My Reading Pal
• May 25, 2002 - Oct 22, 2010 •
Forever in my heart
Let’s just start right off by me saying that I absolutely loved I Regret Nothing: A Memoir by Jen Lancaster! I listened to the audio version which is read by Jen herself and if you’ve never listened to her narrate one of her own books you are really missing out. I’ve listened to a couple of them and she is fantastic. Her personality and humor shine through as you listen and since I find her incredibly funny listening to her really adds to my enjoyment. She never fails to cheer me up!
I Regret Nothing is Jen’s latest personal memoir. Her memoir really resonated with me because I felt as though she was talking about me. I share her sense of humor, we are close to the same age, and have both been at that point in life where you begin looking around and assessing all the regrets you might have. Also I always connect with people who love their furbabies as obsessively as I do. We definitely share the same parenting skills there. Lol. Above everything I picture Jen as someone I could find myself sitting with and having a drink while our dogs poke us with their noses. She’s very real and doesn’t sugar coat anything for her audience. I like that.
In this book Jen writes herself a Bucket List to make sure she has no regrets when all is said and done. In doing so she takes us along as she attempts to ride a tricycle, learns Italian, and goes on a trip to Rome. All along she reflects back on her life and addresses current – sometimes serious – issues. What makes it all so special is Jen herself. When I wasn’t laughing out loud I was shaking my head as I agreed with something she said. She’s truly a story teller even when it’s the story of her own life.
I highly recommend Jen’s memoir especially to those who love her books but I think it will really appeal to women in their late 30’s and 40’s as they will be able to easily relate to being at that point in their own lives as Jen was. Jen shares her heart and soul in this memoir along with a good dose of humor and her message is clear – live your life without regrets! I loved it!
Reconnaissance is a collection of poems by Anne Higgins and a very lovely one indeed! Her poems are about seeing the world around us and this collection evokes vivid images of the beauty and the harshness around us every day. She writes of birds and gardens and then on the other end of the spectrum illness and death. Her poems take us on a journey through memories of her childhood and later years and we find we are taken away on the beauty of her words.
Anne’s poetry is really about life and all the things in it. I think that’s what really connects the reader to her poetry. There are poems about traffic, the blind spot when you’re driving, and another where she dreams she is Agatha Christie. Still others deal with aging, illness, and family. These are all poems many of us can relate to and for me that’s what is most important when I read poetry. I was able to understand what the poems were trying to relate to me and in that I was able to just relax and enjoy them all the more.
I found the title of the collection interesting and the author explains that, to her, the word Reconnaissance means ‘to know again’. So she says the poems are about knowing things again, of seeing them with new eyes. I always find it fascinating to learn where a poet finds their inspiration and I think that Anne’s perfectly encompasses the scope of this wonderful collection. While I enjoyed many of the poems there were a few that really struck a chord with me and I thought it might be nice to share at least one of them…
If I had a daughter, I would name her Perdita.
Of course, the time when I could have a daughter is long
But that name, the lost one, calls to me tonight.
Like Anita, and Rita, and Jacquita, Lolita, Florita, it is Latin and
but it’s lost, too.
So my lost eggs, long ago shriveled up,
and lost nest, more recently, fried by radiation.
Perdita, your name wouldn’t go well with my last name,
or the names of any of the men I would have married,
but you are the lost one,
the invisible one,
the one I never would have had the patience
to toilet train, to least train like a puppy,
to train like a stubborn adolescent.
Never meant to be be a mother,
today, more than old enough to be a grandmother,
I think of long lost tempests,
Beautiful, just beautiful… Recommended for all those with a love of poetry.
The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy is a wonderful blend of the past and present that completely captivates the reader from the first page to the last. Sarah McCoy tells a beautifully written story that is told in the past by Sarah Brown (daughter of abolitionist John Brown) and in the present by Eden Anderson, a woman struggling to have a child. Having read and loved The Baker’s Daughter I had high hopes for The Mapmaker’s Children and Sarah McCoy lived up to every expectation I had with yet another mesmerizing story. The audiobook production of The Mapmaker’s Children is absolutely fabulous with multiple narrators including Abby Craden, Cassandra Campbell, Jane Jacobs, and the author’s note read by Sarah McCoy herself. With narrators such as these ladies you know you are in for a listening experience you won’t soon forget – very well done!
Sarah Brown’s father John worked hard in the 1800’s to end slavery. While he kept his work from his family it still happened that he discovered that Sarah was artistically talented and that talent lent well to creating maps that were then used on the Underground Railroad. Since Sarah, having had a bad illness, would never bear children she threw herself completely into her father’s work and continued on even after his passing to do what she could for the cause. Eden, in the present time, has moved into an old house with her husband. She’s extremely unhappy with her inability to bear a child and this is consuming her every moment. When the young Cleo shows up at her door she’s pretty snarky but this young girl soon enough worms her way into her good graces. Meanwhile Eden has found a head from an old porcelain doll that had been used in the Underground Railroad in her cellar. Both she and Cleo discover the many hidden secrets and past lives that this doll has lived and in doing so this opens Eden up to healing her broken soul.
The Mapmaker’s Children is a fantastic novel with such depth and beauty. With my love of historical fiction I loved Sarah’s story and while I’ve read some on the Underground Railroad before it was great to learn more of this strong woman and her bravery. I even liked Eden who is entirely an unlikeable character in the beginning but as the story progresses so does she. What I really loved though was how Sarah McCoy wove the two narratives together with an old house, a porcelain doll’s head, and a fascinating look back into history.
Utterly fantastic storytelling! Highly recommended!
GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US & CANADIAN RESIDENTS
1 paper copy up for giveaway
*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter
Draw Date May 23/15
Today The Promise by Ann Weisgarber releases in paperback and to celebrate I’m going to tell you a bit about the book, the author and offer up a copy for giveaway to my readers. I just love the cover design for the paperback as well – it’s beautiful! This is truly a wonderful novel and although I read it last year (my review) I can still vividly remember the story. Ann has a beautiful way with words and her books are always a treat to read. Please read on to learn more about the book and be sure to enter the giveaway as well!
About the Book
In THE PROMISE, critically acclaimed and award-winning novelist Ann Weisgarber returns with a deeply moving story about the Galveston, Texas 1900 Storm, the worst natural disaster in the United States in the twentieth century. While there are accounts of what happened to the city of Galveston and its residents, little has been written about what happened to the families on the rural, isolated end of the island, something Weisgarber sought to remedy.
The story begins a few weeks before the storm and is told by two narrators. The first narrator, Catherine Wainwright, is a concert pianist fleeing scandal and Ohio society by marrying Oscar Williams, a recently widowed dairy farmer who lives on the island. The second narrator is Nan Ogden, the local young woman Oscar hired to care for his home and small, grieving son, Andre.
Nan has grown attached to Oscar and Andre, and she struggles to accept Catherine in the household. As for Catherine, she is overwhelmed by her secrets, by motherhood, and by the rougher surroundings. But when the hurricane strikes, Catherine and Nan are tested as never before.
About the Author
Ann Weisgarber’s latest novel is The Promise. The Promise was shortlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, making Ms. Weisgarber the first American to be a finalist for this UK prize. In the United States, THE PROMISE was a finalist for the Spur Award in Best Western Historical Fiction and The Ohioana Book Award for Fiction. The novel was a Women’s National Book Association Great Group Read, a Pulpwood Queen Pick for October 2014, and the Pulpwood Queen Bonus Book of the Year. Weisgarber’s first novel was The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, which actress Viola Davis’s JuVee Productions has optioned the film rights. For her first novel, Weisgarber was nominated for England’s 2009 Orange Prize and for the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. In the United States, she won the Stephen Turner Award for New Fiction and the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction. She was shortlisted for the Ohioana Book Award and was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writer. Weisgarber serves on the selection committee for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction and is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. Originally from Ohio, she now divides her time between Sugar Land, Texas, and Galveston, Texas.
GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US & CANADIAN RESIDENTS
1 paperback copy up for giveaway
*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter
Draw Date May 20/15