Thursday, October 24, 2019

Book Beginning: This Particular Happiness and Persistent Callings



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.


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.


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.


  1. I like the sound of this one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I like the quotes. Enjoy your current read.

  3. Both of these sound quite profound! I hope that you continue to enjoy reading them.

  4. Great snippets from both. I have no BB this week as I am on the same book due to being ill. I added you to the linky though. Happy weekend!

  5. Nice quotes! Enjoy your weekend!

  6. Your firast book appeals to me more - but it does sound a heart-breaking book.

  7. A childless romance sounds interesting, and yes, possibly sad. Good choice though!


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