Happy Spring! We made it! Sweet Ann’s Words of Wisdom this week are again in the form of a question, “Sure you’re alive, but are you really living?” The message from the SoNo Loft this week is “Learn to Fly”. Both are nice reminders that the season has changed and we no longer have an excuse to not be enjoying any lovely day that comes our way. I hope that you were able to partake in some of our Welcome Spring festivities yesterday. I know that my mood measurably improved with the short trip outside to the ice cream truck where I heeded the siren’s song of a Toasted Almond Ice Cream Bar and a few minutes standing in the sun. This weekend do something that makes your heart soar and reminds you that you are indeed living life to its fullest. This week we have Quebec, Russia, and some Wisconsin Death Trip. And what would the weekend be without The Playlist?
Let us begin!
Abby is enjoying a perennial favorite, Louise Penny. “I’ve just finished book 7, A Trick of The Light in the Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny and keep finding nice surprises in each. The first book, Still Life, was enjoyable but not what I had expected. I thought the series would be more intense and dark but instead found them to be on the lighter side and quite sentimental. To my pleasant surprise, as the books continue, Penny does a nice job of peeling back the layers of reoccurring characters, exposing depth and yes, a bit of darkness. One of the books has me wanting to learn more about the history of the separatist movement in Quebec. I am happy to go along for the ride as Penny continues expanding upon the residents of Three Pines, the wonderful Chief Inspector Gamache and his crew.”
Barbara M is heeding some advice. “On the recommendation of two of our patrons I’ve just started reading The Dancer by Colum McCann. It is a novel loosely based on the life of Rudolf Nureyev and so far it is so beautifully written that I want to read it at every available moment. It starts in a small Russian town at the end of World War II as the protagonist discovers his love and aptitude for dancing. We all know Nureyev’s story but I can’t wait to see how McCann tells it.”
Last week I told you all about how much I was loving The End of Always by Randi Davenport. Well, I finished it and while reading the acknowledgements she mentioned a book I had forgotten about as being the inspiration for one of the darker moments in her novel. Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy is one of those books that rapidly become an obsession. This non-fiction work chronicles the years between 1890 and 1910 in Jackson County, Wisconsin. Illustrated with period photographs and accompanied by text from newspapers and diaries, the scene that Lesy paints is far from pretty. Are insanity, poverty and degenerate behavior your cup of tea? Wisconsin Death Trip has it. If you ever find yourself longing for a simpler time, reading WDT will cure you mighty quickly. A classic example is this newspaper account of a Mrs. Carter who appears to be having a rough week.
"Mrs. Carter... was taken sick at the marsh last week and fell down, sustaining internal injuries which have dethroned her reason. She has been removed to her home here and a few nights since arose from her bed and ran through the woods... A night or two after she was found trying to strangle herself with a towel... It is hoped the trouble is only temporary and that she may soon recover her mind.”
How much do you love that? “Dethroned her reason!” Is that not just the most amazing phrasing? And I know I am not alone in my fascination with this book. It was the inspiration for one of our favorites, The Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and also Stuart O’Nan’s Prayer for the Dying.
DJ Jazzy Patty Mc C. is here with this week’s playlist and and her musings on all things flighty and feathered from The State That Will Not Be Named. Take it away Patty! “This week I boarded a plane and flew with a papier-mâché chicken in my carry-on bag. No one questioned it. It wasn’t even given a sideways glance or thorough inspection. It passed through the x-ray machine and then bounced along under the seat in front of me. Now, soon enough my new abode will be abuzz with snowbirds returning from their southern nests to their northern ones. In this new type of communal dwelling for us, I imagine my children will be hatching some sort of entrepreneurial endeavor that will engage and delight our new neighbors. Until then I will look to the skies for sunshine and do a little bird watching of my own.”