I’m reading DEMON COPPERHEAD by Barbara Kingsolver. Really enjoying it. Taking my time. It’s a big one.

My recovery is very slow with shingles. Exhausting.  Ongoing. This morning I woke with vertigo.  Rough morning.  I did manage a few exercises for vertigo. Hoping to b better tomorrow.

The redoing of our house is excruciatingly slow.  Crews are stretched thin and everything takes longer. Drywall is hung. Next is repainting entire inside of house. Then new floors will b laid. Then baseboards. Then cleaning.  And much more.

Lots of stress. Deep breaths.

I’m not a fan of daylight savings. But here it is. Dark early is depressing.

I hope everyone is reading something special. Something light and fun.

I am without internet again until flooring is in.

Is it really November? Hard to believe.

Tomorrow And Tomorrow And Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Why haven’t I read this novel before now? I had to almost be beaten over the head to read it. My friend Nanette told me she loved it, this some time ago. My interest was piqued. Elaine Newton chose it for one of her lectures this coming season. Really made me think. I already had a digital edition on my Kindle. Yesterday I started reading it. And I finished it the next day. It’s not a little book. I enjoyed all of it. I think it’s brilliant!

Gaming. Hm. My children grew up with Nintendo. I watched it become a very addictive pass-time. Honestly, I have never played a game. My kids are all grown with kids of their own. But the boys who are now men still play. In fact, both sons have friends who live in Australia that they met through gaming. It’s a great way to meet people. My grandchildren play games. My son-in law worked for Epic Games, the company who made Fortnite …So I am familiar with games. But I have never given them much thought, until now.

The novel opens with Sadie aged eleven meeting Sam, a few years older, in a game room in a hospital in L.A. She was there because her sister was in treatment for cancer. Sam was there after a tragic car accident that had  killed his mother. He had not spoken a word since the accident. His left foot had been mangled and was now held together with a bunch of steel rods. His pain was unbelievable. Sam and Sadie began a friendship that was for life.

Sam and Sadie went through some tough times but they never stopped caring about each other. They were brilliant together. They were video game designers and opened a business that soared to the top. But many things over the years caused friction.

This wonderful novel is about much more than gaming. The relationship that evolves is complex and yet quite simple. It’s about love and friendship against all odds.

My review copy was provided through NetGalley via Knopf in exchange for an honest review. I loved it!

Gabrielle Zevin is the author of THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY and YOUNG JANE YOUNG. I loved them both. Now she’s brought us this amazing compelling novel of work, love and relationships. It is both heartbreaking and wonderful.

Such A Pretty Girl by T. Greenwood

SUCH A PRETTY GIRL by T. Greenwood is the first book I’ve read by this author. It will not be the last. And she’s written fourteen novels. Holy cow.

This novel has something for everyone. And it’s definitely timely. It just goes to show that things might change over the years, but, they also stay the same.

Award-winning author T. Greenwood explores the often-flickering line between woman and girl in this vividly lyrical drama alternating between an West Village artists community in 1970s New York and present day, as a former child actress is forced to confront the darkest secrets of her youth when a controversial photo taken of her as a preteen on the night of the 1977 blackout ignites a media firestorm.

Living peacefully in Vermont, Ryan Flannigan is shocked when a text from her oldest friend alerts her to a devastating news item. A controversial photo of her as a pre-teen has been found in the possession of a wealthy investor recently revealed as a pedophile and a sex trafficker—with an inscription to him from Ryan’s mother on the back.

Memories crowd in, providing their own distinctive pictures of her mother Fiona, an aspiring actress, and their move to the West Village in 1976. Amid the city’s gritty kaleidoscope of wealth and poverty, high art, and sleazy strip clubs, Ryan is discovered and thrust into the spotlight as a promising young actress with a woman’s face and a child’s body. Suddenly, the safety and comfort Ryan longs for is replaced by auditions, paparazzi, and the hungry eyes of men of all ages.

Forced to reexamine her childhood, Ryan begins to untangle her young fears and her mother’s ambitions, and the role each played in the fraught blackout summer of 1977. Even with her movie career long behind her, Ryan and Fiona are suddenly the object of uncomfortable speculation—and Fiona demands Ryan’s support. To put the past to rest, Ryan will need to face the painful truth of their relationship, and the night when everything changed.

The above paragraphs set up the novel perfectly and are from GoodReads.

Issues of mother/daughter relationships are all over this novel. Reminded me of Brooke Shields and her very dominant mother years ago. But in this case there is much drama from the 1970’s. And the night the lights went out in NYC looms large and shows a big turn around.

I loved reading about the artist colony in Vermont. And the small community in New York City where artistic people came together and held court.

There’s a lot of mystery involved in discovering how Ryan and her mother came to be in the place they are in 2019. And then someone blows the lid off their story and brings it all to a boil all over again.

I can totally see this novel being made into a fabulous movie. Book clubs will love the fact that this novel is being published in trade paperback form which makes it so much more affordable. My review copy arrived from the marking company Spark Point Studios and the publisher Kensington in exchange for an honest review. I think it’s just super. A real page-turner.

Renovation News

It’s good news that Reno is in process for our home. However we are not able to live in our house while walls are torn out and being rebuilt. All flooring is to be replaced. In fact, we purchased gorgeous flooring this morning. It will be installed probably net week. Luckily for us we have amazing friends who set up their big RV next to our home. This way we are on site as house is brought back to it’s pre storm charm.

All this has b LLPeen quite traumatic to our four kitties as you might imagine. But I am happy to say everyone is settling in nicely. Kiki actually brought us several of her favorite stuffed mousies during the night. She was burring and meowing with each gift.

The not great news is that I am unable to hook computer up to internet for the time being. Am hoping this goes swiftly.

I’m grateful to both book clubs who so graciously agreed to reschedule events set for November. They both will be in the New Year. I am very busy just trying to get this house fixed and day to day living.

Shingles has kicked my butt. I am still enjoying the shocking pain of this awful virus but,might be seeing light at end of tunnel.

I will be so happy to see all your smiling readers faces after first of year. Currently reading DEMON COPPERHEAD and loving it.

I wish you all safety and wellness and a really great book!

October Thoughts

We are more than halfway through October. It’s been hot and we were without power for almost two weeks. Our internet was just restored yesterday. I am finally able to begin posting. Of course I am way behind. One day at a time. Books are beginning to arrive on my doorstep once again. Some of them are tomes. I have a lot of reading to do. I’m currently working on the programs for two events in November. It’s exciting to be able to function somewhat normally again. I know there are those of you who might not have been able to concentrate the past several weeks. It sure took me a while.

I’m looking forward to much cooler mornings later this week. We know our version of fall is just around the corner. It can’t come soon enough.

For those of you who have homes here in SW Florida and stayed to weather the storm, I pray you and your families are safe and well. For those of you who own homes here in SW Florida, I hope you will arrive for the winter to find your homes undamaged. We are all in this together. Everyone is doing a super job rebuilding already.

It’s heartbreaking to see pictures of Sanibel Island and Captiva, Pine Island and Matlacha. I have also heard that the author Robert Macomber lost his home in St. James City. I am grateful he is safe. Two bookstores on Sanibel, Gene’s and Macintosh, both sustained extensive damage. But I think they will return. We need them. Copperfish in Punta Gorda came through the storm with almost no damage. So happy for them.

I have been in touch with Abraham Verghese throughout the days before and during the storm. He lives on the California coast. He was very concerned for all of us. I had just received a copy of his manuscript for THE COVENANT OF WATER a week before the storm hit. It is not published until May of next year.

Looking forward to seeing those of you who will be attending my speaking engagements in Estero and in Fort Myers next month. I have a lot of great book stuff to share.

I hope you have some good reading material…. I will have more recommends soon.

Read and be safe.

Sending A Group Hug

I just checked the blog and it makes me feel so humble to find all your heartfelt comments.

Thank you so much. I am finally able to read again. And working on the programs for two upcoming events next month.

Slowly feeling a little bit better everyday.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in the coming months.

The October muse will be something else.

In the midst of all this chaos dont forget to read.

Disaster Update!

OMG! Just very quick update. Big post will follow when internet is available. We live in the sw area on Cape Coral, Surfside. They don’t kid around.we are a mere seven minutes from Matlacha. We lived through storm inside our home. And the water ran through it. Then as if that’s not tragic enough, I developed a devastating case of shingles. No words. I have meds am getting better each day. But it’s an awful virus that is excruciatingly painful.

I am waiting anxiously to be able to have some sort of new normalcy. Thanks to those of you who have reached out with prayers and well wishes.

Lucy By The Sea by Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout returns with another Lucy Barton novel. Each one keeps getting better, stronger. In the new novel, LUCY BY THE SEA, we find Lucy being whisked away from her Manhattan apartment to a much safer domain in a small town in Maine right on the coast. Her ex-husband, William, has persuaded her to accompany him. They have an on again/off again relationship that seems to get easier as they become older.

Yes, this is a pandemic novel. It’s the most realistic one I’ve read. It kept my attention all the way through.

The native people in Maine don’t necessarily take to strangers arriving with NY license plates. Especially now that the pandemic has reached out its ugly claws. So Lucy and William have their work cut out to “fit” in. But the two settle in pretty nicely and decide it’s a good fit. They have grown daughters with angst of their own. Toss all this together and you actually probably have a fairly normal situation. And that’s one of the things I love about Strout’s writing. It’s quiet and steadfast. It’s profound and yet realistic. Elizabeth Strout has become one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

When William reunites with a half sister he’s never met it sure adds another dimension to the story. She came out of nowhere in the last novel, OH WILLIAM. Those of you familiar with Lucy Barton already know how imperfect Lucy’s William is. As a husband he pretty much sucked! He has calmed down and really seems to still love Lucy. And now that they are both single again, the dynamic of their relationship has shifted.

This novel shows the grief, anxiety, loneliness, longing, and loss that the pandemic caused. Everyone has been touched by it, some more deeply than others. Strout has outdone herself by bringing us a heartfelt story that reminds us that we all were in this together. Everyone has a story.

Elizabeth Strout
Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout is the best selling author of nine award-winning novels. In 2009 Strout won The Pulitzer Prize for OLIVE KITTERIDGE.

I read my review copy of LUCY BY THE SEA digitally through NetGalley and Random House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. As you can certainly tell, I loved it!

Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh

Mercy Street

I read this novel in January. It was a digital review copy from NetGalley. I love Jennifer Haigh’s writing. I’ve read every single one of her many books. The last few novels have dealt with social issues. Several years ago with her novel, FAITH, she tackled the very delicate subject of the Catholic Church and the terrible debacle with the priests. She set it in Boston. It was a firestorm. I loved it! Now, with MERCY STREET Haigh is tackling another hot-button topic: abortion. Timely and quite disturbing. Why have I not reviewed it? Good question. Unfortunately the abortion issue has become very political. So there is that. I just missed the moment.

When MERCY STREET showed up on Elaine Newton’s Critic’s Choice list for lecture this coming season, I smiled. Our Elaine does like to shift readers from their comfort zones. No matter what side of this issue you might be on, I can assure you this novel will move you.

MERCY STREET is set in Boston, a city Haigh knows only too well. She lives in New England. Claudia Birch is a counsellor at a women’s clinic named Mercy Street. She’s worked there for years. she is consumed with her work. Her patients are all in crisis. They often feel this is their second chance.

There are those who would say Mercy Street is no more than an abortion clinic. Always hovering just outside the doors to the clinic are a small group of protestors who sometimes shout and jeer as the patients enter. And when these protests accelerate, Claudia’s anxiety levels raise to the point that the only relief she finds is a visit to Timmy the pot dealer. Boy does she meet some real characters there.

Brilliantly written with heart and soul MERCY STREET will be a novel you will remember. This is a new era we are learning to maneuver through. I think of all the young women who never lived through the old days before abortion was legal. It’s hard to believe this is happening.

Jennifer Haigh

What did I think of MERCY STREET? Haigh is a gifted author. This is an important book. I look forward to her next!