Friday, April 3, 2020

Gilbert ("Gil") George Geihs: August 8, 1939 – March 9, 2020


Yes, this is a departure from books. My dad passed away last month. He was a wonderful man and I want to post a tribute to him that will stay online. So here it is:

Gilbert ("Gil") George Geihs: August 8, 1939 – March 9, 2020

Gilbert George Geihs, native Nebraskan and long-time Oregonian, passed away on March 9, 2020 at the age of 80, after a short battle with AL amyloidosis.

Gil was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Fritz and Dorothy Geihs, the middle of five siblings. He graduated from Central High School in 1957 and was still friends with many of his classmates more than 60 years later. He enjoyed his youth and told many hilarious tales about his childhood and high school years.

While attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Gil met Peggy Jean Herman, who caught his eye as the “Sweater Girl” of his Theta Chi fraternity. The two married during the Spring Break of their senior year in 1961 and remained married until his death. In 2011, they celebrated their 50th anniversary with a family reunion trip to the Bavarian village where Gilbert’s father Fritz was born and his family still owned a mountain inn. Gilbert was as close with his relatives in Germany as he was with his family in America.

After college, Gil and his best friend joined the U.S. Coast Guard, which was a big adventure to two young men from Nebraska. They served six months active duty and Gil got a lifetime of funny stories out of the experience.

Gil had a long career in real estate. In 1975, he started Progress West Corp., a successful commercial real estate company in Omaha. In 1981, looking for a milder climate, Gil and Peggy moved with their family to Portland, Oregon. Gil managed the commercial real estate holdings of Willamette Savings & Loan until it was dissolved in 1990. His most unusual job as a realtor was overseeing the auction of all the artwork from the bank’s branches and offices. After Willamette closed, Gil worked in commercial property management at Norris & Stevens in Portland until he retired in 2005.

Gil’s two daughters Gilion and Tennison were born in 1966 and 1968. He also took into his home Sina Mansouri, a foster daughter from Afghanistan, who lived with the family from age 14 until college. No daughters could ask for a kinder or funnier dad. He built them a backyard playhouse, a lemonade “store,” and the world’s most dangerous go cart. He won over their friends when he built a dune buggy from a VW Bug. When they were in high school and college, he let the girls and their friends have parties in his house, which made him quite popular. Gil remained close with all three daughters throughout their lives and Gilion and Tennison were with him when he passed away.

With his love of story telling and for explaining things, Gil was always popular with kids and young adults, many who now consider him to have been a mentor or father figure to them. Whether opening his home for a place to stay, finding a job, or diagramming a plan on the back of a napkin, Gil always made an effort for the young people in his life.

Visiting and reminiscing with family and friends were Gil’s favorite pastimes. He was a consummate storyteller and made everyone laugh with his quick wit and jovial humor. It seems like he always had a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye. Gil and Peggy enjoyed many trips with friends or often to visit Bavarian relatives. The best trips were the ones with their daughters, like a trip to Austria and Italy last summer to celebrate Gilbert and Peggy’s 80th birthdays.

Gilbert is survived by his wife Peggy, daughters Gilion Dumas (husband, James) and Tennison Geihs, first cousin once removed Georg Geiss whom he considered a son, second cousin once removed Friederike Baliamis whom he considered a daughter, brother Paul, sisters Judy Douglas and Dorothy Stevens, uncle David Getzschman whom he considered another brother, and many nephews, nieces, cousins, and other family members. He was predeceased by his father and mother, foster daughter Sina Mansouri, brother Fred, brother-in-law Robert Douglas, and his favorite little doggies Frances, Stella, and Minnie.

Memorial services will be held in Omaha and Portland at a future date.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Book Beginning: Calypso by David Sedaris

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Though there's an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you'll acquire a guest room.

-- Calypso by David Sedaris. I was in the mood for something funny this week, and this Calypso book is perfect. I'm reading it with my ears, as I do all David Sedaris books, because he reads the audiobooks himself, which makes them even more funny.

The essays in this book are more melancholy and reflective than his earlier books. There are several about middle age, the then recent death of his sister and the not recent death of his mom, his aging father, and human frailty. But while I'm stuck in my house, working from home, connecting online with family and old friends, and thinking about my dad who passed away just a few weeks ago, these darker but still hilarious essays hit the perfect note.



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

It was interesting to see what we all did with our inheritance. . . . Gretchen moved south and sought to some bills while Amy and Paul essentially spent their money on candy.



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Author Interview: Lara Tupper

headshot of author Lara Tupper
photo by Elaina Mortali

Author Lara Tupper's new novel Off Island reimagines the marriage of artist Paul Gauguin, building on the fancy that Gauguin left the South Seas and moved to an island off the coast of Maine.

book cover of Off Island by Lara Tupper


Tupper has written short stories, an earlier novel, and a screenplay, and is a jazz and pop singer. She taught at Rutgers University for many years and now presents writing workshops and retreats in Massachusetts where she now lives.

Lara recently talked with Rose City Reader about her new book, the authority of a narrator's voice, and Zooming her latest book reading:

How did you come to write Off Island?

Many years ago, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I stumbled upon a display of letters that Paul Gauguin had written to his Danish wife, Mette Gad. He wrote, “Pure color! Everything must be sacrificed to it.” And he lived by these words. He spent his last years in Polynesia, where he painted and drank absinthe and had affairs with Tahitian girls. He wrote about these affairs in explicit detail to his wife, who was back in Denmark with their five children, trying to put food on the table.

I couldn’t get the letters out of my mind. I wanted to tell Mette’s story but I didn’t want her to be a victim. In Off Island, she has her own story to tell.

Your novel imagines and alternative history for artist Paul Gauguin, one where he spends time living on an island off the coast of Maine. What drew you to this setting for your novel?

I grew up in Boothbay, Maine and spent a lot of time on Monhegan Island, which is 90 minutes by ferry from my hometown. It’s a fishing community and an artist colony with beautiful vistas and hiking trails, once home to Wyeths, to Rockwell Kent. There’s tension between the summer visitors and the permanent residents, a tension I’m familiar with from growing up in a tourist community. I wanted to write about that tension. And I wanted to see what would happen if I sent Gauguin to a northern place, rather than a tropical one.

How did you research the historical information and detail found in your book? Do you have an art history background? Did you to on-site research?

I took as many art history classes as I could in college and considered majoring for a time. (I was equally torn between art history, music and English; I chose the latter, the safest bet, I thought at the time.) I’m still fascinated by historical contexts. How are we shaped by the time and place we live in? I was interested in the stories behind the paintings.

I have no skills when it comes to visual art. It remains a great mystery to me, how someone can translate what they see onto a canvas. It seems like magic.

In terms of research, I didn’t have the funds to go to Denmark or France or Tahiti. So I read a lot. I knew Monhegan well from my many trips there with my parents. It’s the kind of place that stays in the bones.

What did you learn from writing Off Island – either about the subject of the books or the writing process – that most surprised you?

I learned to plot. My previous novel, A Thousand and One Nights, is autobiographical fiction, so I knew how it was going to end. Off Island is a mystery. I had to construct clues that weren’t too obvious. And I had to balance several moving parts. Off Island is actually two intertwined stories: the Gauguins in 1903 and Pete and Molly in 2003. Pete and Molly parallel the Gauguins. (Pete is a painter. Molly holds down the fort.) The two stories intersect by the end.

Do you know right away, or have an idea, how you were going to end your book? Or did the ending come to you as you were in the process of writing?

I had no idea how it would end. I was just committed to certain elements—I couldn’t say why. This is a book about the sea, about being at sea, and certain seaside images stayed with me. I kept looking at Gauguin’s paintings and the idea of the artist’s mindset stayed with me too, what it’s like to stare at a vista and try to represent what you’re seeing. So I suppose I just stared and stared and sketched and sketched with words until I figured it out. This novel took me many drafts, many years to get right.

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

Of course! I’m always trying to dissect the writing that I love. (How did they do that?) Great books give me motivation. They make me want to write, to try it out in my own way. A recent book I can’t get out of my mind is Ling Ma’s Severance (scarily prescient, except for the zombies). I’m greatly influenced by my teachers and mentors over the years: Joan Silber, Elizabeth Strout, Antonya Nelson, Judith Grossman, Jeremy Gavron, Pete Turchi, Bill Roorbach, James Shepard, CJ Hribal--generous and exacting teachers, all. I love the writing of Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Elena Ferrante, Jennifer Egan, Samantha Hunt. Too many to list here.

What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading now?

I read fiction and non-fiction. I tend to alternate. I just re-read Bill Roorbach’s Into Woods, a joyous collection of essays. I love that he’s irreverent and compassionate at the same time. We’ve made similar career and life decisions along the way, and this comes up in his essays. (Leaving academia, being called to Maine.) We did a reading together at PRINT: A Bookstore in Portland, Maine and it was such a pleasure to celebrate with him there.

Two of my favorite books lately are Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Just stunning.

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

Elizabeth Strout taught a class years ago when I was in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. It was on “authority,” that elusive quality that allows us, as readers, to trust and follow the narrator’s voice on the page. It’s not something that can be taught, and I believe this was her point. But it comes from apprenticing ourselves (which Bill Roorbach also writes about), from practice and commitment to craft. This has stayed with me.

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

Why, thank you! I think every writer must do what she can, within her means, to put the word out. I’m also grateful for the work of my publicist, Mary Bisbee-Beek. I love a post I saw by Alexander Chee on Twitter. He said go ahead, promote your book. Don’t apologize for this. Don’t self-deprecate. If you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into your work, there’s no need to hide. (I’m paraphrasing.)

With that in mind, I’m proud to share my book trailer for Off Island too. My husband, singer- songwriter Bobby Sweet, provides the accompaniment, a beautiful song called “Uncertainty.” Watch it here.

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

Like so many authors at this time, my spring events have been postponed. But my publisher, Encircle, just put together an online Author Showcase, and it was great fun—six authors read excerpts to a Zoom audience. They’ll do more of this in the future. And I’ll post updates on my website as my events are rescheduled. I encourage book lovers to support local independent bookstores at this time by ordering online.

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

My short story collection, Amphibians, will come out from Leapfrog Press in March 2021. And I’m at work on a new novel, a futuristic ghost story set in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, where I live now. It’s about the stories we inherit from others and the stories we repeatedly tell ourselves -- how these tales shape us. And how we might change the skipping record eventually.

THANKS, LARA!

OFF ISLAND IS AVAILABLE ONLINE. OR YOU CAN ORDER IT FROM INDEPENDENT BOOKS SELLERS. LARA SUGGESTS HER LOCAL BOOK STORE, THE BOOKSTORE IN LENNOX.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Book Beginning: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

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

Well, I forgot to post early yesterday because I forgot what day it was! That's the problem with working from home -- I lost track of the days. Is that happening to you?

MY BOOK BEGINNING


In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje. That is a terrific opening sentence! I didn't read The English Patient because I feared it would be boring. My book club picked Warlight this month and I am glad they did because this is a great story -- lots of plot, characters, and mood. It has everything going for it.

Our book club is going to meet virtually next week, by Zoom. Oregon is on a Stay Home order, so we cannot gather. We will have our own snacks and beverages of our choice, and meet on the screen instead. It will be different.



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
We were more concerned that The Moth had invited someone we did not know into our parents' home. We’ve never considered such a possibility. We were also nervous about our escape from the school and how it would be taken by our untested guardian.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: Orphan Train and the New Normal



The night of the fire, the night they took me in, I could hear Mrs. Schatzman in her bedroom, fretting with her husband about what to do with me. "I didn't ask for this," she hissed, the words as distinct to my ears as if she'd been in the same room.

-- Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. This popular book of historical fiction goes back and forth between Depression-era Minnesota and contemporary Maine. The protagonist is an Irish immigrant who was sent as an orphan to Minnesota. Back in Maine as an elderly widow, she sorts through her attic and her past with the help of a 17-year old girl with her only family history.

I saw this book a lot when it first came out, but I didn't read it. The highlight of my first day of Oregon's Stay Home Order yesterday was finding a copy in my nearby Little Free Library when I ventured out to deposit a stack of books.

Now that the governor issued a Stay Home Order for all of Oregon, this is my new normal:

  • Working from home, trying to practice law from my dining room table.
  • Meeting with clients by Zoom.
  • Dinosaur hands from washing them 85 times.
  • Venturing out for neighborhood walks as long as we all stay six feet from each other.
  • Small acts of kindness, like sharing our books through Little Free Libraries. Although I did wipe down the cover with Lysol when I got home. And washed my hands. Again.

How about you? How has COVID 19 changed your daily life?





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.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Blogiversary! Rose City Reader is 12 today!


It's my 12th blogiversary! I started Rose City Reader on March 20, 2008, and have been blogging along here for 12 years as of today. A dozen years of book blogging feels like a long time. I'd like to celebrate with a library cake like the one in the picture.

I started this blog to keep track of the book lists I love: Prize Winners, Must Reads, and a few of my own creation. The Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century got me hooked on book lists in 1999. By 2008, I had finished the 121 books on the Modern Library list (there are more than 100 because trilogies, quartets, and even a 12-volume series are counted as one book). I was inspired to tackle other lists, starting with knockoffs like Radcliffe's Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century and Erica Jong's list of Top 100 20th Century Novels by Women.

Soon I had too many lists going and needed an organized way to keep track of them. Google kept telling me to "click here" to start a blog so I tried it and 15 minutes later I had Rose City Reader. It was easier to start this blog than to set up an Excel spreadsheet.

Twelve years later, I'm working on 29 books lists and 43 bibliographies of favorite authors. I don't know if I will finish them all. In fact, I know there are books on some of the lists that I won't read. But I still have fun playing with my lists.

More than the lists, I use Rose City Reader to post about the books I'm reading, books that catch my eye, and author interviews. I used to post more reviews and hope to get back to reviewing more when I retire from my Dumas & Vaughn law practice. The author interview posts are my favorite because I love learning more about what goes into creating a book and how authors work and think.

Enormous thanks to everyone who reads Rose City Reader! Thank you for 12 years of blogging fun and please stick around!




Thursday, March 19, 2020

Book Beginning: The Joy of Cooking from Cloud & Leaf Bookstore

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING


This edition – our family’s ninth since Irma first published Joy of Cooking in 1931 – is the result of more than nine years of recipe testing in nearly five years of outlining, researching, and writing by my wife, Megan, and me.
-- Joy of Cooking by John Becker, Megan Scott, Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker.

I’m set for the corona quarantine, thanks to the Cloud & Leaf Bookstore!

So many small businesses, including independent bookstores, are taking a bad hit right now. Cloud & Leaf Bookstore is one of my favorites so I ordered a book to do my part. I figure if everyone who can gets one book from an independent book seller during coronavirus time, it will help.

The new Joy of Cooking was my choice because I love the old edition I’ve had since law school, but I wanted this 2019 updated edition. John Becker is the great-grandson of the original author, Irma S. Rombauer. Becker and his wife, co-author Megan Scott, live here in Portland, which is another reason I wanted a copy.

Do you have a favorite Joy of Cooking recipe? I’m all about comfort food right now. My husband made the traditional meatball recipe from our old book last weekend and they were delicious!



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

Process briefly to blend. If desired, stir in:
(1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finally chopped)
That snippet captures the "voice" of Joy of Cooking. The recipes are short, to the point, and usually tell you quick and easy variations. When I think of JOC, I always think of the typical instruction, "heat over, not in, hot, not boiling, water."

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Favorite Author: Iris Murdoch




Iris Murdoch (1919 - 1999) was an Irish-born author best known for her complex but entertaining philosophical novels.  Dame Iris, as she was known since she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1987, won the Booker, Black, and Whitbread (now Costa) prizes; had one book on the Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century; and also wrote poetry, plays, and books of philosophy.

I am working my way through her novels, which are listed below in publication order.  Those I have read are in red; those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

Under the Net (1954) (Modern Library's Top 100 list)

The Flight from the Enchanter (1956)

Sandcastle (1957)

The Bell (1958)

A Severed Head (1961)

An Unofficial Rose (1962)

The Unicorn (1963)

The Italian Girl (1964)

The Red and the Green (1965)

The Time of the Angels (1966)

The Nice and the Good (1968)

Bruno's Dream (1969)

A Fairly Honourable Defeat (1970)

An Accidental Man (1971)

The Black Prince (1973) (James Tait Black winner)

The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974) (Whitbread, now Costa, winner)

A Word Child (1975)

Henry and Cato (1976)

The Sea, the Sea (1978) (Booker winner; reviewed here)

Nuns and Soldiers (1980)

The Philosopher's Pupil (1983)

The Good Apprentice (1985)

The Book and the Brotherhood (1987) (reviewed here)

The Message to the Planet (1989)

The Green Knight (1993)

Jackson's Dilemma (1995)


OTHER MURDOCH FANS

Check out the Iris Murdoch Research Centre website, the hub of information about Iris Murdoch.

Please feel free to leave comments with links to your Murdoch-related posts and I will list them here. 

NOTES

The Sea, the Sea is my favorite so far.  It is a remarkable novel and really, really wonderful. I also loved The Bell.

A Fairly Honourable Defeat was also very good, and sticks in my head all the more now that I read Claire Massoud's The Emperor's Children, which I think was a rip-off of Murdoch's earlier book.

Updated March 17, 2020.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Book Beginning: Losing Mum and Pup

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

My post is late this week and I won't be posting a lot in the next weeks, I don't imagine. I'll get my Book Beginning posts up, but not many other blog posts for a while.


My beloved dad passed away this week, with his family there and his favorite Elvis gospel album playing.

Last summer, we celebrated Mom and Dad's 80th birthdays with an 80 is Greaty trip to Austria and Italy. Dad was in good heath and we all had a fantastic time. It was the last of so many wonderful family adventures we had with him over the years.

In October, he was diagnosed with AL amyloidosis. He did OK until he didn't. He went downhill fast and hard last week. We spent the last two days listening to him tell stories, map out all his "last wishes," and make calls to his friends and family. He was never in pain.

My dad was the funniest, kindest man I have ever known. He will be missed. RIP

MY BOOK BEGINNING



April 14, 2007, began well enough.
-- Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir by Christopher Buckley. It's hard to focus on a book right now, so I am rereading Christopher Buckley's memoir about the deaths of his parents, William F. and Pat Buckley, who died about a year apart. It's a tribute to his parents but also a comfort for any adult going through the loss of older parents.



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

She would have made a fantastic spy. She would have made a fantastic anything.

Describing his flamboyant mother, Pat Buckley.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Book Beginning: To the Survivors by Robert Uttaro

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING



I never thought I would volunteer at a rape crisis center. I always knew rape and sexual assault existed, but for most of my life I did not seriously consider ways in which I could help those affected by sexual violence.

To the Survivors: One Man's Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor by Robert Uttaro. This book is a mix of the author's account of his experiences and lessons from working as a rape crisis counselor, essays or speeches by sexual assault survivors, and interviews with some of the survivors.

I wanted to read Robert's book to learn more about adult victims of sexual assault. I work with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, but I don't often work with people who were assaulted when they are adults.

FROM THE AUTHOR'S WEBPAGE:
To the Survivors is about my journey as a rape crisis counselor with true stories of sexual violence shared by survivors in their own words. Gently and beautifully constructed, To the Survivors is moving, tender, sharp, and piercingly true all at once. Readers will encounter uncensored written stories, poems, and interviews from women and men who have experienced rape and sexual assault, plus some of my stories as a counselor and educator. The survivors are diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity, yet each gives a similarity raw and heartfelt account of his or her victimization and recovery. The authenticity and vulnerability with which survivors speak resonates profoundly. But this book is not just for survivors of sexual violence. I believe anyone can benefit from the words in these pages, rape survivor or not.



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

ff


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

Corey spoke honestly and passionately, and he captivated the audience. It is hard to explain the look on people's faces, but the eyes of most of the people stayed fixated on Corey.




Monday, March 2, 2020

Mailbox Monday: Cloud & Leaf Bookstore Bookstack

row of books described below on blue and white striped cushion next to blue and white old vase

Oregon's own Ann Patchett is Deborah Reed, the author of seven novels and the owner of the Cloud & Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita. Hubby and I sneaked away for a couple of days at the Oregon coast and I came away from the Cloud & Leaf with this enticing collection of new books.

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters. This is Waters's memoir about her years before opening Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Of course I want to read it!

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes. I've loved the few books of his I've read so far and want to read more.

Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston wrote this book about the last man brought to America on a slave ship after interviewing him in 1927, but it was not published until 2018.

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. The description of this reminded me of M. F. K. Fisher's With Bold Knife and Fork, one of my favorite books, so I had to get it.

Provence, 1970 : M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr. I recently read a book about American food writers in France that talked about the events described in this book, so I want to read it.

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose. A book about books -- I can't resist.

What new books came into your house last week?


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

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

Friday, February 28, 2020

Book Beginning: Thinks by David Lodge

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

My apologies for posting Friday morning instead of yesterday evening. I was in court yesterday afternoon and forgot all about my post. Sorry!

MY BOOK BEGINNING



One, two, three, testing, testing . . . recorder working OK . . . Olympus Pearlcorder, bought it at Heathrow in the dutyfree on my way to . . . where? Can't remember, doesn't matter . . .

Thinks by David Lodge. Lodge is a favorite author of mine. He often writes "campus novels" featuring the antics of charming but badly behaving middle-aged university professors, like this book. I love them.



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

But before he can do so, the door of the lift opens in one of the secretaries from the General Office stepped out, calling, "Professor Messenger!" She clicked-clacks up to them in her high heels, a little out of breath, her eyes wide with the importance of her message.


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: P. G. Wodehouse and Oregon History



I have a Teaser Tuesday Twofer this week, as I make up for several missing weeks. My book blog has been sadly neglected while my law practice got a little crazy the past few weeks. Over 20 former students at Catlin Gabel, a private school here in Portland have come to us to help them with claims against the school for sexual, physical, and mental abuse when they were students, dating back to the 1960s. We've filed lawsuits for six of them so far and are working on the others.

In the meantime, the Boy Scouts of America filed for reorganization bankruptcy last week to shield its assets and get a deadline for sex abuse claims. We represent roughly three dozen former Boy Scouts who were abused when they were kids, so have been sorting out what happens now that their claims will move into the bankruptcy case. And getting calls from other abuse survivors looking for help. I love my work, but it's been a hectic stretch.

So let's spend time with books!



As with many others who are bitten by the theatre bug, Plum had fallen in love with the the experience as a whole: what theatre represented, just as much as what it actually was. Yes, it was fun, glamour, energy and magic, but at its heart was that fragile and capricious connectedness that would make or break a show.

-- Pelham Grenville Wodehouse: Volume 1: "This is Jolly Old Fame" by Paul Kent.

I love P. G. Wodehouse and am trying to read all his books. I keep a list of Wodehouse books here on this blog and am working my way through them, sometimes in order, sometimes when I can find an audiobook at the library. I particularly love Wodehouse in audiobook editions.

This Jolly Old Flame is the first volume of Paul Kent's three-volume biography of Wodehouse, based in part on new access to Wodehouse's papers and library. It is available from TSB an imprint of Can of Worms Enterprises, or from Book Depository.

Honoria Plum at Plumtopia has an enjoyable review here.




The people of Eastern Oregon were never a homogeneous whole. Attitudes towards environmental issues, and much else, varied widely.
-- The Other Oregon: People, Environment, and History East of the Cascades by Thomas R. Cox, new from OSU Press.

From the publisher's description:
With a staggering variety of landscapes, from high desert to alpine peaks, Oregon east of the Cascades encompasses seventeen counties and two time zones. Although this vast region defies generalization, its history is distinct from the rest of Oregon. The interrelationship between its people and the land has always been central, but that relationship has evolved and changed over time. Regional economies that were once largely exploitive and dedicated to commodity exports have slowly moved toward the husbanding of resources and to broader and deeper appreciations.


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, February 20, 2020

Book Beginning: Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING



The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people seem to think, repose upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth.

Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers. This is the seventh novel featuring amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey and the second with Harriet Vane.

Good advice, Ms. Sayers!

As you can see from my picture, I started this book over a martini. I wanted that drink last night, after spending a long day in bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware for “first day motions” in the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy case.

Who would think the Boy Scouts would go bankrupt! No, it isn’t going out of business. It is doing what so many Catholic Archdiocese and USA Gymnastics have done and filed a “reorganization” bankruptcy to move assets and get a deadline on when survivors can bring sex abuse claims against it.

I was there because I represent survivors of child sex abuse. My clients are adults who were sexually abused when they were kids – in schools, churches, and groups like the Boy Scouts. We have lots of lawsuits against BSA right now and all of them are now going to move into the bankruptcy case. I was on NPR's The Takeaway yesterday talking about what the bankruptcy means to survivors, including my clients - you can listen to the short clip here to learn more.





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

Harriet rang the bell and, stepping out into the corridor, caught the waiter and asked for a stiff whisky-and-soda.
I get it Harriet. I get it. 



Thursday, February 13, 2020

Book Beginning: The Green Years by Karen Wolff

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Between Iowa and South Dakota, the Sioux River makes a bend to the west as if to escape its eventual disappearance into the muddy waters of the Missouri River.

The Green Years by Karen Wolff (BHC Press). This historical novel is the story of Harry Spencer, a boy growing up in South Dakota in the 1920s, who has to find his own path after his father returned from WWI a broken man.

I've just dipped into The Green Years and can tell already it would make a good Father's Day book for older dads looking for a trip down memory lane, especially if they have any small town or country living in their backgrounds. My dad grew up in Nebraska and I know he will love it.

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
When eight-year-old Harry Spencer’s father returns from WWI with a missing arm, his father’s bitterness shatters their relationship. Though confused and brokenhearted, Harry is determined to make something of himself. Endeavoring with heart and sometimes-humorous results, he sets out on his path in life, working in his granddad’s store, selling medicinal salves, washing windows, and falling in love.

This historical coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of small-town life will tug at your heartstrings as Harry discovers who he is, who his father is, and how to heal the past.



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 rode by Great-Aunt Lida’s house. She always had fresh baked cookies, and I figured she’d offer me some. Then I saw through the kitchen window that she and Gram were drinking coffee and, no doubt, gossiping about the elopement.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Mailbox Monday: American Dirt and The Green Years

I got two new books last week -- a best seller and an indie book. What about you?



American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. Yes, I bought this because of the controversy.

American Dirt is one of the many, many, many new books that would never have caught my attention except for all the stories I heard on NPR while I was getting ready for work. Now I want to read it for myself.



The Green Years by Karen Wolff (BHC Press), is a coming-of-age story set in South Dakota in the 1920s about a young boy who finds his own path when his father returns from WWI a broken man.

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
When eight-year-old Harry Spencer’s father returns from WWI with a missing arm, his father’s bitterness shatters their relationship. Though confused and brokenhearted, Harry is determined to make something of himself. Endeavoring with heart and sometimes-humorous results, he sets out on his path in life, working in his granddad’s store, selling medicinal salves, washing windows, and falling in love.

This historical coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of small-town life will tug at your heartstrings as Harry discovers who he is, who his father is, and how to heal the past.

Wolff's novel is not to be confused with The Green Years by A. J. Cronin, a 1944 potboiler about an Irish orphan raised in Scotland who grew up to become a doctor. That one has been on my TBR shelf for a long time!



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

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

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Book Beginning: Hollow Kingdom by by Kira Jane Buxton

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING

book cover of Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton - green with silhouette of crow

I should have known something was dangerously wrong long before I did.

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton. If you ever wonder who will save your pets in the zombie apocalypse, this is the book for you!

I have never read a zombie book ever. But my book club -- given our method of choosing -- came down to a vote between this one and realistically grim book about prison life in the South in the 1920s. We voted overwhelmingly in favor of zombie apocalypse.

I raced through Hollow Kingdom this week and loved it. Anthropomorphic animals! My favorite thing! And the main one is a talking crow who swears as much as I do. The themes are big. The ending is hugely ambiguous. We will have lots to talk about at book club. Excellent pick!



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

They all traveled down I-5 South and taken refuge in [Pike's Market], among the beautiful flower displays, waterfront views, and specialty teas that cost the same as a kidney! I lowered, preparing to let out a caw of jubilation, and then my stomach fizzed into boiling acid.



Friday, January 31, 2020

Book Beginning: Due Diligence and the News by Stanley E. Flink

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

Apologies for my late start this week. Things have been hopping at my office and I forgot to post last night. I only just now remembered!

MY BOOK BEGINNING

book cover of Due Diligence ant the News: Searching For a Moral Compass in the Digital Age by Stanley E. Flink

My conviction is that freedom of the press will survive only if a large proportion of the citizenry is willing to watch over it.

Due Diligence and the News: Searching for a Moral Compass in the Digital Age by Stanley E. Flink.

This new book may sound a little wonky, but it called to me as soon as I saw it. Lots of attorneys may never talk to a reporter, but I talk with media often as part of my job. Our cases are in the news a lot, for many reasons, because we handle sex abuse cases. For example, we have lots of sexual abuse cases against the Boy Scouts and the organization is planning on filing for bankruptcy. And when we filed a case against a private school here in Portland this month, our client and my blue fingernails were in the news. Our hope with these stories is that witnesses will come forward and that other victims will know that they were not alone in their experiences.

So freedom of the press, truth in news telling, and how citizens should best find true news and watchdog media are all issues I feel strongly about. I look forward to reading the essays in Stan Flink's book.


Book Beginnings on Fridays badge


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.

The Friday 56 badge

MY FRIDAY 56

The moral compass in early American public life found few steady hands, but those who spoke out against slavery needed newspapers to amplify their message. Some anti-slavery publishers were attacked by mobs, their printing equipment set ablaze.


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