Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell

Title: Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, Author: Gail CaldwellLet’s Take the Long Way Home. Finished 9-11-17, rating 3.75/5, memoir, pub. 2010

Unabridged audio read by Joyce Bean. 5 hours.

They met over their dogs. Both writers, Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking: A Love Story, became best friends, talking about everything from their shared history of a struggle with alcohol, to their relationships with men and colleagues, to their love of books. They walked the woods of New England and rowed on the Charles River, and the miles they logged on land and water became a measure of the interior ground they covered. From disparate backgrounds but with striking emotional similarities, these two private, fiercely self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen.

The friendship helped them define the ordinary moments of life as the ones worth cherishing. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.    From Goodreads

The first line, “It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.”  Just beautiful.  Caldwell is a Pulitzer Prize winner and this story of her friendship with author Caroline Knapp is so moving.  These two women shared such a bond and to have it broken at such an early age, Knapp was in her early 40’s, was heartbreaking.  The most moving to me was how Caldwell shared her own struggles with alcohol, something that she and Knapp shared.  It was a beautiful tribute to an enviable friendship.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | 6 Comments

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Title: The Color Purple, Author: Alice WalkerThe Color Purple. Finished 9-19-17,  5/5 stars, classic, 295 pages, pub. 1982

The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

from Goodreads

Celie did not have an easy life.  Abused by her father and then her husband, she relied on the love of her sister to get her through.  When Nellie goes away and Celie doesn’t hear from her she begins writing letters to God. When her husband brings home his mistress, Shug, to live with them, Celie finally starts to see herself in a new light.

This is not an easy read.  It’s emotional, sexually explicit and might wake you up in ways that you don’t like.  Walker has created such a powerful group of women that you can’t help but feel empowered, even when they aren’t.  Celie’s perseverance gives a voice to all the women who experience abuse, verbal and physical, and still manage to stay on their feet.

Honestly, it was one of those classics that I thought would not live up to the hype.  Only it did.  It exceeded expectations and now I’m anxious to get my hands on the movie. I want to spend more time with Celie and Sofia and Shug and Nettie.  I kind of want to read it again right now.  In 1930’s Georgia what kind of life did black women lead?  Still relevant and still addictingly readable.

 

This was my 16th selection for the Classics Club and I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50.  I am woefully behind!

October 12, 2017 Posted by | 5 Star Books | 5 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall Covers

Today the Broke and the Bookish is asking for book covers that scream fall.  I found these on my shelves.  I love fall in Ohio.
IMG_1801

October 10, 2017 Posted by | lists | 3 Comments

Monday mini-reviews

There were a few books that I can easily group together from last month’s book a day challenge, so I’m trying to get those out of the way first.  These three books were all written by women writers and for the most part I had similar feelings about them.

Title: The Writing Life, Author: Annie DillardThe Writing Life. Finished 9-25-17, rating 3.5/5, memoir, 111 pages, pub. 1989

Annie Dillard has written eleven books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.    from Goodreads

I admit that I picked this up at a book sale because it was short and  I’m so glad that I made the impulsive choice.  I’d never read Annie Dillard before, but found her writing beautiful.  She doesn’t make the writing life sound like very much fun, but I loved the honesty and the insight into how a mind can go a little nutty while writing.  If you are a writer or even just want an inside look into the writing  life I think this slim book is worth reading.

Title: A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, Author: Joan AndersonA Year By the Sea. Finished 9-14-17, rating 3.5/5, memoir, 190 pages, pub. 1999

During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod.   from Goodreads

I really connected with this woman who was feeling out of sorts in her life.  Her sons were on their own and her husband came home and said that he had taken a job that would force them to move.  I got her.  I was rooting for her when she embraced new challenges on her own.  I’ve never lived on my own, always having a roommate, so I was living vicariously.  It started strong, but she did lose me a little halfway through.  I liked then ending so, all in all, I’m glad I read it.

Title: Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, Author: Dani ShapiroHourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.  Finished 9-29-17, rating 3/5, memoir, 145 pages, pub. 2017

Hourglass is an inquiry into how marriage is transformed by time–abraded, strengthened, shaped in miraculous and sometimes terrifying ways by accident and experience. With courage and relentless honesty, Dani Shapiro opens the door to her house, her marriage, and her heart, and invites us to witness her own marital reckoning–a reckoning in which she confronts both the life she dreamed of and the life she made, and struggles to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.   from Goodreads

This slight memoir flitting around her marriage from before to beginning to present with little vignettes about things that happened over the years of their 18 year marriage.  The writing was beautiful and some of it was thought provoking, although I had expected it to go a bit deeper.  I enjoyed the writing so I’ve to added some of Shapiro’s fiction to my reading list.

 

 

 

 

October 9, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books, 3 Star Books | 6 Comments

A few mini-reviews from last month

Last month while reading a book a day, I had very little time to review books on this blog, so I’m going to group these four with the reviews from my 30 day challenge.  The rest of the books I’d like to take some time with and will post about later.

We are working on yeast issues in the house so I’m trying to convert over to this diet, but it is a very difficult thing to force on a 6 year old.

Title: The Everything Candida Diet Book: Improve Your Immunity by Restoring Your Body's Natural Balance, Author: Jeffrey McCombsThe Everything Candida Diet Book. Finished 9-30-17, 4.5/5 stars, diet, 304 pages, pub. 2014

This book is an excellent resource and surprisingly progressive in it’s knowledge.  Highly recommended if you suspect you have a candida problem. You can treat at home without a doctor using diet and supplements.  It has lots of recipes.  The two I’ve tried so far have been big hits with all three of us.

Title: Candida Albicans: Could Yeast Be Your Problem?, Author: Leon ChaitowCandida Albicans. Finished 9-20-17, rating 3/5, health, 150 pages, pub. 1998

Candida Albicans is a parasitic yeast that is present in all of us, but in most people it does no noticeable harm. This book provides a comprehensive and non-drug programme for its control.   from Goodreads

This was a fine overview of the issue, but dated.  There are better, more current books out there.  I only read this one because a friend loaned it to me.

Title: Why I March: Images from The Women's March Around the World, Author: Abrams BooksTitle: Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope--Voices from the Women's March, Author: Artisan Finished 9-24-17, rating 4/5, current events, pub. 2017

Between the two, Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope by Artisan Press and Why I March: Images from the Woman’s March Around the World edited by Samantha Weiner and Emma Jacobs, I preferred the former (on the bottom in the picture).  It had quotes from the march in Washington DC that the other didn’t.  Both were great and took me back to one of the most inspiring days of my life.  This country needs a little more protesting and a little less sitting on our butts and complaining about people who don’t agree with us.  There were marches on every continent – even Antarctica – and no arrests. I will always support a peaceful protest. I was inspired all over again.  Here are a few of my favorite signs.

IMG_1665 IMG_1655  IMG_1656

 

October 6, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Top Ten Tuesday – My Bookish Boyfriends

Today the Broke and the Bookish are asking for our book crushes.
Even before the series premiered on Starz, Jamie from the Outlander series would have been #1 on this list.
If not for the movie, Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings trilogy wouldn’t have made the list.  But it counts because I did read the first book first, right?
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice has also greatly benefitted by the men who have portrayed him onscreen.
 
Home (Myron Bolitar #11)
4. Myron Bolitar and/or Win Lockwood III  from Harlan Coben’s long running series.  Maybe we could alternate date nights?
Deadly Love (Francesca Cahi...
5. It’s an old series, but the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce gave me TWO brothers to crush on, with Calder winning my (and the heroine) in the end.
Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3)Paradise (Second Opportunit...A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmo...Whitney, My Love (Westmorel...
6. Pretty much any hero from the old Judith McNaught romances are worthy to be on this list.  One author whose books I’ve reread most over the years.
The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)The Perfect Match (Blue Her...Waiting on You (Blue Heron,...
7. I also crush on all the guys in Kristan Higgins’ Blue Heron series.
One for the Money (Stephani...
8. Morelli or Ranger, Ranger or Morelli?  I’d probably take either one in the Stephanie Plum series.  If I wasn’t already happily married that is 😉
The Informationist (Vanessa...
9. Miles Bradford in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series is a stand up (and hot) guy.
Into the Wilderness (Wilder...
10. I loved Nathaniel Bonner or Between-Two-Lives by the Mohawk from Into the Wilderness.
So, who are your literary crushes?

October 3, 2017 Posted by | lists | 13 Comments