Saturday, August 09, 2014

5 favorites: July reads

before the book list, here's a a favorite image from our week

Alex and Rebekah visit Washington, D.C.!

5 favorite reads in July

-- 1 --

A sweet, prosaic story full of quirky neighbors, a brave couple who gave everything they had to turn an old house in a little town into a warm, welcoming used book store.  Simple, delightful, sweet.

-- 2 --

27  A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff: (Philomel Books, 2013. 230 pages & 9 delightful cake recipes)

A simple YA novel for summer reading that involves cake, adventure, talent searching and lost luggage.  

Here's the always spot-on recommendation from the Book Lust lady, Nancy Pearl, via NPR:  Nancy Pearl Scours the Shelves For Books You Might Have Missed

-- 3 --
28  The Black Stallion by Walter Farley: (1941,  224 pages)

Summer reading for me always includes re-reading favorite books from my childhood.  I love reading Black Stallion because it makes me dream about horses.  Yes, I was that girl for a while and it's fun to remember now that I'm old and grey.

-- 4 --

29  A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams(G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York 2013. 1985. 30 essays, 351 pages, including epilogue)

Another excellent tip from the voracious Katie at Cake, Tea and Dreams.  Perfect vacation read except that I finished it much too quickly.  My only disappointment was that for a book dedicated to the "victims and survivors of the great New England hurricane of 1938"  (ironically, written during Hurricane Sandy in 2012) the storm plays a minor and late role in the story.  Still, a romantic and beachy summer read which is all I was asking the book to deliver.

-- 5 --

30  Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, 1997. 261 pages)

Oh my, did I thoroughly enjoy this book!  What's more I read it during a week of family vacation and passed it along to my parents to read and they each loved it too!  I can't tell you the last time my Dad and I enjoyed reading the same book together.  Doris Kearns Goodwin has long been a favorite author for my history-degreed husband. Her personal story of growing up during the Baby Boom years in the NYC suburb of Rockville Center in a family committed just about equally to their Catholic faith and their love of the NY Dodgers is simple but profound.  So much of what we have been as a nation of neighborhoods like Ms. Goodwin's has been lost -- some, but not all, for the better.

Also the author was just plain adorable and I couldn't help picturing her as my own mother growing up in the same years only a short distance further upstate completely Baptist and unaware of major league baseball, but Irish, whip-smart and beloved by her neighborhood all the same.   under the sad loss of a parent

A favorite excerpt:
I opened the curtain and entered the confessional, a dark wooden booth built into the side wall of the church. As I knelt on the small worn bench, I could hear a boy's halting confession trhough the wall, his prescribed penance inaudible as the panel slid open on my side and the priest directed his attention to me.
"Yes, my child," he inquired softly. 
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my First Confession." 
"Yes, my child, and what sins have you committed?" ....
"I talked in church twenty times, I disobeyed my mother five times, I wished harm to others several times, I told a fib three times, I talked back to my teacher twice." I held my breath. 
"And to whom did you wish harm?" 
My scheme had failed. He had picked out the one group of sins that most troubled me. Speaking as softly as I could, I made my admission. 
"I wished harm to Allie Reynolds." 
"The Yankee pitcher?" he asked, surprise and concern in his voice. "And how did you wish to harm him?" 
"I wanted him to break his arm." 
"And how often did you make this wish?" 
"Every night," I admitted, "before going to bed, in my prayers." 
"And were there others?" 
"Oh, yes," I admitted. "I wished that Robin Roberts of the Phillies would fall down the steps of his stoop, and that Richie Ashburn would break his hand." 
"Is there anything else?" 
"Yes, I wished that Enos Slaughter of the Cards would break his ankle, that Phil Rizzuto of the Yanks would fracture a rib, and that Alvin Dark of the Giants would hurt his knee."  But, I hastened to add, "I wished that all these injuries would go away once the baseball season ended." 
"Are there any other sins, my child?" 
"No, Father." 
"For your penance, say two Hail Mary's, three Our Fathers, and," he added with a chuckle, "say a special prayer for the Dodgers. ..."

*Go to my Book Pile page to see my reading lists from 2014 and previous years.*


Other good words online this week

          .....speaking of Wendell Berry's birthday.....


          A book-filled weekend for us all, dear ones. 

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