Favorite Quotes

"For my totem, the alley cat. We share the situation of small predators who easily become prey. I have my equivalent of claws and teeth, and indeed my arched back and loud hiss are my best defenses. When I need to hide my size and weakness, I can look fiercer than I am, but when I cannot talk or threaten or argue my way out of trouble, then I am in a lot of trouble. We are scavengers in the alleys and streets of a society we do not control and scarcely influence. We survive and perish both by taking lovers. Freedom is a daily necessity like water, and we love most loyally and longest those who allow us at least occasionally to vanish and wander the curious night. To them we always return from the eight deaths before the last."


from Braided Lives by Marge Piercy

Reader's Link - October 2011 Staff Picks Archive


Homecoming, Family, and Miracles

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

Title: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake
By: Jenny Wingfield

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a remarkable first novel.
I was swept into the Moses family reunion and the fabric of their shared lives in 1950's Arkansas from the very first page. I wanted to know all the characters as they shared their everyday lives and their dreams, their tragedies and their triumphs.
Samuel Lake, a young charismatic preacher, brings his wife, Willadee, and their 3 children home every year for the Moses family reunion. This year tragedy strikes with the untimely death of of Willadee's father and Samuel's lost parish. The family stays on and their lives unfold in expected and unexpected ways.
I highly recommend this engrossing book and hope that it is only the first of many novels by Jenny Wingfield.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction
Posted by ogradyj on Oct. 19, 2011 at 11:10 a.m.
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Old Friends and Terrorists

The Weekend

Title: The Weekend
By: Bernhard Schlink

On the face, The Weekend is a novel about a reunion at an isolated German estate of old friends who haven't seen each other for years. They are brought together to greet Jorg who has been in prison for 24 years for unspecified acts of terror. Each guest has a different view of terrorism, freedom, and friendship. They discuss the past and the acts of political terrorism that led to Jorg's imprisonment as well a acts of terror (particularly 9/11) that occurred more recently. The deeper you get into the novel, you realize that it is more about the philosophy of terror and how it affects people - the terrorists, the terrorized, and the bystanders. The narrator of this audiobook brings great nuance and understanding to all the characters. The book is translated from the original German and I found the parts about 9/11 particularly compelling.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,audiobook
Posted by ogradyj on Oct. 12, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
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Music Lessons Remembered

The Leila Fletcher piano course. Book one.

Title: The Leila Fletcher piano course. Book one.
By: Leila Fletcher

I saw this book on a cart and the memories of my first piano lessons over 50 years ago came flooding back. Sitting up straight, feet dangling down, my mom or piano teacher sitting beside me. It is the same book with the same red cover that I used to learn to pick out tunes on the piano. I bet I can still play most of those pieces. One of my first recital pieces was in that book. My copy remained in the bench of our piano for years. My kids even played from Leila Fletcher before they all took up different instruments.
I recommend this book for piano beginners or for a musical stroll down memory lane.

View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction
Posted by ogradyj on Oct. 5, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.
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