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Member: BookBully

CollectionsPersonal Library (1,570), Currently reading (1), To read (192), Read but unowned (1,081), Favorites (30), All collections (2,659)

Reviews59 reviews

TagsMy 2013 Book Challenge (150), My 2011 Book Challenge (146), 100 Books Challenge for 2009 (145), My 2010 Book Challenge (141), My 2012 Book Challenge (139), 2014 Books (58) — see all tags

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About meI've been a bibliomaniac since I got my very first library card back in Aiken, SC. Nicknamed "Book Bully" due to my tendency to approach total strangers in book stores and make suggestions to them.

About my libraryIt is the joy of my life and the bane of my neat-freak husband's existence.... I'm cataloging the books in my personal library and those I've "Read Only."

Groups100 Books in 2009 Challenge, 75 Books Challenge for 2008, Running Readers

Favorite authorsMargaret Atwood, Nicholas A. Basbanes, Amy Bloom, Emily Brontë, Geraldine Brooks, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Willa Cather, Laurie Colwin, Ellen Gilchrist, Tessa Hadley, George Hagen, Helene Hanff, Adam Haslett, Alan Heathcock, Zoë Heller, Michelle Huneven, Rachel Ingalls, Anne Lamott, Dennis Lehane, Margot Livesey, Valerie Martin, Alice McDermott, Ian McEwan, Maile Meloy, Susan Minot, Alice Munro, Jo Nesbø, John O'Hara, Stewart O'Nan, Edith Pearlman, Donald Ray Pollock, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Jane Stevenson, Elizabeth Strout, William Trevor, Anne Tyler (Shared favorites)

Homepagehttp://www.thebookbully.com

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LocationPortland, OR

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/BookBully (profile)
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Member sinceMar 5, 2007

Currently readingPastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber

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Comments

Hi Ellison,
I was so happy to hear from you and am enjoying your blogs, too. I really liked “Boy in the Suitcase,” and immediately picked up the next one by the same authors, “Invisible Murder.” I enjoyed that one as well. I had just bought “Silent Wife” when you wrote me and am planning to take it to the beach with me on Saturday. My pile of books “to read” on vacation is ridiculous! I have “Instructions for a Heat Wave,” by Maggie O’Farrell, which I’ve started; “The Interestings,” by Wolitzer, which I started a couple of months ago and put down. I’ve heard so many good things about it that I’m giving it another shot. I have the “You Are One of Them,” “My Education,” and “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,” all of which I got from the library. Plus a bunch of others I’ve been saving, including the newest Claire Messud.

I loved “Life after Life”! Kate Atkinson’s talents leave me in awe. That is my favorite of hers now, and I’ve read all but two. I’m definitely planning on picking up “Transatlantic.”

Before “Life,” the last book I read with pure enjoyment was “The Good House,” by Ann Leary. I got so much pleasure out of the experience. I noticed you wrote about the other “Good House,” which I have at home and plan to read soon, too.

I’ll just have to quit my job!

Take care and keep on blogging!

Millie

Hi Ellison,

My vacation was great, but already seems like too long ago. I'm looking forward to Kate Atkinson and Clare Messud's upcoming novels as well, though I tend to read them once they're in paper. Actually, I've bought British hardback versions of KA's before, but that's unusual for me. I just like holding a trade paperback so much better--it's almost like an aesthetic preference since nowadays they can cost the same. I haven't read Wolitzer for a while, but have enjoyed her books in the past. On vacation I read and enjoyed "The Boy in the Suitcase," and am now reading the following book by the same authors. I know, it's still in hardback--but I found it at the library and couldn't resist. I do like those Scandinavian mysteries. I also read "True Believers," which I found interesting partly because the characters were my exact age and grew up in my husband's home town outside of Chicago. But I found the characters annoying and it was far too long. The same goes for "Barbarian Nurseries," though as a whole I liked both of them. I actually disliked "The Round House," my second L. Erdrich book, and the last. I need something new and page-turning. I did get McEwan's new one for Christmas, which is still waiting for me. Take care and keep the suggestions coming! Millie
Hi Ellison,
I hope you enjoy The Midwife's Tale more than I did. It was a fabulous idea but there were some clunky moments where the main character seemed pretty forward thinking for that time. It was a bit flat for me but it wasn't a bad read, by any means. I am always on the lookout for a historical mystery/ thriller that is well written. If only CJ Sansom would clone himself and get cracking on some more Matthew Shardlake!
I'll try your new and young author out of Reed.
Best,
Diane
enaid
Hi Ellison,

I hope you've been having a better time with books than I have. I did read two I enjoyed, "Trespass," by Rose Tremain, and "Walk across the Sun," by Corban Addison, but besides that it's been pretty slow going. Of course, I always make the mistake of picking up too many books at once and then not giving myself that time of steady reading to get "into" any one of them. It's partly how my reading time works--in short bursts except before bed, when I have a hard time keeping my eyes open. It's why I so love vacations when I can read a lot at one sitting. I saw that you're reading "The Twelve Tribes," which is also on my list. I hope you like it. I'm reading Louise Penny's first one, "Regeneration," by Pat Barker, "Restoration," by Rose Tremain, and "Model Home," by Eric Puchner, all enjoyable at this point, but none gripping. We're off to St. Martin in the Caribbean in about 3 weeks, so hopefully, I'll get some quality reading time then. I'm supposed to read "The Art of Fielding" for my book club. I'm sure you've read that. Until next time!

Millie
Hi Ellison,

t was really nice to hear back from you, and, again, sorry my belated response. I'm getting very frustrated at having so little time to read. I used to take the metro to work and back and now drive both ways. I really miss that time of reading, even if it didn't seem that long at the time. I did finish "Beautiful Ruins," and didn't find it amazing as so many others did. I really didn't see the point. I just saw that you added "The Richard Burton Diaries" to your list, so you must be a fan. I did like the cover. We went to Cinque Terra once and it made me want to go back.

The only fiction book that I've read lately that I found at all exceptional was "Fieldwork," which was about anthropologists and missionaries in Thailand. Fascinating. I liked "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suite," quite a bit, which I think you recommended. It took me a while to get into it and I'm looking forward to her sequel. I haven't read Wouk in forever--"Marjorie Morningstar" used to be one of my favorite books! I remember the movie with Natalie Wood and Gene Kelly, too. It's amazing and laudatory that he's still writing at 97, so please let me know how you like it. I think it's supposed to be out this week.

I'm reading "Shatter," a mystery by the British writer Rothbotham, which I'm enjoying partly because I'm an anglophile. And I've also been reading some comical memoirs by women--"Cool Calm and Contentious" and "How to Be A Woman." I found both enjoyable, especially since I was in a very tense mood due to the upcoming elections and I needed to laugh. Now I'm more relaxed and feel free to read grittier fare.

Take care!

Millie
Hi Ellison,

I meant to write you much sooner than this! I really have been having a hard time finding enough to read--very frustrating. And then when I read in dribs and drabs of time, the experience just doesn't measure up.

I think since I last wrote you, the book that struck me as one I couldn't get enough of was Margot Livesey's "The Flight of Gemma Hardy." I love everything Livesey's ever written and this one was no exception. I'm a sucker for good old fashioned tales and have read Jane Eyre twice. I think I'm ready for another read. I just finished "The Man in the Sharkskin Suite," which you recommended. I had a hard time at the beginning, but my interest grew incrementally as she and her family left Egypt and she grew older. What a story. Can't wait to read the next one.

I read "State of Wonder," and "The Imperfectionists," and enjoyed them, but not as much as I expected. I think the last books I read that I liked as much as Gemma Hardy were "The Invisible Bridge" and weirdly enough, the Australian soap opera, "The Slap."

I'm reading "The Beautiful Ruins," "Wolf Hall," and a couple of others right now, and am looking forward to having time to read a number of them by favorite authors that I have sitting in a pile. I only have enough time to sit for stretches at a time on vacation and won't have one of those for a while.

I like Jane Gardam a lot. We read "Old Filth" and "The Man in the Wooden Hat" for my book club last year, and the Crusoe one is in my pile. I'm sorry to admit that I have to pick up "New Grub Street," again. The reading piles got too big.

Please keep writing me with recommendations. I'm sorry to have taken so long to get back to you.

Take care.
Thanks for your kind words, Ellison, about Canada and about my book! I look forward to meeting new people and hearing about their book adventures...am still finding my way around this site. There is much to overwhelm one here.

My favourite book for the past few years has been Mordecai Richler's Barney's Version. The movie, not so much (well, that's an exaggeration. I did really like the movie but it changed one thing that was really important to me, as a Jewish feminist). I've even written about the book and movie. In case you're interested, here are the links.

Best,

Beverly

http://roverarts.com/2010/12/mordecai%E2%80%99s-women/

http://maisonneuve.org/blog/2011/01/19/whose-barneys-version-anyway/
Hi Ellison,

Funny, I just had bought "Pure," just before I read your note. Since I last wrote, I finished "The Redbreast," and am happy to have found a new author. I'm still on "Sharkskin Suit," and hope to give it more attention now. I read "Children and Fire," by Ursula Hegi for my book group, and didn't like it at all. I've read one other of her books since "Stones from the River," which I loved, and didn't care for it either. I've started an old British novel called "New Grub Street," by George Gissing, which I've heard very good things about. I've only read the first few pages, but I like the writing style so far. More and more I dislike flowery language and descriptions. A couple of years ago I read "Sons and Lovers," and thought I'd never get through it! I can go out and look at a garden myself! It's supposed to be autobiographical about Lawrence, and if so, what a self-centered unpleasant guy! No more Lawrence for me, I'm afraid.

BTW, have you ever seen the HBO show "Deadwood," that was on a few years ago. I've recently started watching it and it so reminds me of the world in "The Reliable Wife," though much crasser and with a lot more obscenity.

Take care.

Millie
Hi Ellison,

I've been in the doldrums reading these days. I'm reading two of the books I think you recommended ages ago and finally getting into one of them--"The Redbreast." I kept picking it up and putting it down--the way my time is these days--and finally got enough time with it to start being able to follow what was going on. What a good writer Nesbo is, and a great translation! I'm also reading "The Man in the Sharkskin Suit." I disliked the John Irving book so much, I stopped after about 100 pages and got rid of it. I didn't care for "The Family Fang" either. I just want a straightforward story--I'm not one for literary acrobatics. I'm looking forward to "Wild," but probably wait for the paperback. I never seem to get around to reading the hardbacks when I buy them--probably because I can't carry them around. Have you read any of her other books? Why did you interview her?

I do have the Orringer's short stories--thanks for reminding me. She spoke to my daughter's English class at Tulane years ago, at which time I bought it.

Take care.

Millie

Hi Ellison,

Did you stop because of the stalker or did you just decide to take a break? If it's the latter, I get it. I have another friend who has a book blog and who has started to feel a lot pressure to come up with content all the time. It starts to take the fun out of it. What happened with your stalker? How creepy!

I'm still reading away, but have even less time for it since I took a new job about 8 months ago for which I have to be up at 6 am. No more late nights reading. The books I've most enjoyed in the past year or so were two by Barry Udall, "The Lonely Polygamist," and "The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint," and Orringer's "The Invisible Bridge," and Eugenidies' "The Marriage Knot." I'm currently reading the new John Irving and "The Family Fang."

Any new (or old) recommendations?

Cheers, Millie

Hi Ellison! Too long again! Just saw the note below from LiterateHousewife--do you have a blog now and a Twitter account? I'd follow you!

I have a nasty cold and I think an ear infection which I'm trying to get rid of before I take off for France at the end of this week. We're going to visit the Cote d'Azur and Provence. I haven't read nearly enough about those areas before taking off. I just ordered "Tender Is the Night," which takes place around there, but I seem to always turn back to the Brits.

I have read some interesting books since I last wrote and was able to finish "The Passage." I did like the K. Atkinson book. She can do no wrong in my eyes, except I do have a little problem with all the jumping around from character to character. And I don't know how anyone who hadn't read the previous books could figure out all the background which is pretty prominent. I also read a couple of very interesting books that are in this series of New York Book Review Classics, "Stoner," by John Williams (not about a pot smoker, but a college professor in the Midwest) and "The Vet's Daughter," by Barbara Comyns, a new British find for me. Enjoyed them both quite a bit, though the latter was pretty strange. And I'm not reading Maggie O'Farrell's "The Hand That First Held Mine," which I'm loving after thinking it had a slow start.

I was surprised about Jennifer Egan's "Goon Squad" winning all those awards. I'm wondering if they judges just like post-modern writing for the novelty of it.

All for now--I'm looking forward to reading "Townie" and "The Tiger's Wife," both of which you mentioned as well as some others I've recently read about such as Jennifer Haigh's "Faith." I've enjoyed a couple of her other books quite a bit.

Take care!

Millie
Thanks so much for leaving me a note. Now I can attach a face with your Twitter account. I didn't make the connection at first. :) I love your blog name, but you don't look at all like a bully.

How lucky you are to live on that side of the country, let alone run with Nate Query's mom. I adore The Decemberists. I found out about them on Twitter just as The King Is Dead was coming out and I've been listening to everything I can get my hands on since. In fact, I flew home to Grand Rapids over Easter to be sure I saw them. It was incredible. I need to write about it.

I look forward to getting to know you here, on your blog, and on Twitter. Have a great night. I'm off to finish the last 30 minutes of the first Maisie Dobbs book - I had to stop as Billy Beal asked what happened to Simon. ACK! My kids were home, so I couldn't just stay in my garage. :)

Jennifer
Goodness, it's taken me far too long to respond! I wanted to finish both "The Passage" and "What Is the What," which I finally did and can't say I thought it was worth it. Except I felt I couldn't give up either one after all the time I'd put into them. Both of them were well done, but far too long. And sci-fi is really not my genre. I do better with fantasy, which I used to love as a kid. Actually, one of my favorite books of all time is "Time and Again," by Jack Finney. That may have been the last time I was able to suspend disbelief long enough to get really engrossed in a fantasy.

I did read the two Jane Gardam twin books, "Old Filth," and "The Man with the Wooden Hat," both of which I liked quite a lot. And also "Major Pettigrew..." which was much lighter, but covered a little of the same ground. I found the latter a very pleasant read after the dystopia and tragedies of the "Passage" and "What..."

Then I picked up "Caribou Island," sent to me by my friend who buys new hardbacks, and wanted to fling it across the room, I found the characters so unpleasant. I never want to even visit Alaska after that experience! Ironically, the next thing I read (and which I'm still reading)is "Shadow Tag," by Louise Erdrich, which I wanted to read because I've always been so curious about her and Michael Dorris. She moved back to Minneapolis when I was living there and it was a huge deal because she's a major local celebrity, and I always held them in high regard. She was--and still is--so beautiful and talented and had that great relationship and all those kids. And then the whole deal with their divorce, the allegations of abuse, and his suicide was so shocking. Well, since the book is about the failing marriage of an artistic couple with three children, it's hard not to think of her and Michael the whole time--which is really depressing. He was really not a nice guy (if it's supposed to be him, and how can it not?).

After this, it's got to be something lighter. I've got "A Visit to the Goon Squad" ready to go. I'm not sure how light it is, but as long as the characters aren't sick with despair, I should be in good shape.

What's new in your library?

Millie
Hi Ellison,

Stressful times around here as my agency is one of the ones the new Republicans would love to cut all funding to. On the subject of cutting, I was saddened to hear that Powell's had to let go of quite a few employees. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that book stores are hurting. I don't care for ebooks much, but do buy most of my books from Amazon.

I finally finished "Northern Clemency"! I was concentrating solely on that book for a while, so had nothing new to really new to write about. I ended up liking it quite a bit, though it was more "English" than I'm used to, by which I mean it focused on cultural trends and politics that were probably lost on me. It reminded me a little of Alan Hollingshurst's, "The Line of Beauty." They really didn't have all that much in common except both had to do with England during the Thatcher era, which was a time of huge social and economic change. That one had a large homosexual component. Philip Hensher's gay, too, though it's not evident in the book. I just saw that he was listed as one of the most influential GLBT people in Britain.

I'm almost finished with "Last Night in Montreal," which is just okay. Depressing for no reason I can figure out. I'll be reading "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" for my book club. I hope it not another "Guernsey Literary and Potato...," which I found way too precious.

I won't read "The Finkler Question." I can tell it's not for me. Have you read "Crooked Letter"? Two friends who have read it have said they didn't understand all the hype.

I bought the fist Louise Penny mystery for Larry as one of his Valentine's Day presents. I'll borrow it from him.

I've got to get back to "The Passage" again. That's the problem with me and huge hardback books.

All for now,

Millie

Hi Ellison,

I'm sorry to hear about your husband, but he seems to be well on his way to recovery, which is great. I had a similar experience with my husband last year when he suddenly was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He had always been healthy as well and after his treatment we consider him "cured."

I bought "Invisible Bridge" last year when I decided to actually buy some hardback books, but haven't read it yet. Will definitely do so asap. I also bought the K. Atkinson one you mentioned in hardback from England and haven't read that one yet either. You know there are two others that follow "Case Histories," featuring the same character, detective Jackson Brodie. "Started Early" is the fourth. I love all her books.

I'm gone back to "The Passage," and am determined to finish it. I started to re-connect again with it last night so am pretty optimistic. It's hard back to put down and pick up again because there are so many characters. I'm also reading Joanne Harris's "Gentlemen and Players," which I've had for a while. I've never read anything by her before (though I own at least two other of her books--shame on me), and I think I'll like her as an author. This one is very clever so far.

I loved "Brooklyn," by Toibin. Had a harder time with "The Master," but think he's a very good writer.

I better send this off before I lose it!

Take care!

Millie
Hi Ellison,

Yes, I'm still here. I was in a reading slump, but went on a short vacation in early January and got some very enjoyable reading done. I really liked "Lady of the Snakes," by Rachel Pastan, which has been called literary chick lit, and which I found to be a page-turner. I'd call it more of an academic novel, which I generally like, and I also like its being from a woman's point of view. It's about a literature professor who loses herself in her scholarly work to the detriment on her family, but a lot more, too.

I also read "The White Mary," by Kyra Salik, which was about a woman news journalist who ends up in the jungles of apua New Guinea. Another page turner. "Her First American" was also wonderful in a weird sort of way. And I've found a new favorite author in Jane Gardam, after "Old Filth," and "The Man with the Wooden Hat." But I'm a sucker for all the British Empire/Raj stuff.

Have you read anything wonderful lately?

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

How have you been! I didn't exactly drop out of the universe--just haven't been reading much worth mentioning since "Cutting for Stone." Sometimes it seems when I've read a book I really love, it's hard to follow it with one that measures up. I keep looking for the page-turner that has me yearning to go back to it.

I have started both "Old Filth," by Jane Gardam (for my book club) and "Father of the Rain," which I bought months ago, and both seem promising. And I'm enjoying an anthology of Women Travelers quite a bit, so have found more authors I want to read in full. In the meantime, I still have "The Passage," "What Is the What," and "Middlemarch" sitting by my bedside. I've also bought quite a few books, but nothing new enough to still be in hardback. I've decided to look through every book I own to try to remember why I bought them in the first place and actually try and read them. My mom used to say about food that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I'm that way about books.

Let me know what you've discovered lately.

Happy holidays!

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

I just heard that Norris Church Mailer passed away. I was really shocked and immediately thought of you. I know from her book that she had a terrible time with cancer. I thought she'd beaten it, though in photos I saw of her she always looked a bit worn down and thin. She was quite an amazing woman, and I admired her. I'll have to see what more I can find out.

Reading-wise, I've picked up "The Passage" again. It took me quite a bit of time just to go back and try and remind myself what happened in the first section, but I'm ready now to go on. I'm also reading Tana French's "The Likeness." I liked "In the Woods" quite a bit.

I haven't read any Woodrell. I looked at some of them in the bookstore and he's probably too "authentic" for me. On the NBA awards, I did like "So Much for That." I don't always like the winners; some of the writing that is admired these days is too experimental for me. I like a good traditional novel with a compelling story. The Man Booker awards seem to go to more accessible fiction.

Take care.

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

I hadn’t even heard of “The Report,” but it sounds intriguing. I’m just finishing up “Cutting for Stone,” which I’ve found very rewarding. I’ve learned a lot about things I never knew anything about—Ethiopia, Eritrea, hospitals in the Bronx staffed by foreign doctors…I love it when I’m transported into a world I have no concept of by someone who can bring it to life.

I’m thinking of picking up a Pat Conroy book. I read “Prince of Tides” so long ago I could re-read it and not remember anything. It would be fun to try a new one, though. Any suggestions?

I had put Louise Penny on my list as well, but still haven’t picked up the mystery I’ve been promising myself. I still have “The Passage” looming on my bedside table with a bookmark half-way through and ignored. And, of course, “Middlemarch,” which I’ve started and put down about 4 times now. I think “The Lacuna” is next, though.

Have you read “Major Pettigrew”? That’s coming out in paper in another couple of weeks. Was interested in reading “Winter’s Bone,” but after I saw the movie, I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle that or any other books by Woodrell. Not that it wasn’t a good movie, but his characters actually scared me!

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,
I wrote you a whole email and then closed up the site before I sent it! How frustrating! Grrr…

I’ve never been to Nova Scotia, though I’ve been to other parts of Canada, which I’ve really liked. I should really go to just be able to picture what it looks like, if nothing else. Other countries I haven’t seen, I’ve seen depicted in movies, so I can imagine them for the most part. I imagine NV as bleak and gray and rural, and I’m probably way off. Why were you living there?

I’ve gotten into “Cutting for Stone,” and like it a lot—a good story and well written, which are the most important qualities in a book for me. I’m not that crazy about a lot of poetic writing. I find a lot of verbal metaphors very distracting, and they seem to be specially loved by younger writers. Sometimes I remind myself of my younger reading self. “Too much description!” I recently re-read “Sons and Lovers,” and wanted to fling the book across the room. Lawrence couldn’t stop talking about plants and flowers! I couldn’t stand that book, especially the main character, who was supposed to be him.

I went through a big Dennis Lehane phase after reading “Mystic River,” and read all but one of his detective books when I got overloaded with the violence. I have “The Given Day,” and will definitely read that and maybe try this new one.

Are you a Pat Conroy fan? I only read “Prince of Tides,” ages ago. I bet he’s a good story teller. And since then I’ve been to the Charlestown area –my son almost went to college there. I love books about reading.

It’s always nice to get suggestions from you and also have you jog my memory. I just read an essay by Nora Ephron about reading in her “I Feel Bad about My Neck” book. She described her reading experiences beautifully in chapter called “On Rapture.”

Best, Millie

Hi Ellison,

I'd love for you to tell me what you thought about "What Is Left the Daughter." I'm having a hard time with it. The story is good and illuminating about a subject I've never thought very much about--the antipathy toward Germans during WWII. But I have to admit I can't relate to the narrator or really any of the people in the town. Maybe it's that I've never had an easy time picturing that part of Canada and that it would have been easier for me if it had taken place in Maine, but of course that would have made the whole narrative completely different.

I think I need something lighter--something really escapist to keep my mind off of what's currently going on in the world. I enjoyed "The white Rose" because seemed like literary beach reading. Alas, our book club has chosen "Cutting for Stone," which I think I'll like, but won't be light. I don't like fantasy or sci-fi, so maybe it's time for a gory mystery.

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

My oldest friend came to visit for a long weekend, so I've been pretty much out of pocket. All this travel and visits is great fun, but right now I can use some down time and here come the holidays! Not that they're a super big deal, but always carry more stress for some reason.

I'm still on "The White Rose" and some of the same others, though I did take a break for Gail Caldwell's book. I remember Carolyn Knapp very well. I loved her "Drinking: A Love Story" and read some of her essays. In fact, I have a couple of her other books and well as Caldwell's autobiography from years ago! This is all like a web. I read or hear of one book, and immediately am reminded of bunches of others that I own or want to read or both. I have another of Donoghue's I haven't read yet, too.

I stopped by P&P and picked up the Grodstein book your mentioned. I've piles of "next books" to read, and really have to go back and seriously finish both "The Passage" and "Middlemarch." Do you know "What Is Left the Daughter." I'm number one for it at the library and can't remember what it's about or where I heard of it.

i just saw that you read and rated "Howards End Is on the Landing." That the book I went to P&P to get. I was going to get it from Amazon, but they said it would take weeks or months and I'd seen it at P&P so got it there instead! And you added the Mary Ann Maupin book. I read that whole series about 10 years ago!

Take care!

Millie
Hi Ellison,

What a lovely photo of your daughter in her wedding dress! I like your suit, too! Too bad about Maidzilla. That is really unbelievable. I hope it didn't mar the experience for your daughter.

I had a great trip and was able to read "Room," and "The News Where You Are." I loved "Room"--the other not so much. Emma Donoghue is incredibly talented. I've read a couple of her other books and none are at all alike. I loved "Slammerkin," a historical novel, and I don't usually like historical fiction. I couldn't believe how she got into the mind of the little boy, Jack, who lived in Room. Have you read it yet?

I've started "White Rose," another book by Jean Hanff Korelitz. I didn't think I was going to like it at first, but I really like her writing style so I'm glad I kept on. The last book I read by Philip Roth was the one about Lindberg becoming president, "The Plot against America." I so disliked it that I swore off him.

I've also started Gail Caldwell's book. As usual, too many going at once. But there are so many out there!!!

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

I hope the wedding was wonderful--or is it still coming up?

You really should do a blog--maybe a video blog. Have you seen Ron Charles's video blog for the W. Post? They're very amusing. If not, here's the link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/09/22/VI2010092201878.ht...

You mention another book I own that I haven't read--goody! The Dower House. Sometimes I don't even know how it is I ended up buying some of these books. I used to be much less discriminating a buyer, which is how I ended up with hundreds of unread books. Which is also why it's so great to hear you liked something I already own.

I finished Norris Church's book, by the end of which I had no desire to ever read another Mailer book. Not that I've ever been such a big fan, but his ego and his attitude toward women in general really turned me off. And it was almost painful to see the photos of the two of them together. I liked her earthiness and strength of character and the way she was still able to hold everything together even while suffering from that awful cancer. I guess she's still going strong.

I'm now reading a book called "Babylon Rolling," by Amanda Boyden, which centers around a group of people living on the same street in just pre-Katrina New Orleans. Having had a daughter at Tulane during that time, I think I'll find it particularly interesting. I have a whole stack to go through before I decide what to take with me on our trip to Europe next week. I always think I'll have time to read several books while on the plane.

Take care.

Millie

Hi Ellison,

Goodness! I was just about to send you a message when I closed the window by mistake and lost it all!

Anyhow, I wanted to encourage you to do a book blog. I always enjoy reading your reviews, which I somehow get through an rss feed. I must have subscribed, but don't know exactly how. Is your other blog about running? How did I miss that?

Nick Hornby is back doing his column in the Believer. That's where I read the stuff about Muriel Spark. I love this column, but can't relate to much else in the magazine, unfortunately. Too young and hip for me? Hopefully, they'll package his new columns up into little books again.

I've read all 3 of Huneven's books as well. A friend turned me on to her and I've liked her stuff a lot, though I found "Blame" quite different from the others, though alcoholism seems to be a persistent theme. I saw that you added Rose Tremain's new book to your library. Have you read "The Road Home." I though that was a wonderful book about the modern immigrant experience in Britain.

I went ahead and ordered "The Room." My public library has certainly cut back on what they're buying. (my excuse)

I know you'll have a lovely time at the wedding. It's been in the 90s lately, which is ridiculous for late Sept., but it's supposed to cool off for the weekend.

Best, Millie
Dear Bookbully (Ellison?):

I actually came across you while checking out ymkahn's book list. I apologize for 'eavesdropping' on your conversation/correspondence with one another, but was immediately drawn to so much -- questions about the Ipad, addiction to the Foyle series, and (living in the Boston area myself) a general supposition you were here for the Marathon. Can't imagine how you come to read so much and yet train for Boston as well. I find both of your libraries simpatico and inspiring. Intrigued by your 50 page rule. I still have a hard time giving up on a book once started. Clear issues with 'closure,' I suspect. If you don't mind, I'll continue to eavesdrop, especially for suggestions for future reading -- although the on deck circle is pretty full at the moment. Cheers, Marianne
Hi Ellison,

I love your messages--I always have to stop and write a bunch of titles down. Do you ever read Nick Horby's columns on what he bought and what he's read. Some of them have been collected in little books. I love them. He's such a good writer and inspires me to pick up things I wouldn't normally or read authors that I've forgotten about. The last one I read mentioned Muriel Spark, whom I've always been meaning to read. I've only read "The Prime of Miss Jean Brody," and (and seen the movie) and that was ages ago. I'm always so happy to have suggestions of less prominent books.

Politics and Prose was hosting Franzen, but now are moving the reading to a big auditorium downtown. That's going to be such a madhouse that I'm going to pass, although I'd love to see him at some point. Maybe not at the height of his hotness! I hate dealing with crowds and lines. I miss a lot of good author readings because they're usually in the evening, P&P is about 25 minutes from my house, and it's not metro-accessible, so it's a super hassle to get to after work.

Haven't gotten around to the Caldwell book yet, but I'm planning to. I can't find "Time Was Soft There," on Amazon, though the title sounds oddly familiar. What is an ARC? Did you read "Family Daughter"? Should I give it another try? I did like "Liars and Saints" so much.

Have fun in SC! We've had lovely weather lately so I hope you do, too.

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

So did you end up seeing Franzen? Is he off-putting? He's my new hero.

I finally finished the third in the Girl trilogy. I was disappointed that this one was a struggle to get through. So much extraneous information about characters and incidents that were totally peripheral to the plot. Plus my favorite character is Salander, and she hardly makes an appearance!

I'm happy to have had the opportunity to start something new. I picked up "Ticket to the Circus," last night and it's a pleasure to read. She's a good writer and the subject matter is quite interesting. I was totally unaware of her until her book came out, but she's obviously quite talented and feisty. I read "The Naked and the Dead," in college and was quite impressed, but never read anything else by Mailer. My memory of him was of kind of a sexist brawler, but I'll definitely take another look at his writings, too.

I did manage to sneak in Maile Malloy's book of short stories, which were fine, but nothing has compared to her "Liars and Saints," which I loved. I tried "A Family Daughter," but didn't like her messing with the characters I already knew, so I put it down.

I have another vacation coming up in a couple of weeks, so again I'm going to be stacking up more books I can possible read to take with me. This time only paperbacks, though. I've read a few pages of "Babylon Rolling," by Amanda Boyden, which sounds intriguing. And I really want to read "The Room," by Emma Donoghue. I very much liked "Slammerkin," though I couldn't get into "The Mask."

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

We got back from vacation last night--had a very nice and relaxing time in the sun.

Unbelievably, last Saturday morning, just before we were to take off for the Beach, I got a notice from our library that they were holding "Freedom" for me. I couldn't believe it since it wasn't out yet and didn't understand how I'd gotten to the number 1 position on the waiting list. But sure enough--there it was! I devoured it while on vacation! I found it to be a page-turner that engrossed me for the whole three or so days that I carried around that huge book. I was teary eyed at the end and still miss reading about the Berglands. I'm still amazed at how he was able to provide so much insight into a certain American experience--one that I could intensely relate to-- by way of a kind of love story. I'm going to go back and give "Corrections" another try. I found the beginning of it mean-spirited, but I'll try again and look for the insights that I know are there. I hope you're enjoying it as much as I did!

Best, Millie

Hi Ellison,

I subscribe to RSS feeds to The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books) and the London Review of Books (http://www.lrb.co.uk). Then I run across other reviews by surfing around. I'll let you know if I remember more specific sites.

I am running around getting stuff ready so we can leave in the morning, but I hope to be able to have access to my laptop or my brand spanking new ipad that I got for a birthday present during the coming days. I'll let you know what books I brought if I'm not to embarrassed to admit the discrepancy between ambition and reality. You've got to have choices, right?

BTW, I've been meaning to ask you. Are you planning on ordering "Freedom" right off the bat. I tried and didn't care for the beginning of "The Corrections," but I have high hopes for this one for some reason. I think all of these talented young people should improve as they and their sensibilities age.

Best, Millie
Hi Ellison,

I finally was able to actually finish some of the books I was reading. All were good, but nothing wowed me. "Bloodroot," and "Q Road" had so many things in common, I kept getting characters and stories mixed up. I read "Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name," which I thought was a good book that I didn't quite understand. She's a good writer and it was weird when I realized that I was simultaneously reading books written by a husband and wife. I'm still reading "What Is the What," by Dave Eggars, which does not move quickly for me. And I'm now reading "Burnt Shadows," by Kamila Shamsie, which I'm finding very interesting. More India during the time of the Raj. I'm going on a beach vacation next week and have a pile of books I have to cull before I actually take off--though we're driving, so I could conceivably take them all if I was to be truly overwhelmed. First on my list is the last of the "Girl" trilogy. I also broke down and bought the newest Kate Atkinson from Amazon.UK. I never used to buy hardbacks if I could bear to wait, partly because I like the feel of a paperback better, but I can really notice the cutbacks in our library system and the bookstores don't carry the variety they used to, so I feel like I'm going to end up buying more. Anyhow, someone's got to support the book industry !

Take care,

Millie
BB,

It worked. Thanks for the information. I don't know why I couldn't figure it out for myself.

E.
BB,

The dealer, whom I thought I had ordered The Golden Spruce from has just back down from the stated condition of the book so I have cancelled my order. I believe that the Canadian Edition is the true first and this was an American Edition, so it is just as well. I did pick up a copy from the Library in order to give it a glance before I try to find another copy.

At this juncture I am pretty sure that I have previously read The Ones You Do by Daniel Woodrell. I don't know how much longer I will continue. Woodrell wrote three Rene Shade Mysteries (sort of detective/rough cop books) and this is one of them. In fact, his first book, which I still hope to get today (the mail is late) is another. Fortunately, he later decided to write about his neighbors and the landscape where he resides, the Ozark area of Southern Missouri. I just don't seem to enjoy mysteries much any more, with the exception of Richard Lange and Raymond Chandler.

I was surprised that Yiyun Li was so prolific. I thought she had only written Vagrants, which I own largely due to the jacket blurb by Ann Patchett and have yet to read.

I too, looked for Time Magazine today without success. I checked several stores and the current issue has not made it to the racks.

E.
BB,

I'm surprised that McMurtry's Hollywood didn't inspire you to suggest that you and I write a screenplay. We could become the next McMurtry/Ossana writing team.

Know absolutely nothing about Emma Donoghue. I don't even recognize any of her book titles. I have the Yiyun Li book but haven't read it. Was it great?

I also began looking into the upcoming John Vaillant book, The Tiger. Apparently it is going to be made into a movie starring Brad Pitt. I decided to order a copy of his first book The Golden Spruce.

I assume you are busy today, grocery shopping, cleaning house and writing letters. So if you don't have time to respond, that is okay.

E.
BB,

I'm not sure who you are talking about. Is it Sara Gruen and Yiyun Li? Who is it from September, 30? Personally, I wouldn't be very torn up if these are the writers you are speaking of.

E.
BB,

This is my third, and final, email this morning. I just noticed the Tom Franklin's new novel Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter has two reviews on LT, both five stars. The book will be published October 5. The Franzen book has one review, also, with a five star rating. It's going to be a good Fall.

E.
BB,

I just saw that Jonathan Franzen will be on the cover of Time Magazine which comes out tomorrow. It is the first time that a writer has been on the cover since Stephen King in 2000.

E.
BB,

While Hollywood and Let's Take the Long Way Home were wonderful books, what has stayed in my mind is the film Winter's Bone from Daniel Woodrell's novel. I was disappointed that Under the Bright Lights, his first novel, hasn't yet arrived. So, I am reading his novel The Ones You Do. I had rated it three and one-half stars when I entered it in LT, but, honestly, wasn't 100% sure that I had read it. I am 50 pages into it, and still not sure if I have read it. Nonetheless I am enjoying it. He is so very descriptive and funny. Last evening I watch the movie Ride With the Devil, which is the film made from his novel The Woe to Live On. The film was directed by Ang Lee, but is very confusing. The book is also unique from the standpoint that it is Woodrell's most expensive book, although not his first. I suppose it is because of the film, which incidentally, starred Toby Maguire and Jewel. I'm not sure what I will do if Under the Bright Lights arrives today.

I am still waiting for the schedule of the 2010 Southern Festival of Books to be posted. I wanted to stay at the Hermitage Hotel which is right next to the festival area, but the rooms are $400.00. I'm not sure if I want to pay that much for one night's sleep.

E.
BB,

I am a dog person. I just think that in this particular situation the human is the greater loss and the real story. And that it would have "lessened" the story had she included Clementine in the dedication, which I know a lot of people would have. Not that the dogs weren't important in their lives and in the story.

Caldwell's book is far, far superior to Didion's. There is no comparison.

E.
BB,

Five stars?? Well, I think I have less than five, five-star books in my entire library. But I am definitely going four and one-half. I thought it was beautifully written and contained some absolute truths. I was delighted that while sad, it was debilitatingly (is that a word?) so. I thought the two saddest parts were when she took the boat to her own boat house and broke down once she got out of Morelli's sight. And when she told Clementine to "Go find Carolin," both of those were quite touching. I am also glad that she dedicated the book only to Caroline, and didn't include Clementine. It is much superior to her first book and I will remember it as, perhaps, my favorite memoir of all times.

E.
BB,

I keep thinking that I overrated Super Sad and have been considering lowering my rating.

I have 24 pages to go on Let's take the Long Way Home. I don't want to influence what you might think, so I will hold off any comments to you finish. I had to step out this morning and hated to leave the book with only 24 pages to go.

E.
BB,

I'm assuming you mean Daniel Woodrell, is that correct? Probably his best book is his last which is Winter's Bone. Daniel Woodrell is one of those anomalies, an author you gets incredible, too die for, reviews , yet in not particularly commercially successful. The movie Winter's Bone is about to change all of that.

You never really said much about Super Sad. What did you think? After seeing the term Malishka in SS, I started using it on Laurie. I told her up front that it was a term of endearment, but that she wouldn't like it. Laurie, doesn't like to think of herself as small, petite, little or any other diminutive descriptor.

E.
Hi Ellison,

I have "Take the Long Way Home," on my list. Is the McMurtry one "Books"? or is there a new one? I loved "Lonesome Dove" and read some of his other books eons ago. I also read a memoir of this called "Roads," in which he talked a lot about his books. "Books" got mediocre reviews when it came out, so I never read it. Maybe I should change my mind. I just looked up "Roads," and saw that the one person who reviewed it on Amazon have it one star. I really liked it! I saw there's another memoir called "A Literary Life." Is that the one you just got? He used to have a used book store here in DC, in Georgetown. I never saw him there, though. Now he's in Texas for good, I think.

I've started "Bloodroot," and am having a hard time getting into it. Did you say you'd read that one? Now I'm starting to pile up books to read about France and Spain, where we're going to spend about 10 days in October. My mom used to have a saying that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, when I put too much food on my plate. That's the way I am about books--totally unrealistic expectations of what's possible!

Larry is fine. He's off in Pakistan for work this week. How about you? Anything exciting planned?

Best, Millie
BB,

I just sent you a regular email, but forgot to mention that Saturday I ordered Daniel Woodrell's first book Under the Bright Lights. After seeing the movie Winter's Bone, I am sure his stock is about to rise significantly. Already there are no first editions copies of Winter's Bone on Abebooks.

E
Hi Ellison,

I can't believer how much you read! I take forever for a book--maybe if I didn't read start so many things at once I'd do better. I'm finally finishing up "Admission," which turned out to be a read page-turner, but took a long time. It was very wordy, but I enjoyed her writing style. Since I have 40 pages to go, I don't know how it will end, but I have to admit I'm tired of reading about the creme de la creme that apply to Ivy League schools. I'll be happy to go back to "Q Road."

In the past week, I picked up a previous book by Korelitz called "The White Roses," the Girl in a Blue Dress," which was a big deal when it came out in Britain, but which I hesitated to buy when I was there. It's historical fiction, which is usually not my thing, but supposed to be about one of Dickens's wives, and he intrigues me. Also "The Awakening," by S.J. Bolton, which someone was raving about, but, unfortunately, I can't remember who.

How are you enjoying "Super Sad True Love Story"? I've never read Shteyngart and have wondered if he's for me.

Best, Millie
BB,

You could, and probably will, read The Typist in one sitting. I am undecided whether to give it four stars or just three and a half. Since Michael Knight is one of my favorite writers I will probably go with the four. It is somewhat different than anything he has written previously.

Since I hadn't heard from you yesterday before I shut down my computer for the night, I read the article (available online) you wrote about your mother's reading habits. I loved the way you ended the piece. It was perfect.

I finished The Typist about 5:30 AM this morning. I just wish I could sleep 90 minutes in one stretch. Then spent nearly two hours trying to decide between Super Sad True Love Story and Everything. Finally I went with SSTLS. I have only read 10 pages, but have laughed out loud more times than pages read. It is the most satirically irreverent thing that I have ever read. I can't imagine that he can sustain this for the balance of the novel. And if he does, I will be worn out.

E.
BB,

Like Mr. BookBully I liked Goodnight, Nebraska.

I started, and would have finished, The Typist this morning, had I not had a previous appointment. It is a complete 180 from the grossly overwritten Machart book.

After my haircut, I stopped by Laurie's store and she was having coffee with a friend. Although she hasn't read Gary Shteyngart she may incorporate his new novel in her next video blog. I think I, too, will read Super,Sad True Love Story next.

E.
BB,

I've discovered that four of my eleven Rick Bass books are still in storage in California. But I am currently pricing other Bass books that I don't own in preparation for October.

OMG, can you imagine what the first draft of The Wake of Forgiveness must have looked like? Since I just finished the book this morning, I'm having trouble getting it out of my mind. What a wasted opportunity!!

I've been waiting to read your review of the Canty book. My second copy came in, and I rejected that one as well. There are two copies at Borders downtown and I will get one of those tomorrow after I get my hair cut.

While I would love to have my Maile Meloy books signed, that is too much to ask of you. Not to mention the wear and tear that shipping might inflict upon them. I will see her somewhere, someday.

E.
Hi Ellison,

I love your new photo! We've had some very extreme weather here, culminating in a short, but violent, storm that took out much of the power in the area. That was 2 days ago and there are still thousands without power and numerous traffic lights out! We lost ours for less than 24 hours, which was great. I'm not a happy camper without power.

On books, I'm still reading this and that, but have picked up a couple that I'm particularly enjoying: "Admission" by Jean Hanff Korelitz, who I think is a very good writer. And "Q Road," by Bonnie Joe Campbell, whose "American Salvage" I liked very much when I read it a few months ago. Our downtown Borders is closing and had a 30 percent off sale, so I broke down and bought 3 books in hardback: "The Lovers," which you recommended, "The Invisible Bridge," by Julie Orringer, and "Father of the Rain," by Lily King, even though I know I could have gotten them for less at Amazon.

The Mann Booker long list came out today. I was really excited until I realized that most of them aren't even available here yet. One of them, "The Long Song," I have already read, but many of them I've never heard of. When I ordered the book by Kay a couple of weeks ago, which you noted was only available through Amazon UK, it was from an English bookstore that was selling it through the U.S. Amazon site. I guess they're sold out now.

I was looking up at your latest ratings. Do you consider 3 and half stars a good rating or so-so? I'm wondering about the Inger Ash Wolfe. What are you up to?

Millie

BB,

P.S.

I am excited. I just checked the Southern Festival of Books website and they have added Rick Bass to the list. Along with Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) and Hampton Sides.

I have eleven books by Rick Bass. None of them signed and I have never had the pleasure of meeting him.

E.
BB,

It's been another trying day, in search of the perfect copy. I bought Super Sad True Love Story this morning at the local Barnes & Noble. When I got ready to put my Brodart on it I noticed a defect and took it back. I thought I had gotten the only perfect copy in the store. I checked once again and rejected the other five copies on hand. I got my refund and headed to Indianapolis. My luck had changed, as The Typist by Michael Knight was released early. So, I used my 33% off coupons at two different Borders Indianapolis stores. I nearly panicked when the little girl checking me out, after I purchased SSTLS tried to write on the receipt with my book underneath. I think I startled her when I yelled, "Don't!!!!" I explained that I was a collector and that it would have marked the jacket.

Don't sell your Shteyngart first editions. I noticed the Bill Leone has the first two, although signed, for sale at $85 and $75. I just saw a "funny" video on the BN.com website with Shteyngart. Also included in the video was Edmund White (I nearly panicked. Thinking that Shteyngart might be another Adam Haslett.), Jeffrey Eugenides and Jay McInerney. The latter two, writers that I enjoy reading.

I didn't know it was hardbacks vs ebooks. I thought it was all books. That makes me feel a little bit better.

My computer hasn't "acted up" on LT for some time. Someone thought that the new computers continually scan for unauthorized wireless connections and thought that may be the problem.

Haven't decided if I'm truly done with Machart. I'm under 100 pages to go. But I'm not happy with him.

E.
BB,

I just read a review of the Canty book on my home page at LT. The reviewer didn't care for it. If you, like me, didn't use your 40% here is another one for 33%. The Shteyngart book is scheduled to be published today. You still haven't told me what you think of his work.

I am about to put myself out of my misery. The last paragraph I read in The Wake begins--"The blood ran out of him now as if displaced by the hydraulics of his own new certainties. . ." I managed to complete the paragraph, but just barely. I believe this is all I will read of this book. As you know I am an acute reader. It is not that the above quoted simile is inaccurate, it is just that it is starkly inappropriate. I don't mind all of his connotative words, but I can't stand it when his pomposity disrupts the narrative.

Tuesday is my favorite day of the week to go to the bookstores. And that is where I am headed.

E.

BB,

I forgot to ask if you have read Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles. I saw it yesterday at a used bookstore. I really liked it. It was thoughtful and very funny. His first and only book, thus far.

Also forgot to tell you that I spent all morning at three Borders trying to find a book where I could use my 40% off coupon, which expires today. I almost went for the Mitchell book, but backed out at the last moment.

E.
BB,

What do you think the critics will say about The Wake?

I heard yesterday that Amazon sold more ebooks last month than regular books. A bad, bad sign.

Bought A Thread of Sky because of the beautiful dust jacket, but haven't read it. The Kevin Canty book that I have listed in my library, I don't actually possess yet. I ordered it two weeks ago from my local Barnes & Noble. Renee ordered me two copies, the condition of the first copy wasn't to my liking. Another week went by and the other copy hadn't arrived. Renee checked on it for me yesterday and the order was "lost in cyberspace" so hopefully I will have it by Thursday. I really like Kevin Canty's work. This book, Everything, takes place in Montana where Canty currently lives. I'm anxious to read it.

What library books do you have?

Going out to trim trees in the back while the weather isn't too hot.

E.
BB,

One thing is for sure--The critics will either adore or despise The Wake of Forgiveness. And I am leaning toward the latter. I believe they will compare it to writing found in minor MFA writing programs and will chastise the book unmercifully.

I went back to check how they compared it to Kent Haruf, since Haruf is one of the most concise/precise writers I have ever read. The comparison was only to locale, and that also is inaccurate. I don't believe Haruf ever wrote about Texas.

I'm on page 170 and every once in rare while Machart will get back to telling the story without the endless (trying to impress) verbiage, but soon he goes back to his old ways.

Are you finished? What did you think?

E.
BB,

WOW!! You are speeding past me. Where I stopped was on page 94. The last line with the pastor speaking was completely over-the-top, as far as overwriting. I'm sure that that is a common occurrence in first novels. Where is the editor? Or, aren't books any longer edited?

Not quite as warm today. Only 88 degrees.

E.
BB,

I did more research on Ilustrado and the American edition did proceed both the British and Canadian editions. Sorry. Did you read it?

I'm 95 pages into Machart and find it a bit overwritten. His attempt to be "literary" sometimes gets in the way of the story. I will read more today and hopefully it will smooth out a bit. I do like the story.

E.
BB,

It is a brutal 93 degrees at 2:00 PM. May have to read this afternoon, because it is too hot to do anything else.

I got the Ann Patchett news from LbraryJournal.com. I related to you all the available information. But, at least now I know the situation.

I noticed that you apparently ended up liking Mr. Peanut. I intended to give Mentor three stars, until he made the statement that people expected him to get the directorship of the Workshop. The entire book was a bit too self-serving for my tastes.

While I'm not 100% sure, I think that the American edition of Ilustrado is the true first.

E.
BB,

I just found out that Ann Patchett's new novel has been sold to Harper for publication in 2011.

"The new novel is described as 'Conradian' and is set in the Amazon Jungle, where two female physicians make hitherto unimaginable discoveries on both a personal and global scale."

E.
BB,

Mentor, just did not ring true to me.

I read 35 pages of The Wake of Forgiveness this morning. At this juncture it appears it will be quite good.

E.
BB,

Glad to hear that you got to see and talk to Monica.

Laurie has her new video blog up, but has too much information crammed into too short of a time span.

Should we tackle The Wake of Forgiveness, next?

E.
P.S.

I like the new photo. Okay, I confess, I'm 84 pages into Mentor.

E.
BB,

Regular email is down.

Like you I looked at Galveston and rejected it.

I forgot, I owe you at least $4.55.

As far as dates with inscriptions, or signatures are concerned. I only want them if the books are signed in the same year as publication. Otherwise I don't want them. The Tom Grimes book would have been a bit unique, because he would have dated the book prior to the official publication date.

I just noticed that Tom Grimes only has 159 total copies of his books listed on LT.

Will try regular email later.

E.
BB,

I figured what the heck. I checked all the LT things that were available. Longer note on regular email.

E.
BB,

I spoke to soon on the Borders coupon. It was an email from Barnes & Noble cancelling my order for Arkansas.

E.
BB,

Cautionary tale for Citrus County over on regular email.

E.
Hi Ellison,

I haven't made much progress reading since picking up "The Passage," and I'm only a third of the way through. I can't decide whether or not I like it. Sci-fi is usually not my thing, but I do like his writing. It's pretty bleak, though. In the meantime, I finished "A Perfectly Good Family, which I found disappointing. I have become more engrossed in "The Glass House," though and picked up "Kitchen Confidential," for fun. I obviously don't read books as quickly as I buy them--but that doesn't keep from wanting to own them. In the past couple of days I've gotten, "Both Ways Is the Only Way I Way I Want It," and "The Confessions of Edward Day," by Maile Meloy and Valerie Martin, respectively--both of whom I like a lot as writrs. And "An Equal Stillness," by Francesca Kay, a book that I read about somewhere but don't remember where. You? It's British.

I can't wait until my vacation to be able to spend whole days reading. I never read as much as I would like then, though. I find myself doing a lot of napping in between pages. What's better, though?

Millie
BB,

First of all, I think that The Imperfectionists is easily the finest book that I have read this year. I thought it was exceptional.

The book sale didn't yield too much. Here is what I got: Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles, The Brothers Karamazov, Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (my third copy, it has been made into a movie for this Fall), and Roads by Larry McMurtry (my sixth copy). The good thing is the books were in excellent condition and cost $1.00 each. I also stopped by Borders and bought a copy of Citrus County by John Brandon, although I dislike the McSweeney preferred method of binding. It looks like a children's book.

Been gone all day so I'm going out to get as much of the yard mowed today as possible.

Are you reading The Mentor?

E.
BB,

Problem, again on LT. Check regular email.

E.
BB,

I just moved over from regular email. Thanks again, and let me know the cost. You want to read psycho, take a look at Tom Franklin's Hell at the Breech. It was thought at one time that Clint Eastwood would buy the rights to the book and make it his last starring role. But he, allegedly, thought that it was too violent. Anyway, I love Tom Franklin's books and look forward to reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and seeing him in Nashville this October.

What a string of writers you have had in the Portland area. Especially for the summer months when authors traditionally don't tour. Although, I imagine, that all traditional methods of selling books has changed in the recent past.

There is a big library book sale tomorrow. I will let you know if I find anything.

E.
BB,

I don't know why I didn't think of this before. I have tried to forward you one of my bi-weekly Borders Coupons. Let me know if you receive it.

I am in the slow down mode on The Imperfectionnists. Only have the very last section to go. Maybe 14 pages, the part about Oliver Ott. I don't want it to end. I'm going to have to go above 4 stars.

E.
BB,

The initial list of authors confirmed for the 2010 Southern Festival of Books just came out. I must say, at this juncture, I am a little disappointed.

Of particular interest to me are: Tom Franklin, Michael Knight, Brad Watson. Also confirmed, Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. Laurie liked this, I have it but haven't read it), Amy Greene ( who I have already seen), Lee Smith (I have her new collection, but I think I have told you what I think about her) and Adam Ross (Mr. Peanut).

You might want to check out the list to see if there are writers you are interested in.

E.
P.S.

I don't see them listed. Haven't you ever read John Dunning?
BB,

Oh,how I would love to go to Powell's.

I heard from Laurie and she knows nothing about The House of Tomorrow.

200 pages into The Imperfectionists and I am still very impressed. Shortly after I was singing the books praises to you and Laurie I hit a mediocre couple of entries. But it is recently back on a superior track.

I have just had forwarded to you a 25% discount coupon from Borders. I hope you can use it.

E.
P.S.

I just checked Laurie's video blog. It is working but hasn't changed, still Justin Cronin. I will ask her about House of Tomorrow.

E.
BB,

Interesting about Grimes and Boswell. I bet they don't have books for Grimes.

LibraryThing was down this morning. So I went to use as many Borders 40% off coupons that I could get passed the cashiers. The only problem was that the coupon was store specific. One of the Indianapolis stores and my local store in Noblesville. The local store is small so it didn't have Keven Canty's new book Everything or Memory Wall. So it was off to Indy. The Indy store couldn't find their copies of Memory Wall and the Canty books were bumped pretty severely. So I ended up buying another first American edition of The Imperfectionists.

I am 100 pages into The Imperfectionists and find it exceptional. It is better than Kings of the Earth. I emailed Laurie early this morning to tell her. I'm hopeful that she will blog Kings of the Earth and The Imperfectionists at the same time. She emailed me back and remembered that I initially didn't want to buy it and thus, is taking credit for recognizing its potential.

I have seven books by Robert Boswell. I have almost bought Crooked Hearts enumerable times, and still don't know why I haven't bought it. I have enjoyed every one of his books.

Back to The Imperfectionists. Like I said the other day the Australian paperback is the true first edition. And the British edition also proceeded the American edition. But for some reason the American edition has distinct value. So I bought another copy.

E
BB,

That is odd that your Brodart order hasn't shipped. And, yes, $100.00 would buy a lot of jacket covers. Often there will be a percentage saving sent to you via email. Have you received the Machart book from Bill?

I went over to Laurie's store today and just as I was leaving the parking lot I saw her walk into the store. She wasn't working today. I turned around and re-entered the store where I spotted her picking up a copy of Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner. I gave her a perplexed look and then she explained that Courtney, her daughter, was meeting her there. Laurie and her husband David have two children. Courtney, who is going to Emery University this Fall and Michael, who will be a junior in high school. Both are very attractive and smart as whips. Both are at the very top of their classes at the most exclusive and prominent private school in Indianapolis. Courtney wants to be a doctor. And I have little doubt that she will achieve her goal.

Laurie loves Kings of the Earth. She isn't quite finished yet, but plans to incorporate it in her video blog. She is currently reading three books. She is required to read a lot of the proposed Discover New Writers Series that Barnes & Noble promotes. Her previously filmed blog was misplaced so she had to redo it.

The Tom Grimes publication date is July 26, so it is not quite next week.

E.
BB,

Sorry I didn't see your message until just now and I had started The Imperfectionists this morning with high hopes. If you can wait I will read Mr. Peanut next, before the Tom Grimes book comes out next week.

I should probably go off the LT grid for this, but I felt the Goon Squad was a stupid, totally inane book. I had no compassion for any of the multitude of characters. They were all uninteresting and unappealing to me. I'm a bit disappointed in myself for continuing to read it until the end.

E.

BB,

I picked the Seldon Edwards book off the discount shelf at Barnes & Noble. I remember looking at it when it came out. The reviews were actually quite good, but it obviously didn't sell. I really bought it because of the attractive jacket and because it was his first book. You never know what might happen should he write another. I guess it was a $5.98 long shot. Why am I always concerned about the monetary value of a book? I have never sold a book in my life.

I have not read George Hagan and find Alice McDermott not my cup of tea.

When are you going to start Mr. Peanut?

No new posting from Laurie. I still need to finish mowing this afternoon and I will try to get over to see her tomorrow. I'm kind of anxious to find out if she finished Kings of the Earth.

E.

BB,

I read Will Blythe's review in the New York Times of Jennifer Egan's book. I'm afraid he is much more effusive than I would ever be. There are just too many gimmicks for me. I read primarily for beautiful language and then story. Very Southern, and traditional. So something this avant garde doesn't particularly appeal to me.

Is this the same Will Blythe who edited the book Why I Write? The one that contains the lovely essay by Ann Patchett on Allan Gurganus.

Have also responded on regular email.

E.
BB,

I just checked the Powell's events calendar for July and August. There was no one of interest to me. Hopefully later in the Fall I can take advantage of your offered assistance in securing signed copies.

How did Mr. BookBully do in the beer race?

Eric Puchner the author of Model Home is the one I drove 450 miles to see in Evansville, IN. unaware that he had cancelled his appearance while I was in route. And yes, his first book was a collection of short stories. I noticed his talent in that collection and immediately bought Model Home upon publication. I think the novel is excellent, although it did take me awhile to get over the fact that he cancelled the appearance.

I think I will read The Imperfectionists after I finish Goon Squad.

E.
I checked earlier and Laurie's new video blog still isn't up.
BB,

I finished Kings of the Earth and view it quite favorably. The novel is totally character driven, which will undoubtedly be a turn off for the casual reader and will prevent it from becoming a best seller. It may, however, allow it to become an award winner.

This morning I tried to get back into A Visit from the Goon Squad. The story is slowly coming back to me.

I happened to notice that you have an image of the paperback edition of Eventide on your list of books. Borders has had, for some time now, perfect first edition copies of the hardback. If you want one and can't find one in Oregon let me know and I will get one for you.

E.
BB,

I forgot, or was just in a hurry, and afraid that I might delete again. I gave Laurie my screen name and password so that she could look at LibraryThing.com. I believe she may already be on that other site. What is it, Goodreads?

She has done a new blog but it isn't up yet. I remember she said that one of the books is Aimee Bender"s new book.

We need to get Laurie involved in our conversations.

E.
BB,

I believe the cards need to be activated. While I still go to Barnes & Noble I don't buy much. Also, with Borders for every $150.00 you spend you get a coupon for $5.00. All of this for no membership fee. However, Borders is in "much worse shape" financially than is Barnes & Noble.

The thing that bothers me about losing my messages is that I am always finished, or nearly so. I believe I must be hitting the Alt key. Once you get off this "Leave a Comment" box you can never return with your message intact.

I thought I asked you once about Shteyngart? Do you like him?

I have your correct email address in my address book, so that miscue should not happen again.

Less than 60 pages to read in Kings of the Earth. It is reminiscent of Faulkner, Haruf and even, Amy Greene's book Bloodroot.

Still haven't got to the lawn. Maybe tomorrow.

E.
BB,

I had the incorrect email address. I have tried to forward it to you, but I'm not sure that it will work. However, if it does there were a couple of things in my original email, which I inadvertently deleted, that I forgot on the redraft. Do you have a Borders near you? I am buying most of my books from them these days because they send me coupons for every day of the week ranging in size from 30% to 50%. Even with my Barnes & Noble membership I cannot trump their prices. And I think that Borders takes better care in the handling of their books. The other thing was that if you decide to get both 9" and 10" Brodart jacket covers, I usually use twice as many 10"

Less than 100 pages to read on Kings of the Earth. I still like it very much.

E.
BB,

Responded on regular email.

E.
BB,

Laurie is now reading Kings of the Earth. I am pretty sure that she will like it. I don't think that I will ever be able to predict your tastes, so I will just report to you if I like the book. The Bruce Machart book really sounds interesting to me. That is one that I will buy on its publication date. Kent Haruf's book The Tie That Binds, is one of those few first edition titles that I want, but don't own. There is one at abebooks that I have been looking at for some time, but it is priced at $275.00.

Glad to hear that you placed an order with Bill. Wait till you see how he packs and wraps your book, you will think that irreplaceable jewerly is enclosed. He has such respect for books and their care. I couldn't find Bill's mail list this morning, but I have since and there are 178 first edition books, each for $25.00. But don't get your hopes up too high there isn't much of real interest, at least there wasn't for me.

The Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN is the big Fall book festival for me. It is three days in length, this year October 8-10. Last year was the second time I attended since I came home. But it was the first time I was able to spend the entire three days. Like you I am anxiously awaiting the author list.

E.
BB,

On page 140 of Kings of the Earth. It is holding true to form--excellent.

Bill Leone is a good friend of mine. He has probably taught me more about books and collecting than any person, website, or book. By all means use my name and request the list and he will send it to you.

Authors in this area are a rarity, particularly during the Summer when not many authors tour. I am anxiously awaiting the Butler Universtiy list of their 2010-2011 Visiting Writers Series.

As far as ARC's are concerned, the only time they will equal the true first edition published book is if it is a first book by the author, and either the author, or the book become very well known and honored. Very, very seldom will you see an ARC priced more than a true first.

E.
BB,

My planned afternoon of reading Kings of the Earth has been foiled. Denny, for once, is personally showing the house so I am at the library. I could have brought my book, but I am not a casual reader and need absolute quiet to properly read. I need to comprehend every word, and every intent of that word.

A second printng before publication, is just like a plain old second printing to me. Although I believe that the American edition of Mr. Peanut, is not the true first edition.

Books certainly are regional. Larry McMurty used to wear a t-shirt which read "Regional Author" and I suppose he truly was a regional writer until the success of The Last Picture Show. I have now checked all the Barnes & Noble stores in Central Indiana and while all but one had remaindered copies of Books by Larry McMurtry the only first editions I saw were the two I purchased at the local Noblesville store. Every other copy has been a second or third printing.

One of the reasons I asked about your possible "want list" is that I got in the mail yesterday, a list of nearly 100 signed, first edition books for sale, for $25.00 each, from my bookdealer friend Bill Leone. The list may be on his website as well, I haven't checked.

Will see Laurie, tomorrow. I have already emailed her that she needs to blog Kings of the Earth. If this book, for some reason, does a 180 on me I am going to be quite embarrassed.

E.

BB,

The morning is my favorite time to read. I make a pot of coffee and normally read until I finish the entire pot and then I shower and start my day. This morning I was on my last cup of coffee, having watched the news and read a bit of Egan's book. Jon Clinch's Kings of the Earth was still downstairs from where I had wrapped it yesterday in a Brodart jacket wrap. I read the first page last evening and was immediately reminded of William Faulkner. So much so that I didn't really understand what was going on. I have read most all of Faulkner's work and also remember what he said when someone mentioned they found his work hard to understand, he responded, "so, read it again." I did and the book is brilliant. Jennifer Egan's book was immediately set aside and I read the first 50 pages. I don't know if it will become a best seller, but it will certainly be highly praised by anyone who appreciates literary fiction. This is a very important book, and I am basing that on only 50 pages. The voices are authentic, yet somehow unique.

I've been meaning to ask you if there any books you don't own but are always looking for? For me there are only about 10-15 that I would like to possess which I don't and they are all beyond my means economically, at least until I hit the lottery.

I've got some things to take care of today and then it is back to Kings of the Earth.

E.
BB,

Got it and have responded.

E.
Hi Ellison,

Yes, it was a big shock to find out the P&P was looking for a new buyers. It's been such a local jewel for so long. I do hope they find someone who will take good care of it. Unless it's the right kind of person, it won't be able to compete with the big stores, the Internet, and e-books. What a challenge!

I started reading "The Passage," which I like, but which I feel is going to take over my reading life. It's so big that I can't cart it around with me like I like to do with my books. Consequently, I'm only 100 pages into it. He is a good writer, so it's easy enough to get into when I am able to pick it up.

I'm also reading an old Lionel Shriver one called "A Perfectly Good Family," which is not as engrossing as others of hers I've read. Am also still on "The Glass House," and the few others I pick up here and there.

I'm looking forward to being able to go on vacation--probably not until late August--and just have some straight reading time. I'm saving the last Dragon Tattoo book for that as well as some others.

Take care.

Millie
BB,

I did buy the Clinch book today even though it is strict on sale. I hope that Barnes & Noble-Carmel doesn't get in trouble. I also saw Laurie today, she said to tell you that she would have a new video blog up this week

I finally got my lawn mowed after considerable consternation.

I looked seriously at the Orringer book today and have it under consideration. What are you reading? I didn't read at all yesterday, which is a real rarity for me. But I read some of the Egan book this morning, and I am still enjoying it.

I don't care one bit about parades or fireworks, so I'm not much of a Fourth of July guy. Same here, with fireworks until after midnight.

Why did Monica move to Sweden?

E.
BB,

It's impossible to get a mower fixed over a holiday weekend. Various neighbors have offered to lend me their mowers, but there is nothing I detest more than borrowing. However, it looks like I will have no other options. My next door neighbor has one of those sleek, fancy Dixie Choppers. I may have a go at that one.

I forgot to tell you than I love Julia Glass. I saw her last year at Indiana University and she was hilarious. She drew drawings in my books with lovely inscriptions. I just heard that Pat Conroy has a nonfiction book coming out in the Fall called My Reading Life.

Glad to hear that you like Jim Harrison. I really expect him to win some big prize before he dies--perhaps even a Nobel Prize. He is widely read in Europe. Unfortunately, The English Major was a disappointment for me. His best books are Dalva and the sequel Road Home, but every one of this books are pretty darn good.

I hope you and your friend have a good weekend. I know that it will be tough for you both.

E.

BB,

I read the first two chapters of Jennifer Egan's new book A Visit from the Goon Squad. I like it. I knew she was an accomplished writer, but the subject matter wasn't very appealing to me.

I'll be busy trying to get at least one of my mowers operational. So if I don't write again, good luck in the race and let me know how you did.

E.
BB,

My lawn mower broke down after only five minutes of mowing. I have two other mowers, but neither one of them will start. I just hate things mechanical.

Sorry, Poachers true first edition is a hardback. I order all my jacket covers through ShopBrodart.com, they are so much cheaper than purchasing them at a bookstore. But I wrap all of my books.

Unfortunately, I have my name in two of my Larry McMurtry books--Cadillac Jack and Somebody's Darling, so you know how that must pain me. When I lived in Memphis, before I got into serious collecting, I threw away hundreds of dust jackets. The only book jacket of real value was End Zone by Don DeLillo. I ended up giving the book to my dealer friend Bill Leone. I was in Memphis, actually Germantown, when I began purchasing a lot of books. I had always read 10-15 books a year since I got out of college, but I was in Memphis when John Grisham hit it really big. He only lived an hour away in Oxford,MS and I got caught up in his celebrity. I actually had a left over aspect of book buying from my college days of always looking for the latest edition of the textbook. So I did the same thing with my novels. I would buy a second printing over a first. Fortunately, this naive thinking didn't last very long.

I don't know what I am going to read next. I may stay with the short stories until Jon Clinch's book comes out on Tuesday. I haven't read Vendela Vida. I did read Julie Orringer's book How to Breathe Underwater, but don't remember anything about it. Vida and Orringer like the name Book?

Have a safe Holiday.

E.
BB,

I finally finished Mrs. Somebody Somebody this morning. I toyed with it, like a cat playing with a mouse, the entire week because there is nothing that I am anxious to read at the moment. You were spot on, the first and last stories are the best. The last story, while it could stand on its own, had much more meaning with the context of the entire collection behind it. What a way for Stella to depart.

The grass calls again today.

E.
BB,

I have written this three times and keep deleting it on the last sentence. I don't know what I'm striking inadvertently. I didn't think that Laurie could be reached at BN.com. I will see her tomorrow on my way to get my hair cut.

I, too, was hoping that the copy you ordered would be another first edition. Oh, well. What's the saying, possession is 9/10 of the law. I will find one someplace. You were correct, the first story is the best. I kind of got used to the story collections which progress novelistically (Olive Kitteridge and Mary and O'Neil). Mrs. Somebody Somebody is more in the traditional vain of interconnected stories. Still, I believe that Ms. Winn could one day be important. That is if novel writing continues to exist, which Philip Roth doubts that it will. I noticed today in the Wall Street Journal that Barnes & Noble is struggling and placing all their "marbles" on the electronic reader.

You didn't notice Ann Patchett in the PW Fall Preview?

Have you ever read Jim Harrison? I just watched a new video interview with him, he is one of my all time favorite writers.

Are you tapering for the race this weekend? Do you have a running partner?

I still need to tell you about Archer City, but I'm a bit frustrated by my continuous deletion problem. So I will hold that story until tomorrow.

Let me know what you thought about the Justin Cronin signing/reading.

E.
BB,

Finally I have found something that I can read. It was the title story in Tracy Winnn's collection. I was very impressed. Now I will, for sure, have to find a "First". I loved how she captured the feeling of the times. And she did it without being overly descriptive. It was very vivid as to place, character and time. Everything had a distinct feeling of 1947 to it.

I remember reading The Horned Man by James Lansdun. Now that is a weird book, but I also remember that I enjoyed it. Can't say the same thing about Mary Karr. I know I read The Liars' Club and didn't care for it at all.

Glad that the Mr. Book Bully moniker is catching on. Laurie laughs whenever I say Book Bully, and she almost fell on the floor when I referenced Mr. Book Bully.

In case I forget it later in the week--Good Luck in the race!!

E.
BB,

I didn't desert you. I was viewing a British edition of The Master, from a British dealer and was violently virally attacked. To the point that I had to get a new computer. My old Gateway laptop was ancient and I had already been thinking about purchasing a Mac laptop. Ultimately, I couldn't really justify the cost. Come to find out computers these days don't come fully loaded, so by the time my new Sony VAIO was fully outfitted I wasn't that far away from the cost of a Mac. I've been fooling around with it all morning and I'm still not very comfortable. I shopped for computers all day Saturday and bought this one yesterday. I had Best Buys load everything for me so I am just now getting back to normal.

I am having a terrible time with my novels. I ending up quitting on Ilustrado. It wasn't that interesting and way too much trouble with all of the various forms of narration.

I do occasionally buy paperback orginals. Not many but I do have several copies of Interpreter of Maladies and several other well known books. I have three copies of Lydian Peelle's marvelous short story collection. What I use for protection is the clear plastic that the Barnes & Noble Music Department uses. It seems to work well. I wrap all my hardcover books in Brodart Archival Jacket Covers, but I have never seen anything in their catalog for paperback book protection.

I will buy the Mrs. Somebody Somebody from you if you don't want it. I kept the other copy and the jacket is perfect. Are the defects in the book or the jacket?

Got to run, but I will check in later today.

E.

BB,

The library, as I suspected, didn't have a copy of The Master. However, I did find a stash of books which had nearly slipped my mind. They included The Missing (Gautreaux), Apologize, Apololgize (Kelly), Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (Simonson), Sunnyside (Gold), Cutting for Stone (Verghese), The Piano Teacher (Lee), The Widow Clicquot (Mazzeo), Lark & Termite (Phillips), along with two Richard Powers novels. But, the winner is. . .(Drum roll please) Ilustrado by Miquel Syjuco. It seems at first glance, I'm only 45 pages into it, to be a bit gaudily overwritten, but it also appears to be a book I can finish.

William Gay is, without question, the premier Southern writer working today. He has had a novel titled The Lost Country tied up at MacAdam/Cage for nearly four years. I have watched the jacket art change six times. MacAdam/Cage is apparently in financial trouble and there is no email address and the phones no longer work. The last report I saw was that it would be published this Fall, but I wouldn't bet the ranch on it. Probably his best book is his first, The Long Home, although I think that they are all wonderful. A bit violent, but also real and gritty.

Today is mowing the lawn day, as soon as the dew dries. It is pretty much an all day affair so there will be no further reading until this evening.

Archer City is wonderful and I want to go back. I will give your further details later.

E.
BB,
Not one book that I have in the house looks appealing, although there must be 100 that I haven't read. I just printed out a long excerpt from Jonathan Franzen's new book Freedom and will read that while I am deciding. I may take a trip to the library. Have you read The Master by Colm Toibin? I think that is the book for now, but if I remember correctly the local library doesn't have it.

Found another first edition of McMurtry's Books today.

Have you heard of a book dealer by the name of Kriptyc Rare Books? They are located in McMinnville, OR. and seem to come up quite often when I am searching on Abebooks. Bill Leone, in Southern California is my friend and my favorite book dealer. If you ever need to order a book check out Bill Leone Books. The quality of his stock is unequaled in my experience and the prices are fair.

E.
BB,

Larry McMurtry's new book is called Hollywood and will be published on August 10. I have met him twice. Once at a signing/reading at Vroman's and the other time at Booked Up in Archer City, Texas. Larry is known, somewhat famously, for being quite grumpy, but we had a very pleasant little conversation that I will tell you about one day.

I am having a terrible time finding something that I want to read. I've completely re-read Books. I read the first chapter of The November Criminals and already decided that it contains too much teenage angst for me. Now I am looking at either A Thread of Sky or older novels I haven't got around to reading, like Stong Motion by Jonathan Franzen or The Lecturer's Tale by James Hynes. I hate it when I get in this situation of not being able to find the right book. It normally happens after I have read a really good book. And come to think of it, I did really like Mary and O'Neil. I thought it was beautifully done, but incorrectly titled. It should have been Kay, Mary and O'Neil. Or, just plain O'Neil.

Wasn't the language in Bloodroot spectacular? Amy Greene already had her second book completed by the time Bloodroot was published. I think it is critical for her to write a novel which is 180 degrees from Bloodroot. If she writes the same type of book I believe it will damage her long term career as a novelist.

I am a huge fan of Tom Franklin and aware of his upcoming book Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. I saw him when he was touring with Hell at the Breech. He is a great guy, completely down to earth. I suppose Tom is known as a Southern writer. Other Southern writers that I read and admire are William Gay, Michael Knight and the late Larry Brown.

If you are not aware Tom Grimes' memoir is about Frank Conroy (who I admire as a writer and loved in Stone Reader) and the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. That is precisely what I want to read about right now-a novel about a writer, a university professor or the world of books and literature. Any suggestions on what I could read?

E.
BB,

I just got home. I have been book scouting all-the-live-long day. I quit on The Madonnas of Echo Park after 65 pages. I just didn't like the voices, the story, or the writing style. I have 92 books either by, or about, Larry McMurtry. His book entitled Books has just been remaindered and are available at the Barnes & Noble stores. At my local Noblesville store 2 out of the six were first editions and one was bumped pretty badly so I went on a search for additonal copies today. I went to four other B&N's and found no first editions. Two of the stores didn't have them out yet and the other two just had third printings. Since I was out I also went to three Half-Price Books, where I found nothing. My heart did flutter momentarily when I spotted a hardcover Olive Kitteridge, but it was a second printing. I got re-reading parts of Books last night and this morning, so I was in the mood. Also, I read two of the stories from The Name of the Nearest River and was a little bit disappointed. So I went back to Books.

I'm with Mr. Book Bully. No cell phone for me. My current mantra when I walk into a Barnes & Noble, they now have special counters set up at the entrance to sell Nooks, is "whenever someone buys an electronic reading device, the terrorists win." I also should say that to anyone who buys the Glenn Beck book. Although, I do have a signed copy of The Christmas Sweater, but that's another long story.

I am as liberal as they come, but I did enjoy the elegance of the "Old South" when I lived in Memphis. I liked the aspect that people put time, effort and money into their homes and that was the place they preferred to entertain. In the South when you are invited to dinner it is in a home, not a restaurant. Everything is just more formal, and I like that.

I have been researching Mrs. Somebody Somebody. Have contacted several dealers and can't find one first edition. Tracy Winn is a member of Librarything.com, so I have sent a note to her asking for assistance. I noticed that Powells has six copies listed in their warehouse, but who knows what edition they may be. For the moment I will hold on to my second printing copy, because the jacket is really good.

You mentioned a hesitancy to lend your books. My philosophy is that I don't lend to anyone. Well, that is not true, I will lend to Laurie but she is so afraid that she (or her dog Delaney) might damage the book it is very rare that she will accept my offer. So you can imagine my dismay when I came home one evening and noticed that a book had been taken from my home without my knowledge or approval. I am in the process of selling my house. It is actually part of my Mother's estate and I don't have any need for a large five bedroom house. My "best" friend is a realtor and he is selling the house. He had an open house two weekends ago, so I left for the three hours and returned home around 6:00 PM. I ate a bite of dinner and then went downstairs in the den to watch the NBA playoffs. As soon as I turned on the light I noticed that a book was missing from the shelves that border the fireplace. I was livid that someone would take a book, especially him who has no regard for books , without my approval. I immediately called his cell phone as I didn't want to get his wife on the phone as she is one of my favorite people of all time, and probably the most beautiful woman in the state of Indiana. No answer, so I left a message-"Denny, this is Ed. I am missing a book, if you know anything about it give me a call. If not, ignore this call." I didn't hear from him that evening. The next morning he called around 8:00 AM and said, "I got bored and borrowed a book I hope you don't mind." I assumed he had taken it, and I was still mad that he didn't even leave a note, so I just told him, "I don't lend my books." He apologized and said he would bring it right over. He knew I was angry, and I was, but I tried to calmly explain that I had never once lent a book that came back it the same condition it was in when I lent it. And I told him that I've spent too much time, effort and money into my collection to allow them to be unnecessarily damaged. I haven't spoken to him since, and I'm still angry over the whole situation.

Let me know about The Passage. On your next visit to Powells see if they are able to give you any insight into the editions of Mrs. Somebody Somebody in their warehouse. Thanks.

E.
Hi Ellison,

I hope you had a nice trip and were able to get some reading done on your flights.

We're off to Chicago for a long weekend tomorrow (Larry's high school reunion, as well as some other family and old friend get togethers. I'm currently reading "The Long Song," by Andrea Levy, which I don't care for as much as "Small Island." It's a good story, but her perspective is sometimes hard to get used to. Her narrator can sound flippant about some really horrible stuff--it's about the 1835 slave rebellion in Jamaica. I seem to be drawn to this third world stuff, but I am fascinated by how people (mostly the British in what I've read)can come into a country and treat their people so horridly--as if they were subhumans. I guess in the case of Jamaica, the slaves were imported. Valerie Martin told a great story in "Property," which took place in Louisiana. I also loved Edward P. Jones', "The Known World," which took place somewhere around this neck of the woods.

I've still got "Passage," on my bedside table, unopened. I just might have to break down and buy it in hardback.

How's "Bloodroot"? It's on my list.

Millie
BB,

My family used to travel quite often to Virginia in the summertime when I was a youth. I always thought the area around Lexington, just off the interstate, was so beautiful. However, I was extremely disappointed in the area when I recently went down to see Amy Greene at Joseph-Beth. It was rather depressing. However, Im sure there are nice areas.

I believe that Bloodroot is about to become less predictable. I know I never fathomed the ending. But, I've long ago recognized that you (as is Laurie)are much smarter than me, not to mention a much faster reader.

Just started this morning The Madonnas of Echo Park. In 24 pages the protagonist Hector, an illegal, has lost his job as a busboy (which he had for 17 years), lost his wife because of an affair, became estranged from his daughter because he slapped her, become a day laborer where he witnessed the murder of a friend, and been arrested and sent back to Mexico where he hasn't been since he was a baby.

I still think that something is wrong with Mrs. Somebody Somebody. None of the libraries close, have a copy. The Indianapolis Public Library has one and I may be forced to see if their copy has a "1" in the number line on the copyright page. I have three different guides for various Publishers "first edition" tendencies, but SMU Press is not listed on any of the three. Occasionally an error does occur as in Joe Coomer's book Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God. The true first edition for this book starts with a "2" with First Edition stated. All other Graywolf Press first editions start a a "1" and state First Edition. This error was confirmed to me in writing by the Publisher at my request. I see the one you mentioned on Amazon. I think I will contact them and have them confirm that it is a first edition.

Have a safe trip home and I will talk to you tomorrow.

E.
BB,

You were correct about Mrs. Somebody Somebody, it has reprinted and the copy I received today was a second printing. I picked it up this morning at the local Barnes & Noble. It was shrinkwrapped and I was excited, because it looked perfect. Then I opened it up and saw it was a second printing. Which was a little surprising because I had the bookseller check the warehouse and there wern't that many copies on hand, so I figured the chances were good that they were all first editions. I play the "first edition game" to the hilt and will in all likelihood return it. There is only one (1) copy listed at abebooks.com. Where, do you suppose are all the first edition copies? Perhaps I should investigate this a bit further. This still may be the true first. Now I am the one who is rambling.

I'm on the last story of Mary and O'Neil. It contains the same structure that Elizabeth Strout incorporated in Olive Kitteridge. I had never seen such structure before Olive, but it is must be somewhat common.

Still undecided what I will read next.

E.
BB,

I was teasing about Pocketful of Names. My interest in Lexington is largely "horse related." I don't think there is anything quite as beautiful. Laurie, who is on vacation with her family in Sanibel Island, will not read a book if horses have any part in the story, or, heaven forbid, have a picture of one on the jacket. Laurie is also a runner who usually runs the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon, which is the largest half marathon in the country. Your marathon resume is quite impressive. I had resumed racing, after a layoff of several years, shortly before I got injured. While my times were dramatically slower than I was used to, I found myself to be much more competitive in my age group. A matter of sheer age attrition I suppose.

I'm glad that you got a first edition of Bloodroot. I know that it has reprinted at least three times. There are a "tons" of signed copies of The Passage over at Laurie's store. I would be happy to get you one, if you so desire. Let me know.

I don't get PW. I used to buy the biannual issues where the forthcoming titles were listed. For some reason, I guess they didn't sell, the book stores and even the local library doesn't carry PW any longer.

I can't remember "the last time I saw Paris." Kentucky, that is.

E.
BB,

I still can't get over the fact that you didn't like Pocketful of Names. So I went to the Librarything.com readers. Pocketful of Names and The Help have an average, between the two, rating of 4.37. Your two favorites, Cold Mountain and The Story of Edgar Sawtells have a combined rating average of 3.82. I rest my case, for the moment, the masses rule.

E.
BB,
I am heartbroken. You are the first person that hasn't loved Pocketful of Names. Also, I think the first person who didn't like The Help. Well, some books just don't resonate with some people.

I was a runner until the last couple of years. I have a Morton's Neuroma (a tumor pressing on a nerve in my foot)which needs to be operated on before I can resume my running. However, 25-30 pounds have accumulated and I am amazed that after the first year I don't miss it that much. I ran only two marathons, but hundreds of other distant races.

It sounds like your Mother's family once owned the town of Carlisle, Kentucky. I've thought about moving to Lexington.

I am still reading Mary and O'Neil. This definitely is "the" Cronin book. It is far superior to any of his other books. Not sure what will be next. For sure it will be a novel. I am looking forward to Jon Clinch's new novel and also The Memoir by Tom Grimes, which is due in August.

Don't hold airport readers too responsible for what they are reading. Have you ever looked at what is available for purchase at airports? Of course they could have brought a book with them.

Enjoy your visit with your family and have a safe trip home.

E.
BB,

I forgot to tell you Laurie has Justin Cronin on her video blog this week.

E.
BB,

Don't know if you are incommunicado for a few days, but I will respond anyway. My entire business career was in printing. I began right out of college in book manufacturing. The situation with The Passage is an odd one. The book was not published with an error and then corrected in a later printing. Thus, the correct copy will be the one of value. I'm not sure if the first edition was printed at multiple printing plants or whether it is a computer generated plating problem. Nonetheless, the defective copy should not be of any additional value and probably less.

My Stockett story is kind of funny. As you know I have three first edition copies. When I have three copies it is of book that is the first book by an author that I think will one day be important and an author I will have access to in order to have the books signed. The first copy will be inscribed to me, the second copy will be signed and dated, the third copy will be just signed. I asked Ms. Stockett if she would mind inscribing the book to me with a line from the last page of The Help. The line I wanted was "cause just last night I thought I was finished with everything new." She looked at the line behind me and there were about 10-15 people. She declined saying she better not take the extra time, as I was going to have to show her the specific line I wanted. She said,"Is that alright, Ed," in a "Southern Twang" that was like fingernails on a blackboard to me. Now, there is nothing I like better that a subtle Southern accent on a woman, but hers just grated on me, particularly after she declined to inscribe what I wanted. The funny part about this entire matter was that the children's author Kate DiCamillo was signing right next to Stockett. She had thousands in her line. Stockett finished her signing requirements in 10-15 minutes. Kate DiCamillo was signing hours after Stockett had left the area. I actually stood where she (Stockett) could see me after she finished with everyone in her line thinking that she might agree to sign what I initially requested. She never did. Perhaps she was just jealous of DiCamillo's popularity.

Jennifer Egan is a little "hit or miss." I liked Look at Me and The Invisible Circus, but didn't care that much for Emerald Ciy and The Keep.

I purchased The House on Salt Hay Road today, but I'm not really sure why. It does have a beautiful jacket.

Like you I go to bed early and get up early. I can read twice as much from 4:00 AM till 6:00 AM as I can from 7:00 PM till 9:00 PM. I suspected the Celtics didn't have a chance. The only real question was what sort of riots would occur in Los Angeles after the game. I went to bed after the Lakers 9-0 run in the second quarter.

Hope everything is good in Kentucky.

E.
BB,

Things I forgot to mention about Cronin. He was at the Iowa Writers Workshop when Ann Patchett, Elizabeth McCracken, and Chris Offutt were there. There is an error on some copies of The Passage. On page 268 the last line is incomplete and repeats on page 269. Not all copies are bad. The copy I read was fine, but my other copy was bad. I had not read Mary and O'Neil. I read the first 22 pages just before driving to the reading yesterday. I had every intention of stopping at that point and reading Jennifer Egan's new book. But after seeing Cronin have decided to finish Mary and O'Neil.

I was surprised that I liked The Help. I thought, there is no way that African American maids in the Deep South are going to tell a priviledged white girl anything, especially during the time the novel was set. But I thought she handled it well and made it believable. Although I did not like her personally I'm glad that I have 3 signed copies. I could probably buy myself a small car if I sold them. If I also sold my copy of Tinkers-a nicer car. Ha!

I cannot remember what was going on in Pocketful of Names at the point you are floundering. Don't give up. It gets better once Hannah,( it is Hannah, isn't it?) realizes that she is not quite the artist that she thinks she is.

Just purchased The November Criminals. I've got to stop buying and start reading. But I had a 40% coupon from Borders and I couldn't let it expire.

I will never own any electronic reading device. If they stop printing books during in my lifetime, I will just start re-reading. Something I need to do anyway.

I think our Celtics are in real trouble tonight.

E.

BB,
This may take a while, so bear with me. It was, quite possibly, one of the top five author events that I have ever attended. Justin Cronin was enthusiastic, eloquent and engagingly erudite. The Passage will be #3 on the NYT Best Seller List next week. He was thrilled to be a best selling author and was delighted that he had surpassed The Help. Although he did acknowledge that every person on the planet already has a copy. (I noticed you don't have The Help listed in your library. You have read it, haven't You?)

He is a slightly statured man. So when the handheld microphone's battery died during his reading, he bounded up on a bench. Looming out over the crowd he remarked that during his college years he had to read so much, he was an English Major, that he would read standing on a chair to prevent himself from falling asleep.

He doesn't believe that The Passage is that different from what he has written about in the past. They each deal with relationships, family, loyalty and honor. As an English/Creative Writing Professor he consciously paid tibute to many of his favorite books and writers. Other than the ones delineated in the book there is a lot of references to Shakespeare. Notably Twelfth Night, The Tempest and King Lear in the guise of Dr. Lear. Apparently Bram Stoker's Dracula contains a lot of epistolary entries, as does The Passage with the emails from Bolivia and Sara's journal.

J.C.'s 8-9 year old daughter told him that she was concerned that his books may be boring. "Why?" he asked. "Have you read them?" "No. But I can tell by the covers." So he asked her what he should be writing about to make them more interesting. That is when she said-a little girl who saves the world. "Not just Connecticut?" J.C. asked her. "No, the world," she replied. "Okay, but in that case you will have to help me." So they began this game, which went on for months. He would run and his daughter would ride her bike and they would talk about the story of a little girl saving the world. For J.C. this was just a bonding exercise with his daughter. He had no intention of ever writing the book. After many months he thought to himself, "this is really a pretty good idea." He wrote a 30 page outline on what they had discussed over the many months. He liked it, and proceeded to write the first chapter, which he claims, is pretty much exactly as it appears in the book.

He has a long interest, dating back to his early adolescence, in science fiction and vampires. And he stated that the "vampire" plot line has been around forever. Claiming that the Book of Genesis is essentially a vampire story, only Eve is the one doing the biting.

As to the aspect of fright-his intention with the virals moving through the trees, at night, was to convey, as with terrorism, what we can't seen coming is the most frightening. Because if you can't see it, you can't defend against it.

He gave this brief clue as to the sequel-If you didn't actually see them die in the text, "they" still may be alive.

I was next to last in line to meet him. I thanked him, as I am wont to do with all writers at readings, for coming to Indiana. We talked about the Iowa Writer's Workshop and Frank Conroy. He repelled when he saw my copy of A Short Histoy of the Long Ball, saying that he hadn't signed one in 20 years. I stated that they were almost all gone from the internet book dealers. He said, "I know where there are boxes of them, in my garage."

As I was leaving the store Laurie came up to me and said, "Did you get a signed copy for Book Bully?" I am embarrassed to say that that is the first time that it ever entered my mind. Sorry. Now I wish I had gone back and got you one.

Whew!!! I'm exhausted.

E.
BB,
I have ordered Mrs. Somebody Somebody and The Name of the Nearest River. I saw a video from the publisher of The Name of the Nearest River and couldn't resist. Another good collection in this vain is Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock. Today I purchased Jennifer Egan's new novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. By the way, good idea about trying to find a signed copy of Bloodroot at Joseph-Beth. I bet they have one. I've thought about The Passage overnight. I thought it was supposed to be frightening. Did you find it the least bit scary? I thought at one juncture Cronin was going to begin addressing some social issues. Like when he mentioned the oil saturated Gulf, but he didn't pursue it any further. The book would serve, it appears to me, as a wonderful platform to address social issues and concerns of present day from the perspective of the future. I will read Fools of Fortune, but remember I have already read Blue Horse Dreaming so you are only "catching up" with Pocketful of Names. Will let you know tomorrow about the reading. Have a good trip to Kentucky.

E.
Hi Ellison,

I did read "84 Charing Cross Road," and in fact once in London I actually went looking for the bookstore. It was no longer there, if it ever had been, but there were a lot of small bookstores on that street. Now all the big ones are there, too. I read another by Hanff about NYC, called "Apple of My Eye" that I liked a lot.

I'm not a huge short story fan, though there are some writers whose stories I'll always pick up: Jumpha Lahiri and Alice Monroe come immediately to mind. Good short story writers can put a whole world into a little gem of a story. I do like to be pulled into something bigger in general, though.

When it rains it pours! I got an email from my local library that 4 books I had on reserve were ready for me: The Passage, The Lonely Polygamist, The Good Son, and The Long Song. I want to read them all, but there's no way I can read them in 3 weeks! Specially after I saw the size of The Passage.I wish I had a vacation coming up. In my regular life, I don't have so much reading time. And often when I pick up a book and get ready for a good session of reading I fall asleep since I think I'm sleep deprived a lot of the time. If I'm on the train or a plane, forget it. My idea of a perfect vacation is some sightseeing and plenty of time to read, preferably in a pretty setting.

Take care.

Millie
P.S.
I must start proofreading my notes more closely. A few days ago I noticed, after the fact, that I misspelled the word acquaintance. And now, I apparently don't know the difference between "there" and "their." Do you suppose it is old age?

E.
BB,
I'm finished. Well. . .it was okay, I guess. Are we going to have to go through the same thing with 11 more virals? I promised myself that if I were to read this book their would, by necessity, have to be a suspension of reallity in my thinking. At times I had to remind myself of that promise. I'm just wondering how this book might resonate with me differently if I just read books occasionally, or read only the mystery saturated New York Times Bestseller List. I'm sure it will be a big success. Still looking forward to the reading tomorrow evening and will probably read the next installment. I only hope it will be a while.Fools of Fortune it is. Mona Simpson is the actual female real life character in Allan Gurganus' book Plays Well with Others. The only book of hers I remember is Off Keck Road, which I liked. She was at Butler University this Spring, but I didn't go see her because the books of hers that I own are in storage in Californis. Let me know what you thought of The Passage. What should we rate it? I'm thinking 3-3 1/2.

E.
BB,
I would suggest taking Pocketful of Names, or any book by Joe Coomer to Kentucky. Joe Coomer was born in Texas, but spent his formative years in Kentucky. His first two novels, Decatur Road and Kentucky Love, were set in, you guessed it, Kentucky. Why Joe Coomer is not a literary superstar, continues to perplex me. Another good one, since you will be in the vicinity, is Bloodroot by Amy Greene. Yet I have told you all this before. I guess, you need to take books that you have on hand and haven't read. The Sam Munsoon book is being compared to Beautiful Children, which I kind of liked but it was certainly over-hyped. I'm on the fence on that one. I will try a William Trevor; what would you suggest?

E.
BB,
Jenny Jean Downing was/is her maiden name. Can't remember the year she graduated, but it had to be close to 1979. What is it about Wake Forest and you Kentucky Kids? Back on track. I am now on page 615. To be honest I've almost had enough and ready for it to be over. Haven't read Sherrill or Epstein and Stegner only sparingly.Like you I have thought about how different The Passage is from his other books. After all he is a graduate of The Iowa Writers Workshop, of which I have high regard. (John McNally has a very funny new book out called After the Workshop.) Length is one obvious difference. Does that mean he has more to say or just wants to take a longer time to say it? Do you suppose he read science fiction or mysteries before starting to write this book? Is this, in fact, formulaic? The Celtics had me worried near the end last night.

E.
BB,
As expected I've fallen off my schedule for The Passage. On page 460 and probably won't get much farther today. But I will still get it read by 7:00 PM Wednesday, Now this will be a tremendous improbability if you know her, but I have an aquaintance who lives in Glasgow, KY., who is about your age and it just so happens that she attended Wake Forest.Does the name Jenny Jean Downing ring any bell? Took a look at Mrs. Somebody Somebody it seems intriguing. And is still readily available through the chain store warehouses. Would that be a bad sign? I don't suppose it would have reprinted, do you? I don't recall ever seeing it in the stores. I can't even remember the last British author that I read. It might have been Charles Dickens. I did try to read Ian McEwan's book Atonement as everyone was telling me what a great book it was. I tried two separate times and just couln't get into it. So there is a little more to my reluctance than the first edition aspect. I just don't seem to like the Brits much.Did you read Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers? It is very good.

E.
BB,
Still on schedule. Just passed 400 pages this morning. As for the playoffs I'm always for anyone playing against the Lakers. I was raised in Indiana and we watch basketball regardless of who is playing.We don't have to have a rooting interest.I've read all of Tim Gautreaux's books with the exception of his most recent. I own it, but haven't read it. You probably wouldn't care for The Stones of Summer. It is basically three novels. The book is in three parts, but there is a period of years between them. The first two parts you might enjoy. But in part three he is going insane and it is troubling, to say the least. It is a very difficult novel, but the language at timess is spectacular. And at times it is very funny. There is the aspect of the morality of the Viet Nam war, which is why I felt it was more my generation. I'm 61 (I took you to be in your early thirties.) In the first part he is an eight year old boy going to visit his grandfather who raises greyhounds. The second part is about him and his buddies during high school. Part two is very funny. Part three is when it gets strange. It is a good book, but not the great piece of literature as it is sometimes conveyed in the film. It is very autobiographical-- basically Dow Mossman's life. I'm not much for British writers. It all has to do with getting the true first editions. I prefer not to deal with that hassle. Laurie is always telling me how much I'm missing, but I'm not too bothered by it. E.
BB,
Sorry to hear that you are under the weather. I'm in the second week of my summer cold. You aren't too far from the point where the story takes a leap of 90 years. I was a bit upset at first, but he quite adroitly pulls you into the new characters rather quickly. I'm like a major league pitcher on a "pitch count." I must read a minimum 100 pages per day to finish the book before Cronin arrives. And this weekend is jammed with social obligations. And the NBA Finals aren't helping either. No other writers that I know are scheduled for this area. Summer is not a big touring season for authors. I was wondering why The Stone Reader's ending broke your heart? Dow Mossman got his book back in print and the entire film was a celebration of reading and readers. Did you read his book The Stones of Summer? Apparently he is writing again. Another recent great book that I have failed to mention to you is Next by James Hynes. It is excellent!!! Just noticed above this space that you rated The New Vally 4 1/2 stars. I am very pleased to see that.

E.
P.S. I'm in the Baby Boomer "early years." I think Mossman is one or two years older than me.

Hi Ellison,

I'm just finishing up "Day at the Beach," which I think would have worked better as a long short story. If I remember, it was one of the first serious post-9/11 novels, but that seems so long ago now. I feel like we as Americans lost our innocence (or our sense of invulnerability) that day and became more aware of the rest of the world. So much has happened since that it's hard to remember how it was before 9/11.

I saw that you added Justin Cronin's "The Passage" to your list. I'm not a sci-fi fan, but I definitely am a Justin Cronin fan. I loved "The Summer Guest" and "Mary and O'Neill." And I saw that Dan Chaon wrote the first review on the Amazon site. He's another favorite of mine. So I'll for sure pick that one up eventually. Let me know what you think.

I'm in the mood for a book I can't put down. The last ones I read like that were incredibly disturbing, though.

Millie
BB,
Yes, I have read C.E. Morgan's book. She is receiving a lot of accolades for All the Living, which I felt was "uninspiring." Never have been to Carmichaels. Do they have author signings? Very rarely does a writer come to any of the Indianapolis area chain book stores. Butler University does have a visiting writers program which usually has at least one writer that I am interested in. However, I watch the websites of Joseph-Beth and Books and Company in Dayton, OH and if someone I like is signing I might make the trip. Oh, how I miss the convenience of Vromans. Since you appear to have some South Carolina roots, did you ever hear of, or meet a writer by the name of Brenda (Dale) McClain? She used to live in South Carolina and has moved to Nashville, TN. I met her at last Fall's Southern Festival of Books. She and I sat together during the presentaions of Robert Olen Butler, a friend of hers, and Josh Weil.She got a lot of notice,several years ago, for a novel in progress but it apparently hasn't yet been published.

E.

BB,
Over 200 pages into The Passage and I am somewhat embarrassed that I like it so much. However, the story has been pretty "traditional" until the last few pages at the end of part one. Illustrado, from what I've seen, has been pretty well "ripped" by the critics. I liked Bloodroot so much that I bought three copies as I tend to do on first books that I really admire. By the time Amy Greene's first book was published she had already completed her second novel. I believe her key to successe is not to perpetuate the type of "backwoods mountain people" she wrote about in Bloodroot. Although her language, and really the novel itself, is quite remarkable. Have you ever seen the movie The Stone Reader? It is about the search for a writer who wrote one book which got great reviews in the New York Times and then was never heard from again. You can google "Official Stonereader Movie Trailer" to get a sample. Admittingly, it is more my generation than yours but I bet you would like it. I watch parts of it every week (I own the deluxe edition with 3 DVDs.) It is available in most public libraries.

E.
BB,
I've been meaning to ask you about Tinkers. I have a first edition paperback, but I know that Powell's issued a special hardback edition. It currently is going for $2,200.00 on ABEBOOKS. I thought at one time about subscribing to that special edition program they have, but decided against it. Oh, I didn't care for Tinkers either, yet I'm glad I have it as I'm trying to get as many Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners as I reasonably can in the condition that I want. I remember when I met Pat Conroy he misunderstood, and initially thought I was a teacher--which he called "doing the Lord's work." Have you read Amy Greene's book Bloodroot? I think you would like it. Also, you can see me at one of her signings. Go to her website, then to Archives for February 6, 2010(Joseph-Beth, Lexington, KY.)At the time marker 1:29 you can hear the last of my question about the genesis of the ring, an integral part of the story. Standing in line at marker 2:05 I'm at the right with a dark jacket, dark hair and have my left hand in my pocket. Now there is no more mystery. The Passage is still excellent.

E.
BB,
Delighted to hear that you appreciate the talent of Josh Weil. The Passage is obviously a large book, so I hope that your copy ships well. I am 100 pages into it and somewhat surprised that I like it very much. What a great response by Frazier. I went to see Jonathan Franzen at Dutton's Bookstore (also now closed) in Westwood, CA. The reading was outside and Franzen was in the middle of his Oprah controversy. I'm not sure if he didn't like reading outside, he did have a bit of trouble seeing the page in the dark. And after he was interupted by the second siren he abruptly stopped the reading, and said that he would now sign books. Looking ahead in the line I noticed that he wasn't very conversational and wasn't smiling at any of the readers. I normally thank the writer for coming to the area, but I didn't believe this would work with Franzen. So I mentioned the fact that I had seen Mary Tyler Moore on the Today Show that morning mention that she had read and like The Corrections. His whole attitude changed. "Really?" "I love Mary Tyler Moore," he said smiling. And then proceeded to graciously inscribe my books.

E.
Hi Ellison,

Thanks for your suggestions. I ordered 4 of the books you mentioned used from Amazon so that Larry can read them and leave them behind if he needs to. We'll learn more tomorrow as to how long he'll be in total or partial isolation.

I just finished reading "The Idea of Perfection," by Kate Grenville. I loved her book, "The Secret River," about the relationship of a group of Australian settlers and aborigines. This one was quite a bit slower, but rewarding in the long run. I'm now reading "A Day at the Beach" by Helen Schulman, which I'm enjoying so far, as well as the others that are still by my bedside. I also just got "The Imperfectionists" from the library and will start that soon. I'll be reading "The Glass Room" for my book group. Any new recommendations?
Millie
BB,
It very well could be W.P. Kinsella. I did think about him, but I know that he is Candaian. He is the author of Shoeless Joe, from which the movie Field of Dreams was derived. So it does make sense. Thanks. I am liking The King's English very much. I could do without all of her "asides," but I am enjoying it nonetheless. I did read Finn and liked it very much. As far as disappointments in writers there have been few for me. Maybe Lee Smith and Kathryn Stockett weren't quite what I expected, but that is about it. Aside from the fact that most authors are truly brilliant, I believe most also have unbelievable social grace. I'm not so sure I could do that over a long book tour. My favorites that I have met are, Ann Patchett (no surprise there), Cathie Pelletier, Junot Diaz, T.C. Boyle, Pat Conroy, Josh Weil,Michael Knight, Stewart O'Nan and Tom Franklin. The best reader I ever saw/heard was Ruth Ozeki. Now,I'm off to find a good copy of The Passage.

E.
BB,
I am definitely "smitten" with Ann Patchett. I failed to mention that she is very intelligent and very funny, aside from being magically charming. Josh Weil is certainly a writer to watch. I saw him at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN last year. I was very impressed. He wrote in my book that I should return to Virginia, the place of my birth. It is something I just might do. I finished The Line and find myself a bit conflicted. The writing was, at times, exquisite, while at other times somnolent. I've had a bit of a cold and I have been taking cold medication, so this too is adding to my dilemma with the book. Did I just read it poorly? I bought The Madonnas of Echo Park earlier today. And yes, I will try to read The Passage before June 16. That is, if I like it. In the meantime I'm reading The King's English. I am currently wondering who is the successful Midwestern writer she didn't like, who writes about small towns and small town ball leagues?

E.
BB,
I have probably picked up The Madonnas of Echo Park ten times in the past week. I guess I will buy it now. Ann Patchett is my all time favorite literary personality. She is so kind, lovely, and gracious. She just beamed every time I saw her. She was one of the early authors I saw at Vroman's. I reviewed her books for the Vroman's newsletter, even though I wasn't an employee. I haven't seen her since she toured with Bel Canto, because I had to come home due to family illnesses. Now, I search the internet daily to see if she is appearing anywhere close. Apparently, she has a new book written, but I don't know when it will be published. My Ann Patchett books, all 24 of them (I just looked), are some of my most treasured books. Her inscriptions in them are so lovely I look at them several times a year. I even have a copy of the Paris Revue which published her first story, All Little Colored Children Should Learn to Play the Harmonica. Her homage to her mentor, Allan Gurganus, in the book Why I Write is simply heartbreakingly beautiful.
E.
BB,

If The Passage "takes off" like everyone expects the purchase of A Short History of the Long Ball, may prove to be a wise investiment. I don't remember Puchner's short story collection that well, but it did impact me sufficiently to buy his novel as soon as it went on sale. I would suggest reading Model Home. I drove 8 hours and 450 miles to see Puchner, but unbeknownst be me he cancelled while I was in route. I see what you mean, in reference to The King's English. But doesn't it have a beautiful dust jacket? What I liked about Winthrop's book December is the choices she made. Responses, reactions, results were completely unpredictable and out of the norm. Yet they proved logical. And I cannot imagine any subject that I would rather not read about, than a teenage girl who refuses to speak. Yet I admire the novel tremendously. E.
I had never been to the Bookweb.org site until today. This correspondence is proving to be quite beneficial. I was also a little disappointed in th "20 under 40." It was the usual characters which the New York literati like to trumpet. Where is Josh Weil, Lydia Peelle, Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop and Eric Puchner? I supposed you were thrilled that Philipp Meyer made the list.I have never read a book by William Trevor. Perhaps I should. My copy of The King's English arrived today. I was a bit concerned for it was the last copy in the Barnes & Noble warehouse. But I was thrilled. The copy was flawless. I am a real stickler for condition and my books must be true first editions. Vroman's was nice to have in my backyard in CA., because the biggest writers in the world came through there virtually every evening. But in IN. I have 4 Borders and 3 Barnes & Noble stores within 10-12 miles. And I will go to them all if I have to, to find the best copy. As my friend Laurie says in closing her video blogs, "stay between the cover of a good book." E.
BB,
No ARC on The Passage. I don't have access to them like I once did when I lived in Pasadena, CA. The management at Vroman's Bookstore, because I purchased so many books allowed me free access to their ARC library. Justin Cronin actually wrote a novella which is considered his first book. It is titled A Short History of the Long Ball. And I liked it better than The Summer Guest. Though I own it, I haven't read Mary and O'Neil. The Passage is supposed to be the book of the year, but it really doesn't sound like my "cup of tea." If you can locate a copy of Brady Udall's novel The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint grab it. I believe it is just as good, probably better, than The Lonely Polygamist. I wish that I had taken the opportunity to go to Powell's Bookstore when I lived on the West Coast. Maybe, someday.

E.
BB,
I'm with you on the children's books. Unfortunately it's becoming epidemic. I haven't read Away as of yet. Laurie loved Amy Bloom's recent short story collection which I did read and didn't think that much of. A Pocketful of Names I believe to be Joe Coomer's best book. Although, The Loop is also very good. It will be released as a movie later this year. Third would be the best titled book ever, Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God. I started reading Love in Infant Monkey's (which I purchased through Powell's Books)while I was reading Blue Horse Dreaming and I started this morning The Line by Olga Grushin. Justin Cronin who is publishing The Passage next week is going to be at Laurie's store on June 16, so I will try to read that before his presentation. While, I know I couldn't write a novel like Blue Horse so I shouldn't criticize, but did you notice that the Major while writing his wife use the modern word "gobbledygook?" E.
BB,

I finished Blue Horse Dreaming and liked it very much. The structure of the novel was unlike anything I have ever read. The unique way in which the author moved seamlessly from the present, to the past, to the letter writing while always steadily moving the narrative forward. That's talent, or, at least, perfected craft. The tone of book had an certain ethereal aspect to it which was very well done. I would have preferred to know the exact setting of the novel. I read with a dictionary and an atlas and prefer specific locations. I assume the emigrant trail is the Oregon Trail and that would place the setting probably in the Wyoming or Montana Territories. The book was filled with grace and humanity and I thank you for recommending it to me.

Ed
one other thing and I promise this is it for at least a week. I just ordered, base on seeing itin your collection, Betsy Burton's book The King's English. I'm anxious to read it and don't really know what to expect.
BB,

I just got back from Half Price Books (perhaps they aren't in your area, as I remember they weren't in California) where I picked up a copy of American Pastoral for $5.58. The condition of both the book and jacket are in as good or better condition than the one I purchased through a dealer two weeks ago for much, much, much more. Oh, well. I purchase books like a book dealer, although I have never sold a book in my life. My problem with Cold Mountain was that a man during the time of the Civil War would not have believed in equal rights for women. And his best friend, I really doubt, would have been an Indian. But what I remember most vividly about the book is when he was staring down the bear and the bear charges him. It was like a cartoon. He stepped aside and the bear went over a cliff. Now, really.

I too haven't gotten to The Vagrants. Along with about 100 others.

I was a little surprised that you didn't seem to care that much for Stewart O'Nan's The Last Night at the Lobster. Though subtle, I thought it was his best book. But, I also liked Wish You Were Here, of which Stewart O'Nan told me he felt was "a long and boring book."

I just went on to Librarything to record my new copy of American Pastoral and now I've taken up more of your time with my rambling. The only person I really talk to about books is my friend Laurie at the Barnes & Noble in Carmel, Indiana. Laurie does video blogs on the BN website. Check her blogs out as she sometimes blogs about books she and I have discovered.

I GUARANTEE you will love Joe Coomer's books.

Best.

Ed
BB,

I was just thinking about you last evening. I am half-way through Blue Horse Dreaming. I do like it, but how in the world did this remind you of Renee Manfredi? I've also been looking at your library, in order not to appear quite as arrogant as I may have in my last message. I was delighted to see you liked Don Kurtz's South of the Big Four and Lydia Peelle's Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing. Along, with two of my favorite authors; Ann Patchett and Maile Meloy. I did notice that you have not read Joe Coomer. He is wonderful. His best, although all of his books are really good, is A Pocketful of Names. When Pocketful of Names was in the book stores I became a "Book Bully." I read a surpisely fantastic book, before starting Blue Horse Dreaming, called The Wild Vine by Todd Kliman. This book contains the biggest shock that I have ever had in reading. And one more item. The first 30 pages of Chang-Rae Lee's novel The Surrendered is the most powerful opening to a novel that I have ever read. When you have the time you will have to explain to me the attraction of the books The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and Cold Mountain. Both of which I found illogical and irrational.

Best,

Ed
P.S.

I almost forgot to mention the latest book that I am "pushing" on anyone who likes good literature. The book is If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This: Stories by Robin Black. Spectacular stories by a writer who spent eight years writing these ten stories. And the craftsmanship and diamond hard prose, as a result of those years, is unlike anything that I have ever read.

Ed Parks
Ellison,

I drove up to Chicago last evening to see Brady Udall. He was most gracious, a good reader, and excellent conversationalist. His next book is going to be a young adult novel so his children can read it.

Renee Manfredi is one of my favorite authors. I thought Above the Thunder was great and largely ignored by everyone but me. And I thought that Running Away with Frannie was nearly as good. I just hope she is able to extricate herself from MacAdam-Cage (which I noticed also published Melanie Wallace's book which I remember seeing in the stores but haven't read.) William Gay, another one of my favorites has had a book tied up there for nearly five years.

Let me know what you think about The Lonely Polygamist.

Ed Parks
Hi Ellison,

I wasn't aware of the Book Web Site, but I do read Publisher's Weekly because we have a subscription at work and I'm on the routing list. Usually the books are discussed way long in advance of any time I'd be likely to get them, but I do try to make a note of the ones that sound interesting. My taste in books has really changed in the last few years, and I'm finding it a little more of a challenge to find ones I know I'll like. Many of the most popular even literary books aren't really my cup of tea, I've found. I'm probably one of the few people in the world who didn't like, The Lovely Bones, for instance, or the one about Water and Elephants.

I ended up loving "This Is How." She certainly drew me into her strange main character and his story. I'm back to the Raj in India (Jewel in the Crown) again. I've put both the Atlas of the Unknown and the Safe from Neighbors on my list. the Orringer was already on there. I also just picked up "Ideas of Perfection" by Kate Grenville. I loved her book "The Secret River.

Funny about Foyle. I often say that's the best thing on tv. And we've seen them all and are just starting to watch these last three. (We TIVO them.)I have a friend who works for Acorn, who distributes the series in the U.S., and she DOES have a crush of Michael Kitchen!
I've only seen him in one other, younger, role and I liked him better older.

Take care!

Millie
Hi Ellison,

You do come up with the most obscure books (at least to me!). That Molly Fox book sounds very interesting, especially when I see the author compared to Margaret Atwood, one of my favorites. She also compared to Elizabeth Bowen, whom I've never read, though I have a couple of her books, too. Where do you hear of these lesser known authors?

"This Is How"is so strange. It's engrossing, but the main character has some kind of personality disorder, and it's through his eyes that the reader sees everything. I mean, the guy kills someone with a wrench while the other guy is asleep because he finds him annoying and thinks he's stolen one of his tools. It's uncomfortable reading--in fact, it reminds me of Barbara Vine's books, which I like but can only read once in a while.

How did you end up having lunch with Patricia Wells? I've just recently discovered her. I read the first 2 of Ruth Reichl's books and enjoyed them, especially the first one.

So The Lake Shore Limited wasn't so good? I don't always like Sue Miller's books, but this one sounded intriguing.

I'm going to pick up "The Light Years from the Cazalets series by Elizabeth Jane Howard. I saw the old BBC thing a few months ago and was hooked. At least maybe that family will be relatively sane.

Millie
Hi Ellison,

I've picked up This Is How by Hyland, but I'm having problems with fiction right now. I've had some news about my husband that's made me anxious, which makes the kind of mindset necessary for fiction reading a little difficult. Specially Eggers' book on Sudan, which I can only take in short increments anyway. I'll be turning more toward my food and travel books for the time being. I should start the second Winspear book. She's pretty good and not as dark as some of my other favorite mystery writers. I also have a new (to me) Clare Morrall (thanks for turning me on to her), The Language of Othesr, whose characters, though troubled, I always find comforting.

Millie
Nearly two months late, but thank you for adding my collection to your list of interesting libraries.

Ed Parks
Hi Ellison,

I did make it to Powell's my one time in Portland around 9 years ago--in fact, just before 9/11. I thought Portland was lovely.

I've started reading "Alligator," after hearing about "February." So far, I have mixed feelings, but I'll I still have to get to know the characters. Also reading "This Is How," by M.J. Hyland, whose "Carry Men Down" I really liked. Another dark British book. I recently watched the BBC adaptation of "Small World," which reminded me how much a liked that book. I will likely pick up another book of hers that I have, "Fruit of the Lemon," though that one didn't seem to have resonated so well with some.

So you liked Norris Church Mailer's book? It sounds fascinating!
Hi Ellison,

That would make me able to stop at 40 pages! Whew!

Do you have favorite bookstores in Boston? I used to go there more often than I do now and remember some nice ones in Cambridge. I live outside of Washington, DC, and we are lucky enough to have Politics & Prose, which is wonderful!

I hadn't heard of any of the books you mentioned, but I'm always often a bit behind on my review reading. I recently read the other Morrall book I bought, Natural Flights of the Human Mind, which started out slowly but I ended up really liking. Also finished I Capture the Castle, which was a breath of fresh air after all the depressing stuff I'd been taking in. No it's time to go back to the boy soldiers in Sudan and the Raj in India. I got Solar from the library and passed it on to my husband, who is more of the science person. Maybe he'll read it and like it.

I like reading travel and food books, as well, so that's always a nice break.

I saw that one of your favorite books is Random Family, which I have. I think I'll go pick that one up. This is why I can't read just one book at a time!

Millie
This is so much fun! I never heard of "The Imperfectionists," but I just put it on the list at my local library after you mentioned it. Rome is one of my favorite places on earth! You must read many reviews. Some of these books you mention I've never ever heard of. Most of my friends, if they are readers at all, don't read the types of books I like.

I read the second "Girl..." book, but didn't like it quite as much as the first one. It was still fun, though.

I put aside books myself and try and go back to them eventually. It's a struggle to just give up on a book, but I generally feel very relieved when I do. I should do it more often. Nancy Pearl has a 50-page rule, but then I don't think she buys all the books she reads, which I tend to do.

Millie
I think I would recommend "So Much for That," but with reservations--with a strong warning that it might be more depressing than might be expected, though I just read a review that praised it for its satire and wit. The latter was probably what made the tragic circumstances tolerable.

I started "Wolf Hall," but got caught up in other books, so I'll probably have to start from the beginning again. I've read a couple of others by Mantel and liked them quite a bit. Sometimes I just need books that take less concentration. Some books I think of as denser than others, and since I work during the day and do most of my reading before I got to sleep, I don't always have the stamina. Which is why I've been reading "Middlemarch" forever. I've been with "Jewel in the Crown," for a while, too, which I like a lot, but is very dense! I picked up "Miles from Nowhere," by Nami Mun, which is kind of interesting, but I'm not crazy about it. At least it's short. I just got "Something Red," from the library, which I'm planning to try.

Anything new with you? I saw you weren't too taken with "Solar." I know McEwan tends to get over-involved in some of his subject matter. I almost put down "Saturday" after moving through pages of description of what I think was a squash game. I'm glad I stuck with that one, though.
I finally finished "So Much for That," which was incredibly depressing until almost the very end. Shriver's writing blows me away--not so much the style, but the way she seems to be able to get into the psyche of the many different characters in her books.

Now, it's back to the books I put aside to read the last two. I did peek at the C. Morrall's "Natural Flights" book, which I ordered after having finished "Astonishing Splashes." But I really need to get more disciplined about finishing what I've started.

Have you started "Solar"?
"Lotus Eaters" sounds interesting. I've added it to the waiting list at my library.

I'm fairly into "So Much for That," but if I thought I was going to read a more light-hearted book, I was mistaken since this one is about a couple of families with fairly severe, expensive, and under-covered health problems. It doesn't make me feel suicidal, though, like "The Surrendered."

What did you think of "Impatient with Desire"? That sounds intriguing as well--not very upbeat, though. I guess I'm hopeless. Upbeat books tend not to interest me much.
I did like "Kevin," but found it very disturbing. I bought the Columbine book and started it, then decided to put it down until I'm more in the mood to get wrapped in something like that. I think Cullen describes the boys as being fairly normal, which is even more frightening.

My first by Shriver was the "Post-Birthday World," which I liked immensely. She has a way of shifting viewpoints (or at least shifting my viewpoints) that seems playful and maybe manipulative, but works for me. I read another one about Africa that I didn't like as well.

I need some much lighter reading for now. I don't know how long it's going to take me to get over "The Surrendered"! I've seldom read such a dark book.

Do you tend to buy hardbacks? I seldom do, partly because I much prefer to carry around a trade paperback. Will you get "Solar" right away?

Millie
I'm very happy to have recommendations! Before Amazon and LibraryThing I had to count on possibly reading a book review when a book was first published or maybe running across something that looked appealing at a book store or library. Now there's a whole world out there of people with similar tastes who have read and liked books and authors I've never even heard of! I'm overwhelmed partly because I'd love to take up these recommendations immediately but also have all these books I've bought throughout the years and haven't even opened. That was one thing that was so great about "Splashes of Colour." I just walked over to my bookshelf.

I'm currently finishing up Chang-rae Lee's "The Surrendered," which I have a hard time putting down because it's so gripping, but at the same so painful as to be almost unbearable. I can't wait to finish it! I read a couple others of his books, and especially liked "Aloft," but this is much darker. Then I have to go finish the books I've started and left sitting to read this one. I purchased "Redbreast," as well, and have just gotten Lionel Shriver's new book from the library (I love her!). Yikes!
Best, Millie
On the "Wife," I read it right through. It was engrossing and decently written, but I really didn't like it. I remember seeing that "Wisconsin Death Trip" book years ago in bookstores and thinking how creepy all the people looked in those old photos.

I love "Jewel in the Crown." I'm only into vol. 1, but it helps having seen the mini-series, because it helps me picture everything so well. I'm trying not to read so many books at once, but I can't help myself. It's frustrating--I don't have time to read as much as I'd like. I work as an book editor, so I'm around books all the time, but the ones I work on don't interest me. The closest I've come to non-fiction lately are travel essays and books about food.

I see you recommend "February." That's on my list also, but my list is ridiculously long. I could just copy your whole library onto my list!

Take care.

Millie
I absolutely agree with you on quitting if a book doesn't grab. I always agonize about doing it and then feel relieved when I decide to give up.

I read "Astonishing Splashes," and enjoyed it very much. I'm planning of reading more of her. I finished "The Master," read a silly, silly book I wouldn't recommend called "The Reliable Wife," and a book of Alice Munro stories. I also started reading "The Jewel and the Crown," having recently become engrossed in the mini-series and am finding it very interesting. I have the bad habit of starting too many books at once, but there always seem to be so many calling for me to pick them up! Don't think I usually read so many books in a week either. I'm amazed that people even think of doing the 75 book challenge! And you're doing 100!

I'm planning to try the Nesbo series, too.

Millie
Thanks again! I've dug out my copy of "Astonishing Splashes," to read and will check out the other titles. I'm going on vacation for about a week and am planning to do a lot of reading--although I usually end up doing a lot of sleeping since I'm probably sleep deprived the rest of the time.

Millie
I did read "Gilgamesh," and loved it. Went on to read "The Good Parents," which I also liked a lot.

I thought "The Road Home" by Tremain was great, but all her books are different from one another, so I don't know if that's representative. I also read "The Colour," which was about mining in New Zealand, whereas "The Road Home" was about the immigrant experience in London.

I have a couple of Trevor's books that I've been planning to read, but not that particular one. I'll take a look at the other authors as well. Thanks!
Millie
Hmmm. I've kept a list of all the books I've read since I was 11 or so, and looking back it seems like my favorite books of the past year or so were a pretty eclectic bunch: Small Island (Andrea Levy), Zeitoun (Dave Eggars), The Road Home (Rose Tremain), Await Your Reply (Dan Chaon), Unaccustomed Earth (Lahiri), Girl with the Golden Tatoo (Larsson), Brooklyn (Toibin), Little Bee (Cleave), Mudbound (Jordan), People of the Book (Brooke), 19th Wife (Ebershoff). I'm not sure how representative that is. My favorite authors have have often been British, though lately I've expanded to read about Australia, New Zealand, Africa, etc.--what I think of literature of those not so long ago colonized. As for the Master, I've got to admit it's been a little slow going after Brooklyn, which I zipped right through.

I saw John O'Hara in your list. I didn't think anyone but me had read him, though I admit it's been literally decades!

Millie
Hi BB,

I'm always looking for books that everyone's NOT talking about and your list intrigued me. I've found many gems that way the last few years. I'll be interested to read your reviews.
Millie
Hey BB,
Yes Ottawa can choke the very breath & life out of a person at times. So much politics in one very small place.. (is that correct grammar?)The town for once came alive when President Obama came to town a couple weeks ago. Obama for Prime Minister! I love him, all day at work, I was kicking myself that I should have been downtown. He said he would be back after the thaw.. I have met our Prime Minister and he's a dud.
Oh it's so very cold here right now. -25C in the mornings. It's been so cold this winter that I broke my car door handle off, and my windshield has a big crack. I am almost missing the rain of the west coast.
Thanks for the book group recommendations. My group is in a library so anything I choose has to have at least 10 copies of it within the library system. I have read good reviews of the 10-yr nap. And I do like memoirs, one of my faves is "A Girl Named Zippy". Lots of fun, try it,Haven Kimmel is a darling. I find that recommendations on LT are the very best. I trust them more than anything else so I will be adding yours to my 'Books To Get' list that I carry around with me at all times.
Cheers from a very COLD Ottawa!
Clamato
Hi BB
I used to live in Vancouver, BC and drove thru Portland going to/from The Gorge one time. Very beautiful area! I never got to explore Oregon unfortunately but spent a lot of time in the Seattle area. I do miss the west coast so!
Been in Ontario now 6.5 yrs and am bored and frustrated with it. Not at all what I expected. But am very involved with books! I work on two book sales per yr, one of which is coming up shortly. And run a book group at a public library that will celebrate it's 5th anniversary in 2 weeks! I'm so proud of that. It's my show and I love it! I have found what you've posted to be interesting and because I'm always on the look out for new book ideas for my group, I pay close attention to what people are adding to their libraries. I am open to suggestions! However, I have to make sure the branch has enough copies to chose it which more often than not, they don't which is so frustrating!
Anyhow, I hope winter is winding down for you in your area. We have a little bit of snow on it's way overnight tonight, but I almost smelled spring this afternoon after work! Yay! I can't wait for things to start growing again!
Bye for now,
Clamato
Hi Ellison. I am about halfway through The Condition. Jennifer Haigh is certainly gifted, and I think this is the best of the three she's written. I came upon a cache of books I'd forgotten I had, so am trying to catalogue them and will then take them to the library sale. Wonder what else is lurking in another closet? I shudder at the mere fleeting thought of ever moving from this house and unearthing the "treasures." What a great idea to be an official BookBully - sign me up immediately. With your publishers' connections, it could be a simply wonderful opportunity to know what's recent and noteworthy. Let me be your southern p.r. representative...

Your mom - what a wonderful woman and how fortunate you were to have her(and she to have you). Do you have siblings? Do you feel her presence? I am always in awe of the very real evidence of the amazing grace and love that we all have in our lives. I am a child advocate in juvenile court, which entails reviewing cases in foster care with all the parties involved in the case and making recommendations to the judge for resolution of the case. There are so many times when I despair about the lives of desperation that many of these dear children lead with people who never should have had children. Then, there is a resolution that guarantees they will be safe, and despair turns to hope.

Kris' kidney stone is evidently afloat. She sees the urologist on Friday, so will know more then. They are moving on Wednesday, and bringing their horses to their place from where they are being boarded. I just wish her excitement weren't tempered by not knowing about treatment for the kidney stone. I have a bag packed and am ready to go. We had Margot, our 3-year old granddaughter, this weekend. She is such fun and has no doubt that her opinions on all matters are correct. Her mantra should be "frequently wrong, never in doubt." Every age is special, but this is one of the very best.

Take care - if you have finished The Condition, what's next? Also, what are you reviewing? I am green thinking of your wonderful position as an official reviewer, and so glad you're my LT friend.
Pat
i was referring to all of the lists for every year since they started :) i have looked back at the archives for the last ten years. i am addicted to the website as well. i usually love their choices and find my tastes very similiar.

right now, i am reading the 'septembers of shiraz' by Dalia Sofer. i just finished 'a thousand splendid suns' and plan to tackle a few of the orange prize winners next, such as 'unless' by carol shields, 'we need to talk about kevin' and 'the inheritance of loss. feel free to drop by anytime you have a recommendation!
hi there. just curious if you read the books that are on the new york times notable book list....i have been tagging my books that are on that list and your name came up repeatedly, giving most of the books high ratings. you may want to check their list out if you haven't already!
Your reviews are really helpful, generous and honest. Thanks for the great insights! and now I have many more books on my pile to read.
E-okay, it's official: you are now my official book guide. Trevor's book is on my list and I am looking forward to it. I finished Crossing to Safety and sat for a long time just thinking about how it had touched my heart. As anticipated, my next book,an ER "grab," suffered disproportionately, although I know I wouldn't have liked it anyway. I almost felt guilty starting another book after Crossing to Safety - sort of like when a beloved family pet dies, and the ensuing guilt of thinking about getting another. Take care, Pat
Ellison-I am nearing the end of Crossing to Safety and really hate to see it end. This is like leaving dear friends, so I am savoring every sentence. This is a book I will read again. Wallace Stegner's writing is a gift. Whatever I read next will certainly suffer by comparison.
Pat
Ellison-thank you so much for your author recommendations. I plan to add more than a few to my list. Haven't yet read any Elizabeth Taylor books I've added, but plan to do so. Have you read Skeletons at the Feast by Bohjalian? It's very good. When I first saw your name "Book Bully," I thought you might be one of those egregious people at the library who barge in while I'm in front of the recent fiction stack. You decidedly are not one of those, so I'm adding you to my friends list, too. :)
Pat
Hi BB - thanks for adding my library. We do share many books, so hope you don't mind my adding you to mine. I love the pacific northwest, and I know it is more delightful outdoor reading weather there than it is here in Atlanta now. I am currently reading Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety and enjoying it very much. I plan to peruse your library from time to time, but please let me know if you find anything noteworthy to share. Who are some of your favorite authors? The only genre I generally avoid is SF. LT has allowed me to clear my desk and every other area in the house of endless lists of recommended books, and now I'm totally addicted to the site. I have a friend who is married to a guy who grew up in Aiken - George Coker. Wouldn't it be a small world if you know him??
Pat
i am already dying to read "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle," i have heard nothing but great things about it. i just got "the laments" from bookmooch actually. i have had the "confessions of max tavoli" forever and never got around to reading it. i actually saw where you had added "what was lost" and checked it out because of that :) i am loving the new home page/connections features! i am reading history of love right now and really enjoying it! thanks for all your tips. will let you know when i get around to reading the books mentioned above. and come back anytime you have recommendations. happy reading!!!
you have quite an impressive library! i added about 15 or 20 of your books to my neverending"books i want to read" pile. if you read anything great, feel free to share! :)
Thanks for giving a name to what I am: book bully. Wonder what happens when one unknowingly confronts another? Could be messy :-)
Thanks for becoming a friend!
BookBully...thanks for the response. Betty Jo
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