It’s fall in Tennessee. That means it can be 77 on Tuesday and 37 on Wednesday which is a hard thing for those of us who are thin-skinned.
The shorter days and colder weather always makes me want to get my fleece throw and get in my chair with a book, which is what I do every chance I get. Now it’s worn off on the youngest. Last night we were killing time in Barnes and Noble and she bought a book. Then she said she just wanted to go home and get into her pajamas and read and maybe watch You’ve Got Mail.
I’m counting that as one of my major parenting wins.
I’ve been reading just as fast as I am able while still managing to go to work, raise the kids, love the Coach, and slop the hogs. Actually I just feed the dogs. Occasionally. When Coach is vacuuming but it sounded good. I’m also writing a bunch- though you would never know it from the way I’ve ignored my blog. I’ve read some outstanding novels, and I’ve got a stack to get through. I’ve also collected a really impressive list of non-fiction to get through as well, but we’ll talk about those another day.
I loved this book. Absolutely loved it, and I wasn’t expecting to. It haunted me and I found myself forgetting to eat while I was reading it. If you know me at all, you know that NEVER happens. I eventually remembered, and you better bet that I upped the ante and went for French food when I did eat.
I wrote about it here. It spans a period of 100 years. It opens with Sophie in World War I France, and then moves to 2013 London with Liv. Both have suffered tragedy and lost and both love something very dear to them. Moyes does such a fantastic job of weaving the two stories together and binding two women with nothing in common together in a way that will keep them bound forever.
It also opens with a description of French bread and cheeses that will make you throw on some Ugg boots and go find a French bakery. That may be experiential wisdom right there.
Lianne Moriarty is a favorite author of mine. I discovered her when I read What Alice Forgot. In this novel she creates a situation that forces a wife to decide whether to do as her husband asks her or follow her curiosity and open a letter she found addressed to her from her husband to be opened only in the event of his death. I think we all hope that we would get a letter like that full of adoration and love. Only it isn’t full of adoration and love; it contains a secret that will change everything for three seemingly unconnected women.
This novel has several OH MY WORD moments. I wrote about it here. I am a lover of moral dilemmas- especially when they aren’t mine. I think nothing shows us more about what women are made of than when they’ve been put in an unpleasant situation.
Okay, we need to talk about Lisa Patton for a minute. I met her ten years ago when her youngest son was in middle school and Coach was his football coach. I went to the games and sat alone until Lisa sat with me one day. She was a single mother working every day to support two sons. She didn’t have time to play tennis and lunch and volunteer at the school which is where the social lives of the women in our community happen, so being single is very isolating. The social lives of the women are most active between the hours of 9 and 3 which is impossible for a working mom. When I met Lisa I was just figuring that out. I was VERY newly divorced with a toddler and a first-grader. I was back at work full-time and life was very hard and very lonely. She sat and talked to me about her boy that day and mentioned that she was trying to write a novel in her free time of which she had very little. I remember thinking that she was crazy. Certifiable. I had no idea how she had convinced herself that she could write a book, raise two boys, and keep a job.
Secretly, though, I was hoping she would pull it off. And she did. This is her third novel. THIRD. The boys are mostly raised, and after 20 years, she is recently and very happily remarried. She is also a bestselling author. When Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter: A Novel came out it became my talisman of hope. If she could write a novel or three while being single and working, so could I. So I am. But for now, here is her third installment of the life of Leelee Satterfield. This is the third and final installment in her story. I haven’t started reading yet, but I plan on getting to her first thing Monday evening. This one has Leelee opening a restaurant with her fresh-from-Vermont boyfriend. Of course her ex-husband will show back up to cause trouble, because don’t they always? I have loved all of her books, and I talked to her a couple of weeks ago and had her sign her newest for me. If you get a chance to see her on tour make sure you go- she’ll talk to you like she’s known you forever and make you feel right at home.
Do you remember reading Rebecca? This is Cassandra King’s tribute to that novel. It is a Southern Gothic tale of a woman, her husband, his friends, and Moonrise- the home that had once belonged to her predecessor. It takes place in the mountains of North Carolina among the wealthy who summer there. She is desperately trying to fit in with her husband’s friends who are not so willing to accept her. The house comes alive and haunts her as does the rejection of friends and her step-daughter. This is a fun read and a beautiful tribute to Rebecca and the darker side of the South.
Well, it’s not fiction, but it reads like fiction. I couldn’t leave this one off because it is burning a hole in my bedside table waiting to be finished. I read the introduction in the car on the way home from the bookstore and I’ve been wondering ever since how Pat Conroy was gifted with all the words. Seriously. ALL THE WORDS. I am certain there isn’t a writer that can write as eloquently and vividly as Pat Conroy. He makes horrific stories beautiful. This is a memoir about his relationship with his father which was mostly volatile and filled with hatred for most of his life. I’ve seen two interviews and read several reviews on this book and I cannot wait to sit down for a good, long read.
I have a list two pages long of books I’m planning to read. Once I finish with the ones I’ve talked about today, I’m going to read a few Christmas books. I’ll post about those soon. Look for a review from one of my very favorite authors on Monday. I have to keep it a secret until then, but I am finishing it this weekend and it has been a head-nodding book. I just love those.
See y’all on Monday!