Saturday, February 7, 2015

And Yet More Snow! And Still more Books

What a week this was! This is the view from our deck to the river BEFORE we got ten more inches mid-week after I took this shot. We had two major snow storms, and a fantastic Super Bowl game to watch. The fact that our favorite team won made it even better. We managed to finally get all the Christmas decorations taken down, sorted, packed away, and sent up to the attic on our dumb waiter. Tutu was the lucky one who got to be at the receiving end of this evolution. As I waited in the very very very cold attic, Mr. Tutu loaded up boxes and pulled the ropes to send stuff up. Since I knew where I wanted each box to go, I got to take the boxes off the lift and stow them away. It was actually fun to have things well organized and cleaned up.

In between cleaning, piling wood, and prepping food for our friends who came to watch the game with us, I still found time to read. I'm now down to just one more books on the Maine Reader's Choice Awards candidates, and then will have to do some real soul-searching to pick 10 of the 25 to urge forward to the short-list. It's going to be difficult.  Here's what I finished this week:

The High Divide
by Lin Enger

Westerns are not usually my thing.  That said, Lin Enger's sparcely written story of a family in turmoil during the late 1800's on the high plains of the Midwest had me hooked from the beginning.  Set against an historical backdrop of the demise of the bison herds, the mistreatment of the Plains Indians with Custer's last stand on the edge's of the story, this one is at once about finding redemption (the father), forgiveness (the mother), and coming of age (the two sons).  We get to hitch rides on railroad box cars, learn about the quests of early Smithsonian curators to gather specimens, ride wild ponies to hunt buffalo, sleep under stars during storms.

It was similar to the epic Come Spring our book club read last month showing how hearty those who came before us must have been.   High Divide is definitely one that I'll want to re-read some day.  In spite of its lean prose, there's a lot in this one.  It definitely won't disappoint anyone looking to explore the area, the time frame, or sink into a good story of family relationships.

* * * *

Cocaine Blues
by Kerry Greenwood
a Phryne Fisher Mystery

Several of my reading friends have given this series good marks for fun, and easy reading.   Kindle had this first in the series for 99¢ so it was easy to try it out.  Now  I can't wait to read the next one in the series.   Phryne Fisher is a fun woman - amateur detective, air pilot, racing car driver, smoker, drinker, not above some good gratuitous sex, etc etc etc.   Plus, she's filthy rich with a poor little rich girl's view of the world that says all women should be given the same opportunities she has, so let's make it happen.  In this first one she's off to Australia to find out why a young Englishwoman seems to be very ill with no one to figure out why.   Great characters, many of whom I'm betting will become regulars in future adventures.  Reminds me a lot of the Maisie Dobbs series.

* * * * 

A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman

Slow start, but then quickly settled into a delightful bittersweet story of Ove, a lonely, hypercritical widower whose aim in life is to be sure that everyone does everything correctly. No deviations of laws or rules are to be allowed in Ove's life. When he decides that he can't go on any longer without his darling wife (the only woman who ever understood him), he tries to kill himself. The first attempt is thwarted, as is the second, and the third, and in fact everytime Ove tries to find a way to dispatch himself with a minimum of mess and bother, life happens instead.

This is a story of friendship, of acceptance, of loneliness, with a cast of marvelous characters who relate to each other with the ability to bring a neighborhood together and bring a lonely man to the awareness of his worth. It's very reminiscent of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Ove is one of the most loveable old curmudgeons I've encountered in a while.

* * * *

And finally............I also finished Redeployment by Phil Klay.  This National Book Award winner deserves a post all its own.  Look for one mid-week, but don't wait to go get your hands on a copy.  It is a definite 5 star read. 


  1. I have this picture in my mind of the box/dumbwaiter project! So fun that you even have one! You have definitely been having quite the winter out your way!

  2. I know the self satisfied feeling of a job wel done especially in the house keeping department! Redeployment is one review I'm looking forward to


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