Friday, January 8, 2010

Time to Catch Up

Two customers suggested this book to me last week which I took as an omen...better start reading. Actually, in my own turtle pace, I have polished off a number of books since last writing, some memorable, others not so much. The 19th Wife (not to be confused with The 13th Tale or The Fifth Floor...both worth reading, by the way), blends two story lines, much like one of my top 10 all-time faves, John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman. The first plot focuses on Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, founder of the Mormon church. In 1875, she left him and went on a speaking junket reveling secrets of the sect. The parallel narrative, told by a young ex-communicated Mormon man, recounts the murder of his father, allegedly by his mother, another 19th wife. The stories, both fiction, merge in their examination, and critical examination of the Mormon religion. Where fact and fiction merge, I can't tell you, but as far as contemporary fiction goes, this book is fluid and compelling.

My book group chose Sarah's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay for our January discussion. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I not recently read The Book Thief, a far superior novel about the holocaust. The first part of Sarah's Key explores a period in French history i which Jews were rounded up by French soldiers, on Hitler's orders, and housed in inhumane conditions until being transferred to a camp. Apparently, French historians chose to ignore this atrocity, leaving most French citizens with minimal knowledge of France's involvement in these circumstances. The second part of the book...well, it's almost as if the author farmed the last 100 or so pages out to Jody Piocoult to infuse with angst, and drama making the already self-indulgent main character even cooler and less likable than she already was. The author lost her way, I guess. Had the second half been as tight as the beginning, I would give an unconditional thumbs up...but that's not the case.

Until now, I have steered clear of all the vampire/werewolves offerings, mainly because I don't like getting stuck in a series. I picked up a stand alone book, Shiver, on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. It's a human in love with a werewolf story, typical unrequited love stuff, but the writing is solid. Two characters alternate telling the story, and the chapters told by the wolf are particularly well written. He, Sam, is a wild child, living among wolves when he has not shifted. He speaks with reverence about nature, pack life, and the pain of being misunderstood. His passages are lyrical, sensitive and sensual. No, I'm not hooked, and won't be buying Team Jacob tee shirt any time soon.

In an attempt to tidy up my use of those pesky commas, I bought myself a copy of this fun book written by London Times columnist, Lynn Truss. I knew a style guide wouldn't cure my disrespect of punctuation, and thought her pithy examples would be memorable enough for me to apply them in real life writing situations. So, I worked my way thorough the entire book, only to find this passage at the very end: "Punctuation is to the writer is like anatomy to the artist: He learns the rules so he can knowledgeably and controlledly depart from them as art requires."
So, there you have it, my blatant misuse of puntuation is not ignorance, but art. Live with it!

****And now on to the shameless begging portion of the post. If you go to you will find an opportunity to nominate us, or another local business of your choice, for a grant. Intuit will be randomly selecting business in Jan. and Feb. to receive grant money for business to use as they see fit. If you like us enough to answer three little questions, we would greatly appreciate it.

*****Heart-A-Rama is coming up quickly now, so get ready for progress reports.

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