Saturday, July 31, 2010

July's reading

I read 4 complete books in July, plus half of 2 other books.  Not as much reading as I would hope for, but I have noticed an increase in my reading the past couple of weeks.  My husband just this past week screened in the back porch that is off of our bedroom.  I envision it as a summer reading room.  I am in the process of searching for the perfect porch chair for reading.  Right now I am leaning toward a yellow Adirondack chair with foot rest.  Any other suggestions?

In July I read the following:

1. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  From Wikipedia I learned that Mr. Toole wrote the book before he committed suicide in 1969.  His mother found "a smeared carbon copy of the manuscript" and took it to Walker Percy, who read it and liked it.  It was published as a book in 1980 and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year.

Oddly enough, I had never read the book and owe my friend Gretchen a huge bow of gratitude for suggesting and lending the book to me.  The story takes place in New Orleans and, though I have not been there (yet!), it seems to offer great portraits of the city, especially the French Quarter.   Ignatius J. Reilly is an over-educated, single, very overweight man, who lives with his widowed mother.  Circumstances occur that cause his mother, Irene, to insist that Ignatius go out and  become employed.  The book is about the adventures that happen while Ignatius works, covering much of the "lower depths" of New Orleans.  It's hilarious!

2. Annie's Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg is a fascinating book.  I had read about it on-line somewhere related to genealogy and ordered it from  It is the story of how the author learned shortly before his mother's death, that she had not been an only child as she had always presented to family and friends. When she was almost eighty years old, she casually mentioned to her doctor that she had had a disabled sister who had been sent away when she (the sister) was two years old.  The doctor's office mentioned this to the author.  Since his mother was in such fragile health, he was not comfortable questioning her about it, and it wasn't until after her death, that he began searching for information.  What he learned was stunning for the family.

This book is an excellent example of good genealogical research.  I was enthralled with the whole story. It was even more meaningful because of some family "secrets" very similar that I have unearthed in my family research!

3. The Paperboy by Pete Dexter was our July book group read.  Another fascinating book, this one a novel.  It was published in 1995.  From the back cover of my copy:
"The sun was rising over Moat County, Florida, when Sheriff Thurmond Call was found on the highway, gutted like an alligator.  A local redneck was tried, sentenced and set to fry.
Then Ward James, hotshot investigative reporter for the Miami Times, returns to his rural hometown with a death row femme fatale who promises him the story of the decade.  She;'s armed with explosive evidence, aiming to free-and meet-her convicted 'fiance'.
With Ward's disillusioned younger brother Jack as their driver, they barrel down Florida's back roads and seamy places in search of The Story, racing flat out into a chocking head-on collision between character and fate as truth takes a back seat to headline news..."

That's the simple take on the book.  There are many things going on in this book.  The development of the characters is excellent.  The brothers seem to have some fatal flaws to deal with,  their father being one of those flaws!  After having read the book, and discussing it with my book group, I am eager to re-read it at some time.  My take on Ward was that he was an alcoholic, gay man who had not yet come out and that was the explanation for his distance from people.  Surprisingly, some in my book group felt that he had Aspberger's and that was the explanation.  That had not occurred to me. I must re-read this book!

4. Lastly, I had begun reading My Sister LIFE by Maria Flook.  This was a book that I read about a third of, and moved on to another book.  I just couldn't get into it enough to stay with it.  It is about the disappearance of the author's fourteen year old sister.  Sounded good, but...I just kept getting bogged down in it.

I am now about half-way through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest...more on that to come!

For right now, back to searching for that perfect chair.....