Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Catching Up with 3 Books

Well, the good news is that I am getting a lot of reading in with this cold weather, and the bad news is that I am getting behind in my blogging.  I blame this on my recent adventures with taking up knitting! Anyway, I have gotten some good read in lately...

I read Barbara Kingsolver's newest book, Flight Behavior, for book group.  I almost always like her books, so I was pleased to have this chosen as our February pick.  I have to admit that it took me a little while in to the book before I began to be interested, but by the end, I was liking the story very much.

The story begins with a young woman, Dellarobia, climbing up a mountain in her Appalachian homeland to meet up with a younger man.  Dellarobia  was searching for meaning after becoming pregnant and marrying at age 17.  After two children and 10 years living on the farm with her husband, Cub, Dellarobia was tired of and disappointed with her life.  Her in-laws owned the farm and ran Dellarobia and Cub's life.  As she  climbs the mountain, she encounters what appears to be a raging fire.  It turned out to be butterflies...so many that it appeared that the mountain was in flames.

This strange phenomena brings the media, observers, and scientists to the area, and Dellarobia's life is changed, as is the town's life.  The study of the butterflies takes over Dellarobia's life in all areas, as she begins to work with the scientists, and is no longer "just a farm wife"  The changes challenge her home life, her marriage, and her relationship with her church and her friends.

I liked how much of the story symbolized other things...lots of comparisons to be made, most clearly, the butterflies flight behavior and Deelarobia's flight behavior...The book is based on climate change, certainly a very timely subject, and Kingsolver did an excellent job with the story to make climate change an interesting read.

Next I read a book that I came across at Books-A-Million down in Edwardsville, Illinois.  I had not heard of it, but it sounded interesting, so I gave it a try...Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.  This book was nominated for the Edgar Award  for Best Novel....that in itself is a good recommendation for me.  I have to admit, I had trouble rading this book for the first few chapters...really until about the middle of the book...I was often confused about who and when the story was about as I was reading.  Perhaps it was just me.  I ended up enjoying the book a lot, though.  Good mystery.

The story is set in rural Mississippi and tells the story about a late 1970's disapperance of a young girl and how the incident affected those involved over the years until present time.  Two young boys became rather unlikely friends for a few months...Larry Ott was the son of parents who lived on the families land for generations, but were struggling financially.  Larry was a different...kept to himself mostly and appeared to have difficulty socially with others.  However, he met and became friends with Silas Jones, a young black boy who lived with his single mother in an old cabin on Larry's father's property.  Soon, Silas began playing baseball, became popular, and moved on into a different crowd at school and Larry watched from the sidelines.  One day, one of the more popular girls at school showed interest in Larry and she agreed to go to a movie with him.  He took her on a date to the local drive-in and she was never seen or heard from again.  With no body ever found, Larry was never charged with anything, but he became Scarey Larry and that is who he became.  Meanwhile, Silas left for college and did not return to his boyhood home for almost 20 years.  When he did return he became the constable.  Larry was living there as a mechanic and avoided contact with most people (as they did him). 

Then another girl disappeared and again, all eyes were on Larry.

What happens after this became the most interesting part of the story for me.  Silas is forced to confront his past and secrets are revealed.

This was a good book...good mystery and not predictable to me.  I looked up the author and learned that his first book, Poachers was named as a Best First Book of Fiction by Esquire and that he received a 1999 Edgar Award for the title story.

Home, by Toni Morrison, is her most recent book.  It has been presented, but not chosen a couple of times at book group, so when I saw that it was out in paperback, I grabbed it up.  I didn't find Home to be as spiritual or mystical as some of her other works.  The story seemed pretty matter of fact to me.  It's a small book, but there is lots there.

Home is the story of Frank Money, a black man who escaped his life in Lotus, Georgia by joining the army with his two best friends.  The three of them ended up fighting in the Korean War and only Frank came home, a rather shattered man who could not find his way.  One day Frank got a message that his little sister, Cee, was dying back in Georgia.  Frank had always taken on the protector role with Cee and was immediately drawn back to Georgia to save her if he could. Frank arrived and took Cee out of the home where she had been working and they returned to Lotus where the older women took over Cee's recovery and Frank settled into their old home.  As Frank settled into his boyhood home, he began to face up to some old buried secrets and slowly began to discover what it truly means to come home and to be a man.

I probably will reread this book later at some point...I think that there is more to be had after the first time reading it.  I love the cover of the book...doesn't this just summarize a man coming home?


No comments: