Wherever Grace is Needed

July 29th. 2011

Best book of the summer of the summer–so far. I just had to get that out there in case you didn’t read another single thing I wrote. Zipping through Sam’s yesterday gathering up party food for 17 and 18 year olds, I did my usual jaunt through the book section–to see what the Sam’s book buyer thought was interesting. Among the Colt McCoy bio, Sarah Palins, Glen Beck and reprints of presidential memoirs was a fiction book with the auspicous sounding title. When I flipped to the back cover, and read the endorsements by some pretty credible resources, I tossed it in to the basket without even reading the fly leaf. That’s right–an impulse buy. My MO. At home, after I topped off strawberries, poured out the CheezIts, and iced down the Dr. Peppers, I remembered to set the book on my TBR pile. But in a moment of weakness, I opened the first page just to see what it was about. “In the living room, she went through the same ritual she’d performed everywhere else, joining the tips of her fingers of her two hands to look through, like a viewfinder, and slowly walk around the room to examine every little thing.” The viewfinder imagery got me. I sat down and hours later had to have the book pried from my fingers by my husband who was desperate for me to turn off the lamp so he could sleep. It was that good. And, since I had a bit of a road trip ahead of me for the weekend, I thought, well, I’ll just finish this on the drive. HA! After setting out breakfast for the girls who slumbered (party turned into a sleepover) I just wanted to see what was behind the next page–kind of tease myself with the plot. Three hours later, I turned the last page with the dread of knowing I’d have to leave these wonderful characters behind. Truly, I grieved a little. Between the plot (dear, complex, and utterly real) and the characters (also complex, dear and utterly real) the novel, Wherever Grace is Needed,  by author, Elizabeth Bass, (and Grace is the main character’s name) will go down as one of those books I quickly recommend to anyone who dares ask the question “read anything good lately?” Please, treat yourself to this lovely, gem of a book that chronicles the dynamics of a little street of neighbors gripped by guilt, crisis,loss, identity, and place.

Tassy Morgan’s Bluff

July 16th. 2011

I bought Jim Stinson’s Tassy Morgan’s Bluff because it was on a summer reads display at Barron’s. If Barron’s recommends it, particularly if its artfully surrounded by beach bags and flip flops, I usually give the titles a fair shake and walk out with two or three. This choice didn’t disappoint. The story was cute, fun, delightful and all the sorts of quirky characters one likes to find in something on a summer reads table. Mr. Stinson set his us-against-them story in San Andreas ( a no-fault town,) an ocean-side community in Oregon, but the master planned community idea is universal. And even as Tassy Morgan’s eyesore of a house is inching toward falling into the bluffs, I sympathized with her need for individualism. The story is full of second chances for houses, dogs, and people and that makes for a great summer story.  Flip flops optional.

The Mulberry Tree

July 13th. 2011

I’ve done the sort of thing that makes me nervous–very nervous. I bought a book, got half way through, BEFORE I realized I’ve read it before. What does that say? I’m not old enough for dementia. I don’t think. Anyway, I’m happy to report that even on a second reading that I though was a first reading I thoroughly enjoyed Jude Deveraux’s The Mulberry Tree. A complex story of secrets, lies, friendship, romance and healing of ancient hurts. I recommend it, multiple times over.

Summer in the South

July 5th. 2011

Bought this book based on the cover and title. I’m such a cliche. Actually the inside cover copy read like it’d be interesting too. And it was . . .sort of. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t understand the main character or her motivations. I kept going back to re-read pages because I was sure I missed an important clue or revelation, but don’t think I did. So I skipped ahead. Way ahead, like four chapters from the end. I hope you’ll have better luck with a Summer in the South.