Thursday, April 24, 2014




Jane Johnson grips the rail of the Riversale, watching the estuary water heave and sink below her. She reckons the dates: nearly five weeks since she boarded at Belfast, and the city of Québec is only one more day west. The provisions might almost have lasted, if it hadn't been for the heat and the maggots in the ham. The same journey took Henry eight weeks last year, when the seas were high. Tomorrow she will be beside him.

Today she is bedside herself. On this voyage Jane has discovered herself to be a most imperfect creature...

"Counting the Days"


Emma Donoghue

pg. 77

Beautifully written; historical fiction. Short stories. I love her approach. Selecting news from small historical events: social history she calls it. Donoghue weaves facts into stories of interesting characters and stirring emotions, and captivates.

From a NPR interview...

I just keep an eye out for these things. I read social history. I, you know, in art galleries, I read the little captions underneath the paintings. I listen to the radio and just keep my ears open. I think the only difference between me and other people is that when I hear of an interesting historical incident, I immediately write it down and Google it. I'm just a very persistent researcher and I find things all the time. I would say the 14 stories in Astray come from about more like 40 different incidents that I came across.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Martha, A Novel



Her dark eyes sparkled as she looked up at her father. She was taller than most of the other girls in Bethany, nearly reaching her father's shoulder. She'd bound up the auburn hair that flowed in gentle cascades down her back, under her shawl. While she turned a few heads when she walked through the village, her father told her many times, "Beauty does not run the home, daughter, only skillful hands." Her hands were indeed skillful, for she had learned to help her mother in the household duties when she was even younger than Mary.

pg. 8

Martha, A Novel

Diana Wallis Taylor


The Messiah. The Chosen One. Would he come in her lifetime? Each Jewish mother who gave birth to a son hoped beyond hope that he would be the one who would free their people. Martha thought of this. If she were to marry and have a son, could he be the one?

pg. 14


Another biblical novel by Diana Wallis Taylor. A beautiful portrayal of Martha, whom I believe I'd formerly classified as a drudge and a crab. Mary sat at Jesus feet and Martha chastized her, complaining that she wasn't helping with all that entertaining a crowd entails.


Martha as characterized in Ms. Wallis Taylor's telling is a beautiful, over-worked but otherwise fully-well rounded, very young woman of Bethany, near Jerusalem. Sister of both Mary and Lazarus-- yes, the Lazarus who Jesus loved and raised from the dead.


Sunday, April 6, 2014



Many years from now, whenever he thinks back to Dita Kronon’s murder, Paul Gianis’s memories will always return to the start of the day. It is September 5, 1982, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, a lush afternoon with high clouds lustrous as pearls. Zeus Kronon, Dita’s father, has opened the sloping grounds of his suburban mansion to hundreds of his fellow parishioners from St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in the city for their annual celebration of the ecclesiastical New Year. Down the hill, in the grassy riverside meadow that serves as a parking lot, Paul arrives with his mother and his identical twin brother, Cass. The next few hours with both of them, Paul knows, will be an ordeal.


Scott Turow


State Senator Paul Giannis is a candidate for Mayor of Kindle County. His identical twin brother Cass is newly released from prison, 25 years after pleading guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, Dita Kronon. When Evon Miller, an ex-FBI agent who is the head of security for the Kronon family business, and private investigator Tim Brodie begin a re-investigation of Dita's death, a complex web of murder, sex, and betrayal-as only Scott Turow could weave-dramatically unfolds... - See more at:

I LOVE this book. Twists and turns; anticipation. Great storytelling. I really couldn't put it down. I always like Scott Turow's books, and this one I like the best, so far. Legal thriller; procedural, but different.

Many of the characters are a bit fuzzy, especially Paul and Cass--for very good reasons. These folks all seem to live lives a bit blurred on-the-surface. Evon and Tim we get to see clearly. There are really no legal villans here, just a couple of buffoons.

It's not the criminal justice system that's crooked here, it's mostly everyone else.

I've already recommended this book a few time.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Beautiful Day

Dear Jenna,

I have finally reached the point in my prognosis where I accept that there are certain things I will not live to see. I will not see the day your father retires from the law firm (he always promised me he would retire on his 65th birthday, safe to say that promise was only made to appease me); I will not live to see my grandchildren ride roller coasters, get pimples, or go on dates--and I will not live to see you get married.

This last item pains me the most. As I write this, you are a senior in college and you have just broken up with Jason... So it won't be Jason you end up with--dishy though he was (sorry, true)--but there will be someone, someday, who will light you up. You will get married, and you have said that you would like a big traditional wedding with all the bells and whistles...

That's where this notebook comes in. I won't be here to encourage or guide you when the time comes; I will, sweet Jenna, probably never meet the man you're going to marry...

... I will in these [notebook] pages, endeavor to bestow my best advice for your big day. You can follow it or ignore it, but at least you will know where I stand on each and every matter.

Beautiful Day

Elin Hildebrand

Sometimes I need a fast, fun read. This fit the bill. A privileged family, for sure, but a family that's known its share of heartbreak, of loss.