Monday, September 3, 2007


1. "The Sun Also Rises," by Ernest Hemingway. I recently made myself a promise to read or re-read at least one classic a month. I had never read this book, although I had seen the mini-series with Jane Seymour in the role of Lady Brett Ashley. Ex-pat American in Paris Jake has a "little problem" left over from a WWI wound. He can't make love to Lady Brett, so she has countless affairs with dangerous men, but they still love each other. They go to Pamploma for the runnng of the bulls. Lady Brett gets herself in trouble, Jake rescues her, she gets in trouble again, he rescues her again. When will Jake finally tire of it? Not before I did.

2. "The Owl and Moon Cafe" by Jo-Ann Mapson. I have read and liked Mapson before ("Hank and Chloe"), and I knew this book was set in Pacific Grove, California, just about my favorite spot in the entire world, so I knew I would enjoy it. It's sweet little story about a family of single women who are extremely dysfunctional but extremely likeable.

3. "Where the Lilies Bloom", by Vera and Bill Cleaver. This book, a National Book Award Winner, is actually my second classic of the month. I had read this book when I was younger and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. It's a story of orphans who are determined to stay in their home in the Appalachian Mountains, keep the family together and hide their father's death from the world. The oldest is spunky and determined Mary Call, only 14 years old, trying desperately to keep her family from descending into poverty. What's so interesting and informative to me was that Mary Call and the other children make their living by "wildcrafting", which is gathering wild plants to sell for medicinal and beauty purposes.

4. "Middlesex", by Jeffrey Eugenides. This book deserves to be on the bestseller list. It's a thoughtful and tender look at an intersexed person - first called Callie, then Cal, and her/his struggle with gender identity. In a wider scope, it is also about Callie/Cal's family, Greeks who immigrated to the United States, and their struggles to make successful lives for themselves in Detroit.

5. "Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith," by Anne Lamott. I have written posts in which I have stated that I am exploring my spirituality, but that does not mean I have turned my back on the Christian church. I have thoroughly enjoyed several of Lamott's fiction works ("Blue Shoe" and "Crooked Little Heart"), so I thought I might enjoy these essays on Lamott's exploration of her Christian faith. I did. What I especially liked is that Lamott uses stories from her daily life to show how she is always seeking grace (and how she sometimes fails.)

6. "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. I read this wonderful, wonderful book earlier this year and posted about it then. But I re-read it for book club in August, seeing as how I, like the other members, Can't Remember S---. It's another bestseller, which of course is a sign of a good book. Another sign of a good book is how long your book club discusses it, and we discussed "Water for Elephants" far into the evening.


J C said...

I think I'd like to read Where the Lilies Bloom. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads up.

Tea said...

Hi Julie,

Happy Labour Day. I didn`t realize that you guys in the States had it too! Every one of those books sound interesting. I love reading.


couragetocreatewriteandlove said...

Well, I consider Middlesex as one of the best contemporary books ever!
I just ordered water for elephants and I am with Eat, pray, love, this last one I should have written it myself, LOL
I am loving it big so far

couragetocreatewriteandlove said...

I love Anne Lamott.
There is this blog I love called 37 days (Patti is the author), she is my own Anne Lamott. I think you will enjoy her writing.

Annie Jeffries said...

Speaking of cafes, have you ever watched or read The Bagdad Cafe? Highly recommend.