Saturday, June 26, 2004

The Winemaker's Daughter by Timothy Egan - Or Visiting Virginia's Vineyard

On June 23rd, David and I left for a vacation without kids. Our first destination was Floyd Virginia, home of the Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Hardware store. While in Floyd, we stayed at the Ambrosia Farms Bed and Breakfast, a lovely old house with a huge front porch complete with a porch swing piled with denim pillows. I had brought along several books, but chose The Winemakers Daughter by Timothy Egan. Egan won a Pulitzer Prize for his nonfiction. This book is one I had taken out from the library earlier in the year and started reading. I had made a mental note to finish it sometime and this was the time because part of the allure of the Floyd area and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the wineries. While in Floyd we visited three - AmRhein, Villa Appalachia and Chateau Morrisette. Back to the book, it is about a woman who returns to her aging father's vineyards, which are suffering because of a draught. I learned alot about winemaking - enough that I began recommending the book to some of the owners of the vineyards we visited. And the book was a great vacation read. My only criticism - too many little tragedies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Divining Women by Kaye Gibbons

Divining Women is by Kaye Gibbons. A few years back I read Charms for the Easy Life and loved it so much I proceded to read everything Kaye Gibbons had ever written. A Cure for Dreams, Ellen Foster and A Virtuous Women all lived up to my expectations. But the last two books I tried to read by Gibbons did not seem to be as good as the first ones. I bought this book at Borders before the school year ended, and actually started reading it before the school year ended, but didn't get to finish it until summer. It was nice - just nice. Another multi-generational woman's story. She is still a very strong writer, but this one was a little flat. I still put Charms for the Easy Life at the top of the Kaye Gibbons list.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman

This is a book I was drawn to at one of my early summer trips to the library. I had already read The Weight of Water and The Color of Water, and thought another book with such a similar title was worth checking out. I started reading The Seduction of Water Carol Goodman's on Father's Day and read most of it in a lawn chair that day. The main character is an English professor, so that strand of the story was intriguing. But also, she was using legends as writing prompts with her students and the story revolves around a Irish tale of the Selkie --- a sort of a "woman in seal's clothing" type creature who abandons her human children and husband to return to a life in the sea. The novel is something of a mystery and moves quickly with lots of climaxes. I really enjoyed it.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Eventide by Kent Haruf

Eventide is by Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong, a book I read a few years ago and really enjoyed about two elderly brothers who take in an unwed mother and her baby. They are farmers and the presence of this new "family" changes their lives. Eventide is a sequel that follows the mother as she leaves the brothers and takes her baby off to live with her while she goes to college. I did not like the sequel as much as Plainsong and felt Eventide had a very abrupt ending. Still, Haruf is a very good storyteller.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Stepford Wives by Ira Levin - Or Beginning My Summer Reading with Mindless Fluff

At the very end of the school year I wanted something light and frivolous to read while my students were taking their finals on the last day. I bought the paperback at Borders and planned on reading the books, seeing the old movie and then going to the theatre to see the new one. I was surprised that Ira Levin, the author, had also written Rosemary's Baby and The Boys From Brazil. I liked the book, and it only reminded me of a few women I know.