Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed



“It’ll be ready in about forty-five minutes,“ he said, walking past her, and it sounded as if her were giving her a hint, implying that she figure this thing out by the time he put food on the table. And then he guessed that that was what he meant, but wished he hadn’t meant it, so he stepped back and kissed her on the cheek to soften what he’d said and how he’d said it, but he could see she knew all about that kiss, and barely raised her face to meet his lips.

-- The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed. I loved this book.

It is the story of June Byrne, who returns to her grandparents' home on the Oregon coast, in recovery and to recover from her broken marriage. She hires Jamison Winters to restore the bungalow, not knowing that his life is also a wreck. It's a beautiful story of grief and kindness and love.


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

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Book Notes: The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats



In his last book, The Ancient Minstrel, Jim Harrison described reading Yeats’ poetry at 18 as being guillotined.

W.B. Yeats died on this date in 1939, at the age of 73. He had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

My personal favorite is "For Anne Gregory," one I’ve kept in my desk drawer since college, with the lines, “Only God, my dear, could love you for yourself alone, and not your yellow hair.” I take it as a wry reminder of the fallibility of man.

My New Year’s resolution was to read a poem a day from Yeats’ Collected Poems. I keep the book at work, so I haven’t read one every day, but I’m making progress.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Book Beginning: Bel, Book and Scandal by Maggie McConnon

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



I was wet, cold, and tired, but despite the fact that she was ready to kill me with her bare hands for staying out all night, my mother addressed all three of my immediate needs before saying anything else.

Bel, Book and Scandal by Maggie McConnon. That's a snappy beginning to what looks like a fun new cozy mystery, the third featuring Bel McGrath, an Irish-American wedding chef and amateur sleuth.




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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




Monday, January 22, 2018

Mailbox Monday: Sam's Theory and More

Three very different books came into my house last week. How about you?



Sam's Theory by Sarah Mendivel. I am excited about this book. It's a YA fantasy novel written by a therapist as a creative way to help young people heal from trauma. What a brilliant idea!



A Florentine Death by Michele Giuttari. This is the first book in this Italian author's series featuring Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara. It's perfect for the European Reading Challenge.



Wise Virgin by A. N. Wilson. I love campus novels an this one looks great, although it never crossed my radar before.




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 Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.




Thursday, January 18, 2018

Book Beginning: Lord Mullion's Secret

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING


The Mullions were still quite comfortably off, although they no longer managed to pay their way in the entirely unobtrusive fashion they would have wished. Twice a week, and through the greater part of the year, they were obliged to turn Mullion Castle into a Stately Home. 

-- Lord Mullion's Secret by Michael Innes. This 1981 mystery features portrait painter and reluctant amateur sleuth, Charles Honeybath.

It counts as my first book for the 2018 Vintage Mystery Challenge in the Silver category.





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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING





Monday, January 15, 2018

Mailbox Monday

What books came into your house last week? I got three, completely different books.



Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience, compiled by Shaun Usher. I loved Lists of Note and this compilation of remarkable letters from the same creator is just as wonderful.



Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon. This is the third mystery in McConnon's Belfast McGrath series, featuring an Irish-American wedding chef and amateur sleuth.



Patriotism Is Not Enough: Harry Jaffa, Walter Berns, and the Arguments that Redefined American Conservatism by Steven F. Hayward. OK, not a book for everyone, I understand. But I enjoy racing down a wonkish rabbit hole every now and again.



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 Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Book Beginning: The Tsar of Love and Techno

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



I am an artist first, a censor second.

I had to remind myself of this two years ago, when I trudged to the third-floor flat of a communal apartment block, where my widowed sister in-law and her four-year-old son lived.

-- From "The Leopard," the first story in The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra. I am so glad my friend Mary Chomenko Hinckley picked this for our book club, because it's not one I would have read otherwise. It is a collection of nine interconnected stories of Russian and post-Soviet life.




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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



Saturday, January 6, 2018

Author Interview: Deborah Reed


Deborah Reed's fourth novel, The Days When Birds Come Back, launches this week. 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 codirects the Black Forest Writing Seminars at the University of Freiburg, and her home at the Oregon coast.



Deborah recently talked with Rose City Reader about her new book, her writing, and her own reading life:

How did you come to write The Days When Birds Come Back?

Honestly, I came to it painstakingly, right through the center of a very difficult time in my life. I was living alone on the Oregon coast, when my neighbor mentioned that the man who renovated the house I was renting had such integrity, which was clear by the craftsmanship of the place, and there was something about her mentioning him in this context, combined with my own life’s circumstances that sparked the magic, which I’ve never been able to explain, and pulled me into writing this story.

The theme of coming home to heal or regenerate runs through all your novels. How does that theme manifest itself in your new book?

I’ve noticed that too. I think moving quite often ever since I was a child probably plays some role in stirring up that theme. But there are so many ways to come home. In this novel it is both the physical and emotional return to the origin of one’s life and one’s self, and each prove to be problematic for the main characters, June and Jameson. Each holds a place of grief and tragedy, and the desire to look away or run away is matched by the desire to heal in the way we can only heal in the solitude that a true home provides.

Did you know right away, or have an idea, how you were going to end the story? Or did it come to you as you were in the process of writing?

I didn’t know how it would end until I arrived at those final pages. This is always the case with my endings. I’m never quite sure until I get there, in the same way the reader can’t be sure until she is turning the final page. I find this very satisfying, not to know for certain. But I do carry a hope all along that things will turn out well for the characters. It doesn’t always. In my novel Olivay the ending was a bit controversial, even to me, and yet it was the only ending I felt possible for that particular story.

Why did you choose an Emily Dickinson poem for the title of your book? Does Dickinson’s poem connect to your story or hold a personal meaning for you?

Yes. The poem is about the warm days late in fall that feel like summer has returned. It’s confusing to things that grow and to birds that may have already begun to fly south. This theme of knowing where to go and when is also one that runs through my novels. In The Days When Birds Come Back the question becomes whether or not this is right time to come back. It has the appearance of what is right, but that could be false hope or an inability to read the signs.

What did you learn from writing your book – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

Frankly, I was most surprised by the fact that I could write it at all. At the time I was suffering through a terrible illness that included various types of migraines and vertigo and this went on for nearly a year. And this while at the same time living through various stages of grief, and learning to love someone new. The fact that I wrote the book I wanted to write to its completion, astonishes me still.

Were books an important part of your household when you were growing up?

They were for me, but not particularly for my household. With every new school I attended, I got to explore the new library and check out new books, which thrilled me every time. What I remember most was being hooked on Nancy Drew, and when I finished reading the entire series I read the Hardy Boys. After that, I strangely segued into philosophical stories, like Jonathon Livingston Seagull, The Little Prince, and Siddartha.

What I realize now is that these books moved me deeply, they had the power to make me afraid and to worry over mysteries outside of myself. They held the capacity to sway me toward wonder. And all these years later I find that what I want to read and write are a mix of that mystery and wonder.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by the authors you read?

Some of my favorites are Marilynne Robinson, Gerbrand Bakker, Per Petterson, Kate Atkinson, and William Trevor. I’m sure my writing is influenced by theirs, but I also seek out writing that does what I try to do with my own, so it’s hard to say which comes first. I love writers who portray a strong sense of place, and whose pacing is rhythmic in a way that speaks to my ear.

What are you reading now?

A novel, Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty, and a memoir of sorts called, The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits.

You have a terrific website and are also on Instagram and Twitter. From an author's perspective, how important are social networking sites and other internet resources to promote your book?

I think it’s become an industry standard for writers to have a presence on social media, and readers have come to expect that they can find a writer without too much trouble. My experiences with readers have been overwhelmingly positive, so for me this has worked out well, and I’m grateful. I’m more than happy to respond to readers who have taken the time to read my work and feel compelled to reach out to me. I also think the capacity of the Internet to share links and info on writers and their work has widened writers’ audiences tremendously, and everyone benefits from that.

Do you have any events coming up to promote your book?

I do. I’ll be reading at Powell’s Books in Portland the day the book comes out, January 9th, at 7:30 pm. And on the 12th I’ll be reading at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle at 7 pm. My website lists the other readings and events to follow.

What’s next? Are you working on another book?

Yes, but it’s too soon to talk about!


THANKS, DEBORAH!

YOU CAN BUY THE DAYS WHEN BIRDS COME BACK ON LINE AND AT MAJOR BOOKSTORES, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER TO ORDER IT!


Friday, January 5, 2018

Review: The Heirs by Susan Rieger



I wanted to like The Heirs more than I did. I liked what was there, but felt there should have been more to it. In particular, I wanted more to the heir characters and I wanted more emotional connection among the characters.

This is supposed to be the story of five adult sons coming to grips with the idea that their dead father may have had two sons with a long-term mistress. But the five sons never develop beyond character sketches – so much so that I kept having to remind myself of their professions to keep them separated in my mind: Harry, the law professor; Will, the Hollywood agent; Sam, the doctor; Jack, the jazz musician; and Tom, the lawyer.

The adults are much more fully developed as characters, especially the mother and the wife of the mother’s long-time admirer. These are two strong, admirable female characters who play the hands they are dealt. I was fascinated. The father and the admirer, and even the mistress, also kept my attention. Unlike the sons, these adults have stories to go with them and the stories are absorbing.

But there is not much of a connection among these characters and their stories. Yes, they are all choreographed between the covers of the book and cross paths, sometimes quite cleverly, but in the end, each character feels too self-contained. Maybe that’s what Rieger was going for, the whole idea that no one can understand one another, we are all alone in our heads. That is too trite a theme for me and it left me wanting more.



NOTES

Although The Heirs disappointed me, I liked many aspects of it and I liked Susan Rieger's writing style. I plan to read her first book, The Divorce Papers.

If you reviewed The Heirs or The Divorce Papers and would like me to list your review here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Beginning: The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



It was nearly noon on the Oregon coast, the day already hot, when June Byrne shook out her fathers old camp blanket on the backyard lawn, removed her T-shirt, and lay with bare breasts to the sun.

-- The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed. I like this woman already! She knows how to make the most of a rare hot day at the Oregon coast.

The Days When Birds Come Back is Deborah Reed's fourth novel and it's getting a lot of good buzz, including that Apple's iBooks named it one of "Winter's Most Anticipated Books."

Deborah will be reading from and signing The Days When Birds Come Back on January 9, 2018, at Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland at 7:30 pm. Click here for more details or to pre-order a signed copy.




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.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING





2017 CHALLENGE: My 2017 European Reading Challenge Wrap Up Post


COMPLETED

This is my own wrap up post for the 2017 challenge. To post your own wrap up post for the 2017 Challenge, go to the 2017 wrap up post page here. The 2017 Challenge officially ends January 31, 2018.

To sign up for the 2018 European Reading Challenge, go here, or click the 2018 Challenge button to the right. The 2018 Challenge started January 1, 2018.

I signed up for the FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE) level to read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

BOOKS READ

Bech at Bay by John Updike (Czech Republic; Czechoslovakia at the time)

When You Lunch With the Emperor by Ludwig Bemelmans (Austria)

The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen (UK)

Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally (Poland)

On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Herrmann Loomis (France)

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan (Italy)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Spain)

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (Norway)

Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (Sweden)

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking (Denmark)

The Manticore by Robertson Davies (Switzerland)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Germany)

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (Ireland)


I read books set in 13 different European countries, which is the most I have ever achieved doing this challenge. And I read several books written by European authors and translated to English, which I am usually not so good about doing.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 CHALLENGE: 2X18 & Mt. TBR


2X18 CHALLENGE:
READ 36 TBR BOOKS IN 2018

As I've done since 2014, I'm combining the Mt. TBR Challenge with a TBR challenge I came up with to read two books for each year of the century. It gets a little more challenging each year. If anyone wants to join me, grab the button and play along! Leave a comment and I'll start a list here.

I am going to read 36 books for the 2X16 part of the challenge, one from each of 36 separate shelves on my TBR bookcases.

I have 28 fiction books and eight non-fiction books picked out. There is no rhyme or reason to the books I picked. I just went with what caught my eye.

MY 2X18 BOOKS


These are the books in alphabetical order by author, but I am going to read them as the mood strikes.

Jake’s Thing by Kingsley Amis

Open House by Elizabeth Berg

Eating People is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury

Florence of Arabia by Christopher Buckley

A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century by William F. Buckley, Jr.

About the Author by John Colapinto

Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield

Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner

Long Ago in France: The Years in Dijon by M. F. K. Fischer

The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan

Wildlife by Richard Ford

A Welcoming Life: The M. F. K. Fischer Scrapbook, compiled by Dominique Gioia

Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene

Apple of My Eye by Helene Hanff

Scandalous Risks by Susan Howatch

Lord Mullion’s Secret by Michael Innes

Shylock Is My Name by Howard Jacobson

Persian Nights by Diane Johnson

City of the Mind by Penelope Lively

The Towers of Trebizond by Rose MacAuley

Holiday by Stanley Middleton

The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch

California Girl by Jefferson Parker

From a View to a Death by Anthony Powell

The Professor of Desire by Philip Roth

Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald

Her First American by Lore Segal

The Masters by C. P. Snow

Manners by Kate Spade

Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach

Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope

All Set for Black, Thanks: A New Look at Mourning by Miriam Weinstein

Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike

Plum Sauce: A P. G. Wodehouse Companion by Richard Usborne

Down among the Women by Fay Weldon

Blandings Castle by P. G. Wodehouse


THE MT. TBR CHALLENGE:
READ A TOTAL OF 60 TBR BOOKS IN 2018


Every year, I join Bev at My Reader's Block in her Mt TBR Challenge. This year, I am going to climb higher than ever (or try), to reach the Mr. Kilimanjaro level of 60 books, which will mean 24 in addition to the 36 from my 2X18 Challenge.

So far, I do not have any books in mind, but I will list them here as I go.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Mailbox New Year's Day

Who got new books for Christmas?



The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed. Santa brought me an early copy of Deborah Reed's new novel, which comes out January 9. It is set on the Oregon coast, where June has returned to get sober and recover from her divorce and hires emotionally wrecked Jameson to renovate her old family home. All the makings of a perfect read in front of the fireplace!

The launch event for The Days When Birds Come Back, including reading and book signing by Deborah Reed, is January 9, 2018, at Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland at 7:30 pm. Click here for more details or to pre-order a signed copy.

Santa also came through for me on my list of Jim Harrison books and an indie novel set in Portland:

.

A Really Big Lunch: The Roving Gourmand on Food and Life by Jim Harrison. A collection of Harrison's food essays, published this year, on the first anniversary of his death.



The Shape of the Journey: New & Collected Poems by Jim Harrison. I've read all of Harrison's prose (besides a few of his food essays), but have never read his poetry. Time to fix that.



Conversations with Jim Harrison (Literary Conversations Series), edited by by Robert Demott. This is a collection of interviews given by Harrison. OK, I'm a fan.



Jim Harrison: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1964-2008 by Gregg Orr and Beef Torrey. OK, a particularly geeky fan.



Oregon Confetti by Lee Oser. Twitter sent me to an interview with Lee Oser and I thought his new indie book sounded really interesting. Published by Wiseblood Books.



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 Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.




Happy New Year!


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