April 9, 2007 archive

The Year Of Pleasures – Book Review

In a way, my situation reminded me of a little girl I’d once seen exiting a roller coaster at a state fair, all wide eyes and pale face and shaky knees. When her brother asked if she’d like to ride again, she said, “not until I’m way readier.” I felt myself trapped in line for a ride I was not nearly ready for, looking back but moving forward in the only direction I could go. -From The Year of Pleasures, page 5 –

How do we move forward when all we want to do is stand still? How do we overcome our grief in order to find joy again? These are the central questions which rise from the pages of Elizabeth Berg’s wonderful novel The Year Of Pleasures.

The story revolves around a middle aged woman, Betta Nolan, who finds herself suddenly without her beloved husband, John. As the book progresses, the reader is carried along on Betta’s journey of rediscovery. She moves from Boston to a small town in Illinois where she learns that some friendships never die and the slow rhythm of life can open new doors to self-fulfillment. The characters between the pages of this book simply shine – Bennie, the ten year old who lives next door; Matthew, the twenty something college kid; Lydia, an elderly woman with her own deeply embedded painful memories; the three wild women friends from Betta’s college years; and finally, John. The reader never meets John before his death, and yet his character comes alive in the novel through the tiny scraps of paper he leaves behind in a cigar box, and ultimately through Betta’s memories of him.

Berg has a wonderful gift – she is able to wrap a story around the reader like a warm blanket on a cold night. Her ability to show the depth of women’s friendships and the pleasure in simple things is amazing. With attention to detail and flawless dialogue, Berg is able to transport the reader into the lives of her characters. As most of her books do, this one had me laughing and crying and wishing it would never end.

Highly recommended.

The Southern Reading Challenge

June 1st through August 31st

COMPLETED this challenge on August 18, 2007
Thank you, Maggie for a great challenge!

Maggie over at Maggie Reads is sponsoring the Southern Reading Challenge 2007 and it sounds like a lot of fun. The goal is to read three books set in the South and written by a Southern author. She’s even supplied a map to help participants determine what States are acceptable for the challenge!.

I can’t resist this one! I’ve found three books on my stacks that I think meet the criteria:

1. The Evening Star, by Larry McMurtry (Completed June 30, 2007; read a review here.)
2. Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison (Completed August 1, 2007; read a review here.)
3. No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy (Completed July 20, 2007; read a review here.)

Alternate Read:
The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd

Of course, I can change my mind before June 1st, right?!??

I WON!!!

I can’t tell you how many book drawings I’ve entered. I enter them all! I never win…until this week! Thanks so much to Lynne over at Dovegreyreader who had a book giveaway in honor of Buy A Friend A Book (BAFAB) week. Her wonderful cats did the honors of picking two people to win What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn. Besides me – Nan, at Letters From A Hill Farm, also had luck on her side. I’ll be looking forward to getting my book in the mail and promise to give you all a review when I’m finished reading it!

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)