Tuesday, November 29, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Setting Free the Kites; Alex George


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book I'm reading or will be reading soon.  (I LOVED this author's last book, The Good American.)


Putnam - 2017

PROLOGUE

Haverford, Maine
2016

"Nathan Tilly gave me the story I'm going to tell, but it was the old paper mill that set my memories free.

I read the report in the Haverford Gazette the previous week.  The mill had not been operational for more than fifty years, but now the land has been sold to a supermarket chain, and the old building is to be razed to make way for a customer parking lot.  The news has prompted vigorous local debate.  Some are angry that the city council has allowed part of our municipal heritage to be sold off.  Others are excited at the prospect of rest bagels. Such is progress

For myself, I'm sorry to see the old place go.  I want to pay my last respects, watch the thing go down."


Based on this intro, would you read more or pass on this book?

Feel free to join in by posting your own First Chapter First Paragraph Intro and linking below.




Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - I'll Take You There; Wally Lamb


Every Tuesday I host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book I'm reading or will be reading soon.  

I'll Take You There; Wally Lamb
Harper - 2016
Prologue

"I turned sixty earlier this year, an age that brings deficits, of course: Creaky knees, a temporary inability to remember familiar people's names, a second colonoscopy.  But there are benefits to reaching this age, too.  One is wisdom, or so they tell me.  Another is the senior citizen discount at Dunkin' Donuts--once you survive the shock of being asked if you're eligible, pr more shockingly, the cashier's assumption you're eligible without asking. Geezerdom's got a third perk too.  Let's call it bemused appreciation for how ironic life can be.  Take, for instance, adult diapers: from Pampers we came to Depends we shall return.  Ironic, no?  It's the same with tears.  We cry easily when we're kids, not so much as grown-ups.  Then, at about the time those AARP magazines start showing up uninvited in the mailbox, the lachrymal glands come alive again.  Mine do, anyway.  I can tear up at sappy commercials, sentimental newspaper articles, Facebook posts about some family's decision to have their dog put down. And when the TV news shows one of those surprising reunions between a soldier returning from war and his kids--or her kids--man, I lose it."


Based on this intro, would you read more or pass on this book?

Feel free to join in by posting your own First Chapter First Paragraph Intro and linking below.




Saturday, November 19, 2016

Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady; Susan Quinn

Susan Quinn - (Penguin - 2016)

Although I knew Eleanor Roosevelt was a well respected and amazing woman, I had never read anything about her life before now. I devoured this book and found it to be very well written.

When FDR became president, the Roosevelt's marriage was already on shaky grounds. His mother threatened to cut ties with her son if he separated from Eleanor so the two remained married yet, in many ways they maintained separate lives. Eleanor had never wanted to assume the role as First Lady. She had a busy independent life but, her unhappiness was difficult to conceal.  FDR had several extramarital affairs before he was stricken with polio while vacationing in Maine.  The couple had six children in ten years. 

Lorena Hickok "Hick" was a reporter for the Associated Press. She later quit her job to become the reporter for the Roosevelt administration. For a number of years she had her own room next to Eleanor in the White House. The women soon became very close.  Confidants, professional advisors, friends and possibly lovers, it was not unusual for the two women to vacation together and take long weekends away.  Their relationship would span some 30 years.

Both woman had very sad childhoods and although Eleanor's family was wealthy, Hick wasn't as lucky. Her mother died when she was just 13 and her father was abusive.  She began working as a maid at the age of 14 when her stepmother kicked her out of the house.

There is so much information in this book about the accomplishments of both FDR and Eleanor that I found fascinating. The photos were wonderful as well and, although this book is 400+ pages, it was a pleasure to read and keep reading.  It's a wonderful story about a 30 year friendship that transformed two women.

The author does an impressive job chronicling not only Eleanor and Hick's relationship through excerpts from letters the two were constantly exchanging.  I felt bad about the fact Hick died several years after Eleanor and that her ashes remained unclaimed.  Her remains were eventually dumped in an unclaimed remains area of a cemetery in Rhinebeck, NY.  Fortunately, on May 10, 2000, some 32 years after her death, a simple ceremony, marker and dogwood tree were placed there and dedicated on her behalf.

5/5 stars
(sent by publisher)