Sunday, March 23, 2008

How About a Little Book Talk?

With a little help from my offspring, I am finally getting started with a blog of my own. I'm hoping down the road to branch out to a website, but for now here I am. While I am sure I will have to talk about all the things that are important to me (not the least of which are my brand spankin' new grandson, Stuart Benton Troup, born March 12, and his big sister, two-year-old Avery Elise), I will focus on all things literary.

Here I am carving out a place to talk about books and--I hope--to hear back from other people who love books too. I realize that I will never be able to read all the books I want to read. To add to my problem, authors keep writing more! I can't catch up. I never will. But I intend to read as much as I can as often as I can. I keep an audiobook in my car, at least on book on my night stand, and one in my Sony e-book.

This month I've read Rhett Butler's People, the authorized sequel to Gone with the Wind by Donald McCaig. While the book was interesting, I think the Margaret Mitchell estate made a huge mistake not working out negotiations with Pat Conroy. The back story for Rhett and even Belle Watling was interesting, but I wonder if Mitchell would have recognized her characters (or if they would have recognized themselves in places.)

I also read Plum Wine, the third novel (I believe) by Angela Davis-Gardner from NC State. I thought her story was intriguing. The time frame (early in our involvement in the conflict in Vietnam but involving lives of Japanese affected by Hiroshima) pulled in some interesting threads. Barbara, the protagonist, is a North Carolina girl teaching in Japan. The story has enough romance and conflict to keep my interest.

Most entertaining, though, has been James Collins' Beginner's Greek, a novel I heard reviewed on television (Today Show, I believe). Peter, the main character, believes he is fated to meet a woman on a plane and fall in love. He does, then loses her phone number. Flash forward and he still loves her--even though she's married to his best friend and soon-to-be best man. I found that even some of the characters with the most villainous potential charmed me. The story kept me squirming when I anticipated potential disasters, but I couldn't quit reading. What I found most entertaining was the insight into the different characters' thoughts and the twists they took.

Next on my list: Doug Marlette's The Bridge, Hickory's Big Read. I attended a talk by columnist Kathleen Parker at the Hickory Art Museum Thursday. Since Marlette died in a car accident this summer (after the book selection), the event organizer decided to keep the book and to arrange for other related events. Parker and Marlette had maintained a close friendship for years, and she delivered a eulogy at his funeral. She strongly recommended that we also read his last novel, Magic Time.
On my e-book right now, I'm reading World Without End, Ken Follett's sequel to Pillars of the Earth. It took him long enough to get back to his genre (historical fiction), but so far the book promises to deliver the same kind of reading experience set in the English Middle Ages around the time of the Black Plague.

I'd love to know wht's on your to-read stack or your just-read list. I'm planning to add some good lists and links.


Laura said...

This is going to be fun! I'm looking forward to your opinions on the latest books. Good luck!

Sallie said...

Hi Miss Nancy! this is Sallie Miller, a friend of Laura's, and I'm so excited that you have a blog going about the books you are reading. I am always loking for a new good book! I'm headed to the library today, thanks to you, to get Beginner's Greek! thanks!

B. C. Crawford said...


It's so good to hear from you and to participate in your book discussion. Bonnie and I have returned to Mississippi, and, as you know, I'm in Faulkner Country. We are members of a small book club with friends from Memphis and Holly Springs: the Beale Street Bibliophiles.

We just finished (rereading, in my case)William Alexander Percy's Lanterns On The Levee, my copy having been discovered at a Hickory Library book sale several years ago. It had been reviewed by its owner Mrs. Frank Horton for her Carolina Book Club in Hickory. What a connection! I treasure it, and it's now home in Mississippi.

Let me recommend my text for a seminar I am taking in Southern Cultures at Ole Miss this semester: Creek Country by Robbie Ethridge. It's a scholarly and most interesting work about the Creek Indians and their culture and environment in Alabama and Georgia. If you're like me, you didn't really learn much about Southeastern Indians in school; this work is a good way to overcome that omission.

B. C.

Linda Weaver said...

Hi Nancy,
I ahve never blogged before. This is exciting. A friend just paseed on Rhett Butler's People to me. I love to read, though I know I never have read as much as you, but I have had so little time to do it in the last 5 1/2 years(you know what I hae been dealing with). I will read this book, though. I love Pat Conroy's writing as well and wish he would write more. I will have him in mind now as I read RBP. I'll look forward to hearing more from you.

Cerrillos Sandy said...

Greetings from The Land of Enchantment, Nancy! I've just read everything on your blog, including the comments, and love it. Well, actually, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love your writing and suggestions for books, but I hate that I'm not cleaning closets right now because I'm having too much fun with your blog.

Since I've been out of the classroom, I've read almost nothing but mindless mysteries. One of my resolutions for this year was to get away from them a bit and to indulge myself in some quality reading. I still haven't done much of what you would probably consider quality, but I haven't read many mysteries.

Since you and Linda mention one of my favorite authors, Pat Conroy, I just want to ask if either of you have read his wife's novels? Her name is Cassandra King (great website!). Just finished Queen of Broken Hearts and have also read The Same Sweet Girls, Making Waves, and The Sunday Wife. Wish she'd write more!

Thanks for putting my blog in your list of links. I haven't written in a while, but I'll get back to it. Right now, it's mostly about family, but you've inspired me to get to other topics. Maybe I'll even start a book club out here in our hills!

B.C. mentioned Mrs. Frank Horton in his comments. Just before I went to Mississippi College (1958), someone named Frank Horton was the BSU (Baptist Student Union) Director. Wonder if it's the same Frank.

Gotta get to those closets . . .

Much love from your cousin,