Thursday, September 17, 2015

Books in My Hand and a Bookstore on My Horizon

Reading, I've been reading...What was that Nora Ephron said about using reading to manage her ADHD? Yes, I think so very much.

Here's what the past couple of weeks have looked like in my Read World:

Missoula - Jon Krakauer.  In his latest book, Krakauer turns his attention to an epidemic of reported rapes at the University of Montana. This book made me so angry, because things have not changed much at all since I was a college student. Unlike any other crime, blame falls on the rape victim, rather than the attacker. In these cases, the alleged attackers were university athletes, for whom every excuse seemed to be made. I hope that Missoula is read widely by everyone and starts a conversation that will continue.

Behind the Falls - Brenda Ernst Zalegowski. This YA novel was recommended to me by my enabler, Teri. Noah, a 16-year-old who suffers from chronic anxiety, moves with his parents to his father's hometown. After being homeschooled since kindergarten, he starts attending the small high school, because his well-meaning parents hope to get him ready to go to college. Noah seems to settle in both academically and socially, but incidents and accidents wreak havoc on his emotional stability. This novel is so full of angst, it may be the most perfect YA book ever written. A little lengthy and the characters have a tendency to monologue, but it all rings true and I have not been able to stop thinking and wondering about them.

The Good Wife - Stewart O'Nan. My Stewart O'Nan spring became summer and now it's my Stewart O'Nan autumn. This is such a great way to spend your reading days.  You know who else thinks so? Stephen King!  Uncle Stevie! O'Nan's gritty yet hopeful 2005 novel (not to be confused with the TV show bearing the same title) follows a young upstate New York couple through the arrest, trial and long incarceration of the husband. Patty, the title character, is a good wife, but that's reductive. She is so much more than that. I have read eight of O'Nan's novels at this point and they're all brilliant, but this one especially with its heart and guts. Highly recommended.

Stand By Your Man - Tammy Wynette.  Last weekend, I saw the musical of the same name based on Wynette's life, and the next day, I rushed to the city library for a copy of her 1979 memoir. What a great read -- a rags-to-riches story full of anecdotes about all those men, no-good and otherwise that she hooked up with, and all against the backdrop of Nashville. Wynette was only in her mid-30s when she wrote this book and would live just 20 more.  I felt sad knowing that she would die at 55 and there was so much pain still to come.

Last Night at the Lobster - Stewart O'Nan. This is actually a reread -- the first Stewart O'Nan novel I ever read. Since I am obsessive about reading everything he has written, I had to visit this one again. A wistful slice-of-life look at the closing of a Red Lobster restaurant a few days before Christmas (and during a big snowstorm) and the small staff and their manager that comes in and works that last shift. An interesting look at the ways different people behave when they know they are at the end of something. A short novel that reveals more than many long tomes. I was inspired to reread  Lobster because it's Stewart O[Nan, but also because a beloved restaurant in Sedalia, Patricia's, closed their doors this week after 30 years.

This weekend will find me on my way to Tulsa to visit The Spawn, and he has promised to take me to yet another used bookstore. I also hope to revisit the bookstore by Macy's where there were all those obscure Pulitzer novels. There's a gleam of anticipation in my eye even as I glance worriedly at my credit card. Someone hold me back, but not too hard.

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