Sep. 26th, 2009 08:06 am
deltamiss: (Reading Miss)
Last night I finished a sweet little book, French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France, by Richard Goodman (of whom I'd never heard). It's about a year he spent in a tiny French village learning about gardening and Provençal life in an out of the way place full of interesting characters and history.

The book is a real departure from my usual reading fare of forensics and detectives and murder and mayhem, and the interlude was fascinating.

More than gardening, more than living in France, more than simply traveling abroad, Goodman introduces the reader to people and places with subtle nuances that dangle like prisms in the French countryside. The author respects the 211 inhabitants of St. Sebastien de Caisson with a sweet and sometimes poignant reverence.

Unless one is a lover of gardens and gardening, the book could be considered boring. Goodman spends paragraph after paragraph describing the clay French soil, the intense summer sun and the austere life in the small village. But his love of the people and experiences raises the level of interest...especially since his original plan had nothing to do with gardening.

This morning has been spent wishing such an opportunity would present itself to me. I think I'd take it. :D
deltamiss: (Book Quote)
I have a policy about reading: Once I begin a book, I must read all of it.

Very few times in my life have I abandoned a book. In fact, the second time I can recall was just three years ago when I found a distant cousin's self-published book by accident. Pure drivel and so many grammatical errors I just couldn't get through it. The first was Candide by Voltaire.

A few weeks ago, Melanie bought a couple of books for me. One is by the author of Sex and the City...which should have been a clue to both of us. I'd read a load of Harlequin romances years ago as well as The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries in recent years so I erroneously expected One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell to be a cross between them. Was I wrong!

Thank goodness I didn't die with this book in my hands.


Jun. 19th, 2009 09:08 am
deltamiss: (Gardening Miss)
It means today will be HOT, but at least the sun is shining for the first time in days and days. YAY!

The grass needs mowing. Jeff found a guy just starting out in the yard care/handyman business who will begin next week taking care of the yard. Mowing is just too much for me, and Jeff has no time. The neighbors will be glad, I'm sure. ;)

The vegetable garden has been sort of a disappointment. The okra hasn't done anything much yet; the squash has bloomed, but the blooms keep falling off; the tomatoes vines are huge, but with few tomatoes and they are small. I'm thinking the box isn't deep enough or there's not enough sun on it. And now I've found stink bugs and slug trails. Great.

My housecleaning is coming along. It's been a challenge, to say the least. It's obvious that my true calling in life was to be a queen and tell other people what to do. Part of the problem, too, is reading. Now that there is time, that's all I want to do.

Oh, well. Let me take two empty glasses to the kitchen to wash and get the third pair of shoes out of the living room. *sigh*
deltamiss: (California Bookmark)
This review will probably put me on some black lists, but I did not like The Red Tent at all. The premise I love...women bonding in a tent during their forced separation from family during menstruation...but, for me, Diamant took a few too many unnecessary liberties with well-established biblical characters.

Dinah's story could have been told without sacrificing the beauty and poignancy of the lives of her family. Since I'm not a big detail person (I prefer the big picture), the story bogged somewhat in the small issues and became a chore to read.

One good thing came out of my effort, though. I found myself longing to read the story of Isaac and Rebekah again and did so about halfway through the book. Perhaps that ruined the rest of the story, but I much prefer the Rebekah from the Bible to the one in Diamant's book. For that matter, I prefer the Jacob from the Bible, too.

Next time I get the overwhelming urge to read a best seller, slap me. You have my permission. :D
deltamiss: (Bokeh)
I'm reading Marley and Me and laughing out loud at something on every page. Grogan has a way of pulling in the reader with totally believable (because it's true) and recognizable incidents to which (big) dog owners can relate.

Which dog owner hasn't struggled with the chewing, the slobber, the overwhelming excitement from his pet? Grogan's descriptions of Marley's actions and reactions are spot on. Melanie and Jeff had a dog a couple of years ago that actually jumped all the way out of the moving vehicle!

If you are a dog owner, or ever have been a dog owner, it's a must read.

I doubt the movie will be half as good.
deltamiss: (Reading Miss)
There are only TWO unread books in my house and spring break is four weeks away. Must.Do.Something.
deltamiss: (Reading Miss)
I've been reading a book of American short stories. The book is old, used and obviously read often. It has a cloth cover that is now dusty from sitting on an open shelf for years and years. There is a gold emblem of an eagle and flag on the front. I love the book.

Sometime around 1967 I discovered a jewel of a place in my hometown. From the looks of it, anyone passing by would never know what was hidden inside. L & A Furniture was a fixture downtown on Cotton Row Avenue. The local owners sold everything from iron skillets and wheelbarrows to new and used furniture.

I had been inside the store many times, but around '67 (maybe it was '66) I noticed a sectioned-off place I'd never seen before. Maybe they had moved things around or maybe they had just created the spot. Either way, I found a place I'd return to time and again for several years.

The store had at one time been a cotton warehouse so it was basically a huge open space with concrete floors and brick walls. I don't know why I went into the store that day, but there on the right was a library of sorts. Four or five tall bookshelves had been placed along one wall with two jutting out into the room on either end to form a sort of U shape. Inside that nook I found gold...books with gold embossed emblems on the covers and gold leaf edges, all old. The owners had branched out into estate sales that included books. I was in paradise.

None of the books cost more than seventy-five cents; most were a quarter; a few only a dime. Some were worthless, even to a bibliophile such as I. Over the next few years I managed to collect thirty or forty books, most with cloth bindings, the majority having to do with grammar, literature or drama. Most of the books in my collection were published between 1904 and 1939, but there are a couple from the 1950s.

Some days during college, I would spend my lunch hour in the store...sitting on the ratty oriental rug, reading. By that time I had more expenses than money and couldn't justify spending even a quarter for a new book. Still, somehow, I always managed to secure one or two before the semester ended. ;)

Eventually, I moved nearly 200 miles away from home, and L & A stopped buying books. Now there isn't even an L & A Furniture Store. But I can still visit it in my memories...and the yellowed pages of the books I found there.


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