Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Smugglers & Scones by Morgan C. Talbot

"You're back. There's been another burglary, and someone's about to be killed." 

Smugglers & Scones by Morgan C. Talbot. Pippa Winterbourne owns Morehaven, a B&B and writer's retreat on the Oregon coast. She is also about to become an amateur sleuth in this first novel in Talbot's Moorehaven Mysteries series.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Blogiversary: Rose City Reader is 10 Years Old!

Wow! Rose City Reader has been around for 10 years! That might make me the Gray Lady of book blogs.

To commemorate, here is the list of Rose City Reader's "Top 10" posts. These are the posts that, according to google stats, have gotten the most page views since I started this blog on March 20, 2008.

  • College Board's Top 101: This list of "101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers" is far and away the most popular post on RCR because it was linked on a website that provides resources for young people applying for college.
  • Teaser Tuesday - Plainsong: I have no idea why this teaser post featuring Kent Haruf's novel is the second most popular RCR post. I think this book may get assigned in high school English classes and so get googled a lot.
  • List - Anthony Burgess: The list of Anthony Burgess' favorite 99 English-language novels published between 1939 and 1984.

Now I think I'll go eat a cupcake and celebrate!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Beginning: Eating People is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury




Term had just begun. Professor Treece, head of the department of English, sat at his desk, his back to the window, with the cold, clear October light shining icily over his shoulders on to the turbulent heaps of paper upon his desk, on to the pale young faces of his three new students.

-- Eating People is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury. This is my favorite book title ever. What's yours?

I love Campus Novels and Eating People is Wrong is an early classic I've been looking forward to for quite a while. I've been laughing out loud while reading it, although when I read the funny bits to my husband, he doesn't share my amusement. He thinks I'm an English Major nerd. .

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review: The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed

The Days When Birds Come Back is the story of June Byrne, who returns to her grandparents' home on the Oregon coast, in recovery and trying to recover from her broken marriage. She hires Jamison Winters to restore the bungalow, not knowing that his life is also a wreck.

June is not an easy heroine. On the one hand, she went through a lot as a kid and is damaged, still fragile, and sympathetic. On the other, she can be prickly, and she acts pretty nuts. In one of my favorite scenes, she overshares with Jamison, shouting to him over the phone that she is a “dry drunk.” It’s an expression I know well because I’ve worked with many recovering alcoholics, both as clients and co-workers. One of my former law partners (may he rest in peace) used to joke/not joke about himself that you can take the liquor out of a fruitcake, but you still have a fruitcake.

The book hit me hard because June reminds me so much of so many real people. Reed captures what it’s like to be around a former drinker trying to stop – that sense that what is going on on the outside is just a half step out of sync with what’s going on inside. Reed lets the story unfold without forcing June to be better than she is. And it is that tension in the pacing that makes The Days When Birds Come Back such a beautiful story of grief and kindness and love.


Read my interview of Deborah Reed.

The Days When Birds Come Back, is Reed's fourth novel. She has written three previous novels: Olivay, Things We Set on Fire, and Carry Yourself Back to Me, and two popular thrillers under the pen name Audrey Braun. Deborah splits her time between Germany, where she co-directs the Black Forest Writing Seminars at the University of Freiburg, and her home at the Oregon coast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Austerlitz by W. J. Sebald

And just as Austerlitz had broken off with these words that first evening, so he continued his observations the following day, for which we had arranged a meeting on the promenade beside the Schelde. Pointing to the broad river sparkling in the morning sun, he spoke of a picture painted by Lucas van Valckenborch toward the end of the sixteenth century during what is now called the Little Ice Age, showing the frozen Schelde from the opposite bank, with the city of Antwerp very dark beyond it and a strip of flat countryside stretching toward the sea.

Austerlitz by W. J. Sebald. There is a rule for writers, "Don't tell, show." This book does the opposite. The entire novel is Jacques Austerlitz telling his life story to an unnamed narrator. His fictional life is interesting, but he goes off on digressions about walled fortifications, moths, exotic birds, Liverpool Station, Turner aquatints, and a dozen other things. It's like following someone click through random Wikipedia articles.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

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