, stay warm, stay calm, stay thankful. . . 

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Monday, October 31, 2011

LIII -November 2011

October was a busy month. I've been going down the road doing readings for Under the Skin and getting to meet a lot of folks I know from the Internet.. And at each stop I've apologized for leaving folks waiting three years to find out the meaning of that puzzling phone call from  Aunt Dodie that ended In a Dark Season.  I made the same apology and told the same story about my backup plan HERE at Kaye Barley's blog Meandering and Muses.

In other news, we have an addition to the pack. Willa was a stray and she's come to live with us -- if we can survive this getting-to-know-you period.. She's about fifteen pounds of willful puppiness and she thinks that NO means run faster or chew harder.  Her story is HERE.
In less cheerful news, we were visited by a neighbor's roaming heifer, recently acquired from the stock yard, and  evidently she was a carrier of a kind of bovine plague aka shipping fever. It was an extremely quick-acting, pneumonia-like disease and we lost four cows before it was over. The rest have recovered and were all treated and vaccinated. Now all seem fine. The milk cows and the bottle-fed calves, Xena and Clover, were not affected but they've been vaccinated too. More on that unpleasantness HERE.

Of course the leaves have been lovely. Every other post on my daily blogs seems to have been devoted to autumn foliage. From beginning to end -- and we're on the downward slide of fall -- it's been beautiful.The yellows came first and after a few recent frosts, the reds finally came into their own.
The garden is all but over. Collards and kale and broccoli are hanging in there but I picked all the peppers and the last of the tomatoes. The sweet potatoes were great -- I hadn't grown any in years -- these did so well I'll plant lots more next year!
I blogged last month about The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland and The Goat Woman of Largo Bay by Gillian Royes

And all in one post. Live Wire by Harlan Coben, The Magician by Lev Grossman, and Among Others by Jo Watson

I also re-read some of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple books.  For the umpteenth time. Comfort reads when cows were dropping dead right and left...  

What are your comfort reads? Are you a re-reader?

Sheila says:, I haven't read The Help and don't intend to, too many other goodies to read. My grandma in southern Missouri had help for laundry, as did my aunt in the 30's. Grandma would wait and eat dinner with her so they ate together. I'm rereading Elisabeth Ogilvie's books.

Sue Texas says: Have recently read a couple of excellent books, most notably, THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE by Jenny Wingfield. Her first novel, although she has done a couple of screen plays (The Man In the Moon). It is a marvelous read. Critics compared it to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and I can understand why. Loved it.

I also read and liked THE HELP. While I agree that it couldn't address the true depth of the feelings of the people, nor fully realize just how tragic and awful it was, it was still a way for people (like my daughters, ages 36 and 29) to get some idea of what that time was like.

Am looking forward to trying THE STRANGER YOU SEEK. Sounds intriguing.

Liz Gullum says: I think I told you I am reading "The Lacuna", the whole book has been set in Mexico. Today I turned the page to a new chapter. The book is now set in Asheville! As is the custom with Kingsolver's books, I sometimes have to stop reading and go back and re-read a passage just to admire the prose. The main character hires a secretary in Asheville and she speaks the mountain language of so many of your books! What a wonderful world a book can be...

 If you're in the Asheville area, there's an interesting new book club idea called Eat Your Words at Avenue M on Merrimon. Basically, you get a book discussion with the author and a meal inspired by the book. On November 17th I'll be the author and Under the Skin will be the book we discuss. It's limited to 21 participants so if you're interested. check it out HERE.

And a slideshow of October... 
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