March of the Books

Here’s the singular thing I love, love, love about March: the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race in Holyoke, MA. I adore running this race. Runner’s World magazine has mentioned it more than once, calling it the mini Boston Marathon for it’s toughness. I PR’ed this year! But what I am more excited about is that this time I was only five seconds away from breaking an hour. Unlike last year (1:07:and something seconds) I was 1 hour and a measly four seconds. But, enough about running! Here are the books finished for March, 2017:

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (AB +EB)*
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (AB + print)
  • Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy*
  • Treachery in the Yard by Adimchinma Ibe*

Nonfiction:

  • Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam (DNF)
  • Big Empty edited by Ladette Randolph and Nina Shevchuk-Murray (EB)
  • No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (AB)

Series continuations:

  • Red Bones by Ann Cleeves
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns by Tim Mackintosh-Smith (DNF)
  • Endymion by Dan Simmons

Early Review “won”:

  • Ma Speaks Up by Marianne Leone (received and finished)
  • My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul (This has arrived & I have started it)

*Short enough to read in one day.


Falling Angels

Gowdy, Barbara. Falling Angels. New York: Soho Press, 1990.

Reason read: On March 29th in 1848 Niagara Falls stopped flowing.

First and foremost I have to say this is a tragic book. I was not expecting it to be so violent, so scary or so very, very sad. The terrible thing is this: I realize there are probably hundreds of thousands of households just like the Fields out there. That thought alone makes the book all the scarier.
Second comment: Nancy included this in the chapter called “Niagara Falls” and yet Niagara Falls isn’t really in the book. It’s a memory and an end.
From the outside, the Fields family looks like your typical suburban household. Dad goes to work everyday. Mom stays home and looks after their three daughters, Sandy age eight, Lou age nine and Norma, ten. The children go to school and occasionally are seen around the neighborhood. No one questions when the family disappears for two weeks. What they don’t know is instead of going to Disney for a family vacation militant and World War III-expectant dad forces them to live in an underground bunker as training for a nuclear disaster. It is the post-war early 60s after all. No one seems to notice middle daughter, Lou, as she does all the grocery shopping for the family, or that the mother is rarely seen outside.
Go inside and the Fields household is even less of a pretty sight. Mom, practically comatose, drinks to erase a terrible memory (involving Niagara Falls). Dad has a violent temper and is prone to attack whomever is in reach when he’s in between girlfriends.
In the ten year span of the story the daughters get older and experience puberty and do so without a responsible parent to guide them. They are on their own. Each daughter copes in her own way. The end results are disastrous.

Scary line, “He was as unpredictable as a police dog”. For one, police dogs are not supposed to be unpredictable to anyone except a criminal.
Two more sad lines, “But his eyes are her eyes gone to hell” (p 105) and “Extreme happiness and terror have always felt the same to her” (p 150).

Author fact: Gowdy has her own website here.

Book trivia: Falling Angels was made into a movie in 2003 and why not? the book has sex, drugs, and death. All that’s missing is a good car chase.

Nancy said: absolutely nothing. But, as an aside: she could have included this in Book Lust in the chapter “Families in Trouble” (p 86).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the short chapter “Niagara Falls” (p 156).


Spring Forward

I’m really looking forward to spring. The chance to run outside (sorry, New Guinea) & a little more green in my life. Here are the books planned:

Fiction:

  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel ~ in honor of the best time to visit Mexico (AB). I think this will only take a few days to read so I’m adding:
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (AB) as a backup ~ in honor of the Oscars (even though they just happened, embarrassingly so).
  • Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy ~ in honor of the time Niagara Falls stopped flowing, and,
  • Treachery in the Yard by Adimchinma Ibe ~ in honor of Nigeria’s president as of 2015.

Both of these fictions are short-short so I should be able to read them in a day or two each.

Nonfiction:

  • Breaks in the Game by David Halberstam ~ in honor of March Madness (basketball)
  • The Big Empty edited by Ladette Randolph ~ in honor of Nebraska becoming a state in March.

Series Continuations:

  • Red Bones by Ann Cleeves ~ to continue the series started in January in honor of Up Helly Aa.
  • Endymion by Dan Simmons ~ to continue the series started in January in honor of Science Fiction month. This sucker is 600 pages long. Not sure I’ll finish it in time…
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns by Tim Mackintosh-Smith ~ to continue the series started in February in honor of Exploration month. This is an ILL and it hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m not sure I will finish it in time.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Ma Speaks Up by Marianne Leonne ~ maybe. I “won” it in February but it hasn’t arrived yet.
  • EDITED to ADD: I just got word I also “won” My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul. It isn’t expected to arrive for awhile so this is really an April book.