Two Books in One Week!

May 25th. 2010

Okay, that might not be a real impressive statistic,but in light of the hectic schedule around my house (grad parties, church events, recitals, etc.) it’s a feat. I received a copy of Lisa Wingate’s soon to be released novel, Beyond Summer (the cover is pretty) and started in immeadiatly because I love everything she writes. Lisa does two line of fiction–one more romance driven and one more women’s fiction driven. The stories she sets on Blue Sky Hill (an imaginary Dallas suburb that’s seen hard times) fall into the latter category. This is third in a loosely linked series that began with A Month of Summer, then The Summer Kitchen and now, Beyond Summer. She writes such relatable characters with a wry sense of humor that you’re cheering folks on from the first chapter. I recommend this and all Lisa Wingate books.

Second, I’d read on one of the blogs I subscribe to that Irene Hannon’s book, In Harm’s Way, was climbing the best seller’s lists and when I was out the other day and saw a copy, I snatched it up (paying first, of course.) It was very well written and she certainly knows the romantic suspense craft but I had some reservations with falling head over heels for the story. Don’t let that stop you from reading her though, she knows her stuff.

Since this is high school graduation week at our house, I don’t know when I’ll get time with another novel. The relatives are coming. But the next time  I post, maybe I’ll be a bit more relaxed and a lot less sleep deprived.

Castle

May 12th. 2010

Late on Monday evenings, I hike back up the stairs to post some of my favorite lines from the previously watched Castle episode on ABC. I’m not sure how this Facebook status turned into something people expect, but I’ve had folks say they look forward to reading which dialogue I liked best. One friend even mentioned that when she watched the episode, she KNEW which one was I was going to post about. All that being said, you must know I love the witty banter on Castle. This past week, I missed the episode because we had company. When I asked other Facebook friends to tell me which lines they liked, I had one write that she’d never watched Castle till that Monday and wasn’t too impressed. She said Castle (as in Rick Castle, the main character) was weak. Hmm. I had to think about that one and it didn’t take long to come up with a rebuttal. She was right. (I never said it was a brilliant piece of deduction.) I don’t know who writes for the show, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Castle is the 2009-10 version of a politically-correct, metro-sexual man. He’s America’s answer to Hugh Grant. Granted the actor, Nathan Fillion, just plays the part, but Rick Castle is handsome in a non-threatening manner, hopelessly clueless about women, charming/debonair, more comfortable around the elite than the criminal, and always being pulled up short by every smarter-savvier-than-he-is-woman in his life (to include his mother, daughter, and his proposed love interest.) He’s as cute, cuddly and harmless as a Maltese.

HELLO!! Is this really what women want? Can the Kate Beckett character (who’s tough as nails no matter how she looks in red lingerie) really and with any credibility fall for a guy that she can beat in arm wrestle? I was drawn to this show because of the banter–maybe I’ve never gotten over the old Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies (or Moonlighting, for that matter) but I’ve just realized that in this show Castle is the blond. What does this say about our culture that the man we’re conditioned to admire is really just weak and  hapless even if he is fabulously wealthy. I’m pretty sure there’s a good explanation, so why don’t you tell me your opinion.

Water for Elephants

May 7th. 2010

I bought this book on one of the sale bins at a big box store–surprised that it was there. Wasn’t that like finding a diamond in the straw field? I’d heard people chat up the novel, so I paid all of $5.99 and brought it home where it collected dust on my reading table for months. Poor book. If covers have feelings this one would have been blue. BUT, here in an insane time in my family’s life (son graduating high school, husband caught up in a local bond election battle, daughter trying out for officer on her drill team, and me with writing deadlines) I decided that I need a spot of fun so I opened the book and started reading about Jacob Janokowsi, a man either 91 or 93. It wasn’t long before I realized this was a gritty, portrayal of depression-era circus life totally unlike anything I’d expected. (It’s not hard to care for the elephants more than the people after reading of their conditions.) Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a fun read, but it was gripping. And with the detailed research Sara Gruen weaves into the story, a very dark story arises from behind the curtain. I’d known about the squalid conditions, but reading a novelized account of them makes the stink smell bad–real bad. Can’t say I loved this book. But I won’t forget it.

Musings from a Southern state of mind

May 3rd. 2010

I’ll be honest, I usually post if I have some literary reason to do so–books to review, movies to grouse about. But I’ve been so swamped with end of the year activities related to my son’s high school graduation and my 15-year-old daughter’s dramatic life (drill team tryouts, formals, boyfriends, hormones, grades, driving, etc… ) that getting some face time with book pages is nothing more than a fond memory. The last movie I saw was in January. Why is it the thing I need most — a fiction vacation courtesy of someone else’s angst and glamour–is farthest away when I’m desperate. I tell you why, its because I’m living in the moment.  That’s probably a good thing as living in the past has been well-documented as a psychiatric condition. And living in the future . .  well that doesn’t work so well for a lady stalled in traffic who still has to wash the laundry, cook the dinner, remember what time the carpool drop offs are, and has a pile of writing deadlines sitting next to her dusty laptop. So do you want to know how I cope? I’m mean this is as close to a state secret as I can share and not be turned in to the FBI’s most wanted list. I dream. When I have those five minutes after my head has hit the pillow and before I go into a snoring coma, I spend a few minutes in my fantasy life. (Men have fantasy football so don’t judge.) I go to my Southern state of mind. Sometimes it’s a rustic cabin on a lonely lake in North Georgia, sometimes its a hip beach cottage next door to some artsy hippies on Amelia Island, sometimes its a chic apartment overlooking Atlanta, but always I’m thin, glamorous and highly successful. Dreaming has the same magic of fiction, its just that I get to star in all the action scenes. So, if you like me, are overwhelmed with  responsibilities, then savor those five minutes at night with your own personal, on-going story starring none other than the most perfect version of you. I’ll bet you, like me, won’t be afraid to zip line across Stone Mountain, or ride bare back through the surf on St. Simon’s, or ski down the double blacks of Vail while being chased by George Clooney. See, already you’re smiling and that–as Martha would say–is a good thing. If you’ll bear with my musings for a few weeks until I can get past graduation, then I’ll get back to reviewing books (could I be indulging in mental avoidance to distract myself from shock that my first baby is graduating? Not touching that one with a ten-foot pole.)

Until next time, sweet dreams.