October Okay

Fiction:

  • The Master of Hestviken: the Axe by Sigrid Undset.
  • October Light by John Gardner.
  • Jamesland by Michelle Huneven.
  • The Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows by Patrick Chamoiseau.
  • Isabel’s Bed by Elinor Lipman.

Nonfiction:

  • Wyoming Summer by Mary O’Hara.
  • Obsession with Butterflies by Sharman Apt Russell.

Series continuation:

  • Running Blind by Lee Child.

Early Review for LibraryThing

  • Lou Reed: Notes From the Velvet Underground by Howard Sounes.

Isabel’s Bed

Lipman, Elinor. Isabel’s Bed. New York: Washington Square Press, 1995.

Reason read: Lipman’s birth month is in October. Read in her honor.

Harriet Mahoney gave twelve years of her life to a man who just left her to marry a woman he’s only known for a few months. Adding insult to injury, he kicks Harriet out of the house she has shared with him as his common law wife for all those years. Dejected but determined to land on her feet, (without her parents’s help…she is over forty, after all!) Harriet takes a job in the seaside town of Truro, Cape Cod, to ghost write celebrity Isabel Krug’s tabloid story. Everyone knows Isabel was the femme fatale using a vibrator in a married man’s bed. Everyone knows the married guy’s wife stormed into the bedroom and shot him dead. Everyone knows because the trial was a sensation full of titillating details, but Isabel wants the world to know her side of the story (it’s even more sordid) and because she isn’t shy, she’s willing to tell all. Harriet is in for the ride of her life working with feisty Isabel…until the not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity widow comes knocking.
This is a fun read but a bit silly at times.

Line I really liked, “My taste buds strained in their direction” (p 276).

Author fact: Lipman is from Lowell, Massachusetts. Same as Hey Jack Kerouac.

Book trivia: So. This story is supposed to take place in Cape Cod. One character is supposed to have a wicked Boston accent. He does…for the most part. It comes and goes.

Nancy said: Pearl didn’t say anything specific about Isabel’s Bed.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Elinor Lipman: Too Good to Miss” (p 146).


October Late

I am so frigging late with this it’s not even funny. Here are my excuses: I was home-home the first weekend in October. I am hosting an art show. I’m trying to hire a new librarian. And. And! And, I have been running. Only 13.25 miles so far but it’s a start, right? I’m thrilled to be putting one foot in front of the other. But, here are the books:

Fiction:

  • October Light by John Gardner – in honor of October being in the the title of the book and the fact that it takes place in Vermont, a place that is simply gorgeous in the fall.
  • Jamesland by Michelle Huneven – in honor of October being Mental Health Awareness month.
  • Long Day Monday by Peter Turnbull – in honor of police proceedurals.
  • The Axe by Sigrid Undset – in honor of the fact I needed a translated book by a woman for the Portland Public Library challenge. Weak, I know.
  • Isabel’s Bed by Elinor Lipman – in honor of Lipman’s birth month.

Nonfiction:

  • Wyoming Summer by Mary O’Hara – in memory of O’Hara dying in October.
  • An Obsession with Butterflies: Our Long Love Affair by Sharman Apt Russell – in honor of Magic Wings opening in October and the fact that Monhegan was inundated with monarch butterflies for the month of September. We even saw a few while we were home.

Series Continuation:

  • Running Blind by Lee Child – started in honor of New York becoming a state in July (where Lee Child lives). However, big confessional: I am reading this out of order. My own fault completely.

LibraryThing Early Review:

  • Notes from the Velvet Underground by Howard Sounes

Then She Found Me

Lipman, Elinor. Then She Found Me. Read by Mia Barron. BBC Audiobooks America, 2007.

Reason read: Lipman celebrates a birthday in October. Read in her honor.

In a nutshell: April Epner is a very single high school Latin teacher. All her life she has known she was adopted as a newborn. She had a good relationship with her Holocaust survivor parents and never really questioned her birth parents. What she didn’t know until she was in her 30s is that her biological mother is none other than Bernice Graverman, star of her own over-the-top talk show: Bernice G! When Bernice takes over April’s life by storm with her gaudy jewelry, loud outfits, glitzy lifestyle and overly aggressive matchmaking schemes April barely questions Bernice’s authenticity as her biological mother. I found that really odd. Instead, April allows Bernice to constantly call her at work, butt into her personal life, and wreak havoc – all for the sake of being the mom Bernice says she always knew she could. The entire time I was reading Then She Found Me I wanted to know why April & Bernice didn’t apply for DNA testing. HLA & PCR tests were both available in the 90s. It definitely comes up when April’s biological father comes back into the picture.

As an aside, this was the first time I didn’t care for the audio. I don’t know if it was the narrator (Mia Barron), as she was overly dramatic and made me dislike all female characters, or the possibility the book wasn’t meant to be read aloud because the dialogue was just so…what’s the word?…dramatic? Also, Jack’s New Hampshire (?) accent was terrible! Think exaggerated John F. Kennedy.

Author fact: According to the inside cover of Then She Found Me Lipman lived in western Massachusetts at the time of publication. No wonder she mentioned such places as Northampton & the gates of Smith College with ease. According to her website she mostly lives in New York now.

Book trivia: Then She Found Me was made into a movie starring Bette Midler. I keep saying I haven’t seen it, but I think I actually have…if there is a scene where Bette is being so mean to her daughter that the daughter has no choice but to disconnect (the healthiest thing for both of them). I remember the last scene of the movie is a wedding…same as the book.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Elinor Lipman: Too Good To Miss” (p 146).