Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All Booked Up

Well, ever since Borders went under and I did some stocking up, I have pretty much been face to page. (except when I've had to be Mom/Wife or working on my dresser refinishing project)  I wandered the aisles and lifted a great many books to read their synopses. A fair stack made it into my collection and I have been immensely enjoying myself. I chose a few books I would not have normally as well as those I tend towards.

I was lucky (?) enough to find a complete selection of Elizabeth Gilbert's other works prior to Eat Pray Love, as well as her newest that takes up where she left off. Of them, I have read Pilgrims and Stern Men. Pilgrims is an oddity. A collection of short stories that to my mind were generally choppy and maybe even unfinished. Often I felt as though something was missing and so I was somewhat disappointed with it. Stern Men was different, but I liked it. Especially the ending. There were a few places where I felt the story dragged a touch, but the style was different and I was intrigued by that. The book is about 2 tiny islands off Maine, though it largely centers around the folks on the poorer one. The bulk of the male islanders are lobster-men, often drunkards and very set in their ways. The story primarily centers on the daughter of one of these men and how she grows into a very capable and smart woman who finds the power to change the lives and futures of the two islands at odds for so many years. Ultimately I enjoyed the read and got a real kick out of the ending.

I like Garrison Keillor. He is a quirky author with an unusual storytelling style. I have read just three of his books, but I definitely want to read more of the Lake Wobegon series. The most recent one I read is Pilgrims, in which a group of Lake Wobegonians travel to Rome to honor one of their own. Mr. Keillor includes himself in the story as a traveling companion to the group, but never seems to quite mesh with the bunch. The lead character, Margie goes through the full roller-coaster of emotions. Throughout the whole story, it seemed as though the other shoe would drop and ruin her any moment.

Annie Sanders is an author new to me. Well, two actually. What you say? TWO? How can this be? This is because Annie Sanders is the combined force of 2 British women/authors named Annie Ashworth and Meg Sanders, who wrote this fab book titled Goodbye, Jimmy Choo. I snapped this one up, being the Anglophile that I am, and am glad I did. I laughed, I cried and I cheered the women in this story on. Unlikely friends and suddenly business partners, Izzie and Maddy have a whirlwind year of highs and lows. Each finds a strength within themselves they never knew they had. I enjoyed their escapades and related well to their emotions in many ways. I really didn't want the book to end, but alas it did. I have discovered there are other Annie Sanders books to be read and I am definitely keen to do so... Watch out, I will be on the prowl again soon. Annie Sanders also has a new-ish blog as well, so I will have to check it out.

Kathryn Borel wrote her funky little memoir Corked and found a lot of criticism in the reviews of it. I read the dust jacket and I knew going in that it was more about the experience, highs and lows of a wine trip through France with her Father than it would be about the wineries they visited. Somehow, many of the reviewers were disgruntled that the book was not more about the wineries, which really causes me to wonder whether they actually read the description PRIOR to reading the book. I cannot understand how they could be disappointed, unless they just didn't bother to take note of the fact that this is a memoir and not a travel guide. Many other reviewers cry out for KB to get therapy and fast. In some ways I can say I understand their plea. That said, I have to wonder just how much she exaggerated things in order to make the book. As far as the book goes... well it wasn't great but it wasn't horrible either. It was written more as if the story were being told to friends at a get-together. There was plenty of cussing and plenty of frustration and venting of same. I think the point of the story was more to show that people just don't communicate with each other. All too often family members harbor secrets about their pasts that ultimately affect who they become. Without the knowledge of what happened to our loved ones, we cannot truly understand who they are. Important information withheld leads only to questions about why they do the things they do, think the things they think or feel the way they feel. Often it causes great rifts and disconnects, because there is no way to understand what someone does not tell us. Certainly there was a moral to this story and that was all about sharing who you are, even the not so pretty things.

The book stack is where I have been of late. I will surely have more to blog about soon enough. Right now though, I am content to read myself silly. Grab a book, a glass of wine and make time to read and relax. Trust me it's worth it!

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