Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Wrong Highway by Wendy Gordon



Everything was darkness and light, black and white, random dots. She could make out the difference between the white lines and the black road and recognize the circles of light that represented cars in front of her, and she navigated her heavy metal vehicle laden with children by instinct.

Wrong Highway by Wendy Gordon. This debut novel looks to the not-too-distant past to give fresh energy to the story of a frazzled suburban mom trying to meet her obligations and what happens when she takes that first wrong turn.

Wrong Highway is available for pre-order until its June 10 release. Wendy Gordon will launch the book at Powell's Books in Portland on June 15, 2016 at 7:30. She is also having a reading and book signing at Book Revue in Huntington, Long Island on June 21 at 7:00.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Mailbox Monday: Memorial Day



Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

A short stack of wonderful books came into my house last week, harbingers of summer reading pleasure:



Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family by Diana Abu-Jaber. This exuberant new memoir celebrates the author's cross-cultural heritage -- raised by a German grandma and an Arab father -- and how she came to build her life as a wife, mother, and writer on her own terms, as we all must.



The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown. This new novel by the author of The Weird Sisters is a story of Jazz Age Paris drawn in part from Brown's own family story.



The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle. Divorce after 25 years, a new book club, long-buried family tragedy, an adult daughter in trouble in Paris -- this has all the makings of the perfect summer book.



Miss Jane by Brad Watson. This new novel is inspired by the true story of the author's great aunt, a woman in rural, early 20th century Mississippi, who never married because of a birth defect, but lived a rich life nonetheless.

Happy Memorial Day!




Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Beginnings: Makeshift Edition


THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

This day got away from me!  Please leave your link in a comment. I can't get Mr. Linky to. Work on my phone because I can't remember my password. 😝

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, 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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING: please leave your post link in a comment this week. Thanks!


No book beginning for me this week!


TBT Review: Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones

Throw Back Thursday

This review of Lost in Translation by Nicole Mones was first posted on April 2, 2008.
Mones is the author of several novels set in China, most recently Night in Shanghai, about African-American jazz musicians leading Shanghai's pre-WWII jazz scene.



No, not the Scarlett Johansson movie. This Lost in Translation is an imaginative and satisfying novel by Nicole Mones. The protagonist, Alice Mannegan, is an American living in China, working as an interpreter, and striving to be accepted in the culture she has adopted. When hired by a second-rate American anthropologist, the two hook up with his Chinese counterparts and head to Inner Mongolia looking for the lost remains of Peking Man.

Mones does a great job of weaving the histories of the characters into the main story. While the team follows the trail of homo erectus, Alice struggles to understand her relationship with her powerful father; her boss worries about losing his son’s affection and respect; and their Chinese cohort searches on the sly for the wife he cannot abandon although she disappeared to a work camp during the Cultural Revolution. Mones uses the historic relationship between French priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and his platonic lover, Lucile Swan, to bring thematic unity to the varied storylines.

Equal parts historical mystery, foreign adventure, and cross-cultural romance, Lost in Translation has a lot to offer.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mailbox Monday: Mapp & Lucia



Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

I am giddy about the books that came into my house last week: The Complete Mapp and Lucia, in two volumes, by E.F. Benson.


Until a friend raved about their camp humor and vintage charm, I'd never heard of these six novels. Written between 1920 and 1939, they record the battles between Elisabeth Mapp and her rival Lucia in the fictional English village of Tilling. There have been a couple of British television adaptations, but I haven't seen them.

These omnibus editions contain all six novels: Queen Lucia (1920), Miss Mapp (1922), Lucia in London (1927), Mapp and Lucia (1931), Lucia's Progress (1935) (published in the U.S. as The Worshipful Lucia), and Trouble for Lucia (1939).

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Beginning: Family Album by Penelope Lively



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

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, 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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



Gina turned the car off the road and into the driveway of Allersmead. At this point she seemed to see her entire life flash by.

-- Family Album by Penelope Lively.

This Aga Saga has a bite to it as we pick through the growing up years of the sprawling Harper family. It's reminiscent of Ian McEwan's family novels, as one would expect from the author of Moon Tiger, the Booker winner about a brother and sister enjoying a particularly close relationship.

TBT: Review: How to Find Morels

Throw Back Thursday

This review of How to Find Morels by Milan Pelouch, was first posted on March 29, 2008. I chose to repost it now because I've recently recommended this book to several people thinking of going morel mushroom hunting and because I love the enthusiasm in this little book. It will inspire anyone to dive into a hobby.  




Milan Pelouch is a 78 year old mushroom hunter who, in his charming guide, How to Find Morels (subtitled Even as Others are Coming Back Empty Handed) teaches how to identify and locate his favorite morels.

This slim volume is packed with practical information such as photographs identifying “true” and “false” morels, when to expect morels in different regions, and how to locate elusive morels by finding specific types of trees on which the mushrooms thrive. It is also full of folksy advice like the best way to carry morels while hunting (in a cloth bag) and the best way to store them (sauté in butter and freeze in plastic bags). He even includes several of his wife’s best morel recipes.

The book is a refreshing exhortation to enjoy the healthy, educational, and tasty pastime of mushroom hunting. Even for an armchair forager, How to Find Morels is a delight. As Pelouch says, “In less than an hour you can gain the needed know-how and will be flashing a big smile on the way home from a successful hunt instead of stewing in frustration after being skunked once again.” You can’t beat that!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mailbox Monday: A Fay Weldon Trilogy



Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

Fay Weldon's Habits of the House trilogy came into my house last week. These books have been buzzing around the edges of my attention for a while now. The trilogy starts in 1899, so takes place in the Pre-WWI, pre-Downton Abbey era. I found two a a library sale so ordered the third to get the whole set:


Habits of the House

Long Live the King

The New Countess




Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Beginning: Wrong Highway by Wendy Gordon



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

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, 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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



Erica needed to buy milk and cheese sticks at the supermarket, though she couldn't recall whether she'd remembered the coupon for the cheese sticks.

Wrong Highway by Wendy Gordon. You know that's the kind of deceptively boring beginning that it going to turn upside down very fast. Erica's calm, suburban life is about to be jarred out of it's track by the arrival of a rebellious nephew.

Wrong Highway is Wendy Gordon's debut novel of adventure and family secrets and is available for pre-order until its June 15 release.

TBT: Review: The Bone People by Keri Hulme

Throw Back Thursday

This review of The Bone People, the 1985 Booker Prize winner by Keri Hulme, was first posted on October 4, 2008.



The Bone People by Keri Hulme is a difficult book about identity, love, and belonging. Hulme tells the story of three tough-as-nails characters: Kerewin, an isolated artist who can no longer paint; Joe, a Maori workman struggling to raise his adopted son alone; and Simon, the mute little boy Joe found washed up on the seashore.

The style is difficult because the point of view switches around among the three main characters without warning; Hulme uses Joycean made-up words as well as Maori words; and it is hard to tell when the adults are speaking their own words or thinking out loud what they think the mute little Simon is trying to communicate.

The story is difficult because of the child abuse at the center of the plot. The ambivalence with which Hulme treats the topic makes the story incredibly interesting, but absolutely distressing.

The characters are difficult because none of them are likable. Simon is sympathetic, for sure. But even he has his moments of maliciousness, although these are less convincing than Hulme may have intended. Joe, on the other hand, does not deserve the sympathy Hulme seems to want the reader to give him. Yes, he gets his comeuppance in the end, but it does not seem sufficient punishment. His role is key to the story because he is the hinge between Simon and Kerewin, but the ultimate resolution seems a little unrealistic, given the prior conflict.

Kerwin is particularly prickly and seething with anger. She is quick to lash out verbally, and if angry enough or drunk enough, physically. She has cut herself off from her family and her community, preferring to live in an isolated tower by the ocean. She has even isolated herself from her own sex, considering herself to be a third gender – a “neuter.” But Kerwin’s story makes the book worth reading. She is one of the most complex and intriguing characters in contemporary literature.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Last Chronicle of Barset



She listened to him with the closest attention; only interrupting him now and then with little words, intending to signify her approval. He, as he told his tale, did not look her in the face, but sat with his eyes fixed upon her muff.

The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope.

Oh my! Lost in 19th Century translation! I admit I giggle like a 12-year old.

I'm sure Mrs. Thorne has a very lovely muff.




Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mailbox Monday: A Pair of New Novels


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

Two books came last week that look like fun summer reads:



Wrong Highway by Wendy Gordon. This fast-paced debut is available for pre-order and comes out in June.



Bradstreet Gate by Robin Kirman. This new campus gothic is drawing comparisons to Donna Tartt's first novel, The Secret History.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Beginning: Boundary Layer by Kem Luther



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

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, 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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



A European-derived culture thrust itself into the Pacific Northwest in the first half of the nineteenth century. Tens of thousands of settlers crowded onto the Oregon Trail and by the middle of the 1850s lands that the North American aboriginals had managed for millenia suddenly had new managers.

-- Boundary Layer: Exploring the Genius Between Worlds by Kem Luther, published by OSU Press. The "boundary layer" is the band of air nearest the ground, and where you find lichens, mosses, ferns, fungi, and other diminutive plant life.

In Luther's new book of essays, he explores this boundary layer and introduces readers to the scientists who study it, all in a conversational style and with an eye for detail that makes the book enjoyable for any nature enthusiast who enjoys a good story.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker



You do not get to meet everyone you want to in one lifetime – and sometimes maybe it can be for the better – but I do genuinely miss not having had the chance in Lanker's case. It must have been something to witness firsthand the turn of mind and eye that was so very capable of reading people, telling stories, and sharing with us all so many countless photographs that still possess a power and presence far beyond their original inception.

-- From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker by Brian Lanker, published by OSU Press. From the opening essay "A Retrospective" by Roy Flukinger.

Lanker was a photojournalist with an artist's eye. This gorgeous book of Lanker's photography, with reflections and reminiscences by his colleagues, friends, and admirers, was four years in the making and accompanied a retrospective exhibit of his work at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum or Art in Eugene, Oregon.




Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mailbox Monday: Boundary Layer by Kem Luther


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

I got one book last week, and it appeals to me because I've been working in my garden a lot:



Boundary Layer: Exploring the Genius Between Worlds by Kem Luther, published by OSU Press. This is a collection of essays about the "boundary layer" of plants nearest the ground -- lichens, mosses, ferns, fungi, and other diminutive plant life -- and the scientists who study them.

It promises to be "a mix of natural history, botanical exploration, and philosophical speculation." I feel all smarty pants just reading the cover!

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