2016 has already left and 2017 has made its grand entrance
I hope it will be good one for all of us and that your wishes for the new year will be fulfilled
Winter is upon us, time for winter activities, hot wine toddy and a good book by the fire
Between extreme skiing, snow shoveling and dog sledding I hope you find enough time to read and to tell us about any books you have (or have not) enjoyed
I also tried the book a short time ago, rapa. I got to about page 40, then gave up.
RABBIT RABBIT RABBIT
(I had to wait for the new year to catch up with my time zone)
Dang! I forgot RABBIT,RABBIT. Oh well. I'm reading the first of a WWII trilogy that starts with a book on North Africa, then Europe, then the Pacific...I think. Lots of politics involved in the very top decisions..Didn't know we initially had to fight the French in North Africa.
Put a book on hold at the E-library, I'm #311 on 40 copies. Read the reviews and it sounded pretty good
Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance:
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.
But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.
A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
I only recently learned about the attack on the French fleet in Algeria in WWII for fear it would fall in German hands. It left heavy feelings among the French towards Britain
One point about the rust belt, there is a common perception that people who worked in these industries had low skills. While it is true the labor was mostly manual, the level of skill was substantial, in particular tool and die manufacturing were small shops that created the molds and tools used by other industries.
Being small operations, they were unaware of the competition brewing overseas that overtook them. A case in point is the story of the zipper. Talon Industries produced seventy percent of the zippers in the US from a small town in Western PA. It was overtaken by the Japanese YKK in a couple of years
I have Hillbilly Elegy on hold at my library and am eagerly looking forward to reading it.
In my search for new authors, I read Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. The story: A small plane with nine people crashes in the ocean off Martha’s Vineyard. One passenger survives and manages to swim to shore with a four year old boy who also survived. The question is, was it an accident, was it terrorism or was it something else. It was a good story, although it jumped around a bit too much for my taste. Nevertheless,I did like and appreciate the ending. All in all, it was good enough for me to look for another by the writer.
Now I am reading Manitou Canyon, the latest novel by one of my favorite authors, William Kent Krueger. Excellent, as usual.
I just finished Manitou Canyon by William Kent Krueger, who is one of my very favorite writers today. The combination of his descriptions of Native American culture, the northern Minnesota wilderness, his strong story lines, plus the strength of the central characters make his Cork O’Connor series special. To a large extent they are made so special by who is perhaps my favorite character in contemporary literature. The old “Mide” (healer), Henry Meloux, who at age 100 is still going strong.
Henry is the most amazing character to me. Once again, he plays a key role in "Manitou Canyon". I find myself reading Henry's words, and stopping to...let them sink in and am constantly amazed at how his words help to weave such a well written, powerfully developed character. For example, Henry talks to his niece, Rainy, about Cork, telling her: "When he is gone, he is in a place he must go alone. There is a battle coming, Niece, He prepares himself.
... I do not know when this battle will come. I only know that I see him preparing. No one can help him until he sees this himself" What an amazing writer and story!
And finally, to illustrate the old man’s wisdom, let me quote the words he spoke at the wedding of Cork’s daughter, Jenny: “Go now together into the world and embrace the life the Creator has always imagined for you. And remember the gifts of the Seven Grandfathers. These will help guide you to a good life, which we call bimaadiziwin. Teach your children these gifts, and their children, so that they are never forgotten. Minwaadendamowin, which is respect. Debwewin,which is truth. Aakodewewin, which is bravery. Nibwaakawin, which is wisdom. Miigwe’aadiziwin, which is generosity. Dibaadendiziwin, which is humility. Zaagidiwin, which is love, Hold these gifts in your hearts, Jennifer O’Connor and Daniel English. And may this life you create together only add to the beauty of this world which Kitchimanidoo has imagined for us all.”
Who would not wish to have these words spoken at their wedding. Reading Henry Meloux's observations on life is almost enough to make me a believer.
I didn't think I would enjoy reading the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child but I was wrong. A bookie friend from my mystery readers club days praised this series and said that she had disdain for Tom Cruise's portrayal. She said that Reacher was a much better man than that. I thought I would give him a try and now I'm hooked.
I started with a short story going back to early years: "Small Wars" which was a good introduction to Reacher and his family and professional history. I was hooked. I had downloaded the audiobook from the Seattle Public Library and enjoyed listening while doing chores around the house, knitting hats for charity and going to sleep at night. The action proceeded slowly and inevitably and maybe I wouldn't be so patient while reading, but the reader's voice was so calming and completely without drama that it provided a needed balance for me for the drama of recent news. And Jack Reacher is a man who gets things done with an eye toward justice if not necessarily for legal procedure.
I am grateful that I have discovered this series and so far I am finding comfort in the reader's voice and the resolution of the conflicts emerging from the introductory situations. In my real world, there are so few easy resolutions that I am comforted by these modern "hero" stories where Jack Reacher is like Indiana Jones walking through the Egyptian souk, encountering the giant scimitar-wielding villain and unexpectedly taking him down with the unexpected weapon. I am enjoying these easy-going yet violent tales. I may get back to the news one of these days, but right now I am loving the escape.