Monday, November 15, 2010

Martin Dressler

I admit it. I got stuck on Guard of Honor. I am going to read it. I will read it. Nonetheless I was feeling like a slacker so I read Martin Dressler. I expected not to like it but I did. It reminded me of playing monopoly as a kid. Some people bought and bought and bought the wrong things at the wrong time and went broke(me). Others seemed to be in the right place at the right time and their fortunes just grew and grew and grew(my little sister). The american dream. Everyone starts with the chance of winning. Martin was lucky in money but not so lucky in love. But again the chance at starting over exists in America and Martin surely made another fortune and another life.

Books I've read since:
Too many to count.....memorable ones:
My Abandonment
Never Let Me Go
Kindness of Strangers
Night Watch

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tinkers by Paul Harding

It took me a long time to write about this book. As a man lay dying he contemplated about his accumulated life. All parts of it. His grandson sitting next to his deathbed, the curtains he and his wife bought, the couch his relatives used to pass by him, the bocci balls used on the front lawn. At first it seemed to me to be a story about stuff. Appropo as it is, as I am living in my parents house sifting through years of their stuff. Meshed into the dying man is the story of his father who was a tinkerer, selling wares throughout the countryside in remote areas for pennies, literally. I thought about this at the first garage sale we had. "Will you take a quarter for these?" "No" I remember buying those charger plates for a Christmas dinner with Mom when ALL the family was coming to dinner. No, I will not take a quarter for those. That memory will cost you.
            And so it was with Tinkers, it was the story of the accumulation of a life and most importantly the memories associated with the "stuff" we drag into it. With each piece and part comes a memory of our lives, and this it was Paul Harding so eloquently put down on paper. This book took a while to sink in but when it did it's meaning was magical. The language in the book was beautiful as well. An important lesson to us all.

Books I've read since then:
Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man
Ape House
Cookbook Collector
Never Let Me GO
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Nothing Left to Burn
The Lovers
Time is A river

Have Started Guard of Honor.....Rough reading so far.....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Road

Cormac McCarthy, 2008 winner. I liked this book even though it was depressing and dreary. It was interesting to veer back and forth with the two characters ups and downs. How we as humans try to survive and keep those we love with us no matter what the situation. I was more engrossed in these two characters whose names I never knew than most I've met recently. Another motif that struck me was the good versus evil. "Are we the good ones, Papa?" Yes. If we're the good ones why aren't we helping those more unfortunate? If we're the good ones why are bad things happening to us? If we're the good ones things will turn out okay, right? Are the bads ones bad because they are doing what they need to do to survive? Are the good ones rationalizing what they do in order to survive. At that point who is making the determination as to who is good and who is bad? This book raised more questions for me than any I've read in a while. My husband and I watched the movie and interestingly enough he commented on the apocolypse. I never even thought about it. Of course it could happen but I think really that it can seem to happen to one person in the midst of life today. One person can feel that lonely and scared and have the weight of survival and survival with dependents without the world ending. Sometimes life is just that hard. In the meantime I've read:
A portrait of a Young Man as an Addict
A cure for Dreams
Never Let me Go
Outside of August
Next is Tinkers, 2010 winner. Happy reading!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh Tales of theSouth Pacific, James Michener, 1948 Winner, how I deplor you! The book was tough going for me as it was filled with description after description of war planes and war this and war that.It took me a while to get into the characters as well, but once I did that helped a bit. The style reminded me a bit of Olive Kietteridge based on the fact that it was somewhat a collection of short stories with the same characters woven throughout. (Hence Tales....) At some point in the reading I realized this was the basis for the musical that my high school put on WAY back in 1981. I remembered bits and pieces here and there.Not my favorite read but it's finished and on the shelf.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridige was the 2009 award winner. Not a novel, not short stories but somewhere in between. That the writing is exempleary is a given. I won't even discuss that again.The format was difficult for me in that I'm not a short story fan. I embrace the novel. It's more of a committment. More long lasting. It's like an affair versus a marriage. The short stories are for the train, the bathroom or the doctor's office. They just don't seem to have the same weight as a good novel. The difference here is that the characters have continuity throughout the stories. Olive of course being the central tie to each story line. And through Olive we learn of other character's progression through life.  For example Henry's brief affair, retirement, heart attack etc. All these things mentioned in context of some other character's "story".
     And now I move backwards in time to 1948. Tales of the South Pacific is next. We'll see how it goes. Perhaps though I'll take a breather with some other tripe.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Here we go! I've decided to read all the Pulitzer Prize Winners from 1948 to present. Why? Simple enough. Because I like to read, because I like to read a lot, because I enjoy good liererature and because I became tired of psudo-reader's suggestions of "good" books. I plan to alternate between the old and the new. I think this will give me an interesting perspective on what constitutes an award winner. Some I have already read but I plan to reread any that are even faintly sketchy in my memeory.
     I started withe Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.I know, not the beginning or the ending of the list. Prize winner in 2003. I just happened to have it on my nightstand so it seemed like a good place to start. I loved this book. The year 2003 was also the year that my youngest son died. I was not surprised that I hadn't read this book. Coming from a liberal childhood, the subject matter did not shock, apppall nor turn me off in any way. Instead I found myself thinking about the loss of a child (naturally) and the effects of that on the family. Even though Tessie didn't literally lose her little girl she did in a bigger sense. And yes, she did gain a son. But still I imagine she must have mourned her loss. Calliope seemed to be in a grieving state throughtout most of the book as only one who has changed genders can grieve.
     Another facet of the book that I found interesting was the innate fight of parents against change. And probably not just parents. We humans like things to remain the same and by god if the doctor said Callie was a girl she should remain a girl no matter what. The courage it takes a person to go against the norm is always amazing to me. Quite a story.