Friday, April 22, 2016

Have a Lovely Weekend

Sir John Lavery, R.A., Spring in a Riviera Garden, 1921

"The flush of branches with fair blossoms,
The deepening of the faint green boughs,
As leaf by leaf the crown grows fuller
That binds the young Spring's rosy brows;

New promise every day of sweetness,
The next bright dawn is sure to bring;
Slow breaking into green completeness,
Fresh rapture of the early Spring!"

From Spring Song by Edith Wharton

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Reading New England: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I'm doing some catch-up today for the Reading New England Challenge, hosted by Lory at Emerald City Book Review, as March was the month to read a book set in Maine.

My selection for the challenge--the Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (2007). Made up of a collection of thirteen short stories, the book tells the story of Olive Kitteridge, retired seventh grade math teacher and wife of Henry, a retired pharmacist, and some of the residents of  a small Maine town. 

A large woman, Olive appears to the world and often to those closest to her to be tough and uncompromising. Through Strout's stories, we learn just how complex she is.

I have several favorites of the stories such as Olive's happenstance meeting with a former student. I liked reading about Olive and Henry and the dynamics of their marriage, and especially about Olive's trip to New York City to visit their son. Also a favorite is Olive's encounter with an anorexic young woman. The poignancy of their conversation brought tears to my eyes. 

Olive is a thread that holds this collection of stories together. In a couple of the stories, Olive gets a mere mention. I found myself getting bored and wanting to know where Olive was and what she was doing.

Authentic is the word I'd use to describe Olive Kitteridge. The setting is the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine, with its best days behind it. Strout's working class characters grapple with real problems and the challenges of living and working in a town that doesn't offer much. 

I recommend Olive Kitteridge. I'd love to hear your thoughts about the book.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: Behind Closed Doors

Happy Tuesday! I'm taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers share a bit about a book they're reading or planning to read soon.

I've enjoyed several of  Elizabeth Haynes books, and I'm looking forward to starting Behind Closed Doors (2015).

From the back cover:

"Ten years ago, fifteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished while on a family in holiday in Greece. Was she abducted or did she run away from her severely dysfunctional family? Lou Smith worked the case as a police constable, and failing to find Scarlett has been one of the biggest regrets of her career. No one is more shocked than Lou to learn that Scarlett has unexpectedly been found during a Special Branch raid of a brothel in Briarstone.

Lou and her Major Crime team are already stretched working two troubling cases: nineteen-year-old Ian Palmer was found badly beaten; soon after, bar owner Carl McVey was found half-buried in the woods, his Rolex and money gone. While Lou tries to establish the links between the two cases, DS Sam Hollands works with Special Branch to question Scarlett. What happened to her? Where has she been until now? How did she end up back here? And why is her family--with the exception in of her emotionally fragile older sister, Juliette--less than enthusiastic about her return?"

The opening:

"SCARLETT--Rhodes, Saturday
23 August 2003, 04:44

To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror."

Would you keep reading?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Have A Lovely Weekend.

Lilla Cabot Perry, The Trio, Tokyo, Japan, ca. 1898-1901
Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University 
Cambridge, Massachusetts