Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Beginning: Glow


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.

Leave a link to your post.  If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.



MY BOOK BEGINNING



No matter what trouble he stirs up, what law he breaks, Obidiah Bounds will always be her cool sip of hyssop nectar on a sunny day.
-- Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli. That's laying it on a bit thick, but it looks like this is going to be a great read.

This is my first book for the Southern Literature Reading Challenge.

Thanks go to intrepid book publicist, Mary Bisbee-Beek, for getting me an early copy of Glow.


Thanks go to Becky at Page Turners for starting this weekly event, and to Katy at A Few More Pages, who graciously hosted for a year and a half.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Challenge: Southern Literature Reading Challenge


INCOMPLETE

I signed up late for the Southern Reading Challenge, hosted by The Introverted Reader, but it is one that definitely has captured my fancy.   Click the picture or the link for more details or to sign up.

This is my first year participating, so I am starting slow, at the two-book, "pull up a seat and stay a while" level.

BOOKS, REVIEWS, & POSSIBILITIES

UPDATE: I only finished one book for this challenge and didn't even review that one. I read The General's Daughter by Nelson DeMille, which was set on a military base in Georgia. It was a book that made the most of its Southern setting, so was a good choice for the challenge. But I wish I had read more qualifying books.

My other possibilities were these:

Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli

Swan Peak by James Lee Burke (which I read but realized didn't count because, unlike his other Dave Robicheaux books, this one was set in Montana!)

Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Wading for Bugs


In all my Okanagan River dike walking, I've found only three olive clubtail adults.  The first one I'd ever seen was camouflaged like a grey-green and black twig, perched flat on the dusty trail at Osoyoos Lake, almost at the U.S.-Canada border. 
Wading for Bugs: Exploring Streams with the Experts by Judith L. Li and Michael T. Barbour, Illustrations by Boonsatien Boonsoong, published by OSU Press

I'm not much of a bug person, but this would be a great book for a junior etymologist. 


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



Monday, March 26, 2012

Mailbox Monday


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia at A girl and her books (fka The Printed Page), who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here)

Diary of an Eccentric is hosting in March.  Please stop by her terrific blog to see what this "eccentric bookworm" is reading lately.

I got one book in the mail last week, from a young Portland author:

 100 Poems to Bestill Your Young Heart by Kenneth Woods.



I plan to get a review up soon. It looks like a great graduation gift for creative types.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

State of the Blog: Part Three, The Challenges

Spring has finally come to Portland, after weeks of freaky cold and snow.  So it is time to take a look at the books I've read this year and see what kind of progress I've made on my book lists and reading projects.

2012 is still in its early days, so I haven't made much progress yet.  But with all the challenges I joined this year, I have made some.

This is the last of three quarterly blog assessment posts.  The first part addressed the book lists.  Part Two dealt with my favorite authors. 

The list of all the challenges I've joined (so far) this year is here.  There are some I haven't even started on yet, including for reasons I can't imagine, my favorite Foodie's Reading Challenge, hosted by Margot at Joyfully Retired.

Those I have made progress on are listed below.

First, the three challenges I am hosting here at Rose City Reader.  There is still plenty of time to sign up! Click on the title to go to the main challenge page.




I haven't read any of these yet, but plan to get to my first Booker choice, Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, very soon.

Second, the challenges I've joined:

I've read a lot of book with my ears, but haven't reviewed very many.

HENRY GREEN WEEK (finished)

MT. TBR, OFF THE SHELF, and the TBR PILE CHALLENGES


Saturday, March 24, 2012

State of the Blog: Part Two, the Authors

Spring has finally come to Portland, with our first really warm and sunny day after weeks of freaky cold and snow.  Now, if only I could be outside instead of in here doing my taxes!

Four times a year, I review the books I've read to that point and see what kind of progress I've made on my books lists and reading projects.  2012 is still in its early days, so I haven't made much progress yet.  But with all the challenges I joined this year, I have made some.

This is the second of three quarterly blog assessment posts.  The first part addressed the book lists. Part Three will deal with the challenges I joined this year.

My lists of my favorite authors are over in the right-side column. These are now divided into General favorites and Mystery favorites.

NOTE: If you are working on any of these lists, please leave a comment here or on the post for the list (click on the title below or in the right-hand column) and leave a link to any related post. I will add the links on the list post.

So far in 2012, I have only read the following five books by my favorite authors. I'm listening to another Dick Francis book now, so it is easy to see that I am in a mystery mood.


GENERAL FAVORITES



MYSTERY FAVORITES







Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Beginnings: Wading for Bugs

I am very pleased to announce that I am taking over hosting duties for Book Beginnings on Fridays!

Thanks go to Becky at Page Turners for starting this weekly event, and for kindly giving inspiration credit to the Opening Sentences posts here on Rose City Reader.  Becky passed the torch to Katy at A Few More Pages, who hosted graciously since October 2010.

I am very excited to take over!  I even made a new button:

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or two*) 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.

*Myself, I'm a stickler for just the first sentence, because I've been keeping track of first sentences for several years.  It's almost a scientific experiment.  But this is supposed to be fun, so feel free to include more if you prefer.

Leave a link to your post.  If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.







Whether turning over stream rocks, chasing damselflies at stream's edge, or watching the dance of mating mayflies, children and adults alike have long delighted in the diversity of stream insects. 
Wading for Bugs: Exploring Streams with the Experts by Judith L. Li and Michael T. Barbour, Illustrations by Boonsatien Boonsoong.

I can't honestly say I am one of the people delighting in stream insects or any other bugs. But I get a kick out of these funny books published by OSU Press.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

State of the Blog: Part One, the Lists

Spring may have sprung on the calendar, but it snuck up on me since it is still very cold, rainy, and even a little snowy here in Portland. 

Four times a year, I review the books I've read to that point and see what kind of progress I've made on my books lists and reading projects.  2012 is still in its early days, so I haven't made much progress yet.  But with all the challenges I joined this year, I have made some.

This is the first of three quarterly blog assessment posts.  This first part addresses the book lists. Part Two, coming soon, will take a look at the author lists.  Part Three will deal with the challenges I joined this year.

My book lists are over in the right-side column. These are now divided into Prize Winners and "Must Reads" and include lists of books I have read or intend to read for some reason or another. Also in the right-side column are lists of my favorite authors. I add to these lists of lists from time to time.

NOTE: If you are working on any of these lists, please leave a comment here or on the post for the list (click on the title below or in the right-hand column) and leave a link to any related post. I will add the links on the list post. 

THE PRIZE WINNERS


Books read in 2012: none so far


Books read in 2012: A Case of Need by Micheal Crichton (as Jeffery Hudson)


Books read in 2012: The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark (reviewed here; read for my 2011 Battle of the Prizes, British Version, challenge).

    Books read in 2012: none so far



    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: A Bell for Adano by John Hersey (reviewed here; for the 2012 Battle of the Prizes, American Version)

    THE "MUST READS"


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    This list is from 99 Novels: The Best in English Since 1939 by Anthony Burgess, which I reviewed here

    Books read in 2012: The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark (reviewed here; read for my 2011 Battle of the Prizes, British Version, challenge).


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (reviewed here)


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: Dracula by Bram Stoker (reviewed here)


    Books read in 20112: none so far


    Books read in 2011:

    LT EARLY REVIEWERS

    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 202: none so far


    Books read in 2012: zero (finished this list a couple of years ago).


    Books read in 2012: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré (reviewed here)


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: none so far


    Books read in 2012: none so far. Who knows if the list will change this year.


    This is a new list that I just created in 2011. I made more progress in 2012 when I participated in the Venice in February Challenge.

    Books read in 2012:


      Books read in 2012: none so far

      Wednesday, March 21, 2012

      Review: A Bell for Adano



      John Hersey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for A Bell for Adano, the story of an American Army officer in Sicily during World War II.  The Italian-American Major Joppolo wins the hearts and minds of the people of the town of Adano by, among other things, helping them find a replacement for the town bell, which the Fascists had melted down for cannon parts.

      What is so fascinating about the book is that Hersey wrote it in 1944, while the war was still going on.  This explains both its lively, action-oriented style and its slightly forced tone of rally-the-troops enthusiasm.

      It isn't a deep retrospective of the war or the politics of invasion.  It is breezy and fresh and filled with funny character sketches and set pieces involving the people of Adano and their interactions with the American officers running their town.

      A Bell for Adano is a quick and entertaining read.  It is definitely worthwhile for its first-hand perspective on an aspect of World War II most of us never consider -- life on the "home front" of Italy after the Allies invaded.

      OTHER REVIEWS

      If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

      NOTES

      This counts as one of my Pulitzer choices for the 2012 Battle of the Prizes, American Version


      It also counts for three TBR challenges: the Mt. TBR Challenge hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block, the  Off the Shelf challenge hosted by the team at Bookish Ardour, and the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader. And the I Love Italy Challenge, hosted by the Library of Clean Reads.

      Tuesday, March 20, 2012

      It's My Blogiversary!


      Wow! Four years ago today I started this blog on a whim.  I didn't expect that it would be so much fun or that I would keep at it for this long.

      To celebrate my 4th blogiversary, I've pondered the four best things about my Rose City Reader experience:

      1)  The hundreds of book conversations I've had with people when they learn I have a book blog.  Most of these people will never read my blog, or any other book blog, but when they learn I have one, they talk to me about what books they like, what I would recommend, books clubs, new books, classics, etc.  I enjoy these conversations and the common ground they create.

      2)  Reading challenges. I love them. I can't resist a list and challenges give me so many excuses to read books from the lists I'm working on, make new lists, make lists of reviews, tally my progress, see other people's lists.  All wonderful fun for me.

      3)  Focusing my thinking about what I'm reading.  I was never a big book reviewer before I started this blog.  I've become a more conscious reader knowing that I will probably write a review, and have gotten more out of my reading as a result.

      4)  The new friends I've made.  We've all heard it and said it before, but book bloggers as a whole make up a very friendly on-line community.  I enjoy my new "virtual" friends.  But I have really enjoyed the new face-to-face friends I've met because of my blog.  Many are fellow bloggers, but I've also gotten to know several authors, publishers, publicists, and other book people.  It's been great meeting so many people outside of my usual social and professional circles.

      Teaser Tuesday Oregon Two-fer: Wild in the City and Portland in Three Centuries



      Today it is not uncommon to look up and see the sickle-shaped silhouette of a peregrine falcon slicing through the clouds above our city.  The peregrine haunts our urban landscape just as it has passed gracefully above medieval cathedrals and castle ramparts for centuries. 
      -- Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine: The Portland-Vancouver Region's Network of Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas by Michael C. Houck and M. J. Cody, from OSU Press.  This book is a must-have book for any Portland explorer.



      The tens of thousands of shipyard workers, many of whom were unmarried or without their families, also had money for liquor, gambling, and prostitution.  While the circulation of books from the public library dropped, the pari-mutuel handle at the dog tracks skyrocketed.

      -- Portland in Three Centuries: The Place and the People by Carl Abbott, also published by OSU Press.

      This is a concise, readable history of Portland, here describing the rollicking days of WWII, when Portland's shipyards thrived.  The shipyards are pretty quiet now, as are the dog tracks, but we still have -- by reputation at least -- the most strip clubs and breweries, per capita, of any major city in the US. 


      Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



      Monday, March 19, 2012

      Mailbox Monday


      Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia at A girl and her books (fka The Printed Page), who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here)

      Diary of an Eccentric is hosting in March.  Please stop by her terrific blog to see what this "eccentric bookworm" is reading lately.

      I got a mix of books last week:



      Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr. This is the 6th book in his Bernie Gunther series. I haven't read the others, but this looked really good and I was lucky enough to get an ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.




      The Free World by David Bezmozgis. Late '70s Soviet Russia -- looks great!I was lucky enough to get a review copy from the Internet Review of Books. Mine has a different cover on it, but I like this one, the real one, better.

      And I got two adorable books from the new BabyLit series -- "A Series of Board Books for Brilliant Babies" by Jennifer Adams.  These are fabulous! They were too cute to pass up and I plan to pass them along to a nascent reader on my list -- it's never to young to turn a kid on to great literature!



      Alice in Wonderland: A Colors Primer by Jennifer Adams



      Jane Eyre: A Counting Primer  by Jennifer Adams

      Sunday, March 18, 2012

      What Are They Reading?


      Authors tend to be readers, so it is natural for them to create characters who like to read.  It is always interesting to me to read what books the characters are reading in the books I read.

      I can't say that ten times fast.  But I can start a new, occasional post about what these characters are reading.

      Usually, the characters' choice of books reflects the author's tastes or, I like to think, what the author was reading at the time.  But sometimes the character's reading material is a clue to the character's personality, or is even a part of the story. 

      If anyone wants to join in, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your related post. And feel free to use the button.  If this catches on, I can pick a day and make it a weekly event.



      This inaugural post looks at what the character's in P. D. James's The Black Tower are reading.  This is the fifth book in her Adam Dalgliesh series, was published in 1975, and takes place at a private nursing home on the coast of Dorset.

      Dalgliesh himself, when he is not solving mysteries as a Commander at New Scotland Yard, is a poet, with several published volumes of his own verse. He is recuperating from a serious illness and heads to the coast determined to retire from the police force.  He packs with him several volumes of poetry and a Thomas Hardy novel.

      One of the residents at the Toynton Grange home finds a poison pen letter in the book she is reading -- "the latest" by Iris Murdoch.   The story takes place in the fall of 1974, so depending on when Dame Iris's books were published, this character was reading either The Black Prince (which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize) or The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (which won the Whitbread, now Costa, Award). Good choices, both.




      Saturday, March 17, 2012

      Opening Sentence: Murder in Belleville


      Aimée Leduc's cell phone rang, startling her, as she drove under the leafy poplars tenting the road to Paris.

      -- Murder in Belleville by Cara Black.

      This is the second in Cara Black's Paris-based series featuring Aimée Leduc, a half-American corporate security expert who finds herself -- like so many other amateur detectives -- drawn into murder mysteries. 

      Friday, March 16, 2012

      Opening Sentences of the Day: Wild in the City and Portland in Three Centuries



      Wildness is as much a perception as reality.
      -- Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine: The Portland-Vancouver Region's Network of Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas by Michael C. Houck and M. J. Cody, from OSU Press.  This book is a good inspiration to get out there and do some hiking!



      The Pacific Northwest was an international trouble spot in 1845.
      -- Portland in Three Centuries: The Place and the People by Carl Abbott, also published by OSU Press. It looks like a concise, readable history of Portland, and I love the cool zine cover.



      A Few More Pages hosts Book Beginnings every Friday.  The event is open for the entire week.

      Thursday, March 15, 2012

      Review: The Stories of John Cheever



      The Stories of John Cheever, which won the National Book Critics Circle award in 1978 and the Pulitzer in 1979, is a chronological collection that spans Cheever’s short story career, from pre-WWII up to 1973.

      To read this collection – just shy of 700 pages – is to live in Cheever’s head, tracking his artistic and personal development in a way that a single novel or volume of stories doesn’t allow. These are not happy stories. The earlier pieces are particularly bleak and raw. While the later stories are deeper and more nuanced, they are still pretty dark. Precious few have cheerful resolutions. The best Cheever’s characters seem to achieve is contentment despite imperfect circumstances.

      Cheever’s is a world of commuter trains and cocktail parties, where everyone wears hats, has a cook, drinks martinis at lunch, summers, sails, and commits adultery. Not everyone is rich; in fact, money problems are a continuing theme. But the trappings, however tarnished, of a mid-century, Northeast corridor, upper crust way of life hang on all the stories. And that is Cheever at his best. He can bring us so deep into that world that it feels like living it.


      OTHER REVIEWS

      If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

      Wednesday, March 14, 2012

      List: National Book Critics Circle Award


      First awarded in 1976, the National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote the finest books and reviews published in English.

      The main awards fall into six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Memoir/Autobiography, Biography, and Criticism. Awards are not given to titles that have been previously published in English, such as re-issues and paperback editions.

      I confess I bear a grudge against the NBCC Award for inflicting Being Dead, All the Pretty Horses, and Song of Solomon on me -- all which I read only because they were on this list.  On the other hand, I only read Motherless Brooklyn because it was here, and I loved that book.

      This is the list of fiction winners. Those I have read are in red. Those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

      2015 The Sellout by Paul Beatty

      2014 Lila by Marilynne Robinson

      2013 Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

      2012 Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

      2011 Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman

      2010 A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

      2009 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (reviewed here)

      2008 2666 by Robert Bolano

      2007 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

      2006 The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

      2005 The March by E.L. Doctorow

      2004 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (reviewed here)

      2003 The Known World by Edward P. Jones

      2002 Atonement by Ian McEwan

      2001 Austerlitz by Winfried Georg Sebald

      2000 Being Dead by Jim Crace

      1999 Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

      1998 The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro

      1997 The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

      1996 Women in Their Beds by Gina Berriault

      1995 Mrs. Ted Bliss by Stanley Elkin

      1994 The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

      1993 A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

      1992 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac Mccarthy (reviewed here)

      1991 A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

      1990 Rabbit at Rest by John Updike

      1989 Billy Bathgate by E. L. Doctorow

      1988 The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee

      1987 The Counterlife by Philip Roth

      1986 Kate Vaiden by Reynolds Price

      1985 The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

      1984 Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

      1983 Ironweed by William Kennedy

      1982 George Mills by Stanley Elkin

      1981 Rabbit is Rich by John Updike

      1980 The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard

      1979 The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan

      1978 The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever (reviewed here)

      1977 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

      1976 October Light by John C Gardner

      NOTE

      Last updated on July 16, 2016.

      OTHERS READING THE BOOKS ON THIS LIST

      If you would like to be listed here, please leave a comment with links to your progress reports or reviews and I will add them here.

      Tuesday, March 13, 2012

      Teaser Tuesday: Just My Type: A Book About Fonts


      Most of us are type designers from birth.  We begin scribbling as toddlers, the most freedom we will ever have.
      -- Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield.

      This is a fascinating and really entertaining book. I love it.

      Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



      Monday, March 12, 2012

      Mailbox Monday


      Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia at A girl and her books (fka The Printed Page), who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here)

      Diary of an Eccentric is hosting in March.  Please stop by her terrific blog to see what this "eccentric bookworm" is reading lately.

      Thanks to a recent visit to Booktique, a wonderful Friends of the library bookstore in Lake Oswego, a stack of "County House" books came into my city house last week:



      The English Country House: An Art and a Way of Life by Olive Cook



      Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History by Mr. Mark Girouard



      A Country House Companion by Mark Girouard



      Althorp: The Story of an English House by Charles Spencer



      The English Country Town by Anthony Quiney and Robin Morrison

      Now all I need is a huge pot of tea and a fire in the fireplace. 

      Sunday, March 11, 2012

      Opening Sentence: What's So Great About Christianity


      Christians are called upon to be "contenders" for their faith.
      -- from the author's Preface to What's So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D'Souza.

      God has come back to life.

      -- from the first chapter, "The Twilight of Atheism: The Global Triumph of Christianity."

      This is a very good book.  D'Souza makes a case for religion in general and Christianity in particular, arguing from scientific, historical, and (mostly) philosophical positions. 

      I found the audio version at the library and didn't really know what to expect.   I definitely didn't expect it to be a philosophy book.  I find myself rewinding quite a bit, but it is worth it to understand his arguments. 

      Saturday, March 10, 2012

      Review: People of the Book



      People of the Book is the kind of literary novel with historical mystery overtones that I love to get swept away in.  And Geraldine Brooks delivers in spades.

      The story centers around a real-life 15th Century illuminated Hebrew manuscript called the Sarajevo Haggadah.  In 1996, Hanna Heath, a rare book conservator from Australia, is called to post-war Sarajevo to inspect and repair the Haggadah for a UN-sponsored museum exhibition designed to highlight the shared history and culture of Bosnia's Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

      Using clues Hanna finds in the book -- including a tiny white hair, an insect wing, a wine stain, and missing cover clasps -- Brooks splits the narrative into Hanna's investigation and independent stories of the manuscript's history.  These stories move back in time from World War II, to fin de siècle Vienna, to the Venice ghetto of the 1500s, to the book's 15th Century creation in Spain.

      As with many entertaining historical novels, the characters depicted sometimes demonstrated modern sensibilities, no matter when their scenes take place.  But the story moves along so quickly and is so generally engrossing, that this minor flaw is easy to ignore. 

      OTHER REVIEWS

      If you would like your review of this book, or any of Geraldine Brooks's other novels, listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

      NOTES


      People of the Book counts for several challenges I'm working on: the European Reading Challenge, the Eastern European Reading Challenge, my TBR challenges, and the What's In a Name? Challenge.

      Friday, March 9, 2012

      Opening Sentence of the Day: Just My Type: A Book About Fonts


      On 12 June, 2005, a fifty-year-old man stood up in front of a crowd of students at Stanford University and spoke of his campus days as a 'lesser institution' -- Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
      -- from the author's Introduction to Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield (thanks go to Amused By Books because I won this in her December giveaway.)

      The introduction describes Steve Jobs explaining his early fascination with calligraphy, which led to his revolutionary use of multiple fonts in his first Macintosh computer. 




      A Few More Pages hosts Book Beginnings every Friday.  The event is open for the entire week.

      Wednesday, March 7, 2012

      Opening Sentence: A Bell for Adano



      Invasion had come to the town of Adano.

      -- A Bell for Adano by John Hersey.

      Hersey's Pulitzer-winning novel is the story of an American Army officer in Sicily during World War II.  The Italian-American Major Joppolo who wins the hearts and minds of the people of the town of Adano by helping them find a replacement for the town bell, which the Fascists had melted down cannon parts.

      What is so fascinating to me about the book is that Hersey wrote it in 1944, while the war was still going on, which probably explains its fresh, action-oriented style.  It isn't a deep retrospective -- it is breezy and lively and filled with funny character sketches. 

      This counts as one of my Pulitzer choices for the 2012 Battle of the Prizes, American Version. 



      Tuesday, March 6, 2012

      Teaser Tuesday: Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon: Exploring the Wild Heart of Alaska


      No matter how many logs I fed the woodstove, it was always well below freezing in the cabin the next morning. . . .  It got so bad I had to put the milk in the refrigerator (unplugged) -- not to chill it but to keep it from freezing solid. 
      -- Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon: Exploring the Wild Heart of Alaska by Mary Albanes (see trailer here).

      Thanks go to the wonderful book publicist, Mary Bisbee-Beek, for getting me a copy of this one. 

      Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 



      Monday, March 5, 2012

      Mailbox Monday


      Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia at A girl and her books (fka The Printed Page), who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here)

      Diary of an Eccentric is hosting in March.  Please stop by her terrific blog to see what this "eccentric bookworm" is reading lately.

      Two books came into my house last week.

       

      The Things You Would Have Said: The Chance to Say What You Always Wanted Them to Know, edited by Jackie Hooper.


      This looks great!  It is the book edition of the popular blog by the same name.  It contains letters written by real people to others who have passed out of their lives -- parents, friends, enemies, their childhood selves, etc.  The letters are incredible.




      Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith.  I got this one from the LibraryThing Early reviewer program.  I've gotten my LibraryThing list under control, so I am looking forward to this one.

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