Friday, June 9, 2023

Reading and Finding Joy in Sharing

"Reading was a joy, a desperately needed escape --I didn't read to learn, I was reading to read." 
                                              Christian Bauman

Books... whether sharing with my grandchildren, sitting in front of a classroom of  smiling faces anticipating a story or curled up with my reading buddy, reading has always been a favorite pastime ... my happy place. Now, as I navigate this unexpected journey, reading and sharing the love of reading has become not only a passion but a lifeline. 


"There wasn't time for withholding, not in this short life when you were only given to know a few people, and to have a true exchange with one or two."

The book I am sharing today was one of my top reads of 2022. There was a lot of positive chatter and reviews for Fellowship Point, by Alice Elliot Dark when it came out almost a year ago. 

Here is a brief set up. 

Agnes Lee and Polly Wister are lifelong friends, and two of the three remaining property owners of Fellowship Point, a mostly undeveloped property in coastal Maine. Agnes, a celebrated children's book author, suffering from writers block, is being pressured to write her memoir. Polly a devoted wife and mother, is caring for her husband. When it is discovered the third property holder, Polly's nephew is wanting to teardown the vacation homes and destroy a sacred indigenous gathering place to build a resort, Agnes and Polly must join forces to protect the peninsula they love. Polly will be forced to choose between her sons and her best friend. Both women, in their late 70s, will face 
uncovered past decisions.

There is no other way to say it, this book wowed me. At almost 600 pages, I was not ready for it to end. Multi- layered, character driven Fellowship Point checked all the boxes for me.  Alice Elliot Dark masterfully weaves themes of love and loyalty, aging, caring for the natural world and owning the past, to create a beautiful story of a life and friendship. The ending was perfect!

If you've read Fellowship Point, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you haven't read it, it is worth exploring. I always want to hear what you are
reading and loving. 

I know there are so many newly published , highly hyped books vying for our attention. There are books placed on the shelf to be picked up later, or missed  because it didn't have a celebrity endorsement. There are so many fabulous backlisted books to be picked up while waiting for that newly published bestseller everyone is talking about. 

 "If you haven't read it, it is new to you." Ann Patchett

                      Happy Reading!

Monday, April 10, 2023

Not What I Expected

 I have wanted to return to this space for awhile. I have played with content, trying to zero in on a direction, the right time. As often happens, life is saying now.

Whenever I have been away for awhile I begin my post with "it has been awhile; a lot has been going on around here." And, once again, it has been awhile and a lot has been going on around here. Little did I know what was going on then was the beginning of what is happening now.

My husband has been experiencing both mobility and memory issues for a while. He has been able to hide a lot.  I have been in denial. He has made excuses. I have spent valuable time angry. After countless doctor's appointments, tests and scans, we know what it is not. It is not a brain tumor, it is not a drug interaction and it most likely is not Alzheimer's. What is suspected is a Parkinson type disease. We are not in a battle, we are on a journey.

I am returning now because I find writing is both calming and healing. I have no advice to offer, but if sharing my questions, anxieties, and mistakes encourages anyone who suddenly discovers they have been moved from being the passenger to the driver,
 I will be happy. 

And friends, because, it is what I do, I am going to probably spend some time writing about books. What can I say?

So, for today... 

Look for the light... light will always conquer darkness.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Thursday Book Talk

"Take all the money from my wallet but tell this story to my children.  They only know pieces of it. It's time for them to know all of it. Tell them I loved them very much, that they were worth the years I spent without seeing my brother. Tell them to walk in the shade. To listen with their eyes, to see with their skin, and to feel with their ears, because life speaks to us all and we just need to know and wait to listen to it, see it, feel it."

I am always on the lookout for a story so beautifully told it takes my breath away. This is how I felt about "The Murmur of Bees", by Sofia Segovia and translated by Simon Bruni. These are the books I find the most difficult to write about. 

Set in an area of northern Mexico, with ground fertile not only for growing sugar cane and maize, but for superstitious tales and rumors of witches roaming in the night. One morning when a beloved elderly Nana is discovered missing, a search party is sent to find her. Nana Reja is found under a bridge holding a mysterious bundle; a second bundle beside her.  When the swaddling is removed, a baby is discovered wrapped in a blanket of bees. In the second bundle a hive is found. Nana Reja is insistent both the baby and the hive be taken back to the hacienda. Some who viewed the strange child with the facial deformity, thought him to be evil. Word spread he had been "kissed by the devil." The old nana believed differently. The wealthy landowners Beatrix and Francisco Morales became his Godparents, named him Simonopio and cared for him as their own son.

With his bees always with him, leading and teaching, Simonopio discovers he can see, hear and feel the future. His extraordinary gifts prove to be beneficial in sensing danger and protecting the Morales family during a time the world is being ravaged by the Spanish flu pandemic and with a revolution brewing. Ultimately he will need to use his gifts to protect himself from the one who he knows as "the coyote." 

"The Murmur of Bees",  Sofia Segovia's first novel to be translated to English, has all the characteristics of a page turner: mystery, tragedy, magical realism and family drama, and yet, it is not a quick read. At almost five hundred pages, this is a book deserving of attention and patience. Like so many of my favorite books, my heart ached when I turned the last page. It was not the ending I had hoped for, yet it was the perfect ending. The last one hundred pages are beautiful; I immediately reread those last chapters just to more fully absorb, appreciate and ponder the beauty of it's conclusion.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

I'll Cheer You to the End

How are you doing friends? 

Here we are just beginning to wade into Autumn; I couldn't be happier. I love everything about this time of year. It makes my heart happy and feels me with so much hope. The crisp morning air is perfect for walks when time allows. It was such a morning when I caught my social distancing friends chattering away one cool sunny morning.

Are you still hanging in there?
 Do you feel like things are beginning to feel somewhat normal? 
I don't either. I've been in school three weeks, it has helped even though it has kicked my backside. Some days have been easier than others; and, it sure helps when younger teachers are saying they are whipped at the end of the day as well.

I know we will come to the end. Perhaps the end will not look quite like where we were before, but we will turn the corner when the time is right. I know, we are ready now, aren't we? It's hard, but let's hang in there. Let's give grace to not only our friends and family, but those we might not like so much. Be gentle with yourself. No one is breezing through this.

I am rooting for you, 
for me, 
for our country
 and the world. 
We can do this... I promise!

Have the very best week ever!

(shhh.... I'll be back with some book talk.)