Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two things

Two things to talk about today...

First, I just finished Loving Frank last night by Nancy Horan. A really good read. I have to confess, however, my husband and I are Frank Lloyd Wright junkies! Nine years ago we built a Prairie-style home designed by one of FLW's apprentices. We have been to Oak Park a couple of times and have been to Taliesin. We have a trip planned to Taliesin West (in Arizona) for next year.

That being said, at first I had difficulty with the book being a novel, questioning whether FLW would have really said or done certain things, but the more I got into the book, the more I got caught up in it. It is the story of Mamah Borthwick Cheney. She, her husband, and their 2 children lived in Oak Park IL and commissioned FLW to build a house for them. Frank and Mamah became attracted to each other, and over a couple of years, began an affair. They went to Europe to escape all of the scandal over their relationship, and there, Mamah began to come into her own. While in Europe, Frank began talking to Mamah about building a home for her in his native Wisconsin. She wanted him to build a home for them in Italy. Soon, Frank returned to the States and Mamah decided to remain in Europe to study and write. Her love for Frank brought her back to the States and the building of Taliesin began.

Mamah had become involved in the women rights movement and while in Europe had begun translating the work of Ellen Key, a Swedish feminist. Mamah certainly must have had her work cut out for her, based on what we know of FLW. He was a very opinionated, strong personality. The story did a good job telling the story of her accomplishments.

The story ends tragically and is true.

I was impressed with the list of references that Ms. Horan put at the end of the book and will be checking into some of them. Isn't that a wonderful sign of a good book, when it leaves you wanting to learn more?

The second thing: in my new retirement, I was invited to join a Book Club! I attended my first meeting last week and was very pleased with the group and their discussion! I am quite excited to be part of this is both men and women, which I think is rather unusual for a book group (or I am just horribly out of touch). The book chosen to read for July is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

I have to admit that I was hesitant to commit to the group because I was fearful of having to read a book that I hadn't chosen for myself and didn't want to give up all my reading time to a book not of my choice. But then I remembered that I am now retired and can read whenever I want. And my husband reminded me that there has never been a time when I have only read one book in a month. Thus reassured, I think that I will be fine!

1 comment:

Bybee said...

I've been circling Loving Frank as well as The Women by T.C. Boyle, which sort of covers the same ground.

I loved Chabon's novel. I wish we'd read it for one of my book groups. Yes, I've noticed book groups tend to be heavily female, but in my newest one, we're about even gender-wise.