By July

June was an interesting month. Ran 43.5 miles. But, for the reading it was full of short stories and quick reads. Finished:

  • The Millstone by Margaret Drabble
  • Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
  • Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada by Zoe Valdes
  • A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan (AB)
  • A Death in the Family by James Agee
  • Edge of Time by Loula Grace Erdman – probably my favorite

Short stories:

  • “A perfect Day for a Bananafish” by JD Salinger
  • “For Esme – with Love and Squalor” by JD Salinger
  • “The Orphan” by Nell Freudenberger
  • “Outside the Eastern Gates” by Nell Freudenberger
  • “Four Calling Brids, Three French Hens” by Lorrie Moore
  • “People Like That Are the Only People Here” by Lorrie Moore
  • “Mr Squishy” by David Foster Wallace
  • “The Suffering Channel” by David Foster Wallace
  • “Blight” by David Bezmozgis
  • “Hot Ice” by David Bezmozgis

For fun I read two books related to running:

  • Anatomy, Stretching and Training for Marathoners by Dr. Philip Striano
  • Rocket Fuel by Matthew Kadrey, MD

And for the Early Review program with LibraryThing, another book about running:

  • Off the Beaten Trail by Meghan Hicks and Bryon Powell

Lucky Girls

Freudenberger, Nell. Lucky Girls: Stories. New York: Harper Collins, 2013.

Reason read: June is National Short Story month

“The Orphan”
This is the short story of a family splintering in different directions. The parents are separated and on the verge of getting a divorce. The nearly adult children are in Thailand and Bangor, Maine – worlds apart from one another. When the family converges in Bangkok it is an orphan that shifts the tide for them all, individually and as a family.
I can’t decide if I like Alice or not. As a mother, what should she have done when her kid calls up and says not only has she been assaulted, but raped as well? That’s not the sort of thing you let drop when the kid suddenly changes her story and says it’s no big deal.
Lines I liked, “She drops the dog, possibly robbing him mother of his life” (p 31) and “…often, when you step around the conventional way of doing things, you end up with something worse” (p 56).

“Outside the Eastern Gates”
The protagonist in “Outside the Eastern Gate” is like any 40 year old person facing the deteriorating aging of a parent. There is a sense of bafflement at the role reversal; a sense of sadness about being away for so long. Upon returning to Delhi she remembers the desperate longing for her mother’s love while simultaneously coping with her father’s Alzheimer diagnosis.
A line to like, “The bogeyman appears in the first forty seconds after nightfall” (p 68). Good to know.

As an aside, did you see Jimmy Fallon’s tribute to Prince (otherwise known as the ping pong story)? Now, whenever anyone mentions ping pong (as was mentioned in “Outside the Eastern Gate”) I will think of the last line of Jimmy’s story, “Ask your boy.”

Author fact: Feudenberger has taught English in Bangkok and New Delhi.

Book trivia: Lucky Girls is Feudenberger’s first book.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Good Things Come in Small Packages” (p 102).

A Fresh Start for June

May is ending with disappointment. The caboose of the story (instead of the whole train) is that due to work obligations Kisa & I were not able to make it to Maine for a long weekend over the holiday. As a result I had to burn two vacation days at home. June will be a better month. But, to be fair – May wasn’t so shabby for books:

  • Brilliant Orange by David Winner
  • Bold Spirit by Linda Hunt
  • Jordan by E. Borgia
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn
  • Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • Map of Another Town by MFK Fisher
  • All the Rage by Martin Moran (ER)


  • Arab and Jew by David Shipler
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by¬† David Chbosky


  • Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

For JUNE, here are the books & why:

  1. Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada by Zoe Valdes in honor of Caribbean Heritage Month
  2. Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill to continue the series started in May
  3. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich in honor of her birth month
  4. The Millstone by Margaret Drabble in honor of family month
  5. A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan in honor of World War II (D-Day)

June is National Short Story Month:

  • from Birds of America by Lorrie Moore:
    • Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens
    • People Like That are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk
  • from Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger:
    • The Orphan
    • Outside the Eastern Gate
  • from Nine Stories by JD Salinger:
    • A Perfect Day for a Bananafish
    • For Esme: with Love & Squalor