Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Respite from Depression!

Hi everyone, I've missed writing. So pleased we'll have some time off in the next few weeks for R & R. I found another sweet little book on the shelf a couple of weeks ago from a first time author. Infobabe tells me that she concentrates her book discussions on first time authors and I like the idea of giving new folks some good press when they deserve it (and even sometimes if they don't).
House and Home by Kathleen McCleary caught my eye because of the cover art and the catch phrase "sometimes a woman loves her house so much that she'll do almost ANYthing to keep it." This was me fifteen years ago and I had the three concurrent jobs to prove it, all while attending library school. Now, older and wiser, I'm a little ashamed that I put so much stock in a physical structure to make me happy. Without going into all the unhappy details, suffice it to say that my home in Florida was the first thing I had ever owned in my own name so it was a symbol of so much more than 3 beds and 2 baths.

Ellen and Sam are in the process of ending an 18 year marriage when this novel opens but it only takes a few pages to intuit that neither one is gung ho about moving on and their two delightful daughters try every trick in the book to forestall the divorce. Ellen is a lovely character; believably flawed like most of us, both selfish and loving, hard working and loyal, quick to anger, a little slower to forgive. She's someone you could imagine as your neighbor and your friend.

Sam? The same! So what's wrong? Well, it seems that Sam, the visionary who can't seem to get his wild ideas to fall into place long enough to earn a living, has refinanced the beloved home for a pipe dream. Oh, way too close to home for me! The home sale is pending, Ellie and the girls are distraught, but Ellie has an idea. She plans a farewell party for her gal friends - you know the kind - lots of great food, good wine and conversation. And perhaps....a few too many candles???

To follow up, and keep my reputation for disturbing books intact, I've started The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam. This has gotten some great press so it was on my rather lengthy "to read" list and once again, the cover art is eye catching to say the least. This is a contemporary novel set in Afghanistan involving an elderly Brit, a grieving widower, whose daughter was kidnapped by the Taliban. He takes a motley crew of passers-through and activists into his home, ostensibly to assuage his loneliness but I expect there will be much more to it than that. LJ calls this “Arguably the best novel available on the current situation in the Middle East...." Hmmmm, pretty high praise. I'll let you know.

Had a great turnout for my book discussion last week on Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Numbers aren't always important and sometimes 26 people can be too many but this was an impressive group of women who had read the book thoroughly with an eye to the discussion. Many came with notes, no one was afraid to talk, they all took turns - a remarkable experience overall. The big question was, whose book was it? Frank's or Mamah's? Was it a feminist book or a plain old romance? Another fantastic first novel by a woman who threw away seven years of work and started over with a wonderful outcome. Note: it helps if you aren't familiar with the true story.


Infobabe said...

I look forward to my Loving Frank book discussion; we start out 2009 with it. After 2 stinkers, I think my group will enjoy the change. Interestingly, this month's book, Then We Came to the End, is about a downturn in the economy and massive layoffs. Amazing I chose that book June 2007!

Sallyb said...

Not amazing. We all know you're prescient!