In the beginning...

...there were The Flyaways, a family who traveled in their miraculous flying machine having daring adventures with Goldilocks and Cinderella. The first in the 3-book series by Alice Dale Hardy was published by Grosset and Dunlap in 1925 and copies are almost extinct. Few people remember Ma and Pa, Tommy and Susie Flyaway now.

I became acquainted with them on my grandfather's lap, my dear Grandpa Baker who read and read and read to me every evening for as many years as I can remember. I would hold my breath as each chapter ending neared, hoping he would not stop. I would keep begging for "just one more" chapter until his voice got so hoarse I would have to run to his room to get his throat lozenges.

Over the years we covered all of Uncle Wiggly and Honey Bunch, the Bobbsey Twins, the Five Little Peppers, the Wind in the Willow series, some of them more than once. He read to me until long after I could read everything for myself, until I was into Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I was safe and happy snuggled up on the couch with him and that feeling has never left me. I still read and read and read, and it still makes me feel safe and happy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Color of Lightening

***THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING by Paulette Jiles
Excellent post Civil War fact-based story of Britt Johnson, a black man whose family was captured by the Kiowa. This was one of Suzanne’s book discussion picks and it was very, very good.

A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY by Lauren Grodstein
Another good one involving two families whose friendship is derailed when Pete’s son falls in love with Joe’s daughter, the daughter who murdered her newborn and left it in a bathroom.

THE BRAVE by Nicholas Evans
Close to a popcorn book, with a mostly predictable plot , this is rescued by a couple of shocking twists, present to past timing leaps and a good storyteller. Tommy starts the story as a cowboy-obsessed English lad and grows into the role of father of a young serviceman accused of horrible war crimes in Iraq. Not heavy-duty, but worth reading.

**ROSE IN A STORM by Jon Katz
Katz lives on a farm in upstate New York and has written many books, fiction and non, about his life with dogs. Rose is a remarkable dog and Katz demonstrates a remarkable ability to get inside her head and think dog thoughts. Rose’s “work” is herding and when a monster snowstorm hits and her farmer is injured, Rose must care for the animals on her own. A wonderful story.

NAKED CRUELTY by Colleen McCullough
Suddenly remember this name as the author of The Thorn Birds (many years ago) and was surprised to see it was the same woman. This book not even close in quality. This is a police story, a strange mix of English/Australian spellings and phrases in an American setting. It is a mixup of several crimes and departmental politics without delving deeply into any of it.

Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language


TILL I END MY SONG: A Gathering of Last Poems edited by Harold Bloom
Good short bios of all the writers along with one poem from each.

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