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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

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If you are looking for a quick read, a low energy, low concentration book, with a smooth story line and little to focus on….

This isn’t it.

Jumping between memory and current happenings and back to memory again

Stegner’s Book is a wordy read.

Full of the academia expected of a renown professor/writer

but once you get passed some of the wordiness

and figure out

the story line and connections you have a a great story, that, in the end had just the right amount of words.

A novel about two couples how they meet, how they live, how their lives cross.

A novel that starts in the midst of the Great Depression and works through and around the lives touched by the two couples

Sid and Charity

Larry and Sally

Eventually, Births, near deaths, polio, cancer, arguments, and forgiveness, all find their way into this beautiful narrative.

Perhaps the most telling segment of the novel comes in these words from page 278:

“…We live as we can, we do what we must, and not everything goes by either Freudian or Victorian patterns. What I am sure of is that friendship–not love, friendship–is as possible between women as between men, and that in either case it is often stronger for not having to cross sexual picket lines. “

There is a Wallace Stegner Website you can check out: wallace stegner


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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An old novel

by an author that died in 1960

The Author was a woman

The Author Was Black

According to the forward by Mary Helen Washington

“In it’s early years the book got mixed reviews from critics, Black and White alike”

I am not Black, nor am I of an age that  lived during the times when slavery was a close memory

But that’s Ok

This book speaks to us in our humanity

Is it not true


“…Women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget.”


“…She had learned how to talk some and how to leave some…”

The Story is about Janie, her life, her ambitions, her loves,

It starts and ends in the same place.

Few things are fully resolved in the story, just as few things are fully resolved in life.

There are births, deaths, deaths of body, death of soul

There are triumphs too.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story that should in it’s essence, once fully read and digested, touch the hearts of all who read it.

Oprah made it into a movie info eyeswatchingodmovie

While she never head the song it made me think of her book

Fix My Eyes by King and Country

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, by James Patterson

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Although I have purchase James Patterson’s books in the past(that middle school series) and have looked at them at thrift stores, I have not been able to get in the stories so never purchased any of his “adult” books.

But I saw this one …at a thrift store for less than a dollar so I figured…”why not??”

It took me a while to start

but not long to finish

It is a fairly quick read

that will

I warn you

bring tears to your eyes

more than once

A jilted woman receives a package from her jilter(is that a word?)

and inside is a diary

by the Jilter’s first wife.

I really can’t divulge any more

as much as I would like to

create a more of a curiosity in you.

I could have done without the first part about the Jiltee

and preferred the Diary sections


in general a good read

nothing vulgar

mostly uplifting

a rainy day with nothing to do

pick up this book as a genuinely good way to pass the time

(better than laundry and dishes right!)

Patterson does have a website : James Patterson

you won’t find much there about “Suzanne’s Diary” easily.

and now for your reflective listening.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

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You need to read this book

…if…you are an adult


I do think the author should do a toned down version for kids.

(there are books that do this, The Art of  Racing in the Rain being one)

it wouldn’t be difficult

the “F” word really didn’t add that much to the story I would have been able to read the anger without it.

the horrific rape scene could also be altered to make the book more appropriate for middleschoolers

and a few of the other sexual innuendos could be removed without altering the heart of the story

that said, this book does an excellent job of bringing you into the world of polish villagers during the nazi invasion

heart wrenching, heart breaking,

once you start you won’t put it down till it’s over.

I was a little leery at first, comparing the story of Hansel and Gretel to things that things that happened in  Poland during the nazi invasion

but the story works

it works so well

you’ll be in tears one moment and rushing to read what happens in the next

do yourself a favor get the book

penguin house publishes it and here is the books hansel and gretel

you can find more about the author about the author

The Summer Guest, by Justin Cronin

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The following is an “add to the winter reading list” type of book.

why?? because you need to read it when you have time to sit and read every day till it’s done

picking it up once or twice a week doesn’t cut it

you forget details and find it harder to stick with the story

which to me really wasn’t “grab you keep reading till it’s done” till about the time you are 2/3 way through the book.

Not to say it wasn’t a good book…it was or I would not be talking about it here.

But it takes that long to start putting the pieces together and figuring out who everybody is and how they are connected.

If you are into the northern woods


stories about deserters crossing into Canada

and the way that affects their lives and the lives of those they love

topped off a hidden love triangle or two

you may enjoy this book

it spans the from world war to Vietnam and beyond

During this time we seen friendships develop

the waxing and waning of marriages and loves

life and death

the characters



Joe’s dad

their respective wives, children and friends

a campground originally bought and owned by Joe’s Dad

and really….perhaps ….you should get the book

you can learn more about Cronin by going to his justin cronin website

on his twitter cronintwitter he says he’s a pumpkin despiser  and I’m not sure how anyone cannot like pumpkins!!!!

spaghetti squash…that’s another issue.

the book made me think a little of this song