Saturday, November 16, 2019

Favorite Author: Jim Harrison




I found Jim Harrison when he wrote a food column for Esquire magazine called The Raw and the Cooked. I thought he was a genius. When I figured out he wrote novels, I gobbled them up like his characters go through brook trout and whiskey. I had a small clique of similarly obsessed friends and have happy memories of discussing the characters and ideas over long, Harrison-inspired dinner parties when we were all in our late 20s.

The Road Home is in my permanent Top 10 Favorite Novels list. It is one of the very few book I've read multiple times (three). Harrison will always be high on my list of favorite authors, at the top on any given day. 

A few of his later books (True North and Returning to Earth) didn't "rattle my brainpan" (to use a Harrison expression) like the earlier books did. They were repetitive and a little tired. Still, I enjoyed them the way I enjoy music from a favorite band even if some of the songs sound the same. Variations on a theme sound sweet, especially when they are familiar. And his more recent "faux mysteries," The Great Leader and The Big Seven, were much more lively.

Here is the list of Harrison's prose books, from most recent to oldest. I have read them all and am now making my way through a very big book of his collected poetry.

A Really Big Lunch: The Roving Gourmand on Food and Life
The Ancient Minstrel
The Big Seven
The River Swimmer 
The Great Leader
The Farmer's Daughter (reviewed here)
The English Major (reviewed here)
Returning to Earth
The Summer He Didn't Die
True North
Off to the Side: A Memoir
The Beast God Forgot to Invent
The Road Home
Julip
The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand
Just Before Dark
The Woman Lit By Fireflies
Dalva
Sundog
Warlock
Legends of the Fall
Farmer
A Good Day to Die
Wolf

Friday, November 15, 2019

Book Beginning: A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!


Apologies for not getting my post up yesterday evening!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



They say that the holidays bring people together. Nothing could be truer than in my hometown of Ashland, Oregon, which looks like a scene straight out of a picture postcard.

-- A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander. This is the latest in Alexander's Bakeshop Mystery series featuring baker, cafe owner, and amateur sleuth Jules Capshaw. A Cup of Holiday Fear is decked out for a holiday cozy, with all the favorite characters gathered at a local inn for a holiday Dickens Feast, only to have one guest end up dead.

From the book description: "It’s Christmastime and everyone is heading to Torte, the most cheerful bakery in town. There’s no place like home for the homicide…"


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.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, 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. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




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.


MY FRIDAY 56

"I think we're on to something here. If bacon grease coffee shows up on the Merry Windsor menu after Richard tries it at Torte we'll have hard evidence that he only lurks around the bakeshop to try and pilfer our ideas."

Now there's a funny plan.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Teaser Tuesday Trifecta: Two Memoirs & a Beer Cozy

I missed teasing last Tuesday because I was visiting family in Brooklyn. So I'm making up for it with a Teaser Tuesday Trifecta this week.

First, to celebrate Nonfiction November, I have two memoirs:



Maybe just the practice of coming here has been my transformation. Somehow my long personal aversion to all the apparatus of preaching and saving has fallen away, and I'm able simply to sit here and receive.

-- The Mountains of Paris: How Awe and Wonder Rewrote My Life by David Oates. Oates spent a winter and spring living in Paris. In his new memoir, he writes about how the art, music, architecture, and Notre Dame in particular shifted the trajectory of his spiritual journey.

From the back cover:
In long years of mountaineering, Oates fought the self-loathing that had infused him as the gay kid in the Baptist pew. And in The Mountains of Paris, he ascends to a place of wonder.



The next night at the Easter Vigil after Father had sung the Exsultet, and I approached the lectern to read, I looked in his eyes. It was a split second, but I could see how excited he got.

-- Celibate by Maria Giura. Giura fell in love with a Catholic priest and writes about their complicated, angry relationship in her new memoir.

From the back cover:
Celibate focuses on her ten-year struggle to let go of this priest, to heal from her childhood, and to finally embrace her true calling.

And, as we head into the holidays, a cozy beer-themed mystery set in the Bavariana town of Leavenworth, Washington sounded perfect.



After the tour, I poured the group a tasting tray and had them put their newfound beer education to the test. I smiled as they took turns holding each tasting glass to their nose before sipping.

-- Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander. This is the third mystery in Alexander's Sloan Kraus series featuring a brewer Sloan and her sidekick Garrett Strong.

From the back cover:
Alexander has created an appealing cast of characters and a lovely setting for them to live in. Best of all, she treats the reader to a fascinating look at the skill and artistry involved in brewing craft beer.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from the book they are reading or featuring. Please remember to include the name of the book and the author. You can share your teaser in a comment below, or with a comment or link at the Teaser Tuesday site, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Book Beginning: The Mountains of Paris: How Awe and Wonder Rewrote My Life

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



By the time I reached the cemetery on its bluff south of town, the fog had disappeared and the beginnings of sunrise were lighting up the horizon.

The Mountains of Paris: How Awe and Wonder Rewrote My Life by David Oates, from OSU Press. This new memoir explores how living in Paris made the author "revise his life story from one of trudging and occasional woe into one punctuated by nourishing and sometimes unsettling brilliance." I'm all for that kind of transformation!



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.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, 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. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING




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.


MY FRIDAY 56
To breath here is to arise, in all simplicity, to that higher register. To be present with mystery, to allow it.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Book Beginning: Beyond a Reasonable Stout

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



"Can you hear that?" I asked Garrett as I dumped a box of fresh Chinook hops into the shiny stainless-steel fermenting tank.

Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander, the third book in Alexander's cozy mystery series set in Leavenworth, Washington featuring beer maker and amateur sleuth Sloan Krause.




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.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, 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. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



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.


MY FRIDAY 56

The benefit of brewing was that we never needed to worry about finely chopping or deshelling nuts or other fruits or berries we used in the brew. Everything would be strained out.



Monday, October 28, 2019

Mailbox Monday: Elegance, Toasts, and Colette

I got a handful of new (to me) books when I stopped by the Cat Thrift Store last week. What books came into your house last week?


Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro. This is her first novel, published in 2003. It’s the story of a woman inspired to makeover her life when she finds a copy of a French guide to style by Geneviève Antoine-Dariaux.

I haven't read any of Tessaro's books yet, but I snapped this up because back in college in the 1980s I found and devoured a copy of Dariaux’s 1964 Elegance: A Complete Guide for Every Women Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions. I still have it and love it.

Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces, compiled by Paul Dickson, illustrated by Rollin McGrail. I grabbed this one for fun.

Break of Day by Colette. I read a lot of Colette in college and have her earlier novels sitting on my shelves waiting to reread them, maybe. This is a later novella that I may or may not get to.

I wonder if Colette should only be read when young? I don't know if my 50-something self can tolerate what I think I remember Colette books to be like. But maybe I should give them another try. Or maybe I should start with the Keira Knightley movie about Colette to get in the proper frame of mind.

I found all three at the Cat Adoption Team thrift store, which is one of my favorite Portland book haunts. They keep a rotating stock of used books that are always in excellent condition.





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.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

2019 Challenge: UPDATE on Combo Book Challenge: 2X19 and Mt TBR

Back in January book challenge season, I posted a dual challenge aimed at clearing out my TBR shelves.

2X19: One is a personal challenge I call 2X19 to read 38 books off my TBR shelves. I've done the same thing since 2013 -- tried to read a "two times the year" number of books off my shelves. It keeps getting more difficult! I plan to switch to one book for each year in 2020.

MtTBR: The second TBR challenge I do every year is the Mt. TBR Challenge Bev from My Reader's Block hosts on her blog.

Here is my update, now that we are roughly 85% of the way through the reading year.

2X19 CHALLENGE:
READ 38 TBR BOOKS IN 2019

COMPLETED



I intentionally chose short books for 2019 (short in pages, not height, but see below). I'm drawn to long novels, so intentionally picking short books made me read books that have been sitting on my TBR shelves for a long, long time.

I read one book from each of 38 separate shelves on various TBR bookcases. I read 29 fiction books and nine nonfiction books.

MY 2X19 BOOKS


I took this picture last December when I planned the challenge, which explains the Christmas theme.  I read them in the order listed below, which followed this plan: The first were my New Year's resolution books; the next two came early because I'm was excited to read them; the rest I read in order of height, from tallest to shortest, for no reason except whim. I realized I had two Françoise Sagan books, so I swapped one for a Wise Virgin.

A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You by Donna Cameron (my interview with Donna Cameron is here)

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior

The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney (my interview with Amy Maroney is here)

The Shame of Losing by Sarah Cannon (my interview with Sarah Cannon is here)

An Affair with a House by Bunny Williams

Mark Hampton on Decorating by Mark Hampton

The Tenth Man by Graham Greene

Friend of My Springtime by Willa Cather

Licking Flames: Tales of a Half-Assed Hussy by Diana Kirk (my interview with Diana Kirk is here)

Queen of Spades by Michael Shou-Yung Shum

Zuckerman Unbound by Philip Roth

The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion

The Robineau Look by Kathleen Moore Knight

Agents and Patients by Anthony Powell

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

A Woman of Means by Peter Taylor

The Poorhouse Fair by John Updike

Girl, 20 by Kingsley Amis

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Slam by Nick Hornby

Lady Into Fox by David Garnett (James Tait Black Memorial Prize Winner)

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot

Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat by William Bradon

The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery by Kyril Bonfiglioli

The Gift of a Letter by Alexandra Stoddard

Do the Windows Open? by Julie Hecht

Dirty Friends by Morris Lurie

Something Special by Iris Murdoch

The Imitation Game by Ian McEwan

The Small Room by May Sarton

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

Wise Virgin by A. N. Wilson

The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

The Heart-Keeper by Françoise Sagan

The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark

Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

First Love by Joyce Carol Oates



THE MT. TBR CHALLENGE:
READ A TOTAL OF 60 TBR BOOKS IN 2019

56/60 FINISHED - ALMOST DONE



Every year, I join Bev at My Reader's Block in her Mt, TBR Challenge. This year, I am trying to reach the Mr. Kilimanjaro level of 60 books. I tried this in 2018 and fell sort by two books because I didn't get through all of my 2X18 books. This year, I have to read 22 in addition to the 38 from my 2X19 Challenge. It looks like I will make it, since I am at 56 books and still have a little over two months to go.

BOOKS READ SO FAR

In addition to the 38 books listed above, I've read:

Educated by Tara Westover

The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet, Book I) by Paul Scott

The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan

The Day of the Scorpion (The Raj Quartet, Book II) by Paul Scott

The Towers of Silence (The Raj Quartet, Book III) by Paul Scott

A Division of Spoils (The Raj Quartet, Book IV) by Paul Scott

Staying On by Paul Scott (Booker Prize winner)

In the Woods by Tana French

Collected Poems by Kingsley Amis

A Man of Property (The Forsyte Saga, Book I) by John Galsworthy

In Chancery (The Forsyte Saga, Book II) by John Galsworthy

To Let (The Forsyte Saga, Book III) by John Galsworthy

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

The Best of Friends by Joanna Trollope

A Sight for Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold John le Carre

Set in Darkness by Ian Rankin



NOTES

Updated as of October 27, 2019.















Saturday, October 26, 2019

Book Review: Parentshift: Ten Universal Truths that Will Change the Way You Raise Your Kids


Parentshift: Ten Universal Truths that Will Change the Way You Raise Your Kids by Ty and Linda Hatfield and Wendy Thomas Russell from Brown Paper Press. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Parentshift offers a paradigm shift for parents looking for a different parenting style for raising kids. The authors looked at how American parents usually fall into two categories -- controlling or permissive. Controlling parents tend to set too many limits, place unreasonably high expectations, and fail to demonstrate enough empathy with their kids. Permissive parents go the other way by tending to be weak limit and boundary setters, expecting too little, and being empathetic to the fault of treating their children’s problems as their own.

This book teaches a distinct parenting style that the authors describe as heart-centered. Heart-centered parents set strong limits and boundaries, know how to genuinely empathize with their kids, and have high and reasonable expectations of them. The authors show how these skills are associated with children who are kind, confident, compassionate, capable, resilient, and healthy.

They also explain why most adults need to learn this parenting style because most were not raised in a heart-centered way themselves. That’s why they describe it as a paradigm shift and call the book Parentshift.

The book is not about being a "perfect" parent. It is structured as a practical guidebook, with explanations of each of the ten basic "truths" followed by common-sense exercises for how to apply the lessons in real life. It is not aimed at solving one particular problem or navigating one particular age. In fact, much of the book’s advice applies to getting along with adults as much as it does with parenting. Parentshift aims to help parents identify and address virtually any challenge at any age, although it probably would be most helpful for parents, grandparents, caregivers, and teachers of children around age three to five.


OTHER REVIEWS

Midwest Book Reviews
Foreword Reviews

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

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Book Beginning: This Particular Happiness and Persistent Callings

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



The child in my arms breathed the fast breath of baby sleep.

-- This Particular Happiness: A Childless Love Story by Jackie Shannon Hollis, from Forest Avenue Press. This new memoir is the story of one woman's decision to love and marry a man who did not want children.

Here is the Publisher's Description:

Knowing where your scars come from doesn’t make them go away. When Jackie Shannon Hollis marries Bill, a man who does not want children, she joyfully commits to a childless life. But soon after the wedding, she returns to the family ranch in rural Oregon and holds her newborn niece. Jackie falls deep into baby love and longing and begins to question her decision. As she navigates the overlapping roles of wife, daughter, aunt, sister, survivor, counselor, and friend, she explores what it really means to choose a different path. This Particular Happiness delves into the messy and beautiful territory of what we keep and what we abandon to make the space for love.

I have a second Book Beginning again this week. This is a busy time of year for new books!



My earliest memory of Pacific City is a jagged piece of stained and painted plywood that hung in a family cabin.

-- Persistent Callings: Seasons of Work and Identity on the Oregon Coast by Joseph E. Taylor III, from OSU Press. The opening paragraph goes on to describe a funny poem about drunken fishermen painted on the board. This new nonfiction book is a history of the Nestucca Valley on the coast of Oregon, an area that has seen a lot of change from its rural past.

From the Publisher's Description:

During the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, disruptions came more quickly, and they coincided with infusions of capital that dramatically altered the structure of employment, with devastating results for the valley’s hardest working residents. Unemployment and poverty skyrocketed while health and life expectancy dropped to alarming levels. Moreover, the arrival of retirees and rise of environmental amenities actually exacerbated some ecological problems. Little in this history plays out as expected, and much of it will make readers reconsider how they think about the social, economic, and environmental contours of rural life in the American West.




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.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, 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. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



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.


MY FRIDAY 56

From This Particular Happiness:

I touched thumb to fingers, counted days. A week late.

From Persistent Callings:

Sportsmen's groups astutely decided instead to wage their battle in the press. They knew the election would turn on urban votes, and they possessed a war chest and ties to sympathetic editors.

Talking about the never-ending battle among different groups interested in Pacific Northwest salmon.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Birds of Wonder by Cynthia Robinson


Taking him in without a warrant was a skate along the knife-edge of the Fourth Amendment, but once she had a confession protocol wouldn't matter. Consent searches weren't illegal; he'd consented, she'd searched.

Birds of Wonder by Cynthia Robinson. Sounds dicey! This snippet gets my lawyer ears perked up and I'm not a criminal lawyer.

This exciting new novel is part thriller, part family drama, set in upstate New York. Here's the publisher's description:

One August morning while walking her dog, high-school English teacher Beatrice Ousterhout stumbles over the dead body of a student, Amber Inglin, who was to play the lead in Beatrice’s production of John Webster’s Jacobean tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi. Barely able to speak, Beatrice calls the police. That is to say, she calls her daughter. Jes is a detective with two years of experience under her belt and a personal life composed primarily of a string of one-night-stands, including the owner of the field in which Beatrice has found Amber. In addition to a house and a field, Child Services lawyer Liam Walsh owns a vineyard, where Amber Inglin, along with a handful of other teens who’ve had difficulty negotiating the foster system, was an intern. Set among the hills and lakes of upstate New York and told in six vibrantly distinct voices, this complex and original narrative chronicles the rippling effects of a young girl’s death through a densely intertwined community. By turns funny, fierce, lyrical and horrifying, BIRDS OF WONDER probes family ties, the stresses that break them, and the pasts that never really let us go.


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from the book they are reading or featuring. Please remember to include the name of the book and the author. You can share your teaser in a comment below, or with a comment or link at the Teaser Tuesday site, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

List: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction


The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (formerly called the Prize for the Novel) has been awarded since 1918 for distinguished works of fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.

The prize is named after its founder, legendary American publisher Joseph Pulitzer. No prize was awarded in several years, most recently in 2012. The prize is currently $15,000.

Those I have read are in red. Those currently on my TBR shelf are in blue, although I intend to read them all eventually. If anyone else is reading all the winners, I am happy to add a link to your progress reports. Please leave a comment with your link and I will add it.

The Prize winners since 1918 are:

2019: The Overstory by Richard Powers

2018: Less by Andrew Sean Greer

2017: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

2016: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

2015: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer

2014: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2013: The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

2011: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

2010: Tinkers by Paul Harding (reviewed here)

2009: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (reviewed here)

2008: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

2007: The Road by Cormack McCarthy

2006: March by Geraldine Brooks (reviewed here)

2005: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (reviewed here)

2004: The Known World by Edward P. Jones

2003: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

2002: Empire Falls by Richard Russo (reviewed here)

2001: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

2000: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

1999: The Hours by Michael Cunningham

1998: American Pastoral by Philip Roth

1997: Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser (reviewed here)

1996: Independence Day by Richard Ford

1995: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

1994: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

1993: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

1992: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

1991: Rabbit At Rest by John Updike

1990: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

1989: Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (reviewed here)

1988: Beloved by Toni Morrison

1987: A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (short review here)

1986: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

1985: Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie

1984: Ironweed by William Kennedy

1983: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

1982: Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike

1981: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O'Toole

1980: The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer

1979: The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever (reviewed here)

1978: Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson

1976: Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow (reviewed here)

1975: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

1973: The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

1972: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

1970: Collected Storiesby Jean Stafford

1969: House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

1968: The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

1967: The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (reviewed here)

1966: Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter

1965: The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau

1963: The Reivers by William Faulkner

1962: The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor

1961: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

1960: Advise and Consent by Allen Drury (reviewed here)

1959: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor

1958: A Death in the Family by James Agee

1956: Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor

1955: A Fable by William Faulkner

1953: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

1952: The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk

1951: The Town by Conrad Richter

1950: The Way West by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.

1949: Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens

1948: Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener

1947: All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (reviewed here)

1945: A Bell for Adano by John Hersey (reviewed here)

1944: Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin

1943: Dragon's Teeth by Upton Sinclair

1942: In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow

1940: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

1939: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

1938: The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand

1937: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

1936: Honey in the Horn by Harold L. Davis

1935: Now in November by Josephine Winslow Johnson

1934: Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller

1933: The Store by T. S. Stribling

1932: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

1931: Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes

1930: Laughing Boy by Oliver Lafarge

1929: Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin

1928: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

1927: Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield

1926: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

1925: So Big by Edna Ferber

1924: The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson

1923: One of Ours by Willa Cather

1922: Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington (reviewed here)

1921: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

1919: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

1918: His Family by Ernest Poole


NOTE

Updated October 22, 2019.

OTHERS READING THE PULITZER WINNERS

If you are working on reading all the Pulitzer fiction winners and want to list your blog or related link here, please leave a comment with the link and I will add it.





Monday, October 21, 2019

Mailbox Monday: Two New Memoirs of the Holocaust

What books came into your house last week?

I got two new memoirs by Holocaust survivors. Both add moving and beautiful voices to this important body of work.



When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew: A Memoir by Hendrika de Vries. The author was in the Netherlands when her father was deported to a Nazi POW camp and her mother joined the Resistance. It is the story of the tragic events of Amsterdam during WWII, as seen through the eyes of a young girl, and a reflection on the wisdom she gained from her experience.



Shedding Our Stars: The Story of Hans Calmeyer and How He Saved Thousands of Families Like Mine by Laureen Nussbaum with Karen Kirtley. Hans Calmeyer was a lawyer in the Netherlands appointed by the occupying Germans to adjudicate "doubtful cases" of people trying to leave the country. He saved at least 3,700 Jews from deportation to Nazi camps, including Nussbaum and her family.

Laureen Nussbaum was a childhood friend of Anne Frank in Amsterdam. She was a professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at Portland State University. Since retiring, she lectures on the Holocaust, Anne Frank, and her experience during World War II.


Both books are available from She Writes Press, one of my favorite independent publishers. I admire their business model and they have turned out an impressive book list! What they do for women writers (and readers) is really wonderful. The Fall 2019 Catalog, as well as back list and upcoming titles, are available on the She Writes Press website.


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.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Author Interview: Lisa Braver Moss, Author of Shrug


Author Lisa Braver Moss' new novel Shrug is drawn from her own tumultuous adolescence in 1960s Berkeley, California. Moss still lives in the Bay Area. She usually writes nonfiction, specializing in family issues, health, Judaism and humor. Her essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, Parents, Tikkun, Lilith, and other publications. Shrug is her second novel; The Measure of His Grief was her debut novel.


Lisa recently talked with Rose City Reader about Berkeley in the 1960s, the teenage voice, and her new book Shrug:

How did you come to write Shrug?

I worked on Shrug, off and on, for years. It’s a book I felt I just had to write, but for a long time I didn’t know how to tell the story, partly because of the riddle of how to manage the highly emotionally-charged content. The manuscript would sit in a drawer and I would work on other writing projects. Then I’d take it out of the drawer, dust it off and revise it, but it still wasn’t quite right, so back into the drawer it would go. I did this many times! Luckily I was able to write a lot in between.

The story takes place in Berkeley in the 1960s. What drew you to this time and location for the setting of your novel?

Shrug is autobiographical, and I grew up in Berkeley during that period. The 1960s were a time of social chaos in Berkeley, but also a time of tremendous vitality. I thought my home town made a good backdrop for the story: the chaos out there in the streets, juxtaposed with the home life instability.

Your lead character Martha blames herself for the domestic violence of her parents. Why do you think children do this?

I don’t think Martha exactly blames herself for her parents’ behavior. It’s more subtle than that. Martha thinks it’s her responsibility to fix what’s in her family. She believes she sees what’s wrong, and that she therefore has an obligation to make it right. Neither of these beliefs is true, but that over-developed sense of responsibility enables Martha to hold on to the illusion that she can control her circumstances if she just tries harder. Of course, she’s already one of those people who tries too hard! But somehow, and I think this is true for many children growing up with domestic violence, feeling responsible to fix the family is more palatable than the idea that one’s own parents are unsafe. That’s too overwhelmingly painful to contemplate, so kids can often turn against themselves, feeling they’ve failed, even if that’s not a conscious feeling.

What role does music play in Martha’s life and in your book?

Music is of tremendous importance to me, and to Martha. This was one area where I just allowed Martha to be virtually the same as me (i.e., Martha has essentially the same taste in music that I had during my teen years). I had great fun with this. However, music is Martha’s only real outlet, the one thing she knows she should pursue, and she even gets some relief from her shrug while lost in the music. I had outlets other than music as a kid, and didn’t choose to pursue music seriously. In Martha’s case, music is her ticket, the one escape hatch that makes sense for her and makes her feel she has something to offer.

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

I’d say I learned the power of voice. I finally tried writing the beginning as a teenager would tell the story, and it just worked. It turned out that once I “got” that voice, it wasn’t hard to bring it all the way through the novel. I still remember feeling many of the ways that Martha feels in the book, so the voice came fairly naturally. I had to go through and simplify some of the language, but that wasn’t hard. I guess that was the biggest surprise – that any aspect of writing Shrug was easy!

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 knew how the book would end, and I knew much of the middle. I wasn’t sure how to start the story; that came to me later (and thank God for the cut-and-paste function in Word…!).

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

My writing, or maybe it’s just my thinking, is very much influenced by what I’m reading. I have to be careful of this, in fact – that what I’m reading doesn’t interfere with my work.

I like straight-ahead fiction like the novels of Nick Hornby and Richard Russo, and also, of course, powerful women’s voices – Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley, Eve Ensler, Kate Braverman, to name just a few. However, a disclaimer – this list is so incomplete that I’m not sure it even makes sense to try to compile it. Ask me again in a month and the answers might be different!

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

A friend who was a writer told me early on that in writing, everything is fixable – i.e., there’s always a solution. This is not exactly advice – and there is certainly such a thing as a deadline – but it’s one of the things I love about writing. This idea of infinite “fixability” has given me the stamina to keep going when some part of me wanted to quit.

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

Yes! I’m speaking on Friday, November 8th at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Sinai in Oakland, California. Then I’ll be on a panel of three authors who have recent books about the 1960s. That one will be Sunday, November 10th at 1 p.m. at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California.

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

Not just yet. Ideas are percolating… fortunately I have many interests, so I can take a little break and do other things, which I find gives my unconscious a good way to sort out my thoughts.


THANK YOU, LISA!

SHRUG IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, OR YOU CAN ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER TO ORDER IT!


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Beginnings: A Place in the World and Birds of Wonder

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

I have two books again this week, one I am reading now and another I plan to read on my upcoming trip to New York state.

MY BOOK BEGINNINGS



Mira stood in the center of the entry hall, her head throbbing.

A Place in the World by Amy Maroney. This last book in Maroney's Miramonde series just came out. I am racing through the second one, Mira's Way, so I can read this one.

The Miramonde series follows a female artist in the early 1500s in Basque sheep country, and the modern day art historian tracing her story. It starts with The Girl from Oto, continues with Mira's Way, includes a preqel novella called The Promise, and concludes with A Place in the World.

Read my interview with Amy Maroney about her series, female artists, and what drew her to historical fiction.



Jes tossed the contents of the glove compartment onto the passenger seat – flashlight, two ossified sticks of gum, an old breathalyzer, the pre-digital model.

Birds of Wonder by Cynthia Robinson. This debut novel is a family drama and murder mystery set in upstate New York. Things start off complicated since Jes the police detective is the daughter of the woman who just discovered a dead body.



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.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, 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. Please find me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING





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.


MY FRIDAY 56

From A Place in the World:

“I made a promise to someone who knows the artist. I told him I would repair this painting and bring it to her one day.”

From Birds of Wonder:

A disturbing number of men would, if given the chance. Especially if they thought there wouldn’t be consequences – foster kids were low-risk targets, right up there with prostitutes and junkies.



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Author Interview: Mimi Bull, Author of Celibacy, A Love Story


Mimi Bull grew up in New England, the adopted daughter of an older single mother who raised her alongside her adult "sister" who she later learned was her biological mother. Mimi's memoir (now out from Bauhan Publishing) tells the story of growing up the unacknowledged child of a Catholic priest and what that meant to her as a child, her mother, and raising her own children.


Mimi talked with Rose City Reader about her new book Celibacy, a Love Story: Memoir of a Catholic Priest's Daughter:

Can you give us a little of the story about your parents, so we understand why you wrote a book about your family life?

In 1936 when I was conceived and born, my parents, a single woman and a young Polish pastor together with my maternal Grandmother made the difficult decision to keep me and raise me. It would have been far simpler for them to put me up for adoption given the web of secrets and danger of exposure they would face during that rigidly strict and judgmental time in the predominantly Irish Catholic Boston Diocese and the small town where we lived.

My grandmother and mother owned a prosperous hairdressing business. Finding work for my father, had he left the priesthood, would have been hard going in the depth of the Depression and even had they married, disgrace and shame would have driven my parents out the Boston area. I speculate here, I never knew them as my parents and could not discuss any of this with them. The book sketches our early family life but moves on to the impact on my life of finding that nothing I was told as a child was true.

What prompted you, in your 80s, to write your memoir: Celibacy, a Love Story?

I actually began the book nearly twenty years ago. It was part of my effort to integrate into my life story who my parents were, who they were as a couple and as my parents, and what they had sacrificed to keep and raise me. I needed to think my way into the reality of what they had experienced, to understand their relationship, and to root myself in the truth rather than the web of protective lies necessitated by how they were constrained to live their lives. I wrote it for my family initially and began to see the impact of the unusual story on my fellow writers who encouraged me to speak out to a larger audience. There are universal themes of secrets, depression, marriage, the importance of claiming one’s roots, one’s identity.

What was your relationship like with the man you later learned was your father?

My father was a consistent part of my life until his sudden death at 48 at the end of my freshman year in college. He was like a loving uncle who lived nearby. We were members of his Polish parish. He came to dinner at our home every one or two weeks. I spent a lot of time with him after school, during trips to Boston, and at his fishing camp. He was my “guardian,” my parish priest, my teacher and disciplinarian.

There is more awareness of the many children, like yourself, fathered by Catholic priests. How has the Catholic Church responded to these revelations?

In the 900-year history of required celibacy for its clergy, there was in Canon Law (which governs all aspects of the Catholic Church) nothing to guide bishops dealing with priests who had children. Only in the last year have as-yet-secret guidelines been formulated. It came about with the addition of children of priests to the Office of the Welfare of Children, along with victims of abuse by priests. Meanwhile, the conservative estimate of the worldwide number of children of priests today is 44,000.

You mention Coping International in your book. Can you tell us a little about that organization? Are there other organizations for children of priests?

Coping International was founded in Ireland by a child of a priest, a psychotherapist who had himself studied in Spain for the priesthood. He felt the need for a center for children of priests to “meet” online and share their stories, thereby being aware that there are so many others like them. Coping is also a clearing house of information, a voice, a lobby for issues that affect this community. It was instrumental, for example, in pushing for inclusion of priest’s children in the Vatican’s Office of the Welfare of Children. If there are other such organizations, I am as yet unaware of them.

Who is your intended audience and what do you hope your readers will gain from your book?

Readers dealing with difficult issues in their life and looking for an example of a search for self-knowledge. Celibacy: A Love Story, is as yet an unusual story. People who are drawn to odd tales will like it. I am surprised by the response of younger readers in their 20s and 30s who have written me in detail about grappling with identity issues that resonated with them in my book. While it has primarily been women who have written, there are many sons of priests and men in general who experience the secrecy, shame, or separation from a parent, among other issues, who would find much that is familiar in this book.

THANK YOU, MIMI!

CELIBACY, A LOVE STORY IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER TO ORDER IT.

NOTES

If Mimi's memoir sounds good, Bauhan Publishing has a couple of other new books out this fall that may also appeal to you:

Someday this Will Fit: Linked Essays, Meditations & Other Midlife Follies by Joan Silverman, a collection of "bite-sized narratives" that evoke the richness and humor of daily life.

From the Midway: Unfolding Stories of Redemption and Belonging by Leaf Seligman, linked short stories depicting the lives of sideshow oddities in an early twentieth-century carnival traveling through the rural south.




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