Do you ever have high hopes before starting a book but after beginning realize you’re already familiar with the plot, even if the cosmetic details like name, location, and time differ? I often find this is the case, especially since I tend toward books with themes of love and family in their many iterations. I count myself fortunate to have recently read a number of books with plots that are markedly different and excellently written (including Moonglow and The Book of American Martyrs). Now I can add another unique read to that list – The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti.
‘Twelve Lives’ central theme of family and love is told in alternating chapters voiced by Samuel (a very successful career criminal) and his teenage daughter Loo (a bit of a criminal herself). Watches, whales, and wounds all feature into the plot, along with Samuel’s brother-from-another-mother Jove and Loo’s boy/friend Marshall Hicks, and each propels the story forward until it culminates in Samuel’s 12th, and Loo’s 1st, life tale.
Have you read this book? I liked the story so much I am going to read Ms. Tinti’s The Good Thief next. If it is half as good as ‘Twelve Lives’ I will have yet another book to add to my 2017 favorites list! Keep reading….
Even though summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21st the season always starts on Memorial Day weekend for me. I can finally pull out my lightweight clothing, go to the beach, and work in the garden (and on my tan) until the skeeters drive me inside. I tend toward no-fuss easy pieces, with dresses being my ‘go to’ item to wear – or make.
With rain in the forecast this weekend I plan on recreating one of my favorite looks from the Spring 2017 runways – the kimono wrap dress. It’s such a classic style that flatters most wearers regardless of size or shape. Plus, kimonos are incredibly easy garments to make. You can find patterns at Burda and Vogue, and almost any solid or print fabricfrom gauzesto embroidered cottons to silks will work. After that, all you need are some sexy shoes and a minimalist piece of jewelry to be ready for dancing in the streets (or anywhere else your summer takes you).
Did you know that Coca-Cola has partnered with Dollar General to honor our service members, veterans, and their families with their Share-a-Coke Military Campaign? The 5 patriotic cans honoring veterans, service members, military spouses, military mom’s, and military dad’s also acknowledge Coke’s United Service Organizations (USO) partnership.
I’ve don’t normally shop at Dollar General but do I love Coke, so I’ll be making my summer soda purchases at Dollar General as an easy way of showing support and saying ‘thanks’ to our nation’s true heroes – our military men and women past and present and their families who sacrifice more than we can ever know.
I am also going to take a pause from eating burgers and swimming to ‘be a force behind the forces’ and send a message of thanks to our service members who don’t get Memorial Day as a holiday. It seems the least I can do on this Memorial Day. How about you?
I’ve spent the last two weeks running three back-to-back celebrations which have kept me pretty busy. My favorite event of the three was a graduation celebration for nine young artists (each an accomplished musician, film maker, actor, writer, or game designer). I created a piece of art to record their accomplishments, which was framed and given to each along with a beautiful monogrammed leather folio…
If you’ve been following The Grey Goddess then you know I love to read. I always have a ‘current read’ book on my night table and a pile of future possibilities nearby. Check out my 2B or Not 2Be Readsand Books I’ve Read lists, where I detail my will or have read books. I like to save my TGG posts for books that really stand out in some way, such as my just-finished 5-star read – Moonglow by novelist Michael Chabon.
I can’t remember where I first learned of Mr. Chabon’s fictional memoir of his unnamed grandfather but the book has been on my ‘must read’ list for some time. Utilizing some of the most eloquently phrased sentences I’ve ever read, the author weaves a richly detailed multi-layered possibly true story about the joys and pains of love in its many forms. The reader feels the heat from a life-long ardor shared by his grandparents, understands the unspoken bonds shared by siblings, relates to pursuing one’s passions until death, and stands bedside while witnessing the friendship and love of a grandchild and grandparent. Moonglow is a beautifully written, sweeping blend of fictionalized truth that jumps between decades and characters but never leaves the reader feeling lost during the journey, only saddened when that journey ends on the last page.
Have you read Moonglow? I’d love to know what you thought of the book or what you’re reading now……
Every mom mothers in her own unique way. My mother had my sister and I when she was very young and I am not sure how she and my father actually managed to be such good parents, practically being kids themselves. Somehow, they managed to raise two educated, liberated, creative, self-sufficient globe-trotting daughters before it become common to do so. While my dad taught us to use tools and take care of our cars my momma taught us how to read and write, keep house, cook, bake, sew, embroider, knit, crochet, garden, watch soap operas, and enjoy a gossipy coffee klatch all before first grade. It wasn’t until I had my own children that I realized the unrelenting work a mother does or how effortlessly my mom handled the job. She set a great example for me to follow, for which I am deeply grateful. Thanks my momma!
Did you know that the last Saturday in April is Independent Bookstore Day?
Amazon may be able to deliver any book to your doorstep in two days or less but can it provide you with the opportunity to meet & greet your favorite author? Does Amazon host reading clubs where you can discuss and debate topical books with strangers turned friends? Can you spend hours on a rainy day browsing the aisles of Amazon, fresh coffee in hand, reading snippets from whatever books catch your attention? No, no and no. Can you do all of those things at your independent bookstore? Yes, yes and yes.
Find an indie bookstore near you and stop in to raise your favorite book in a toast to reading and to the amazing independent bookstores that make that possible! If you live in Nashville, Miami, Philadelphia or Denver check out my favorite independent bookstores, including Parnassus Books, her bookshop, Books & Books, Wooden Shoe Books,Joseph Fox Bookshop, and Tattered Cover Bookstore. If you live somewhere else I’d love to know what independent bookstores you recommend. Happy Independent Bookstore Day…and Happy Reading!
It’s been 30 years since we lived in South Florida and while a lot has changed (more people, more traffic, more buildings) an awful lot has stayed the same (the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and incredible cosmopolitan vibe). We used the Miami Punk Rock High School Reunion as an excuse to get away for a week and relive our youth… Continue reading “Havana moon…”→
I’m, back! After a week spent in South Florida (more on that in the days to come) followed by a week of work, sick pets, and tax prep I’m back to posting.
For the last two weeks I have been held in thrall by Joyce Carol Oates ‘A Book of American Martyrs’. Luther Dunphy (a poor, uneducated husband, father, carpenter and devout evangelical Christian) and Gus Voorhees (a middle class, highly educated husband, father, ob/gyn, and non-believer) represent both sides of the abortion debate still ranging in America today. It is a testament to Ms. Oates exceptional writing skills that her readers come to understand, and even emphasize with, how each man’s belief system leads to their resigned acceptance of becoming a martyr.
While the first third of the book focuses on Gus and Luther, the remaining story centers around their daughters; Naomi Voorhees, and Dawn ‘D.D’ Dunphy. Each girl’s journey from impressionable child to adult is dramatically impacted by their father’s actions and family reactions to the book’s pivotal murder scene. It is here that Ms. Oates eloquently and seamlessly weaves the many ways that an individual can kill or be killed into the storyline.
One thing that struck me about ‘A Book of American Martyrs’ is you never know which side of the abortion debate, if any, the author supports or wants you, the reader, to adopt. In our politically charged times I applaud Ms. Oates for taking an objective stance on a polarizing topic to produce a powerful, profoundly moving, thought-provoking book perfectly suited to today’s political times. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Let me know if you have read or plan to read ‘A Book of American Martyrs’. I am curious to hear your perspective on one my ‘top 10’ books of 2017.
Vacation time is almost here! I am counting down the hours until we board a plane to Miami for a week of sun, food, sightseeing and LOTS of music. Schedules and obligations have forced us to postpone our Cuba trip but we already have so many Florida activities on our agenda I doubt we’ll miss Havana much at all.
Since 5 of the 7 nights will see us in a bar or a casino I’ll be packing a variety of black looks. Not gonna lie, there’s also a bit of ‘high school reunion’ mentality going since I want to live up to my 80’s ‘Black Leather Woman’ moniker. I’ve got the [fake] leather covered and will cut off the neck and arms of my Miami Punk High School Reunion T-shirt to wear with…
I also want to sport some color, if for no other reason than to set off the tan I’m planning on getting! I’ll be packing these outfits for our night at the casino (more music) and our evening in Coral Gables…
I’ll be sharing my vacation itinerary next so stop back soon. And if you have any places in Miami we should eat at, shop at, or play tourist at I’d love to know so we can check them out during our visit!