Cook, Claire. The Wildwater Walking Club. New York: Voice, 2009.
This book was not on my list. Not indexed in Book Lust, More Book Lust or Book Lust To Go. It wasn’t on an Early Review list for LibraryThing. I didn’t request it from anyone, either. So. Here’s how I came to read this book. It just showed up on my doorstep. Just like that. Here’s the back story as far as I understand it: I have mentioned Just ‘Cause more than once in this blog (and even more in the other one) so, if you have been paying attention you know that Just ‘Cause is near and dear to my heart. It is a nonprofit organization that supports two different charities, the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden and the Massachusetts General Hospital Oncology Center. More organically, we are a group of women who walk 60 miles every year to raise money. Like I said, it’s very near and dear to my heart and soul. Along the 60 miles (over the course of three days) we women make amazing memories and cultivate fabulous friendships.
One such amazing friend calls herself “the other Heidi S” because there are two in the group. One Heidi is bad enough, but to have two, both with the same last initial….well, it’s an endless joke. This Heidi S and I *must* have spent some time talking books. There are so many different conversations that happen on the walk I can’t really be sure. But, this Heidi S sends Miss Stella Grace this book, The Wildwater Walking Club with no explanation. Completely out of the blue. I haven’t a clue. I really don’t remember having even the smallest of conversations about this book. We could have. I’m sure we did. Really, so much stuff is shared I can’t keep it all straight. (The one thing I do remember finding out is we both went to Pies on Parade for the first time last year…but that’s a story for another time.)
Anyway, in the mail arrives this cute package, tied up in brown string. It’s Claire Cook’s Wildwater Walking Club and I read it in three days. Bing Bang Boom Done. It’s cute. The plot is super simple. Noreen is a woman who just lost her job and her boyfriend all at once. Realizing she is a corporate has-been with no personal life and a little extra weight she decides to take up walking. Along the way she recruits two other women from her neighborhood. Before long they have formed a club, are planning trips and vandalizing the neighborhood together. Of course, it’s chick lit so you have to have a little man trouble called dating, a little mother grief and a lot of laughs. It’s a cute book from the woman who brought you Must Love Dogs (Okay everyone! Time for a collective “OH!).
I could relate to Noreen on a few levels. Her relationship with her mother is strained. She thinks mom is constantly comparing her marriage-less, childless life to her siblings (all married with children, all leading very full lives). Her job was all that she knew and until she was laid off she didn’t realize how much it was affecting her personal life. And the one thing I’ve always known, walking makes everything better on so many different levels.
April is and will always be my WhatTheFukc month. It’s the last full month of Just ‘Cause training. It’s the month when I think I’m never walking enough despite hours on the treadmill. It’s the last full month of the semester at school. It’s the month when the
animals students are doing stupid sh!t like hanging from water pipes and causing a major flood in their dorm. I kid you not. It’s the last truly cold month of the year. At least one can hope. It’s the last month I feel comfortable wearing knee high boots. For reading it’s an even more discombobulated month. April is National Poetry month so between the novels I’ll be reading poetry. It’s like a car stalling. I can’t explain it.
Anyway…here’s what I PLAN to read for the month of April. You know as well as I do I probably will stick to only 75% of this…
April is Alcohol Awareness month so I’m reading John Barleycorn by Jack London. April is also food month so I’ll be depressing myself with Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of an All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser. April happens to be National Humor month so I’m buzzing through The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald. The Civil War started in April so I threw Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier on the list. I need to wrap up a couple of series I started in Janurary so The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien and These Happy Golden Yearsby Laura Ingalls Wilder are on the list. Last but not least I finally, finally got an Early Review book from LibraryThing: A Small Fortune by Rosie Dastgir. Oh. And there’s the random poem in between all that…
What else is April all about? Easter with the in-laws to talk about our upcoming trip to Hawaii. My sister’s birthday. It’s a big one. A jaunt to the theater with a good friend. A Red Sox game. Maybe a little cowbell in Vermont? Not sure.
March 2012 was huge for reading. I think that’s because some of the books took me a day or two to read. March was also the first month of training for Just ‘Cause. Whenever I talk about training to walk it sounds stupid. I mean really, who trains to put one foot in front of the other? I guess when you put those steps all together and come up with a total of sixty miles over the course of three days it all adds up. Anyway, training (such as it is) is going great. For the month of March I averaged six miles a day, every day. But, this blog is not about walking miles or not. It’s about books. Here’s the Lust list for March 2012:
- A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o in honor of African Writers month
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston in honor of Zora
- Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder in honor of keeping on with the series
- Up Country by Maxine Kumin (read in one afternoon) in honor of March being poetry month (April is the official one)
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte in honor of Literature month
- Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose in honor of March having a “Hug a G.I.” day
- The Fixer by Bernard Malamud in honor of Malamud passing in March
- Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien in honor of keeping on with the Lord of the Rings series. I will admit I didn’t finish this.
- The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler in honor of crime month
- My Antonia by Willa Cather in honor of another classic (this was, by far, my favorite read of the month)
- Lawless Roads by Graham Green in honor of April being the best time to go to Mexico (obviously I jumped ahead a little)
I started an audio book (as is my tradition with trying to train and read at the same time) but the book I chose, Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman was so scratched I couldn’t get beyond disc one. Bummer. Also, for the third time in a row I didn’t receive the Early Review book I was awarded from LibraryThing. So I didn’t end up reading anything for LibraryThing. I was awarded a fourth book…we’ll see if it actually shows up.
So. There it is. The big list of books. Aside from Band of Brothers and Two Towers every other book was really short and easy to buzz through. I doubt April will be so kind.
- To Sir with Love by Edward Ricardo Braithwaite ~ in honor of National Teacher Day (May 3rd)
- Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann ~ in honor of Brockmann’s birth month
- A Child’s Life and Other Stories by Phoebe Gloeckner ~ in honor of graphic novel month
- Antigone the play by Sophocles ~ in honor of May being the best time to visit Greece.
- Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong ~ in honor Asian-American Heritage month
- Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham ~ in honor of Memorial Day
- Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery ~ in honor of Eeyore’s birth month (I’ll explain that connection within the review). I’m listening to this as a training book.
- House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferre ~ in honor of May 5th being Cinco de Mayo
- City of Light ~ by Lauren Belfer ~ in honor of May being History Month
Lastly, for the Early Review program for LibraryThing – Art and Madness by Anne Roiphe.
I put so many books on my list because a) a few of them are really, really short so I know I can read I can read them in 1-2 days time and b) I don’t have plans to travel anywhere until May 20th so I should have more time to curl up with several good books, and c) AFTER the walk I have ten days of NOTHING to do. I am picturing myself on the back deck, a glass of wine in one hand and a good book in another.
Confession – Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham looked so good I started reading it on April 28th. Sue me.
May is also (finally) the Just ‘Cause walk. I am not confident I did everything to train (but then again, there is only so much walking one can do), and I know I didn’t fund raise as hard as I should/could have. I am $100 off from the amount I raised last year. I am guessing not asking aunts, uncles, cousins, (mother), grandparents….anyone from my mother’s side to donate played a big part. C’est la vie. Or, to quote mom, “whatever.”
Off the top of my head, I’m not sure what to call February besides another cold, cold month. I could get all giddy and self-absorbed in the fact that it’s my birth month (so maybe I should be reading something by me – ha), but that doesn’t seem to be all that productive. Besides, my published work would take all of two minutes to read! February is a visit with Mr. Richard Marx II (formally known as Mr. Bubblegum). We have a date in three weeks. February is more time with Dr. Ruth. No offense, but after this month I would like to think I’m on the road to recovery and will not need so much attention in that area in the future. I have started training for Just ‘Cause and have moved my feet over 50 miles so far.
I should point out the obvious. This is late. February has also started out as my month to be overextended in a big way. Not sure if that’s a good thing.
For books it has been and will be:
- Company of Three by Varley O’Connor ~ in honor of February being National Theater Month. Okay, so if you can’t get there, read about it!
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin ~ in honor of Black History Month
- Warriors Don’t Cry: a Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High by Melba Patillo Beals ~ in honor of Civil Rights month
- Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder ~ in honor of medical workers in Haiti right now.
- Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences by Edward Tenner ~in honor of National Science month.
There is a rumor of another LibraryThing Early Review book. The publisher was nice enough to send me a thank you for reviewing the book, but until I actually have it in my hand I won’t be mentioning it here.