Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today's picture/Chicken and Duck Eggs

Matt and Margaret's ducks have been laying a lot of eggs lately, as have our chickens.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January with Gladys and Rachel

To learn more about this yearlong adventure with Gladys Taber and Rachel Peden, you may scroll down to 'letter topics' and click 'A Year with Gladys and Rachel.'

I don't believe I've laughed as much in the other months as I did while reading Gladys' January entry. She has mentioned in other books that she isn't fond of the telephone, and indeed has a 'phobia.' I know people all these years later who have much the same thing. Her descriptions of the phone service in her area, and her experiences were so funny. They were rather like a literary slapstick comedy.
Well, much has been written about the country telephone. Ours rings apparently without reason, and with nobody on the other end. If we try to call anyone, we get five people in odd places who are justly annoyed at being summoned when we do not want to talk to them anyway. If I get called to the phone, I always hear another conversation going on, and I get so bemused listening to that that I never hear my own. …
After being on a nine-party line for years, we graduated to a two-party line. We felt elated, but it was a short-time elation. For now we only have a sort of dual conversation with the other party on at the same time. And if I get on, as I rarely do, I always hear this clear clipped voice saying, "is this the New York Medical Center?" …
My telephoning is hampered anyway by the fact that I can never understand anybody's name over it or what they want. I hear a dull glug glu and then I say brightly, "Oh yes?"
When her friend Faith Baldwin calls, Gladys is amazed by her telephoning abilities.
The phone is no hazard to her. She can chat over it. I am lost in admiration, in fact so lost that I often miss part of what she says.
She can do a whole novelette in five minutes and all I have to do is say OH. Or, in a great burst of inspiration, YES.
And apparently, the phone company in her area used to change the phone numbers 'every little while'
and our former number invariably goes to some week-end shack by the river. Any misguided soul who tries to call us gets an empty shack. … The phone rings a great deal, but of course it isn't our number but the number of someone else who has now another number!

In writing about getting sick in January, she reminisces about her parents' ways of dealing with illness.
I can well remember how Father always diagnosed his own and told the doctor what it was and what kind of medicine he needed. That settled that. Then he would add some of his own medicines from the big black case he had carried in the Mexican mountains in the early days. He believed if one pill was good, five were bound to work quicker.
Also, he mixed the pills. First he would take what he had ordered the doctor to give him, then add some Rhinitis or aconite or a spoonful of some early remedy of mine. A glass of Bromo Seltzer helped out and a little later a raw onion sliced and placed between two slices of bread, well buttered, salted and peppered was a final sovereign remedy.
It may be, as well, that he was the healthiest man that ever lived, so he never got upset by any of his health measures. Mama on the other hand never took so much as an aspirin. She felt one should just keep a stiff upper lip and throw it off.

As she wrote about her Irish setter, Hollyberry's adventures in obedience training, this dog lover was smiling with delight.
when it comes to the Long Down, she is overcome with melancholy. The Irish almost never care about lying down. So she turns to jelly, rolls weakly on her back and holds sad paws up in the air.
Another Irish setter, Daphne, disrupts the Sit Stay, running off after a pheasant and it took all the other owners an hour to catch her.

Doesn't it seem like every generation remembers winters as longer, the snow deeper, the temperatures colder than now? Just this morning I emailed some friends saying I remembered walking to school in -20 weather. Did I really? It sure seems so to me, but am I suffering from that same memory lapse which afflicts all adults? Gladys says
We do not have as many terrible blizzards as we had twenty years ago. This makes me believe in the men who say our climate is getting milder.
This in a 1955 book!

Tom was loading wood onto the terrace this afternoon, and rushed in to get the camera so he could photograph the bird tracks he saw under the lilac bush. As I read along in Stillmeadow Daybook and Rural Free today, I was so hoping one of them would write about birds so I could include Tom's pictures (click for a better view). Gladys mentioned getting the bird feeders full by the end of the day so there would be food first thing in the morning, but nothing specifically about tracks. You may imagine my joy when the very last essay in Rachel's January entry was entitled Footprints in the Snow.
On the snowy path up to the barn this morning I read again the unintentional autographs of several small creatures that share this farm with us. In the thin snow on the back steps and below them were the scanty, scriptlike tracks of birds. They are shaped like a Y, with three prongs in front, one in the back.

Tom put his hand in the photo to give a sense of the size of the bird tracks.

After noting a few others like those of a rabbit and a mouse, she closes her month with
The birds' autographs were my favorites. With a pancake turner and great care, I managed to get up one whole unbroken autograph and put it in the freezer, to read again, I hope, next July.
Though we didn't do this, I just love it that Rachel Peden did so.

Many of her musings were really like prose poems, whether writing of a barn interior or an icy few days.
Unless a bitter wind is blowing, or rain is beating in through the empty windows, the barn is a snug place on a winter morning. When Dick called me up there this morning, the barn was full of a dusty atmosphere of abundance and content. The cattle are shaggy-coated and fat. The hay they were eating had a pleasant odor, reminiscent of summer. When they opened their mouths for a refill, their fragrant breath came out in a crooked, wafted column, like steam.

The ice show began on Friday, and for three days we lived in a glass world.
Early Friday morning sleet was fall in a rasping, hurried whisper against walks and windows and into treetops. By daylight you could already see what had been accomplished. The bent-over peach tree was a glass tree; the maple branches, dotted with reddish brown buds, were glass-dipped and sung softly as if about to break into tinkling music. The whole farmscape was a wonderland of glass, wet and shining. …
The next day the sun came out, making the ice dramatic. Now the stiff trees turned to silver. The still air had the shine of silver from earth to sky, and every little insignificant weed and bush had been silver-plated. …
On the third day there was no sun. The brilliance dimmed to a gleam. Trees glowed softly under a dull, blue-gray sky. Many were enclosed, separately by a strange pale-gray halo. In the garden, old weeds were transformed into lace, spun delicately like foam. …
That night the moonlight was clear and deep on the crusty snow. Trees stood white and silent, as if they knew what was to happen. Then rain came, melting the glass and silver burdens.

There's a whimsical section which arises from her daughter's school work.
Carol read the health lesson aloud while I washed the dishes in the kitchen, and thus we both learned that the human body is 90 per cent water. To me this sounded like understatement. There are times when a farmwife's body can believe that she is 90 per cent dishwater alone. Add another 5 per cent for laundry, some for washing potatoes and fruits before cooking, and a panful for scrubbing the linoleums in muddy winter weather, and it wouldn't be surprising if the total came out somewhere nearer 135 per cent.

When I finished the monthly readings of Gladys Taber and Rachel Peden, I told Tom that these are some of the most enjoyable times of my month. I look forward to them, I enjoy them completely as I read, and then I have the added pleasure of sharing the words of these two wonderful women with my readers.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

There's Gold In Them Hills/Ron Sexsmith

I heard There's Gold In Them Hills at the end of an episode of Royal Pains, and wanted to share this wonderful song by Ron Sexsmith

I know it doesn't seem that way
But maybe it's the perfect day
Even though the bills are piling
And maybe Lady Luck ain't smiling

But if we'd only open our eyes
We'd see the blessings in disguise
That all the rain clouds are fountains
Though our troubles seem like mountains

There's gold in them hills
There's gold in them hills
So don't lose heart
Give the day a chance to start

Every now and then life says
Where do you think you're going so fast
We're apt to think it cruel but sometimes
It's a case of cruel to be kind

And if we'd get up off our knees
Why then we'd see the forest for the trees
And we'd see the new sun rising
Over the hills on the horizon

There's gold in them hills
There's gold in them hills
So don't lose faith
Give the world a chance to say...

A word or two, my friend
There's no telling how the day might end
And we'll never know until we see
That there's gold in them hills

There's gold in them hills
So don't lose heart
Give the day a chance to start

There's gold in them hills
There's gold in them hills

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quote du jour/Mortimer Adler

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.
Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today's essay by Virginia Woolf

In January, the month of Virginia Woolf's birth, I like to read something by, or about, her. This year I decided to read one of her essays, since I've joined the Essay Reading Challenge. I perused both The Common Reader, and The Second Common Reader and decided upon the last essay in the latter book. Its title was irresistible - How Should One Read A Book? She begins by stressing the importance of the 'note of interrogation at the end of my title.'
Text Color
Even if I could answer the question for myself, the answer would apply only to me and not to you. The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because you will not allow them to fetter that independence which is the most important quality that a reader can possess.
She recommends that we begin a book with an open mind.
Do not dictate to your author; try to become him. Be his fellow-worker and accomplice. If you hang back, and reserve and criticise at first, you are preventing yourself from getting the fullest possible value from what you read.
She discusses the varieties of reading, what she calls, 'classes,' specifically fiction, biography, and poetry. She notes that when we read fiction:
It is not merely that we are in the presence of a different person - Defoe, Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy - but that we are living in a different world.
 Biographies offer to 'satisfy the curiosity' we feel as we walk down a street at night and
we linger in front of a house where the lights are lit and the blinds not yet drawn, and each floor of the house shows us a different section of human life...

And about poetry, Virginia Woolf says,

The impact of poetry is so hard and direct that for the moment there is no other sensation except that of the poem itself. What profound depths we visit then - how sudden and complete our immersion!

These are but a few examples of the wisdom expressed in the eleven pages of this essay. I can't imagine a reader who will not come away with a sense of companionship with the author, who conveys so much of what we feel inside yet possibly have never expressed to another soul, or even to ourselves. She ends with the idea of a Day of Judgment when

great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards ... the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, "Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading."

Please do read this essay. It may change your life in a small, or not-so-small way. It is available online here.

Virginia Woolf at Monks House in 1931, a year before The Second Common Reader was published. Today is the 130th anniversary of her birth.

This is my first essay read for the Essay Reading Challenge - 2012.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure by Matthew Algeo

5. Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure
The True Story of a Great American Road Trip
by Matthew Algeo
nonfiction, 2009
Kindle book, 3
second book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
finished, 1/24/12

Just look at those two! Don't they seem like the happiest couple ever?! When Harry Truman was once offered the opportunity of seeing a private screening of the (then) new Marilyn Monroe movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Harry declined saying that "real gentlemen prefer gray hair." Some difference from these days when women 'of a certain age' do everything possible to look younger. Bess Truman was often described with an adjective rarely used now, 'matronly,' defined in the dictionary as
like or characteristic of a matron, esp. in being dignified and staid and typically associated with having a large or plump build
Not many women today would appreciate such a description, let alone be satisfied looking that way. Bess was a woman who was comfortable in her own skin, and much loved by her adoring husband. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Matthew Algeo tells us in the preface that
Harry Truman was the last president to leave the White House and return to something resembling a normal life. And in the summer of 1953 he did something millions of ordinary Americans do all the time, but something no former president had ever done before - and none has done since. He took a road trip, unaccompanied by Secret Service agents, bodyguards, or attendants of any kind. Truman and his wife, Bess, drove from their home in Independence, Missouri to the East Coast and back again. Harry was behind the wheel. Bess rode shotgun. The trip lasted nearly three weeks.
Sometimes they were recognized and other times they weren't. They stayed in public motels or hotels, and ate in the sorts of places all tourists frequent. When at all possible, the author has followed them in their travels, finding some buildings still there, and others gone forever. He was able to talk with people (or their family members) Harry had talked to almost sixty years ago. Matthew Algeo also discusses the times, and how they were different from now. We learn about many American cities and historical events.

Perhaps the most startling fact is that Harry Truman, who became president after Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death in 1945, and was then elected in 1948 for another four years, was in quite dire straits monetarily when his presidency was over. In those days, the only income he had was 'a small army pension,' which amounted to $111.96 a month.
He had no government-provided office space, staff, or security detail. Shortly before leaving office, he'd had to take out a loan from a Washington bank to help make ends meet.
When he went home to Independence, he had an office with two assistants whose salaries he paid himself. He answered the huge amount of mail he received, and paid for all the postage, which in the first year cost him ten thousand dollars. After he left office, 'out of respect for the presidency,' Truman wouldn't accept a position on any organization's board of directors. He didn't believe in 'commercializing' the presidency.

The author offers some comparisons with modern day ex-presidents, which as he says must have had Harry 'spinning in his grave.'
By the early 1980s, Ford was raking in more than a million dollars a year.
Bill Clinton earned more than ten million in speaking fees alone.
An ex-president gets a yearly pension of around $190,000. He also gets money for all those office expenses Harry Truman had to pay for himself, which can now amount to a million a year.
In 2008 the rent on Bill Clinton's office in Harlem alone was more than $500,000. (Carter's in Atlanta was $102,000. The elder Bush's in Houston was $175,000).
The total amount of money the federal government spends on its ex-presidents has risen from $160,000 in 1959 to an estimated $2.5 million in 2008. ... not counting Secret Service protection, which, in 2000, when four formers were living, cost nearly twenty-six million dollars altogether.
It is statistics like these, sprinkled throughout the book which make for fascinating reading. The book is really three-tiered: Harry and Bess' trip, Matthew Algeo's trip, and the wealth of information the author gives the reader. For instance, he visits the Princess Restaurant on Main Street in Frostburg, Maryland which is the only one of the 'small mom-and-pop businesses that the Trumans are known to have patronized ... that has survived, more or less intact, in the same family.' It was so sad to read that when they were there in 1953, 'Main Street positively bustled with businesses' and now they are all gone except for the Princess.

Just a year before Harry and Bess took their trip, my parents went on their own three-week road trip to Florida with another couple. My mother kept a little scrapbook which I treasure. I expect that Harry and Bess saw many of the same kinds of motels and restaurants during their travels.

Wouldn't you like to know what that pie was?

A pilgrimage for all Red Sox fans heading south, then and now.

That price has gone up a bit!

Enjoy that beer as you drive along!

This is wonderful book. It makes for reading that is informative and also great, great fun. I loved it. There's a website devoted to the book and the trip here. And if you'd like to learn more about Harry Truman, I highly recommend David McCullough's Truman.

This is my second book read for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan

4. The Circus Fire
by Stewart O'Nan
nonfiction, 2000
library book
first book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
finished, 1/19/12

I first heard of this book at Lynne's Book Reviews, and knew I wanted to read it for a couple reasons. One is because I was so impressed by the author's writing in Emily, Alone that I want to read everything he has written. And two is because of a jackknife.

The Circus Fire is out of his usual realm of fiction. It is a record of a fire at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in Hartford, Connecticut in 1944. Stewart O'Nan explains in the foreword why he wrote it. When he moved to Hartford and went to the library looking for a 'good history' of the fire
They didn't have one.
Maybe another library around town?
No, what they meant was, there wasn't one.
I thought that was wrong. The circus fire was the biggest disaster in the history of the state, and such a strange one. So many people had died [167], I couldn't believe no one had commemorated the event, set it in words for later generations. ... I started asking people around town what they knew about it.
Everyone had a friend or neighbor who had been there that day, a grandmother or a cousin. Everyone had a story. People of that generation knew exactly where they were that afternoon, just as, later, they could recall what they were doing when President Kennedy was shot. The fire had that great of an impact on the city.

There is no one better to tell the story of the circus fire than Stewart O'Nan. The compassionate empathy toward people which was so evident in Emily, Alone comes through again in his telling of this sad, sad tale. When he describes a scene and we wince, we know that he is wincing as well.

Years ago Tom's mother gave me a jackknife to keep in my purse. She was continuing a tradition begun because of this very fire. She was sixteen and her sister fourteen when the circus fire happened. They lived in Connecticut. Her mother gave both girls a knife so that if they were ever in a burning circus tent, they could cut their way out. We gave her The Circus Fire for her anniversary this year.

Thirteen-year-old Donald Anderson … had a fishing knife with him, with a good sharp blade. … He stuck the knife into the middle of the wall and worked it down, sawing the tough canvas until he had a fair-sized slit. Left and right at the bottom, left and right at the top, and it was a door big enough for him to get out.

All around the tent, fathers slashed at the canvas with penknives, boys wearing HiJacks paratrooper boots whipped miniature jackknifes out of their scabbards, and people dashed out into the cool air.

While the rest of the world forgets, the circus fire remains the property of the survivors. To this day, Timothy Burns of South Windsor carries a small pocket knife. At his father's wake, he slipped his dad's knife into his jacket pocket, as if he might use it in another life.

The book is filled with sometimes unbearable tension, as we read of little events and words that are so meaningful in hindsight. A man lounging around the morning of the circus 'precariously on the porch rail' is scolded by his mother
"You don't get off of that thing, I'll send you home in a coffin."
Two families planned to go to the circus together, but one girl had a summer cold and her mother stayed home to take care of her.

One girl woke up the night before the circus
and saw a man standing on the steps to their parents' room. The man looked at her and said, "Don't be afraid," then disappeared. When she described the man, her father knew who it was - his father, long dead.
A wife and mother was afraid of heights, and when she found the family circus seats were way up high,
the usher managed to squeeze her into the front row of the section, down on the ground, right by the railing.

Stewart O'Nan tells us many such stories of people and families. We get to know them a bit, feeling a sense of dread in the knowledge that some will die in this fire - on what was to be a happy, carefree day. We read of heroic deeds, and not-so-heroic actions. We read in amazement that there was no fire-retardant on the tent roof, and in fact it was treated with a combination of paraffin and gasoline to make it impermeable to rain. There are documents and photographs, and accounts given by people involved, circus goers, policemen, firemen, and political figures, as well as the circus people and owners.

When asked why he didn't 'just write a novel' about the fire, the author said that he felt
it deserved only the most stringent, very best intentions of nonfiction, the idea being to tell the truth about an event that changed the lives of tens of thousands of people. I suppose I thought I might cheapen the fire by fictionalizing it.
As I dug deeper into the research, I discovered my choice of nonfiction was right for a simpler reason: the fact that truth really is stranger than fiction. Not merely weirder, but packed with coincidences, gaps and lapses that well-made fiction can't tolerate.

The story of the circus fire couldn't possibly have been more gripping, and if it had been fiction, the reader would indeed have said, 'oh, right, that couldn't happen.' What did happen on July 6, 1944, and the events which occurred before it and for many years afterward make for an excellent book. Not an easy book, but still I read on as Stewart O'Nan transported me to a time and place so long ago. It is a masterpiece of nonfiction writing.

There is a blurb on the back of the book by Rick Bragg, my own personal favorite nonfiction writer. He says
The Circus Fire is terrifying, compelling, and absolutely readable - because it is real. It happened in 1944, but Stewart O'Nan brings it to life again, along with its heroes and villains, and makes you feel like you're inside the big top as it starts to burn.
There is a website devoted to the fire here.

Addendum: I am grateful to my blogging friend Sprite for directing me to a song by Mark Erelli about this fire.

This is my first book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

3. Lady Audley's Secret
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
fiction, 1862
Kindle book, 2
finished, 1/18/12

This is an illustration from a magazine serial of Lady Audley's Secret. Wolff Collection.

May I whisper that I think Lady Audley's Secret is better than either Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, and on a par with much of Thomas Hardy's work? Where has Mary Elizabeth Braddon been all my reading life? Why wasn't she taught in my English lit classes at Boston University?

Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835-1915)

The story begins in a quite straightforward manner, with pages of description about an English estate, but soon after we meet the characters little questions and doubts creep into the reader's mind. Is Lady Audley avoiding someone on purpose? Whose lock of hair do the maid and her boyfriend find? And whatever happened to a certain man?

Lady Audley's Secret is nearly 500 pages long, and I was constantly amazed at how it held my attention. I wasn't bored for a minute. In fact, there was one part so riveting that I went to the end of the book to check if certain people were okay, and I never do that. The book could be categorized as fiction, mystery, suspense, but I would call it by a term I first read in the much beloved, now defunct publication A Common Reader, 'a thumping good read!'

For me this book was a pure reading experience. I began Lady Audley's Secret knowing not one thing about it or the author. I really don't want to say any more about it, hoping that you may also have this experience. It is rare, and in this case so satisfying. I've already 'bought' for 0¢ another book by Mary Elizabeth Braddon called The Doctor's Wife, and there are many more available. In my view, this is the best thing about e-books, the opportunity to read really old, and perhaps forgotten books.

There is some information about this very prolific author at the Sensation Press site. Lady Audley's Secret is being discussed at Cornflower Books, and I intend to go visit. I'm delighted that this author is now being read. Perhaps a young woman studying English literature in the future will be offered the opportunity of a course on Mary Elizabeth Braddon and others like her.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mrs Bale reports on an open winter

A third of the way through winter, and so far it has been what we call an 'open winter.' I've read a definition of open winter as one without frost, but around here it means without much snow. It has been plenty cold and cloudy. There has been some snow, some sleet, some freezing rain, but we haven't had big snowstorms yet.

I can still see brown grass out in the north pasture.

There's only a couple inches of snow on the ground.

Today at 1 pm - the north side barn thermometer

What this means to those of us who spend most of our time inside is that it is colder. We count on the snowbanks to insulate our houses and when they aren't there, it takes more fuel to keep the house warm. As I've mentioned, our tv is now in the kitchen, as are two reading/tv chairs so we aren't turning on the oil heat very much. We set it at 58º F. Only if someone is coming to visit and we sit in the living room, or if I'm going to be at my desk in the study for a while do we turn it up. The temps in the living room and study are anywhere from 58º F. to maybe 52º. But in the kitchen, where we spend most of our time it is roasty-toasty as can be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Today's picture/Cozy January afternoon

Nice warm wood stove.
A gripping book - The Circus Fire, nonfiction by Stewart O'Nan.
Raya, the cat.
Sadie, the dog.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Essay Reading Challenge - 2012

For someone who proclaims to love essays, I sure don't read many (any). In fact, a year ago this month I wrote:
I want to read more essays. I have many books of them, and they sit unread year after year.

So what better way to encourage myself than to join an essay challenge.

If you’re an avid essay reader, or just want to expand your reading horizons a bit, this is the challenge for you. If you’re thinking, “What would I read?” – stay tuned: I’ll have a post up with suggestions later in the week.

~ This challenge runs from January 1, 2012 through November 30, 2012.

~ If you read a book of essays, that book can also apply to any other challenges you are working on.

~ Choose a goal of reading 10, 20, or 30 essays...

~You don’t have to list your essays ahead of time – just have fun reading throughout the year.

Addendum~ Everyone who completes the challenge and writes at least one review will be eligible for the giveaway prize: A copy of Best American Essays 2012.

I'm excited about this. My goal is a small one, 10 essays, but if I read that many, I'll be 10 ahead of any other year.

How Should One Read A Book? by Virginia Woolf - read January 25.
Out The Window by Donald Hall - read in January and wrote about in May.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012

Because of my great love for nonfiction, and my hope to read more, I'm joining this year's Dewey Decimal Challenge. I enjoyed last year's and read four books for it.

Here are the details:

The Challenge: Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult. That's it. You can choose anything. Poetry? Yes. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge.

I always like levels in my challenges, so here are mine:

Dilettante--Read 1-5 non-fiction books

Explorer--Read 6-10

Seeker--Read 11-15

Master--Read 16-20

This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2012. You can sign up anytime throughout the year.

I am not limiting the challenge to bloggers. You can also link to a review you wrote on another site, such as GoodReads or LibraryThing.

I am going to be bold and sign up for the Seeker level. You wouldn't believe how many nonfiction books I own. As much as I enjoy good fiction stories, what I really love are true stories, and there are enough on my shelves to last for many years!

You may sign up here.

Books read:
The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan - finished January 19.
Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure by Matthew Algeo - finished January 24.
Notes to my mother-in-law by Phyllida Law - finished April 28.
Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard - finished May 1.
Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools by Victoria Twead - finished May 7.
Midnight in Peking by Paul French - finished June 1

Didn't complete the Seeker level. Should have signed on as Explorer!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Roses at the End of the Road by Pat Leuchtman

2. The Roses at the End of the Road
by Pat Leuchtman
nonfiction, 2011
finished, 1/12/12

My blogging friend, Pat sent me an email a while ago asking if I'd like a copy of her new book, and I wrote back with resounding 'yes!' From the very first sentence, I knew this was a book I was going to love. It is one of my favorite kinds of books, those about gardening lives. Though her book isn't a month-by-month account, it is in the same category as those I highlighted in this posting almost five years ago. I've also written about two specifically: Dear Friend & Gardener by Beth Chatto & Christopher Lloyd and Tottering in My Garden by Midge Ellis Keeble. And now The Roses At The End Of The Road becomes a welcome, and loved addition to my collection.

This is the perfect book to read in January when spring in our neck of the woods seems very far off. I read it in a chair by the woodstove with outdoor temperatures in the twenties.

My first experience with gardening was not following my mother or grandmother around a garden. I didn't know anyone who had a flower garden when I was growing up. Oh, everyone had a few flowers, usually growing up against the house, but they weren't passionate about their gardens. As a young city dweller with hippie dreams of living in the country, my first teacher was the marvelous Thalassa Cruso.

She had a sense of humor and a no-nonsense approach to gardening. I think I've modeled myself pretty well after her, and all these years later it is her voice I hear in my head as I go about my gardening life. Her obituary in the New York Times does a great job in explaining this woman to those who may not have ever seen her on Public Television or read her books. I used her words as a quote du jour last year. There's a lovely piece about her here.

In Pat Leuchtman, I have found another Thalassa - a Thalassa of roses! Pat is also a cheerful, no-nonsense kind of gardener. Hers is not a stuffy gardening book which makes the reader feel hopeless to even begin. No, Pat is a woman like us. She may have eighty roses, but
I have probably killed at least half that many.
When she writes of her perennial (flowers which come up each year) bed, she says that
it was never weeded sufficiently, partly because I often had trouble telling the difference between real weeds and the plants that self-seeded with abandon.
I love her take on the short season of roses.
The rugosas begin blooming at the beginning of June, but by mid-July most of the roses, including the albas and gallicas, are done. Some consider this a flaw; I like to look at it like eating strawberries in season. The brevity of the season makes their loveliness and perfume that much more precious.
This is an example of what I think of as the gardener philosopher. It seems to me that working alone amongst the flowers and vegetables gives one the quiet time necessary to think about life. Her daughter's wedding, which takes place in Pat's garden, inspires the author to make connections between the garden and marriage.
Gardens don't always turn out as expected. There are inexplicable failures. … Fortunately there are also those unexpected joys and bonuses. … Sun and rain. Brilliant day and darkest night. All inevitable. All necessary.
What I want from a book about gardens is a belief that I can achieve what the author has done. Pat Leuchtman inspires. And encourages. With her down-to-earth approach and her generously offered information, I'm going to look into planting a couple roses next spring, and maybe some delphiniums, and maybe a new lilac. I shall be referring to this lovely little book for as long as I have a garden.

You may purchase your own copy here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Short Stories on Wednesdays - The Ambitious Guest by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Ambitious Guest by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
first published in New-England Magazine, 1835, and later collected in the second volume of Twice-Told Tales, 1837. The Great Stone Face and Other Tales of the White Mountains which contains The Ambitious Guest and other stories of the region was published in 1889.
9 pages long.

Hawthorne actually died while on a trip to the White Mountains, in Plymouth a town some miles south.

If it had not been true, the tale of the Willey family could have been a short story. It certainly has a twist worthy of the master, O. Henry. This is the account of what happened on an August night in 1826 in Crawford Notch in the state of New Hampshire.

During the fall of 1825 Samuel Willey, Jr. of Bartlett moved into a small house in the heart of Crawford Notch with his wife, five children, and two hired men. The first year the three men enlarged and improved the house which the family operated as an inn to accommodate travelers through the mountains on the desolate notch road. The little cluster of buildings was situated in the shadow of what is now called Mount Willey. In June, following a heavy rain, the Willeys were terrified when they witnessed a great mass of soil and vegetation, torn loose from the mountainside across the river, slide in a path of destruction to the valley floor. As a result, Mr. Willey built a cave-like shelter a short distance above the house to which the family could flee if a slide threatened their side of the valley. During the night of August 28, 1826, after a long drought which had dried the mountain soil to an unusual depth, came one of the most violent and destructive rain storms ever known in the White Mountains. The Saco River rose twenty feet overnight. Livestock was carried off, farms set afloat, and great gorges were cut in the mountains. Two days after the storm, anxious friends and relatives penetrated the debris-strewn valley to learn the fate of the Willey family. They found the house unharmed, but the surrounding fields were covered with debris. Huge boulders, trees, and masses of soil had been swept from Mt. Willey's newly bared slopes. The house had escaped damage because it was apparently situated just below a ledge that divided the major slide into two streams. The split caused the slide to pass by the house on both sides leaving it untouched. Inside, beds appeared to have been left hurriedly, a Bible lay on the table, and the dog howled mournfully. Mr. and Mrs. Willey, two children, and both hired men were found nearby, crushed in the wreckage of the slide. The bodies were buried near the house and later moved to Conway. Three children were never found. The true story of the tragedy will never be known. Poets and writers have conjectured many possibilities. Perhaps the family, awakened by a threatening rumble, fled from the house to their cave, and were caught in one stream of the slide. It seems more likely the Willeys started to climb the slope of the mountain to escape the rising floods and were caught in the landslide. Whatever the circumstances of the tragedy, it has endowed this part of the White Mountains with a legend enhanced by the awesome crags which rise as guardians over the site of the former Willey home. Following the tragedy, an addition was built onto the house which was operated as an inn until it burned in 1898.

There is more about the Willey House, including pictures, here.

Painting of Crawford Notch by Thomas Cole, 1839, just 13 years after the storm.

Information reproduced from the Web site White Mountain Art & Artists authored by John J. Henderson and Roger E. Belson. Visit their Web site at http://whitemountainart.com/.

One writer who wrote his own version of the Willey family tragedy is Nathaniel Hawthorne.

You may read The Ambitious Guest at The Library of America webpage, and if you scroll down to the end of the page, there is a place where you may sign up for the 'story of the week.' This is a wonderful opportunity to read short stories, and other short pieces by a wide range of authors.
Every Monday The Library of America will feature a free Story of the Week. It could be anything: a short work of fiction, a character sketch, an essay, a journalist's dispatch, a poem.

Our story begins with a traveler who stops for the night at a little house on a mountain. It is both a family home and a wayside inn. He feels so much at home among these people that he begins to tell of what is in his heart. He fears that he will die unknown and unremembered by the world. In the course of the conversation the man who owns the house tells of his own yearning, to have a farm in the countryside off the mountain, for this family lives in an uneasy relationship with this mountain which
towered above their heads, so steep, that the stones would often rumble down its sides, and startle them at midnight.
The family has even built
a sure place of refuge, hard by, if he [the mountain] should be coming in good earnest.
Well, you know what happens, but the story is riveting and most interesting all the same. The conversations, the descriptions of the wind outside and the cozy fireside within, and a couple possible premonitions make The Ambitious Guest very appealing. I've not read a lot of Hawthorne, but if you have and haven't cared for his writing much, I think you'll still like this story.

If you are interested in Hawthorne and don't know too much about the man, may I suggest the wonderful American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever. I wrote about it in May 2007, and read it again in 2010 and liked it just as well. In fact, I've thought of reading it again this year. It really is that good. I think it would be a great college course, and reading experience, to begin with American Bloomsbury, and then read biographies of the writers and their works. I did start The Peabody Sisters (one of whom married Hawthorne) by Megan Marshall but didn't finish. I really should go back to it.

Short Stories on Wednesdays is hosted by Risa at Breadcrumb Reads.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quote du jour/George Holbrook Jackson

The time to read is now, not hereafter. We must make time or miss our joy.
George Holbrook Jackson

I've been thinking about these words a lot lately. Years ago they used to be on my sidebar. Now I believe they need to be in my heart and in my actions. I love reading but I let other activities take up too much of my reading time; other activities that I love, or that are necessary and important. I must find a better balance between them and reading. I miss sitting down for an hour or more at a time completely absorbed in a story. Beginning today, I'm going to remedy that situation. I'm at a time in my life when I'm home. My children are grown. I don't have an outside job. I can pretty much determine my own schedule. I must 'make time' or I shall indeed miss my 'joy.'

Friday, January 6, 2012

Today's poem by Maxine Kumin

My Father's Neckties

Last night my color-blind chain-smoking father
who has been dead for fourteen years
stepped up out of a basement tie shop
downtown and did not recognize me.

The number he was wearing was as terrible
as any from my girlhood, a time of
ugly ties and acrimony; six or seven
blue lightning bolts outlined in yellow.

Although this was my home town it was tacky
and unfamiliar, it was Rabat or Gibraltar
Daddy smoking his habitual
square-in-the-mouth cigarette and coughing
ashes down the lightning jags. He was
my age exactly, it was wordless, a window
opening on an interior we both knew
where we had loved each other, keeping it quiet.

Why do I wait years and years to dream this outcome?
My brothers, in whose dreams he must as surely
turn up wearing rep ties or polka dots clumsily
knotted, do not speak of their encounters.

When we die, all four of us, in
whatever sequence, the designs
will fall off like face masks
and the rayon ravel from this hazy version
of a man who wore hard colors recklessly
and hid out in the foreign
bargain basements of his feelings.

by Maxine Kumin
from Selected Poems 1960-1990

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thinking, not talking

In an age when it seems that everyone feels the need to express their opinions, these words from my current book, A Voice From Old New York by Louis Auchincloss stopped me in my tracks:
Once, when I pointed out to my older brother that I found his group in Newport on the stuffy side, he replied that their dinners were good and their guests on time and never inebriated. I retorted that he would have been happy with the formality and regularity of the court of Versailles, and he did not deny it. For a long time it seemed to me that this propriety was inconsistent with a serious life, that such an attitude must indicate a certain triviality of spirit or even of heart. I was wrong.
My brother, you see, needed only himself for an intellectual companion. He was a deep reader and thinker, and a conscientious liberal in a rigidly conservative society to whose tenets he paid no attention but never took the trouble to contradict.
A 'reader and thinker' rather than a talker. Do such people still exist?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Latte Trouble by Cleo Coyle

1. Latte Trouble - book 3 in the Coffeehouse Mystery series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery, 2005
first book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Kindle book, 1
finished, 1/1/12

I really love the Coffeehouse Mystery series, and I think it has something for everyone. There is coffee talk, and some food talk, for foodies. There is a bit of romance for fans of romance. There is always a good mystery for fans of mystery fiction. And there is fine writing for all readers. Clare Cosi is a great character. She's bold, and funny, and intelligent.

The mystery in this book comes when a man dies from a poisoned cup of coffee at a private party for 'fashionistas' in town for Fashion Week, and the police arrest Clare's barista, Tucker who made it. He was actually making it as a request for Lottie Harmon, a designer whose collection of 'Java Jewelry' was inspired by coffee drinks she'd had at the Village Blend. On his way to deliver her cup, a former boyfriend of Tucker's snatches it off the tray. When he drinks it and dies, the supposition is that Tucker killed him. And even though it was meant for Lottie, Tucker is arrested.

Clare knows he didn't do it, and tries to find out why someone may have wanted Lottie dead; Lottie who was a big success in the 1980s, and then dropped out of sight, only to return to great acclaim.

Although I am reading the books in order, this is one series where I don't think it is necessary. Cleo Coyle does a great job of bringing the reader up to date with Clare's life. In fact, I think she does it better than any series writer I've read. As Clare is the narrator, she will just include a fact from her past in connection with something else she's saying. She doesn't do a litany at the beginning of the book telling us how she got to where she is now. The main characters are the people who work at the Village Blend, her ex-mother-in-law, her ex-husband, a policeman, and her 20-year old daughter.

Locale is very important to me, and Cleo Coyle brings New York City alive to readers. I enjoy learning about the different areas, and events that occur there. She offers many details about parks and routes and people who frequent certain places. In Latte Trouble, for instance, I learned of the Meatpacking District, Bryant Park, and Rikers Island jail. These books are a little like a NYC guidebook, only much more fun. This is a great series.

This is my first book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quote du jour/Bridget Jones

But then I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.
The character Bridget Jones
in Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Books Read in 2012

Clicking on titles will bring you to a book report or book notes.

December - 11

Short book notes about December books may be found here.

73. Elsewhere
by Richard Russo
nonfiction, 2012
library book 33
Kindle Paperwhite book 9
finished 12/27/12

72,  Murder in the Calais Coach (US title for Murder on the Orient Express)
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1934
finished 12/26/12

71. Curse of the Pogo Stick - book 5 in the Siri Paiboun series
by Colin Cotterill
mystery, 2008
library book 32
Kindle Paperwhite book 8
finished 12/26/12

70. A Duty to the Dead - book 1 in the Bess Crawford series
by Charles Todd
mystery, 2009
library book 31
Kindle Paperwhite book 7
finished 12/21/12

69. The Four-Pools Mystery
by Jean Webster
mystery, 1907
Kindle Paperwhite book 6
finished 12/16/12

68. Anarchy and Old Dogs - book 4 in the Siri Paiboun series
by Colin Cotterill
mystery, 2007
library book 30
Kindle Paperwhite book 5
finished 12/12/12

67. A Lesson in Secrets - book 8 in the Maisie Dobbs series
by Jacqueline Winspear
mystery, 2011
finished 12/11/12

66. Disappeared
by Anthony Quinn
mystery, 2012
Kindle Paperwhite book 4
finished 12/8/12

65. Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers
by Kathi Appelt
illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein
children's book, 2005
finished 12/5/12

64. Disco for the Departed - book 3 in the Siri Paiboun series
by Colin Cotterill
mystery, 2006
library book 29
Kindle Paperwhite book 3
finished 12/4/12

63. Outsider in Amsterdam - book 1 in the Amsterdam Cops series
by Janwillem van de Wetering
mystery, 1975
library book 28
finished 12/1/12

Note: Decided on November 10 that I was only going to list the books I read, and perhaps occasionally write about them.

November - 6

62. Mr. Churchill's Secretary
by Susan Elia MacNeal
fiction, 2012
library book 27
Kindle Paperwhite book 2
finished 11/26/12

61. The Poisoner's Handbook
Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
by Deborah Blum
nonfiction, 2010
library book 26
Kindle Paperwhite book 1
finished 11/21/12

60. Lights! Camera! Murder! book 5 in the Jake Russo series
by Phil Edwards
mystery, 2012
Kindle book 19
finished 11/14/12

59. A Conspiracy of Friends - book 3 in the Corduroy Mansions series
by Alexander McCall Smith
fiction, 2011
library book 25
Nook book 22
finished 11/12/12

58. My Hippie Grandmother
by Reeve Lindbergh
illustrated by Abby Carter
children's book, 2003
library book 24
finished 11/2/12

57. Holiday Grind - book 8 in the Coffeehouse Mysteries series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery, 2009
Kindle book 18
fifteenth book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
finished 11/2/12

October - 6

56. The Dog Who Came In From The Cold - book 2 in Corduroy Mansions series
by Alexander McCall Smith
fiction, 2010
library book 23
Nook book 21
finished 10/30/12

55. Poppleton
Poppleton and Friends - book 2
Poppleton Everyday - book 3
Poppleton in Spring - book 5
Poppleton in Fall - book 6
Poppleton Has Fun - book 7
Poppleton in Winter - book 8
by Cynthia Rylant
children's books, 1997-2001
library books 16-22
finished 10/28/12

54. Mrs. Malory and the Fatal Legacy - book 10 in the Mrs. Malory series
by Hazel Holt
mystery, 1999
finished 10/23/12

53. Thirty-Three Teeth - book 2 in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series
by Colin Cotterill
mystery, 2005
library book 15
Nook book 20
finished 10/18/12

52. The Old Woman Who Named Things
by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Kathryn Brown
children's book, 1996
library book 14
finished 10/10/12

51. The Coroner's Lunch - Book 1 in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series
by Colin Cotterill
mystery, 2004
library book 13
Nook book 19
finished 10/9/12

September - 3

50. The Cornbread Book
a love story with recipes
by Jeremy Jackson
cookbook, 2003
fourteenth book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
finished 9/25/12

49. Problem at Pollensa Bay
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1991
library book 12
Nook book 18
finished 9/11/12

48. Murder Most Maine - Book 3 in the Gray Whale Inn mysteries
by Karen MacInerney
mystery, 2008
thirteenth book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
library book 11
Nook book 17
finished 9/6/12

August - 6

47. Espresso Shot - book 7 in the Coffeehouse Mysteries series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery, 2008
twelfth book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Nook book 16
finished 8/30/12

46. Bon Appétit!
the delicious life of Julia Child
by Jessie Hartland
juvenile nonfiction, 2012
eleventh book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
library book 10
finished 8/25/12

45. The Leavenworth Case - book 1 in the Ebenezer Gryce series
by Anna Katharine Green
mystery, 1878
Kindle book 17
finished 8/23/12

by Francine Mathews
fiction, 2012
finished 8/8/12

by Marie Nightingale
cookbook, 1997, 2008
second book for the Canadian Book Challenge 6 - Nova Scotia
tenth book for Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
finished 8/5/12

42. Kilmeny of the Orchard
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
fiction, 1910
first book for the Canadian Book Challenge 6 - Prince Edward Island
Nook book 15
finished 8/5/12

July - 5

by Claire Cook
fiction, 2011
library book 9
Nook book 14
finished 7/31/12

40. That Affair Next Door - book 1 in the Amelia Butterworth series; book 7 in the Ebenezer Gryce series
by Anna Katharine Green
mystery, 1897
Kindle book 16
finished 7/26/12

39. French Pressed - book 6 in the Coffeehouse Mysteries series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery, 2008
ninth book in the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Nook book 13
finished 7/18/12

38. Corduroy Mansions - book 1 in Corduroy Mansions series
by Alexander McCall Smith
fiction, 2009
library book 8
Nook book 12
finished 7/13/12

37. Crocodile on the Sandbank - book 1 in the Amelia Peabody series
by Elizabeth Peters
mystery, 1975
Nook book 11
finished 7/4/12

June - 6

by Lisa Genova
fiction, 2007
finished 6/29/12

35. Dead and Berried - Book 2 in the Gray Whale Inn Mysteries
by Karen MacInerney
mystery, 2007
eighth book in the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Kindle book 15
finished 6/25/12

34. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (originally published as These Foolish Things)
by Deborah Moggach
fiction, 2004
finished 6/23/12

Story and pictures by Julie Brinckloe
children's book, 1985
finished 6/22/12

32. The Clicking of Cuthbert and Other Golf Stories
by P.G. Wodehouse
fiction, 1922
Kindle book 14
finished 6/2/12

31. Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
by Paul French
nonfiction, 2012
sixth book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
finished 6/1/12

May - 4

30. Destination Unknown
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1954
library book 7
Nook book 10
finished 5/24/12

29. Crooked House
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1949
library book 6
Nook book 9
finished 5/20/12

28. Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools
by Victoria Twead
nonfiction, 2009
fifth book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
seventh book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Nook book 8
finished 5/7/12

27. Lunch in Paris
by Elizabeth Bard
nonfiction, 2010
fourth book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
sixth book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
library book 5
Nook book 7
finished 5/1/12

April - 9

26. Notes to my mother-in-law
by Phyllida Law
nonfiction, 2009
third book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
finished 4/28/12

25. The Invisible Ones
by Stef Penney
fiction, 2012
library book 4
finished 4/27/12

24. Decaffeinated Corpse - Book 5 in the Coffeehouse Mystery series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery, 2007
fifth book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Nook book 6
finished 4/26/12

23. Murder on the Rocks - Book 1 in the Gray Whale Inn Mysteries
by Karen MacInerney
mystery, 2006
fourth book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Kindle book 13
finished 4/21/12

22. Parker Pyne Investigates - short story collection
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1934
library book 3
Nook book 5
finished 4/15/12

by Deby Eisenberg
fiction, 2011
Kindle book 12
finished 4/8/12

by Allegra Goodman
fiction, 2001
Nook book 4
finished 4/8/12

by William Saroyan
fiction, 1943
finished 4/7/12

18. Frozen Assets (also known as Frozen Out) - book 1 in the Gunnhilder Mystery series
by Quentin Bates
mystery, 2011
Nook book 3
library book 2
finished 4/6/12

March - 7

Three Novellas
by Anita Desai
fiction, 2011
first book for the South Asian Challenge 2012
finished 3/29/12

16. A Man Lay Dead - book 1 in the Inspector Alleyn series
by Ngaio Marsh
mystery, 1934
Nook book 2
finished 3/26/12

by Ann Swinfen
Kindle book 11
finished 3/22/12

14. The Show Must Go Wrong - book 4 in the Jake Russo series
by Phil Edwards
mystery, 2012
Kindle book, 10
finished 3/19/12

13. Murder Most Frothy - book 4 in the Coffeehouse Mystery series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery 2006
third book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Nook book, 1
finished 3/12/12

12. Hope Road - first in the LS9 series
by John Barlow
mystery, 2011
Kindle book, 9
finished 3/10/12

11. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe - an Hercule Poirot mystery
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1940
Kindle book, 8
finished 3/1/12

February - 5

by Maile Meloy
illustrated by Ian Schoenherr
middle grade fiction, 2011
finished 2/29/12

9. Dead Air Can Kill You - book 3 in the Jake Russo series
by Phil Edwards
mystery, 2011
second book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Kindle book, 7
finished 2/22/12

8. Five Little Pigs - an Hercule Poirot mystery
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1942
Kindle book, 6
finished 2/14/12

7. A Place To Die - first in the Inspector Georg Buchner series
by Dorothy James
mystery, 2010
Kindle book, 5
finished 2/8/12

6. Sleeping Murder
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1976
Kindle book, 4
finished 2/1/12

January - 5

5. Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure:The True Story of a Great American Road Trip
by Matthew Algeo
nonfiction, 2009
Kindle book, 3
second book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
finished 1/24/12

4. The Circus Fire
by Stewart O'Nan
nonfiction, 2000
library book 1
first book for the Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012
finished 1/19/12

3. Lady Audley's Secret
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
fiction, 1862
Kindle book, 2
finished 1/18/12

by Pat Leuchtman
nonfiction, 2011
finished 1/12/12

1. Latte Trouble - book 3 in the Coffeehouse Mystery series
by Cleo Coyle
mystery, 2005
first book for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge 2012
Kindle book, 1
finished 1/1/12