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.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

List: Campus Novels

Actually being a college professor holds no interest for me. I wasn't even particularly fond of being a college student. I don't want to live in the Ivory Tower, just visit. I love novels featuring college professors, set on college campuses, with an academic theme or plot. The Campus Novel is my favorite sub-genre.

So I keep a running list of Campus Novels. These are books I have read or want to read. If you have suggestions for additions to this list, please send them my way.

I'm not so keen on novels featuring students compared to the adults on campus. I read a distinction once (I think made by David Lodge) between "Campus Novels" that focus on college professors and other faculty, and "Varsity Novels" that focus on student life. The later don't appeal to me much. There may be a few on my list that could cross over, but most fall on the professor side of the line.

Those I have read are in red, with links to reviews if I wrote one. Those on my TBR shelf are in blue. Any favorites? If you have ideas for additions, please leave a comment.

Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber

Jake's Thing by Kingsley Amis

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

One Fat Englishman by Kingsley Amis (reviewed here)

Death of an Old Goat by Robert Barnard

End of the Road by John Barth

The Dean's December by Saul Bellow

More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow

Herzog by Saul Bellow

Ravelstein by Saul Bellow

The Morning After Death by Nicholas Blake

Eating People is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury

The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury

Possession by A. S. Byatt

The Professor's House by Willa Cather

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

Falconer by John Cheever

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

The Archivist by Martha Cooley

Holy Disorders by Edmund Crispin (and rest of his Gervase Fen series)

Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie

In the Last Analysis by Amanda Cross (and the rest of her Kate Fansler series)

The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies (reviewed here)

What's Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies

The Lyre of Orpheus by Robertson Davies

White Noise by Don DeLillo

Death is Now My Neighbour by Colin Dexter (from his Inspector Morse series)

The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn by Colin Dexter (from his Inspector Morse series)

The English School of Murder by Ruth Dudley Edwards

The Trick of It by Michael Frayn

Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes

The Weight of the Evidence by Michael Innes

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (reviewed here)

Redback by Howard Jacobson

Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 

My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman (reviewed here)

The British Museum is Falling Down by David Lodge

Thinks by David Lodge

Deaf Sentence by David Lodge (reviewed here)

Changing Places by David Lodge (reviewed here)

Small World by David Lodge

Nice Work by David Lodge

The War Between the Tates by Alison Lurie

A New Life by Bernard Malamud

All Souls by Javier Marias

An Oxford Tragedy by J. C. Masterman

The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarthy (reviewed here)

Irish Tenure by Ralph McInerny (and the rest of his Notre Dame mystery series)

The Search Committee by Ralph McInerny

Prisoner in a Red-Rose Chain by Jeffrey Moore

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov

The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath by Kimberly Knutsen

Blue Angel by Francine Prose

Japanese by Spring by Ishmael Reed

Letting Go by Philip Roth

The Professor of Desire by Philip Roth

The Breast by Philip Roth

The Dying Animal by Philip Roth

The Human Stain by Philip Roth (reviewed here)

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

Straight Man by Richard Russo

The Small Room by May Sarton

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe

Moo by Jane Smiley

On Beauty by Zadie Smith (reviewed here)

The Masters by C.P. Snow

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey

Memories of the Ford Administration by John Updike

Stoner by John Williams

The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams (reviewed here)

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson


NOTES

If you have suggestions for additions to this list, please leave a comment!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Book Beginning: Bitter Cry: A Sage Adair Historical Mystery by S. L. Stoner

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING



The boy slipped into the saloon on the heels of a stumbling drunk.

Bitter Cry by S. L. Stoner, a Sage Adair historical mystery. This is the eighth mystery in Stoner's Sage Adair series, set in the early 1900s in Portland and the Pacific Northwest. Adair is a secret operative in the early days of organized labor.

From the back cover:
Night fog drives a young newsboy into a seedy saloon where his appearance catapults Sage Adair into a world of painful memories, child exploitation and frantic searches for missing loved ones.



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 sent a twelve-year-old into a saloon and a whorehouse?”

Fong’s nod was sad as he said, “all night long, that where they send him – brothels, restaurants, saloons, opium dens, gambling houses.”






Wednesday, January 22, 2020

List: Modern Library’s list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century



Remember 1999? One of my favorite crazes of 1999 was all the "best books of the century" lists that came out as we raced towards the new Millennium. I got hooked on the Modern Library’s list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.

When I took up the list in 1999, I had read about 25 of the books on it, mostly in high school and college. I had already knocked off Ulysses thanks to a Great Books course in college, so I figured I had a head start. I decided to read them all.

I wasn’t a nut about it. I read about one book from the list every month or so. It was a little daunting to realize that there are 121 books on this “Top 100” list, because even though they are listed as one book, some are really sets, trilogies, etc.

It took me about seven years to finish the rest of the books on the list. Finishing this list sparked my obsession with book lists, which led to me starting this blog so I could keep track of my favorite lists.

I certainly did not like every book I read, but I am glad that I have now read them all. How many have you read? Any favorites?

Here’s the list:

1. Ulysses by James Joyce

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (reviewed here)

4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (reviewed here)

7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

9. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

11. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

12. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler

13. 1984 by George Orwell

14. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

15. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

16. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

17. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

18. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (reviewed here)

19. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

20. Native Son by Richard Wright

21. Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow

22. Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara

23. U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos

24. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

25. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

26. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

27. The Ambassadors by Henry James (reviewed here)

28. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

29. The Studs Lonigan Trilogy by James T. Farrell (reviewed here)

30. The Good Solidier by Ford Madox Ford

31. Animal Farm by George Orwell

32. The Golden Bowl by Henry James (reviewed here)

33. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (reviewed here)

34. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (notes here)

35. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

36. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (reviewed here)

37. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

38. Howards End by E.M. Forster

39. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

40. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

41. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

42. Deliverance by James Dickey

43. A Dance to the Music of Time (series) by Anthony Powell  (discussed here)

44. Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley

45. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

46. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

47. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad

48. The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence

49. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence

50. Tropic of Cancerby Henry Miller

51. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer (reviewed here)

52. Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

53. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

54. Light in August by William Faulkner

55. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

56. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

57. Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford

58. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

59. Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm

60. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

61. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

62. From Here to Eternity by James Jones

63. The Wapshot Chronicles by John Cheever

64. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

65. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

66. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

67. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

68. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

69. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

70. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durell

71. A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes

72. A House for Mr. Biswasby V.S. Naipaul

73. The Day of the Locustby Nathanael West

74. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

75. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

76. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

77. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (discussed here)

78. Kim by Rudyard Kipling

79. A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

80. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

81. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (short review here)

82. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

83. A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul

84. The Death  of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

85. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

86. Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

87. The Old Wives Tale by Arnold Bennett

88. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

89. Loving by Henry Green

90. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (reviewed here)

91. Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

92. Ironweed by William Kennedy

93. The Magus by John Fowles

94. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (reviewed here)

95. Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

96. Sophie's Choice by William Styron (reviewed here)

97. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

98. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

99. The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy

100. The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (reviewed here)


OTHERS READING THE BOOKS ON THIS LIST


If you would like to be listed here, please leave a comment with a link to the relevant page or post on your blog and I will list it here.

Author Interview: Sandra A. Miller, Author of Trove


Author Sandra A. Miller's memoir Trove starts with an armchair treasure hunt for gold coins buried in New York City, but like all good memoirs, delves much deeper. Read my review of Trove here.


Trove: A Woman's Search for Truth and Buried Treasure by Sandra A. Miller, from Brown Paper Press (2019)

Sandra recently talked with Rose City Reader about treasure hunts, writing, and her book Trove:

Tell us a bit about the armchair treasure hunt that inspired your memoir Trove.

My friend David who, like me, is obsessed with treasure, invited me to go with him on a search for a chest filled with $10,000 in gold coins buried in NYC. In this kind of armchair treasure hunt, a person hides something of value then sets up a series of codes and clues to reveal the location where it can be found. It’s been a “thing” for a while, but now the hobby is really growing in popularity. Once you think you know where the treasure is, you have to go to the exact spot and try to find it. Over the course of two years, David and I made several trips to NYC in search of that treasure chest, but as my memoir reveals, the whole thing got a lot more complicated than I ever could have imagined. Then again, treasure hunting often does.

Also, in the same adventurous spirit, I’ve created an armchair treasure hunt to go with Trove. If you read the book and follow the 8 clues on my blog, you may win the treasure: A handcrafted bejeweled bracelet worth $2,200.

How did you come to write Trove?

I was working on that armchair treasure hunt with David when I realized that as much as I wanted to find that chest of gold coins, there were other things in my life that I was looking for: a connection to my mother who was dying; a deeper sense of purpose; an understanding of who I was in my marriage and family. In my journals, I began writing about my many searches, exploring the idea of life as a treasure hunt—which mine had always seemed to be. I kept writing, making the connections between something I had lost as a little girl, and the ache I carried inside for something I couldn’t even name. I just kept writing and telling my story, revealing the details like clues discovered in a treasure hunt. Soon enough, those stories began to make sense as a longer narrative.

Your memoir is intensely personal, dealing with a rough patch in your marriage, your childhood, and your relationship with your aging mother. Did you have any qualms about sharing so much?

Absolutely. I think almost every memoirist must have some qualms about revealing the most intimate details of her life. At the same time, I knew I had to lay myself bare in this book, or I couldn’t accomplish what I wanted to do, which is make other people more compassionate for their own journeys, help them to realize that the darkest parts of their lives may offer the most insight and—ultimately—illumination. So in sharing my story without holding back, I think readers are able to connect their struggles, however different they may be, with mine.

Did you consider turning your experience into fiction and writing the book as a novel?

After reading various blog posts about how hard/impossible it is to sell a memoir, I’d think, oh, no, what am I doing trying to publish this story in an already saturated market? No one is going to buy this, so maybe I should just really make it a novel. But I knew in my gut—and I almost always listen to my gut—that fictionalizing this was the wrong approach to take. Writing this book and sharing the narrativized but unvarnished truth, was a deeply healing experience for me, and it ultimately makes Trove a more powerful, revealing, and intimate story, I think. And judging from many of the comments I’ve received from readers, they appreciate that it is my true story and that I was able to strip down on the page. I hope to write a novel someday, but Trove was never meant to be a novel. I never wanted to enhance, distort, or dilute the truths I tell.

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

I finally had proof of something I had suspected for a long time: that if you believe in a project with unwavering faith and work at it with persistence, and love, then you can bring it to fruition. I had heard a version of that advice from so many writers, but I needed to find it out for myself. I believed in this book more so than I’d ever believed in any other creative project I’ve ever attempted. Long before I found Wendy Thomas Russell, my wonderful publisher at Brown Paper Press, I pictured this book on shelves in my favorite stores. I felt the weight of this book in my hands. I imagined presenting it at workshops and conferences, signing copies, sharing it with friends. As I was writing this book, I was also dreaming it into being. And every single one of the things I dreamed has come to pass.

Can you recommend any other memoirs that deal with major life issues with the kind of heart and humor you put into yours?

It’s not terribly humorous—although I can tell the author does have a lively sense of humor—but I think absolutely everyone should read Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Run don’t walk to the nearest indie bookstore and get a copy. Trust me on this.

I also love Body Leaping Backward: Memoir of a Delinquent Girlhood by Maureen Stanton. Now this is a memoir with great humor and a huge beating heart.

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

I grew up in a house in which we had very few books and could not easily get to the library. Consequently, I tended to read several of my favorite books over and over again, and I think that’s how I came to understand plot structure. I read books like The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery dozens of times. I would keep returning to books I loved for comfort, but they ended up giving me so much more in an very challenging childhood. Really, they gave me my creative path.

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

I read widely, but when a new rock ‘n’ roll memoir or biography comes out, I have to get it right away. So right now, I’m finishing up Me: Elton John, which was a Christmas present from my husband. Also, inspired by a friend of mine who has been reading all of the Pulitzer Prize winning books, I’m starting to do the same. I recently dove into Gilead by Marilyn Robinson, and it’s a very meditative experience. You just can’t rush it.

You have a terrific website and are also active on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. From an author's perspective, how important are social media to the reading and writing community?

Thank you for saying so. I often feel shy about putting myself out there (gone are the old days of writing in obscurity), but social media is an essential and accessible path for writers who need to bring attention to their work. And, seriously, what writer doesn’t? Also, social media has leveled the playing field for authors in a very positive way. Whether you are with one of the Big 5 publishers or an indie press, you can leverage your social media contacts to promote your book. And for that reason, people can take non-traditional paths to publication and not despair when Random House doesn’t sign them. A savvy author with a small press can be very successful.

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

I have several events to start off 2020 and keep adding more. Check my events page for updated details.

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

My friend Lisa Carey, who has published five novels gave me excellent advice when I was trying to sell Trove. She said, “Trust that your book is strong enough to make the journey.” If you believe in your book, then you must keep the faith, and be patient as well as persistent. A book’s journey is seldom as expected.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Exploring ideas and topics that interest me and bringing them to life on the page. I’d always wanted to write a book about treasure hunting, and here it is.

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

I am, and it’s different from Trove, but still has a treasure component to it, because I’m clearly not done with the topic. But I’m also toying with the idea of that novel. A character keeps pestering me, so I think I’d better see what that’s about.

THANKS, SANDRA!

TROVE IS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOK SELLER TO ORDER IT.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Mailbox Monday: On Cussing, The Friend, & Cape Mediterranean

I gathered a random assortment of books last week. What about you? What books came into your house last week?



The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. This book won the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction, which is a list I am working on.

It sounds like a sad story but a good book about a woman who adopts her friend's Great Dane when her friend dies.



On Cussing by Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love. This is right up my alley, since the one thing law school taught me was how to swear. I found a copy of this gem, out last year from Tin House Books, at one of my favorite book stores, Cannon Beach Book Company.



Cape Mediterranean: The Way We Love to Eat by Ilse van der Merwe. This new cookbook comes out in February. I got a review copy because it sounds fascinating and yummy:

Cape Mediterranean food/cooking is a South African style of cooking and entertaining influenced by one of the oldest and arguably also the healthiest cuisines in the world. It has developed naturally from within the Western Cape due to its Mediterranean climate and the abundance of classic Mediterranean-style local produce. This book features more than 75 delectable recipes, from breads, dips and tapas, to lavish salads, succulent roasts, freshly made pastas and heavenly desserts. The recipes bring seasonal produce to the fore and the balance of dishes and ease of preparation will have you inviting friends and family over in no time to share in this veritable bounty.



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, January 16, 2020

Book Beginning: The Ritornelo Game: A Marlonburg Story by Rhonda Chandler

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Professor Mark Newlin pushed the door of his classroom open on a late August morning, the first day of the semester, and realized three things.

-- The Ritornelo Game: A Marlonburg Story by Rhonda Chandler. This is the first book in a new series I stumbled across on Instagram. It sounds great!

Here's the publisher's description:

A family desperate for money. A child prodigy—the heir to the family fortune—missing. Riverview House holds many secrets.Mark Newlin is a history professor at Gold College in southwestern Illinois. When tragedy thrusts him into a life he doesn't want, well-meaning friends send him to a bed-and-breakfast on the river for rest and healing. But Riverview House is not the peaceful retreat described in the brochure.A nineteenth-century mansion built on the upper Mississippi River, for years it was the symbol of the Channon family's prestige and their right to a place in American aristocracy. After several generations, the family has lost most of its money, and none of its arrogance. And the future of everything depends on one man. The heir to the Channon fortune. Whom no one has heard of for years.Mark and his assistant Sean Merritt find themselves in the midst of an unusual family gathering. Against his will, Mark is drawn into the Channon family's struggles. And as his concern for the heir's welfare increases, he discovers the power to heal in the most unlikely place.



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

Mark had a sudden impulse to hurl the tray at him. He took a bite of toast instead.




Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: Lara Tupper and Billy Lombardo

Both Lara Tupper and Billy Lombardo are showing up here for Teaser Tuesday because I missed last week so am doubling up.

(1) Lara Tupper has a new book out this month called Off Island that is my favorite kind of historical fiction novel, one that weaves in a contemporary story line.

In Off Island, Tupper creates an imagined history of artist Paul Guaguin, famed for his vibrant paintings from the South Seas, visiting an island off the coast of Maine. A hundred years later, a contemporary painter finds the paintings and letters Gauguin left behind, and learns maybe Guaguin also left a family in Maine.



TEASER

The tails  of the Pastor's coat flapped as he watched the sun sink behind the buffer island, a slash of red caught in the hermit's broken window. Like the light was stuck there.

Off Island by Lara Tupper, from Encircle Publications.

(2) Billy Lombardo's novel, Morning Will Come, launches this month as well. It's the story of a couple with three kids learning to cope after their oldest daughter disappears. I admit it sounds so sad I haven't dived in. But I've dipped my toes and it looks more hopeful than it sounds.



Morning Will Come by Billy Lombardo, from Tortoise Books.

TEASER

She'd loop her arm through his and maybe he wouldn't lock his arm, maybe he would loosen it and keep it there for the two-block walk to his apartment, Maybe he would say he missed her.

SLOW BLOGGING WEEK!

I didn't get much posted the past week because things have been hopping at work. Catlin Gabel, a private school here in Portland, released a report last month identifying nine child molesters who worked at the school from the 1960s to 2016.  My law partner and I specialize in representing sexual abuse survivors. We filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of one of the Catlin Gabel survivors.



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, January 9, 2020

Book Beginning: Morning Will Come by Billy Lombardo

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

MY BOOK BEGINNING



Curbside at the United terminal, Alan Taylor looks for a green Mazda with his wife in the driver's seat, three kids in the back. 

Morning Will Come by Billy Lombardo. The story of a marriage and family struggling with the disappearance of the oldest daughter.

Morning Will Come is a "re-issued, re-titled, re-edited, re-beautifully jacketed version" of Lombardo's 2009 novel, How to Hold a Woman. The cover is riveting. This new edition is available for pre-sale from Tortoise Books and launches this month.

From the back cover:
Alan and Audrey Taylor are raising three children and coping with the demands of busy careers when their eldest child, Isabel, on the verge of precocious womanhood, goes missing in the middle of the night. Thus begins this intimate portrait of a barely functioning family left to decipher the mysteries of how to go on in the aftermath of violence and loss. Morning Will Come, a haunting, sometimes raw exploration of grief, is also by turns hilarious and sexy, exploring the bonds of blood and the redemptive power of love.



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.

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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

Her eyes adjusted to the dim glow of the city lights filtered through the cloth dressings of the windows on either side of his bed. She tiptoed deeper into the room, toward the left side of his bed.


Friday, January 3, 2020

Book List: Books Read in 2019



Every January, I make a list of the books I read the past year. I usually read a 100+ and 2019 was the same. I read 104 books in 2019. Some were very short; some were very long. A few seemed longer than they were.

I'm trying to be less stingy about giving five stars. I've always reserved five for classics or a very few all-time favorites. I'm going start giving five stars for books I really enjoyed and would recommend generally; four for books I liked and would recommend to people who enjoy that type of book; three if I was lukewarm on it or if liked it personally, but wouldn't think of recommending it; two if I didn't like it; and one if I really didn't like it.

MY LIST OF 2019 BOOKS, IN THE ORDER I READ THEM

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 

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

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

Slam by Nick Hornby ⭐ ½ 

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 

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

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

Mark Hampton on Decorating by Mark Hampton 

In the Woods by Tana French 

Staying On by Paul Scott (Booker Prize winner

Blood, Salt, Water by Denise Mina 

Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith 

Queen of Spades by Michael Shou-Yung Shum 

Headlong by Michael Frayn 

Zuckerman Unbound by Philip Roth 

The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion 

Vengeance by Benjamin Black 

The Robineau Look by Kathleen Moore Knight ½ 

I'd Rather Be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers by Guinevere De La Mare

Agents and Patients by Anthony Powell 

12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson 

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson 

Collected Poems: 1944-1979 (NYRB Poets) by Kingley Amis (including A Case of Samples, Poems 1946-1956 and A Look Round the Estate, Poems 1957-67

A Woman of Means by Peter Taylor ½ 

Someone by Alice McDermott 

The Poorhouse Fair by John Updike ½ 

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

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

Girl, 20 by Kingsley Amis 

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie 

The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis--and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse ½ 

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

The Imitation Game by Ian McEwan 

Wise Virgin by A. N. Wilson 

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 

Uneasy Money by P. G. Wodehouse ½ 

The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall ½ 

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders 

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry 

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny 

Lila by Marilynne Robinson 

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold John le Carre 

Set in Darkness by Ian Rankin 

Backwards in High Heels: The Impossible Art of Being Female by Tania Kindersley 

There There by Tommy Orange 

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

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon 

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

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward 

The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery by Kyril Bonfiglioli 

Conquests and Cultures: An International History by Thomas Sowell 

Trove: A Woman's Search for Truth and Buried Treasure by Sandra A. Miller 

The Power by Naomi Alderman 

Something Special by Iris Murdoch 

Dirty Friends by Morris Lurie 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty 

The Gift of a Letter: Giving the Gift of Ourselves -- Add Richness and Grace to Your Life Through the Art of Letter-writing by Alexandra Stoddard ½ 

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown 

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman ½ 

Do the Windows Open? by Julie Hecht 

The Dying Animal by Philip Roth ½ 

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson 

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

The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of the World’s Happiest People by Meik Wiking 

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke 

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley 

The Small Room by May Sarton 

The Heart-Keeper by Françoise Sagan 

The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark 

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown 

Levels of Life by Julian Barnes 

The Gourmands' Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy by Justin Spring 

It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life by Judith Viorst 

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy 

First Love by Joyce Carol Oates 

The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey 

Mira's Way by Amy Maroney 

Birds of Wonder by Cynthia Robinson 

A Cat Abroad by Peter Gethers ½ 

Rash by Lisa Kusel 

A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett 

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty 

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs ½ 

Milkman by Anna Burns 

The Professor's House by Willa Cather ½ 

Shattered by Dick Francis 

The Hunter by John Lescroart 

Before Lunch by Angella Thirkell ½ 

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 

Final Verdict by Sheldon Siegel ½

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

The Adults by Caroline Hulse 



NOTE

I usually link to amazon because I know I like to have a link to a book when I want more information about it and amazon is a clearinghouse of information. But I know some people dislike amazon. Please don't take offence. Feel free to find books and information wherever you chose.

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