Posts filed under ‘Books, Reading, Writing’

A Novel Obsession

This is going to be a quick post because I’m sick and should be in bed instead of huddled like a crab on the floor before my desk-less computer. But I’m reading a fantastic book right now (well, not right this second) and I just have to tell you all about it. One thing I have realized about myself lately is that I love to read books about French history, specifically about the French Revolution. I don’t really know why it interests me so much–it sounds like a perfectly horrible thing to have lived through for both the nobility and the proletariat. Still, I’m fascinated.

Several months ago I read Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund, and it was spectacular! Now I’m reading The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland, and it is also spectacular. I can’t put it down, in fact. It’s about Napoleon’s empress, who was not born royalty but grew up on the island of Martinico on a sugar plantation. There’s lots of Frenchy goodness, and also a great deal of sweltering Caribbean exoticism. I just discovered online that the book is the first one in a trilogy, which is the best news I’ve had in days. Now I don’t feel so bad about gluttonously devouring this one in two days.

Now I’ve got my beach reading list! Of course, if the next two books are as good as the first one, then I’ll have to bring a lot more books because they won’t last me very long. Maybe I’ll finally tackle Les Miserables, which I’ve been meaning to do for years….



April 23, 2010 at 7:34 am 2 comments

Moving Out Poem

Here’s a little poem I wrote in my head while laying in bed this morning. I’m moving out of the house where I’ve been living, so it’s very chaotic. But also, it’s my (deceased) grandparents’ house, and a lot of their stuff is still in it. So I’m helping my family clean all that out too, and it’s strange, the things we’ve found. I didn’t know my grandparents very well- they were stoic, rather private people–at least by the time I came on the scene, anyway. Some of the stuff I’ve found reveals them to be sentimental, ambitious, wanna-be hosts, and complete strangers.

Left Behind


Box of rocks,

Yellowed letters,

Keyless locks.

Old LPs,

Sewing chair,

Silver hairbrush

with strands of hair.

Knitting needles,

Curtain hooks,

Stacks of Spanish

language books.

Cowboy hats,

Cowboy boots,

Suede high heels,

Denim suits.

Champagne bucket,

Antique gout stool,

Model airplanes,

Rusty tools.

Camping lantern,

Garden trowel,

Old meat grinder,

Faded towels.

One orange drape,

Greeting cards,


in the yard.

For years they’ve bloomed,

For years, the same;

and only these

shall remain.

edw Apr. 09, 2010


April 9, 2010 at 8:55 am 7 comments

Wild Geese

Now that Spring is here, have you been seeing as many migratory birds as I have? A friend of mine read this poem at one of my Writers’ Circles last year, and it has since become one of my favorites. I’ve thought about it a lot the past few weeks because I’ve been seeing lots of flocks of geese streaking northward for the summer, arrow-like in the upper reaches in the sky. It always amazes me how sometimes they are so far above I can barely see them, but I can still hear their calls loud and clear.

Enjoy, and happy Friday everyone!

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press

© Mary Oliver

image from GpPhoto on flickr.

March 26, 2010 at 8:21 am Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, Carson McCullers

Today is the birthday of Carson McCullers, who is one of our all-time super-fave-ever writers. Actually, Carson MCullers is connected to the genesis of me and Ruby’s friendship. On a streetcar in New Orleans.

Here’s the story: I sat down next to this really interesting-looking red-haired girl–it was actually the only seat available, so that’s kismet. Lo and behold, the red-haired girl (Ruby) was reading The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers, a book I had finished reading only days before and was in love with. So I remarked on the book, and Ruby remarked back. We started talking, seemed to click (or she felt sorry for me, being new and friendless in New Orleans), and she invited me to hang out with her and her fiance (now her husband) and friends that night.  The rest is history. Just think if Ruby hadn’t felt like reading on the streetcar? What if she had checked out a different book from the library? What if she’d forgotten the book at work? I probably wouldn’t have spoken to her (being naturally a little shy). We probably wouldn’t have become friends. The world is so coincidental, so interconnected with little gossamer strands.

Carson McCullers had a hard, kind-of sad life. She died at the age of 44 from alcoholism, and suffered a stroke at the age of 24. Her husband once asked her to participate in a double suicide with him, but she declined (thank goodness). He killed himself anyway, and she went on to write several more novels, including The Member of the Wedding. Her books are fantastic, filled with lyrical prose, and longing and wondering and all the stuff that people really do feel but seldom put into words or talk about with other people. If you’ve never read one of her books, I highly recommend that you do.

Here’s to you, Carson, wherever you are. And thank you!


February 19, 2010 at 11:06 am 4 comments

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