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. . . 

Posted by Picasa