The basics of the book are this: it is the story of a grumpy man named Ove. Well, actually it is composed of the backstory that slowly changes our perception of Ove’s true character and what made him who he is, AND the current events and interactions that offer that perception change to others. Keep reading below for a brief synopsis. Continue reading
“One evening, my Father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. Asked is probably not the right word.” Thus begins this fairy tale venture into Chinese afterlife with paper money, jealous vengeful ghosts, and entire spirit cities.
A young woman, Li Lan, is about to be trapped into a loveless marriage. It is actually much worse than that, it is a marriage where the groom is already dead! Her father has spent the family fortune on Opium, but has been offered a way out of the self-induced poverty – marry his daughter, Li Lan, to the deceased son of the wealthy Lim family. Continue reading
In 1967 a group of women bond at the playground in Palo Alto, California. They are different in background and personality, yet united in their love for family and in a dream, to be authors. They agree to meet once a week to critique each other’s work, while their children play. In time, this critique extends to the definition of who they are as women, in an era when the gold standard of feminine excellence is at it’s essence to be a successful homemaker or Miss America.
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
“A lighted ship- the daybreak- some steep cliffs standing in the sea. The meaning of these will never change for pilots. If one day an ocean can be flown within an hour, if men can build a plane that so masters time, the sight of land will be no less welcome to the steersman of that fantastic craft. He will have cheated laws that the cunning of science has taught him how to cheat, and he will feel his guilt and be eager for the sanctuary of the soil.”
An amazingly free spirited woman, Beryl Markham was a bush pilot, horse breeder/trainer, and the first person to fly across the Atlantic from East to West. She is also the author of her own memoir of growing up in East Africa, and piloting experiences flying from remote corner to remote corner of Africa. She wrote West with the Night in the early 1940s, but it disappeared from publication after just a few years. A reference to the book was discovered in Earnest Hemingway’s letters and memoirs, and after some research, this book was re-released in the 1980s. It has been enjoyed by new readers ever since. Continue reading
What’s that name? My sister Melanie and I found a wine label that provided a quick and fun lesson in marketing.
A few years ago we were browsing for antiques in a cute country store, near Charlottesville, VA, when we discovered a corner of the shop featured local wines. One label in particular caught our eye. Do you see that image to the left? Yep, that is what we saw. Forgetting that there might be others around, we made a few comments and laughed at each other’s jokes..
The shop clerk poked his head into the corner and said “ladies, ladies” with a grin. Thoroughly amused by the Well Hung® label, and perhaps a bit pink cheeked, we asked him about it. He said “it’s a funny thing, that wine is from a fairly new vineyard and at first I worried she might not make it, lot’s of them don’t you know, then she came out with that label. Ever since then I can barely keep her bottles on the shelf. Have to say it’s a pretty good wine too.”
Pour yourself a cup of tea, grab your favorite lap blanket and travel to Helen Simonsons idealic village of Edgecombe St. Mary!
The retired Major Pettigrew has led a quiet life adhering to tradition and all things proper for an English gentleman. Honor and duty are sacred to him, while to the younger generation he is just plain stuffy. But even an elderly English gentleman wants more than a hearty fire, good book and a strong cup of tea.
Two passions are inflamed in the stodgy heart of this bachelor. First, his brother dies and the widow refuses to give him the hunting gun that he is certain should be his, then he begins an unlikely relationship with Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper in Edgecombe. Major Pettigrew and Jasmina find they are kindred spirits as they share a love of literature, loss of a dearly loved spouse, and both must contend with a young male relation who is impatient to inherit their carefully tended ‘treasures.’ Will their relationship survive differences in culture and good old fashioned tradition? Will Major Pettigrew be the hero that Mrs. Ali needs?
This book is a satisfying read on so many levels. Quickly immersing, funny, and a full rasher of nostalgia – I hope Edgecomb exists and I can travel there someday.
Hope you enjoy your own literary escape to Edgecomb, UK
Amazon book cover Truman Capote Babe and Bill Paley
Author Melanie Benjamin is a New York Times bestselling author. I will be suggesting three of her books for our Fall Breeze book club, as they are all sure to generate discussion, be finished by even your busiest member, and will be controversial but not over the taboos…religion or politics…whew and thank goodness! That is, unless you have one member who always takes you there (which thankfully I don’t in my clubs).
Truman Capote is really the star of the book. Fun, outrageous, discerning and backbiting Truman. The Swans are the society ladies of the fifties and early to mid sixties who amazingly expand their circle to include him. Rural raised, male, non-traditional Truman is a master storyteller, not just on the page, oh no, he uses his abilities to his maximum advantage by assuaging their vanity, ferreting out secrets and truly ingratiating himself into their lives.
A fun read that will have your book club talking about the meaning and definition of friendship, betrayal, forgiveness and the contrast between high society and new media darlings who are making their own rules in the sixties!