Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: Homing Instincts by Dionisia Morales

When my niece, Maya, called for the third time in three weeks, she wanted to know what the hell was going on over there, and by over there she meant Oregon, where, I said, I was up a tree. And by up a tree I didn’t mean in some kind of trouble with money or my marriage, which she might have understood, but actually on a ladder in a tree, a concept harder for her to wrap her head around.

-- from "Stocking Up," in Homing Instincts by Dionisia Morales, a collection of 14 essays exploring Morales's concepts of home and belonging, like this one about her annual ritual of canning fruit.

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

Monday, May 21, 2018

Mailbox Monday: A Tom Wolfe Trifecta

Reading all the memorials to Tom Wolfe last week inspired me to pick up three of his nonfiction books:

From Bauhaus to Our House, about architecture.

The Kingdom of Speech, about linguistics and the origins of human speech.

The Painted Word, about art criticism.

What books came into your house last week?

Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Book Beginning: Life Expectancy: Poetry by Kirsten Rian




I'm up there talking about war, the kind with Kalashnikovs and scuds.

-- from "Embedment," the first poem in Life Expectancy: Poetry by Kirsten Rian. Rian's poetry looks at how life goes as it does -- usually in unexpected directions.

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, May 16, 2018

Review: The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, RIP

Tom Wolfe, one of the greats, passed away this week at age 88. I absolutely loved Bonfire of the Vanities, his first novel and one of the best American novels. His essays Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers are the most trenchant social commentary I have ever read.

His nonfiction book, The Right Stuff, was not one of my favorites, but it is a classic. Here's a re-post of my 2008 review.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe is my favorite book about astronauts. Of course, it is the only book about astronauts that I will ever read, so that isn't the strongest praise. But it is perfect for a general reader like me looking for an entertaining history of America's early space program. Wolfe definitely keeps the tale interesting. He focuses on the personal, rather than the technical and administrative, aspects of the Mercury space program and the first seven astronauts involved. He follows the seven through their early careers, mostly as test pilots, through each of their turns in a Mercury capsule.

The most remarkable part of the story is the connection Wolfe makes between fighter jet pilots and astronauts. Having grown up in the NASA age, I did not know that the Air Force had a competing rocket program (a program that managed to send pilots several miles into space and then have them actually land the aircraft back on earth) before it was scuttled in favor of NASA's moon missions.

The only drawback of the book is Wolfe's Gonzo journalism style, which much have been refreshing and bold back in 1979. Now, the hipper-than-thou tone is a little tired and can get exasperating.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: The River by Starlight by Ellen Notbohm

Without looking at Adam or their daughter, she hauls herself up the bedpost, Her feet hit the floor like stumps.

The River by Starlight by Ellen Notbohm. This historic novel, set in Montana in the early 1900s, tells the story of a homesteading couple struggling with the wife's recurring postpartum depression. Notbohm was inspired by research into her own family history and by "what we owe all women who bravely undertake the risks and unknowns of motherhood."

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

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