Thursday, September 15, 2011

As I Lay Dying- William Faulkner

Faulkner's style is perfection itself. In As I Lay Dying Faulkner extended the experimentation with narrative that he started in the Sound and the Fury. With 59 segments and 15 narrative voices, As I Lay Dying is complex and compelling.

The story begins with an illness that leads to death, followed by the experiences of the family immediately following the death. Their incites, often differing, keep the story moving forward but with a unique quality. This is life-simplicity overlayed with complexity.

As I Lay Dying is poetic. I couldn't put the book down and finished in one day and an evening. Faulkner never disappoints me. If you have not sampled Faulkner, this is a most! Absolutely on my favorites list and will be read many times.

5 stars!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Soft Southern Dreams

I have been haunted lately by dreams of warm, honeyed southern nights, and there were some, I remember them. I remember sitting out on a lounge chair in the front yard, sipping tea, listening to the cicadas. I remember gentle breezes and the bubble of the creek down the hill.

I have exiled myself from the deep south for more than half my life but it colors every inch of my life. One never truly escapes the south, not that I wanted to escape it. I just couldn't seem to find space for me there. I wasn't the pretty one, that was my older sister, I wasn't the smart one, that was my younger sister. I guess I never really had definition. I kept my soul to myself.

The south comes back to me in dreams-the graceful old house with the long front porch, two to three stories, and an enclosed porch on the back. Old comfy furniture, and plenty of books. This is often accompanied by the elderly lady wearing her old mink stole. We sip tea and talk about the past. She is obviously a cross between my mamaw and my Grandma Durkee. The two women I admire most. They were very different but equally graceful.

Last night I dreamed I was living in that house. The elderly lady owned it of course, and helped me find a beautiful, quaint building in which to open my bookstore. My dream life. The one I never had. I often think about living that life through writing the story.

All of this has gotten me in the mood for a deep, soft, southern story. I am heading off today to The Book Escape on Light Street in Baltimore to find one. Mine are still packed in boxes for the most part, either at the storage facility or still in the house in New Jersey. I have read many books since moving back to Baltimore and will be writing you about them soon. But today the south is calling me. "Carolina on my mind"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Musings: Books and things

This beautiful site is one of the many views that make my transition back to Baltimore and city living so wonderful. I love taking walks around the harbor and to the top of Federal Hill and just enjoying being outdoors in the city. So much has changed in the past year.

On April 30th last year I lost a very good friend. It was so unexpected and took the wind out of my sails. This year I look back on our time together and remember him with so much love. Brian was a beautiful soul and he is blessed to be with God. I will always miss him. Much love is to my dear friend Leigh and the boys!

Shortly after this there were changes in my husband's job that forced us to look at even  more change. We began the long process of looking for new opportunities and facing the reality of new beginnings.
Of course our beautiful daughter gave us a beautiful gift that helped to balance out the dryness of summer last year.

Our youngest son moved on campus, our oldest son left for Marine boot camp, our daughter and her husband moved into their own home and promptly gave us our baby girl. So much change! All of this was followed by our move to Baltimore. Can you say big year?!

Now here we are a year later and we are finally beginning to settle into our new life. God has been good through all of this. I am going to start a new job next week-not teaching. The atmosphere for education has become so dismal in the US that being a teacher is well less than great. So I am moving on reluctantly. The new job is exciting and very different. I am looking forward to getting back to work.

Through all of this change I have continued to read but not really updated my blog. Sorry. I can only say that I was overwhelmed with everything going on. I have listed a few of the books I have been reading and posted a few reviews. Today I want to share some of the great reads that have seen me through the turmoil of last year.

During the summer I sat on my deck and contemplated life a great deal while delving into the works of Proust. It was comforting and distracting to imagine a quiet life in the Provence of France. I can only describe the work as Beautiful! Slow moving and gentle.

Kate Carlisle
Then I breezed through a stack of cozy mysteries for the fall. They were light and fun, easy to get in and out of while making heavy decisions about our move and packing. Kate Carlisle blessed me with an advanced copy of her fall release, as did Laura Childs. They were wonderful works. Love cozy mysteries.


  When I arrived in Baltimore early this year I began to pull some of the ARC's that I had not gotten to yet and work through those. Andrew Taylor's wonderful book The Anatomy of Ghosts, Queen of Your Life, and others. I read and posted the review for Bruno, Chief of Police. Good times!

I had a Laura Lippman book that I had bought ages ago sitting on my TBR stack that I finally pulled off the shelf. What the Dead Know, set in Baltimore, was a great introduction back to charm city. I had such fun keeping up with the setting. I had eaten several times at the Bel Loc Diner during our visits to Baltimore while looking for a place to live, so it was a delight when the detective went for breakfast there early in the book. This was a delightful book that made me enamored with Laura Lippman. I recently bid on a package of 10 signed copies of her newest book that included a visit to your local book club meeting. I didn't win sorry to say but I am still enjoying her books. I began reading from the beginning her Tess Monaghan series. I am on Number 7 in the series now.

And yes I finally found a book club! It is a wine and book club which is perfect for me. The first meeting I attended we read and discussed Room by Emma Donoghue. Great book, quick read, only 210 pages. I read it on my Nook. I missed the May meeting where James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia was discussed. I read the book but am not generally drawn to the film noir novels. Next up for our club is a favorite Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. It will be great to not only discuss the book but how the movie, one of my favorites, differs from the book. I love the variety of reads that are picked and discussed. It keeps you from getting stuck in one direction and missing so many other great books.

And the big accomplishment, I finished the first volume or Part One of Don Quixote. I will be starting the second part soon. The book is a slow start, even with the windmill incident, but I am glad I kept going. It is a magnificent book. I can certainly see where Shakespeare was intrigued. Love the book.

I am still working on my summer reading list. How about you? What are you planning to read this summer? I have added Mildred Pierce by James Cain. So many options!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

    • Pub. Date: April 2010
    • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 
    • Format: Paperback , 288pp  (Also available in Nook and Kindle format)
    • Series: Vintage Series  
    • ISBN-13: 9780307454690 
    • ISBN: 030745469X

Benoit Courréges, aka Bruno, lives in a small village in the South of France. Bruno, a policeman in the village, embraces country life, shopping at the local market, distilling his own vin de noix, and enjoying great food with great friends. His most difficult work usually involves helping local farmers avoid the E.U. inspectors and the fines they impose.

Murder interrupts the quiet paces of this simple country life. A North African man who fought for the French army is the unlikely victim. In order to restore order to this quiet village, Bruno must figure out who murdered this man. The investigation opens old wounds from the Nazi occupation and threatens to destroy the peace and tranquility of the village.

This title was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Walker does a great job of giving us a picture of life in a small village in Southern France. Bruno is a likable character, who is sympathetic and sensitive of the issues that are raised during his investigation.
The book is "gentle" in telling but engaging. The story unfolds rather then busting out. I don't remember which blog had made me aware of this book but I am grateful. I fell in love with the people and the village itself. I find myself wanting to move to this area and enjoy the quiet, elegant life of Southern France.
Mystery lovers will enjoy the quiet rhythms of this book. I plan to pick up other books in this series. Next one up The Dark Vineyard.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Hi everyone,

I have arrived in Baltimore, Md. I met my husband here almost 30 yrs ago. We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary this month. Appropriate since we were married in Timonium.

It is hard work moving from a 4 bd house to a 2 bd apartment. Forced to get rid of stuff-good! The new place is coming along. I need to get the rest of my books here and figure out where I am putting them. I will be busy setting up at least one of my bookcases today. Some order at last.

I drove to NC on Monday and home on Tuesday. One of my sons just finished boot camp in Dec and MCT training. I went to his MCT graduation yesterday and watched him board a bus for the airport. He is heading to Missouri for his MOS. Cold and snowy there!

My new granddaughter is beautiful and growing.
This picture is a few months old.
I read Bruno by Martin Walker. Barely had time to read with all of the apartment hunting trips, boot camp graduation, packing, the holidays, the move. I enjoyed the book very much. Wish I could remember which blog brought it to my attention. I am now reading Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay. I found that at Barnes and Noble.

With all of the snow, sleet, freezing rain, ice-the title sounded interesting. I will be unpacking books that I have received for review this week and getting back track. I have missed reading and posting. And I have missed all of you. I will be checking in on your blogs soon.

Also, I am looking for a book club to join in the Baltimore area. I have posted on meetup so we will see what happens.

Should I pursue teaching here in Baltimore? What do you think? I am looking to get back to work. In addition to teaching, I have worked as a bookkeeper, paraprofessional for a CPA firm, and as a controller for 5 hotels in Texas. What to do? What to do?

Finally-----the sun. I was about to give up on that. The sun is shining. Oorah!

What are you reading? Is it for fun? review? education? business? self-edification?

Monday, January 17, 2011


Life has a way of catching up with you. This has been a difficult year. A dear friend passed away, my daughter got married, we had our first grandchild, my oldest son left for bootcamp, my youngest son moved into a dorm and so on.

In the last month my husband interviewed and accepted a position with a new company. We will be moving to Baltimore. We have been in the process of visiting there and looking for housing. The relocation is on us of course. Our oldest son just graduated bootcamp and is now a Marine. He is home for a few days before he must leave us for more training and finally assignment to a fleet. He leaves right after Christmas. Our youngest son is coming home for winter break and must be checked out by tomorrow. My niece is visiting from SC-she is awesome. And loads of help to me.

I am going through everything in our house, throwing as much as possible away, and then beginning to pack. I must decide what to do with the animals, get the house listed and ready to sale, and prepare us to move into a smaller place. We decided as empty nesters to rent an apartment in the city for a while. That will be fun but means that we are going to move from 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, walkin closets in all bedrooms, attic, full walkout basement, garage to 2 bedrooms, 2 bath apartments. Such fun!

As you can see there are many things that are distracting me at the moment and very little reading is happening. Our life has exploded. But I will be settled into Baltimore by the middle of January-we can't keep paying for my husband to stay there during the week and travel here on weekends now can we.

I will be back to positng on a more regular basis in January and hope to participate in a book tour in February so please hang in there with me.

January update:

We are moving this week. I will be back on the air next week. Thank you for hanging in with me. Love to you all.