Sunday, May 1, 2011

XLVII - May 2011

At last I can share the cover of the next book -- no foolin'!  Except that it's not the final one -- the blurb will change -- that's just a place holder.

You can click over HERE to read an excerpt from Under the Skin, the next Elizabeth book.

April was a beautiful and busy month -- we began to ready the garden, potatoes were planted, the Easter party and all that entails occupied us for several weeks -- getting ready, family coming to visit, the preparty and the party -- and the cleanup. Yesterday I returned the last quilts, finished washing the guest room bedding, and put my notes and shopping list for next year's party in a safe place.  

A new batch of chicks arrived as well as a second milk cow. And the flowers kept delighting me -- one bright new face after another.

I was honored that Kathryn Stripling Byer, North Carolina's  past Poet Laureate, included Miss Birdie and me on her Poets of the Day blog series. Kay does a wonderful job of bringing contemporary poets to our attention . . . 

Reading List

I've been reading for research -- for the next book. Lots of Civil War in western North Carolina stuff. And, in other reading  (or re-reading in many cases) let me mention the following:

Tepper's Not Going Out by Calvin Trillin. I've always adored Trillin's food books. This is something different -- and endearing. I wouldn't have expected to enjoy a book about a New Yorker's quest for a parking place but I did, I did! Highly recommended.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. My goodness, this woman can write! A slender novel about an English village besieged by the Plague. Effortless historical detail and a female protagonist who comes to life on the page.

High Tide in Tucson --by Barbara Kingsolver. Probably my fourth or fifth time to reread this book of essays by a writer I feel as if I know. Witty, wise, and wonderful!

You all have been reading too. I'd love it if more of you shared your opinions and recommendations. I've been told of one librarian who uses your comments to get ideas for what to order. . .
One commenter said, re THE HELP:  I loved "The Help" and so did my daughter!. Since my Mom had TB, we had a maid whom we called Edgie. I loved her and her cooking. In the 60ty's, she got a job in a mill.This book helped my explain to my daughter why I am old fashion about some of the things that happen today. For many of us that is the world we were born into. And as the saying goes :When we knew better, we did better. 

Another liked it too: I read THE HELP.  I liked it and can see why it's such a book club hit.  It's Civil Rights Lite (and I mean that spelling).   Plenty to talk about and it's all so safe ---  doesn't raise many messy issues.  Of course, I did have trouble believing all those black women did all that housework and then came home and did more and never seemed to have a solitary ache or pain.  But it's an entertaining read nonetheless, and you get to feel good about yourself for being so liberal and understanding.
I just read an Irish thriller, WINTERLAND, by Alan Glynn, that I really liked.   The Irish have a nice way of writing this tightly focused, small scaled thriller I don't think Americans do as well.  But then the Irish, if their lives depended on it, couldn't write a big scale crazy-wild-out-there thriller like Josh Bazell's BEAT THE REAPER, which is pure nutsy and all out fabulous Americana.  If I told you the plot you'd say, no way can that work, but it does, man it does.
Liz G shared her reading list: Just finished - Just Kids by Patti Smith - I think that fact that I worked in radio and thus around lots of musicians added to my enjoyment of this National Book Award winner.

Started the new Maisie Dobbs book from Jacqueline Winspear - A Lesson in Secrets - I enjoy the simplicity of these books and all things British.

Finally bought Saving Ceecee Hunnicutt - but haven't started it yet.

I have been reading Master and Commander (in the john for the past six months!!) and am finally enjoying it - so many people - you included - have told me how much they love this series. But it took me a long time to get into it (and I am an avid sailor). I think I might enjoy it on tape as you have said.

I enjoyed a Dean Koontz book - Breathless - I haven't read much of his - except for his four Odd Thomas books - but I liked this strange little book.

 A very happy May to all of you!
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