Greetings and welcome to the Cost of Distraction Edition of You are What You Read.
People, let me jump right to it. Plain and simple we’ve been duped and bamboozled.
We have been thinking that this summer belonged to the Bears and their shenanigans (one wandered through a hotel lobby in Colorado this week. Probably still looking for the ice machine), while we have been Ever Vigilant here on land, the true danger has been just off our shores.
Sharks People. Sharks.
Kaitlin from the Rock should have been blissfully enjoying her hard earned summer vacation at Nauset Beach on the Cape, but the true enemy of summer struck and took out two seals mere feet from the shore. To quote her, “there was so much blood” and “the image is seared in my mind.” She said a lifeguard near her shouted, “I can see its eye!” In short, Mayhem with a capital M People.
Summer vacations should not involve blood, blunt force trauma and PTSD.
Summer vacations should be about Taffy and fudge buying, sipping icy cold contraband from a Solo cup, and reading all the day long.
Could it be that the Sharks asked the Bears to create diversions here on land while they silently (oh so silently) swam up the Eastern Seaboard en masse so that they could be in place just in time to wreck our last weekend of the summer?
Somehow I would not put it past them.
As recently as this morning, Truro Beach had to be closed for swimming due to a shark sighting too close to shore. Because they aren’t just happy going after seals; one went after a grown man earlier this week.
People, for those of you going off to Summer for this fleeting last weekend consider yourself warned. Maintain Vigilance!
This week we have marriage, baby teeth, prison and secrets, journalists, and some star-crossed lovers.
Let us begin!
Sweet Ann has wrapped up This is a Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. “I listened to this audio book read by the author. She has a mesmerizing voice which easily brought me into her world. This book is connecting stories that the author has put together to tell her life story so far. If you want to be a writer she offers much advice about the industry, graduate programs and things that helped her. It is also an honest account of her troubled childhood, a failed marriage, love story with her current husband and touching relationship with her dog. I loved the parts where she writes about caring for her grandmother and the teacher who believed in her as a young child in her struggle to learn to read. I enjoyed this audio book very much even though the writing section got a bit long. I listened to her soothing voice, learned a few things and headed down the road.”
The Fabulous Babs B has finished the oh-so creepy Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. “If you are of a certain age, or love old movies, you may be familiar with a psychological thriller of the 50's, The Bad Seed. This is the current generation's edition, and was, for me, creepier than the movie, or Gone Girl, or maybe even The Omen. What happens when a seven-year-old girl, refuses to speak, and decides that she and her daddy would be better off without Mommy? Simply put, this book is about a sweet little, conniving girl, who wants to kill her mother-it's not for everybody and you have been warned!”
Jeanne is doing two things this week. “Tayari Jones is a master storyteller and I listened to her new novel, An American Marriage. The audiobook is stirringly read by Sean Crisden and Eisa Davis tells the love story of Roy and Celestial, two young professionals in the New South. Their new marriage is torn apart by circumstances beyond their control when Roy is wrongly accused of a heinous crime and sent to prison. Unfortunately, the love story includes a third party when Celestial takes comfort in the company of her childhood friend and their best man, Andre. This is an emotionally charged story that is well acted by the narrators. The upset of their marriage is tragically compounded by the racial injustice of the New South. I found it very moving. I also read Jones’ slightly older novel, Silver Sparrow. I love this quote from the book. ‘Lord knows how nature parcels out the goodies,’ as one sister says about the mystery of who gets the looks and who doesn’t in the gene pool. James Witherspoon has two daughters of the same age, Dana and Chaurisse, but they don’t know of each other’s existence, because James is a bigamist. Set in Atlanta in the 1980s, the story is told first by the hidden sister and then by the public one. It is fiction, but has plenty of interesting, unsettling stories from black history and is sure to tug at your heart and moral conscience. It was a stay up late, can’t put it down read for me.”
Pat T has just finished a favorite author’s latest offering. “I thoroughly enjoyed reading Paula McLain's latest novel,Love and Ruin. The author opens the window to Ernest Hemingway's relationship with his third wife, Martha Gellhorn. Gellhorn was a young writer and journalist when she met Hemingway while on vacation in his hometown of Key West, Florida and a relationship ensued when they found themselves reporting on the Spanish Civil War. Their shared passion for writing at first attracted them to one another, but as the years went on it their professional lives became competitive which created conflict, jealousy and resentment. I couldn't help but feel Martha's anguish over her relationship and career. I look forward to reading one of her biographies to learn more about this strong, independent and ambitious woman, who was considered one of the best war correspondents of her time. “
Always Delightful Pat S has finished The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason. “In the last grueling years of the Great War, a young aristocratic Polish medical student Lucius, seduced with romantic notions of heroism and bravery, enlists into the war as a doctor. His field hospital assignment is located in a bombed out church somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains, assisted by single medical personnel, Margarethe, a Sister in the Order of St. Catherine. In these woeful circumstances, Lucius soon learns the tragic realities of emergency medicine under the careful tutoring of his nurse. Yet they continue for the two of them are the only hope for these soldiers. Into their midst one night arrives a silent stranger-whose pockets contain pictures of all he has seen but can no longer speak about. This man will forever change the trajectory of both the lives of Lucius and Margarethe. The Winter Soldier reminds me of an old forties movie complete with war, star-crossed lovers, and a heroine with a mysterious past. This was a highly engaging read with an ultimately satisfying ending.”