Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I've Been Reading . . .


This morning at a quilt guild board meeting I happened to mention a book that I had just finished, Will's Red Coat by Tom Ryan. My friend Janice had lent it to me knowing I would like it, and like it I did indeed. Tom Ryan is also the author of Following Atticus with which you may be familiar. As it says on the cover, "This is the Story of One Old Dog Who Chose to Live Again." There are lessons to be learned for those who read this book: lessons about love and trust and caring and about never being too old to begin again. Besides telling the story of Will, the author includes passages and quotes which enrich the experience for the reader. Here's one quote which will stay with me.

"You do not need to know precisely what 
is happening, or exactly where it is all
going. What you need is to recognize the
possibilities and challenges offered by the 
present moment, and to embrace them with
courage, faith, and hope."
                               -Thomas Merton

Some folks do suduko or crossword puzzles to keep their minds sharp; I read Italian novels. Now don't get the wrong impression; though I would like to be, I am definitely not fluent in Italian. I began studying Italian after I retired and continued to do so for a number of years. When I went on various trips to Italy, I was able to converse with the people that I met if they spoke "Per favore, peu lentamente = Please, very slowly." I used to have the RAI or the Italian channel on cable, but while I could follow the storyline, the dialogue was always too fast for me to comprehend it. Still, I didn't want to forget all that I had learned, and so I choose to read novels in Italian.  Giula Beyman is an Italian novelist whose books are also published in German and English. As you can see, I read the Italian version. I am pleased to say that I read Un Cuore Nell'Oscurita (A Heart in Darkness) in just a matter of days since it was so good. What I find most interesting is that Italian author, Giula Beyman, sets her novels in Martha's Vineyard of all places!!! The protagonist Nora Cooper, a real estate agent, has the gift of being able to solve crimes and to receive messages from the other side. This particular mystery involved the kidnapping of a young girl. No one was searching for her as all had believed she had died in a tragic accident. Well, as you can imagine, I just couldn't put it down until I found out what happened. (Note: I don't know if this one is, but a couple of her previous mysteries are available in English from Amazon.) 

My third book of note is Al Franken - Giant of the Senate.  Al Franken seems to me to be a very smart, committed, caring, hard working senator, and he is very, very funny. If you are happy with our current administration, I am happy for you; but you might want to skip this book since some of his comments about the current administration and some of this colleagues are very "frank"en though he does respect many from both sides of the aisle. Having warned you of this, people of all political persuasions could learn from this book about our congress: the political process, how and why bills do and do not get passed, the challenges and obstacles faced by politicians, political realities, etc. For instance, do you have any idea how many hours a week all senators and representative spend soliciting money for upcoming elections instead of working on legislative matters? It's simple wrong.
 Giant of the Senate is a good and very enlightening read.

So, what books have you been recommending to your friends?


  1. My favorite book this year was Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese--I was sorry that I reached the end! I also enjoyed Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler mainly because she did a take on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew which was so different and that was what I enjoyed discovering the differences between the two authors!

    1. Thanks, Terry, I'll put them on my list.