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Future Suggestions

Missouri Readers

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Dec 2, 2009, 3:38pm Top

I'm taking over, aren't I? Bad habit of mine. Sorry!

But how about this thread to post suggestions that we come across from time to time? If you're like me, you hear about a book, and think, "Wow, that would be great for the Missouri Readers Group!" And then you can't remember it when we start talking about what to read next.

So when you hear about something, why not post it on this thread? Then when it's time to choose, we've got something to choose from!

Here's my first contribution: Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip by Matthew Algeo. Compliments of womansheart.

Dec 2, 2009, 3:59pm Top

The King of the Hill by A.E. Hotchner. Still. It's a memoir about his life growing up in St. Louis, and we should try reading more nonfiction. Plus, we owe this man a huge debt of gratitude because he was closely involved with Paul Newman's line of delicious salad dressings, pasta sauces, and fake oreos. Without him, there'd be no Sockarooni for me to eat. We should reward him for this greatness by reading his book.

Edited: Dec 2, 2009, 10:08pm Top

Yes and Yes to both books. I would love to reread Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell about life in Kansas City in the 1940's. Two separate books, but could probably be read in the same month and discussed together. These books were combined into a wonderful movie with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward called (duh) "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge."

Terri, thanks for taking a leadership role here. We were kind of floundering there for awhile. I hope the efforts of you and Sandy result in some new members.

Dec 5, 2009, 5:46pm Top

On Terri's thread over in the 75 book challenge group, there has been some mentions of When the Mississippi Ran Backwards - a nonfiction about the New Madrid earthquake. This might be a refreshing change of pace from our typical disfunctional families.

Dec 5, 2009, 6:52pm Top

I'm signed up, even though I'm from Illinois (north of Chicago). I visit St Louis at least twice a year (to go to Busch Stadium, usually) and have also travelled across the state to Branson. Earlier this year, we drove from St Louis through eastern Missouri, heading down to Tunica, Mississippi.

Dec 5, 2009, 8:53pm Top

Welcome aboard, linda! And don't worry about being from Illinois. I'm also from north of Chicago, joined while I was living in St. Louis, and am now in Maine. But they still let me in the group!

The earthquake book sounds great! The earthquake we had two years ago shook me up - can't even imagine the New Madrid quake.

Dec 8, 2009, 3:18pm Top

Great suggestions! Maybe in 2010, we'll get a little more organized and read some of these!
I hope!

Edited: Jan 14, 2010, 9:36am Top

I'm moving my suggestions from another thread over to here, and encouraging everyone when they run across a Missouri-inspired-or-written book to put it here. I said it in the other thread and I'll repeat it here: One of my husband's favorite sayings is, "Don't throw out your bad ideas too fast." So post your book idea here even if you're not sure about it--maybe it will inspire an even better idea.

These are just some ideas, in no particular order.

1. The Tender Land: A Family Love Story, by Kathleen Finneran. This is Kathleen's first book, published in 2000. I believe it's available in papersback. She's a St. Louis writer. I heard about this book because I used to work with her sister. This is a memoir--actually a family portrait--of her family, parents and the five Finneran children, growinng up in St. Louis: "at the heart of The Tender Land lies a catastrophic event." This is quite a book, and I'm surprised we haven't heard more from her. Hope she's writing something more!

Hah--all families are dysfunctional, I'm pretty sure.

2. It's One O'Clock and Here is Mary Margaret McBride: A Radio Biography, by Susan Ware. Looking at the review of this one, I gave it only a 2-star rating. That may be a bit harsh. Born in 1899, MMM was a journalist, educated at the U of Missouri in Columbia. She went to New York and eventually made quite a name for herself as a radio personality. In my review I say that it's not a terrible book, it just could have been better. The period (1930s-1950s, mainly) and the place (Manhattan) could/should have been fleshed a lot more by Ware.

3. The Ghost in the Little House, 1993, by William Holtz. This is a biog of Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Holtz was a English professor at U Missouri. His thesis is that Rose (b.1886) essentially wrote the Little House books, and he backs this up with sound research. At the very least, Rose should have been listed as co-author with her mother. Beyond the author question, this is an excellent complete biography of Rose Wilder Lane; however, the book isn't for readers who love the idealized story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, herself a complex and conflicted woman.

4. How about any of the *Capital Crimes* novels of Margaret Truman? Has anyone read any of these?

5. One of the biggest (literally, at 992 pages) "Missouri" reads around--David McCullough's Truman. The length of this one might be a turn-off for a group read; however, this is one of my favorite biographies, not because of the subject but because of the masterful job that McCullough did on this book. Maybe though this book might serve as a suggestion for another one.

6. Kate Chopin, The life of the author of The Awakening, by Emily Toth, published in 1990. It's been many years since I read this book, but what I remember was that Toth did a good job. Evidently Toth wrote another biog of Chopin, published in 1999, Unveiling Kate Chopin using her newly discovered diaries and mss. So that one would probably be the book to read, if any, about Chopin, although I haven't seen it.

That's it for now. More later as I run across them. Hope others will add theirs.

Jan 18, 2010, 1:31pm Top

I'm reading a "literary tour" mystery, a cozy, from Livia Washburn called Huckleberry Finished.

It's set on a riverboat travelling from St Louis to Hannibal, MO and, due to a murder on board, the riverboat is stopped at Hannibal.

Not bad but not the greatest mystery ever either. She talks a lot about Missouri though and there's a Mark Twain lookalike on board to entertain the passengers.

Feb 4, 2010, 11:28pm Top

Anything by Ron Powers is worth considering. Tom & Huck Don't Live Here Anymore is about modern day Hannibal, & Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain is an excellent examination of MT's childhood. Of course, I am probably partial to Hannibal since I've been a pretty much lifelong resident :-)

Mar 21, 2010, 12:50pm Top

I am finishing Nobody Said Not to Go, a biography of Emily Hahn a writer who was born in St. Louis, grew up here until about age 16 and then returned here briefly in her twenties. She was quite an adventurer and wrote many books, both fiction and non-fiction, based on her travels and experiences in China, Africa and other countries.

Mar 21, 2010, 5:01pm Top

Great! I've got a spreadsheet of about 17 books that everyone's suggested. Any ideas on how to vote for the next one after April?

Mar 22, 2010, 2:13pm Top

In yesterday's (Sunday) KC Star art section, there were several book items that caught my eye.

First, a new book about Mark Twain. Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Headed West and Became Mark Twain by Roy Morris (who will be appearing at the KC Public Library tomorrow evening) tells about how Samuel Clemens deserted the Confederate army to go to California and eventually become the popular writer we are familiar with.

Next, the movie "Winter's Bone", which won at the Sundance Film Festival, as Donna (I think) pointed out several weeks ago, will be making its midwest debut at the KC Filmfest on April 14. No word in the article about whether it will be released more widely.

A debut novel by KC native Matt Baker, called Drag the Darkness Down, tells the story of a man trying to find his 36-year old sister who has run off with a high school student. The book begins in Arkansas and ends up in Kansas City.

Finally, a memoir published posthumously by WWII POW George Stier called From the Heavens to Hell - and Back. Stier lived in Lexington (NE of Kansas City) where he was a teacher at the Wentworth Military Academy. The article says the book is available at the school bookstore, so I'm not sure if it will be widely available elsewhere. Anyway, the synopsis published in the paper says that Stier "was a plot and B-17 commander in World War II. He was shot down over Nazi-occupied France and survived both a frozen 50-mile forced march and two notorious German POW camps, Stalag Luft III and Stalag VII-A." He died in November, just before his 90th birthday.

Mar 22, 2010, 3:32pm Top

Those all look good, Sandy. Wow! We have 20 titles to choose from now. I don't care if we vote, or if we just rotate genres, or put the names in a hat and draw one! I kind of like it when something is chosen that stretches me a bit as a reader. I picked up King of the Hill at the library today.

Mar 22, 2010, 4:20pm Top

I don't care how we choose, either. Terri, can you give us the list of suggestions you've compiled? I've also liked it when we've read books that I wouldn't have chosen on my own - even if I haven't loved all the books!

Mar 22, 2010, 5:13pm Top

Not sure if I'm mentioned but I'd add a book from my friend Polly Whitney (P. Whitney) called This Is Graceanne's Book.

I thought it was excellent when I read it years ago but admit to being a teensy bit biased and would not mind reading it again.

Edited: Mar 28, 2010, 5:26pm Top

Okay, I'm going to try to post this list. Not sure how it will turn out, but we'll see!

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip-Matthew Algeo
Mr. Bridge-Evan Connell
Mrs. Bridge-Evan Connell
When the Mississippi Ran Backwards-Jay Feldman
The Tender Land: A Love Story-Kathleen Finneran
It's One O'Clock and Here is Mary Margaret McBride: A Radio Biography-Susan Ware
The Ghost in the Little House-William HoltzCapitol Crimes-Margaret Truman
Truman-David McCullough
Kate Chopin, The Life of the Author of The Awakening-Emily Toth
Unveiling Kate Chopin-Emily Toth
Huckleberry Finished-Livia Washburn
Tom & Huck Don't Live Here Anymore-Ron Powers
Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain-Ron Powers
This is Graceanne's Book-P.L. Whitney
Tomato Red-Daniel Woodrell
Nobody Said Not To Go-Emily Hahn

I like the draw from a hat idea--it seems the simplest. But I'll go with however you guys want to do it!

Apr 7, 2010, 12:57pm Top

I was wondering whether we'd chosen our next book. Drawing from a hat is fine with me.

Apr 7, 2010, 6:20pm Top

How about if we draw 2 or 3 names from a hat and then vote on those?

Apr 7, 2010, 6:33pm Top

Excellent suggestion, Sandy.

Apr 7, 2010, 7:09pm Top

Sounds good Sandy. Maybe pick three out of a hat and then vote?

Apr 7, 2010, 7:55pm Top

Three sounds like a good number. Shall we let Terri draw them?

Apr 7, 2010, 9:50pm Top

Probably so, since I've already cut them into little pieces of paper and put them in a hat which I was preparing to take in to my son's room for him to pick....

Apr 7, 2010, 9:54pm Top

So unless you are violently against me (or Keith) picking, here are the three he chose:

1. It's One O'Clock and Here is Mary Margaret McBride: A Radio Biography by susan Ware, suggested by Becky (labwriter).

2. When the Mississippi Ran Backwards by Jay Feldman, suggested by Sandy (sjmccreary).

3. Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain by Ron Powers, suggested by Marissa (sixwoolsocks).

Apr 7, 2010, 10:10pm Top

Do we vote here? If so, I vote for #2, When the Mississippi Ran Backwards.

Apr 7, 2010, 10:43pm Top

All nonfictions - I'd thought about suggesting that we do a nonfiction, then decided not to, so I'd say that Keith did a fine job picking!

Linda, wasn't that #2 book on your suggestions list for your disaster category in the 999 challenge last year? I think that might have been where I first heard of the book and then came here to suggest it because I wanted to read it, too. So, I guess I'll be a little selfish and also vote for #2.

However, #3 would be a very close 2nd choice.

Apr 7, 2010, 11:14pm Top

Truth be told, I was looking at #2 my own self. I'll start keeping tabs on the voting!

Apr 8, 2010, 8:44am Top

I vote for #2!

Apr 8, 2010, 10:15am Top

The Feldman book is available through my library so I'll add my vote for #2.

I like the subtitle: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes. It looks like there will be something that appeals to everyone, and I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't encounter at least one dysfunctional family!

Apr 8, 2010, 11:54am Top

Yes, I picked up that #2 book for my disaster category so it'd help with my 1010 this year. My disaster category is one that I've done next to nothing with, this year.

Apr 8, 2010, 4:58pm Top

#2 sounds good to me too!!!

Apr 16, 2010, 9:05pm Top

Did we pick a book and a time yet? I've lost track. Is it every two months? Or every three?

Apr 16, 2010, 9:43pm Top

I think the consensus is When the Mississippi Ran Backwards. It's been a week with no further responses, so let's go with it.

Ordinarily, we would start this discussion on June 1. However, I would prefer to wait until the middle of June, if no one objects. I'm having surgery on 6/2, and I'd hate to miss the discussion, and it will give everyone more time to read. What do you all say to June 15?

Apr 16, 2010, 9:51pm Top

June 15th is fine with me. Do we usually have a certain day of the week? I think that might be a Tuesday though I'm not positive.

I hope your surgery goes well.

Apr 16, 2010, 9:58pm Top

Thanks, Linda. It really doesn't matter to me; I just said the 15th because it's the middle of the month. We can start on Monday the 14th if we want. That works fine for me!

Apr 16, 2010, 10:05pm Top

Whenever. I am going away that weekend and expect to have plenty of time to read.

I don't have a page count but it's 5,000 kindle thingies long, which is medium-sized.

Apr 16, 2010, 11:04pm Top

>36 lindapanzo:: LOL at "kindle thingies." One more reason I'm not jumping on the Kindle bandwagon. I love to write down quotes from books and cite the page numbers.

The middle of June will be great for me. Looking forward to it.

Apr 17, 2010, 8:25am Top

This is a book I have been meaning to read for quite a while. Hopefully life will settle down by June and I can join in on the group read!

Apr 17, 2010, 11:02am Top

Mid-June sounds like a plan to me, too. Looking forward to this book - hope it is a good one.

Donna, I also chuckle whenever I see Linda talk about "Kindle thingies"!

Apr 17, 2010, 4:02pm Top

#39, just like with regular book pages, a book with a lot of Kindle thingies can be a fast read if there's a lot of space. A book with a few densely-packed Kindle thingies can take forever.

Also, I'm more likely with Kindle thingies to be surprised about the ending. With a regular nonfiction took, I tend to note what page the actual text ends on, something I rarely do with Kindle thingies.

#37, I also highlight text and make notes on my Kindle. Since I keep my Kindle books archived, I actually do go back and look at them, at times. With regular books, I usually lend them out or donate them to the library when I'm through.

I'm looking forward to When the Mississippi Ran Backwards after passing through New Madrid, MO last year.

May 1, 2010, 8:11pm Top

I'm adding another book to our list. I just saw where Jane Smiley is coming to St. Louis (and I have to work that night--darn it!) with a new book: Private Life. Left Bank says: "Private Life is a riveting new novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley (who grew up in St. Louis) that traverses the intimate landscape of one woman's life. Margaret Mayfield is nearly an old maid at twenty-seven in post-Civil War Missouri when she marries Captain Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early. But as World War II approaches, Margaret is forced to reconsider her carefully constructed life."
Anyway, I'm going to add it to the list. Jane Smiley is the one who resurrected The Moonflower Vine so we'll give her some props for that!

May 3, 2010, 10:30am Top

That one sounds good, Terri - thanks.

May 3, 2010, 10:49am Top

I've liked most of the Jane Smiley books I've read. Wow, that's quite a jump in time from post-Civil War to WWII. Now that I'm getting "older," I am drawn to those books that reflect back on a long life.

I'm glad you mentioned The Moonflower Vine. It's almost time for me to get serious about planting one!

May 3, 2010, 1:18pm Top

That sounds good. When the Mississippi Ran Backwards for mid-June and then the Smiley book after that.

I didn't know that Smiley grew up in St Louis. As often as I visit St Louis, I have never taken a tour or anything. I should try to fit one in when I go there later this month.

May 3, 2010, 1:53pm Top

I've lived near St. Louis my whole life, and the first time I went up in the Arch was when my cousin from Texas came to visit and wanted to go up. I was well into my 20's!

I knew she had a Missouri connection, but I don't know that I ever realized it was St. Louis either.

May 9, 2010, 11:37pm Top

>43 Donna828:. Hi Donna. I planted my moonflower seeds last Thursday--and then it got cool here, so they're probably just sitting in the ground waiting for a little heat. I'm glad to hear you're planting one too.

You know, I read just about every Jane Smiley book about 10 years ago. To be honest, I didn't like them all that much. I think I kept reading them because they were so varied, and I figured I'd find one that I liked eventually. There's not a darned thing wrong with them; they're just not for me. And I always felt badly that I didn't like her better.

May 12, 2010, 2:40pm Top

I stopped by my favorite nursery yesterday. They said their Moonflower Vines had just sprouted and they would have them out for sale in the next week or so. I'm so excited that I don't have to do the whole seed thing. I just want to plop a plant in my pot on the deck and wait for it to twine around the railings. I'll post a picture later this summer if I have success.

May 23, 2010, 11:51pm Top

Has anyone read Woe to Live On by Daniel Woodrell? This book inspired the film "Ride with the Devil" starring Tobey MacGuire which is in my opinion an overlooked classic dealing with the border wars during the Civil War in MO. The book is apparently difficult to find, but the reviews I saw were excellent.

I can, in any case, vouch 100% for the film. It is truly excellent.

May 24, 2010, 7:40am Top

I haven't read it, Susan, but I think that we as a group are Daniel Woodrell fans. I didn't realize that he had ever written anything in a historical setting.

May 24, 2010, 10:32am Top

Terri, is Woe to Live On already on our list of suggestions? I've been interested in reading that one, too.

May 24, 2010, 4:13pm Top

My spreadsheet's at home, but if it's not on there, I'll add it tonight!

Jun 17, 2010, 10:25am Top

I just have to say I am so happy with how well this group has turned out!

Jun 17, 2010, 11:35am Top

Becky! We've missed you!

You did a great thing by starting up this group. I was just thinking - literally 2 minutes ago - that I haven't noticed any other "state" groups with as much public visibility as this one. Since most of us are active in the 75-books group, every book we read here gets noticed over there, too. Last fall, when we read Moonflower Vine, I remember seeing a comment to the effect that "I'll have to check that book out - I've been seeing lots of comments about it lately."

Jun 17, 2010, 5:54pm Top

Ditto what Sandy said! We have missed you, Becky--come back!

Jun 19, 2010, 12:58pm Top

So. What are we reading next? Shall I have Keith pick another three books from the hat and we vote on them, or is there something utterly compelling that we must read immediately? August will be here before we know it!

Jun 19, 2010, 7:51pm Top

Terri, the hat trick method of picking a book was kind of fun. I like the element of surprise. Do you have the new Jane Smiley book on the list? Becky (labwriter) has sworn off reading anymore Smiley books, but the odds of choosing that one are ___ to 1 anyway! Not sure just how many books we have to choose from!

Beckylynn, I'll add my plea to join up with us again. We need all the people we can get -- and it is your baby!

Jun 23, 2010, 12:24am Top

#55 Terri, how long is that list? It's OK with me to have Keith pick another 3 names. That was a fun way to do it last time.

Jun 23, 2010, 5:57pm Top

There are 22 books on the list. I'll have Keith pick tonight & let you know what he comes up with!

Jun 23, 2010, 8:02pm Top

Okay, this is what he came up with:
1. Nobody Said Not To Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn by Ken Cuthbertson, suggested by marise in #11 above.
2. Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain by Ron Powers, suggested by sixwoolsocks (it's 100 degrees outside! get rid of those wool socks!) in #10 above.
3. This is Graceanne's Book by P. L. Whitney, suggested by lindapanzo in #16 above.

#2 seems an omen, since it's come up both times, but #3 is the only fiction, if we want to switch back & forth. It doesn't matter to me; they all sound interesting. I wish we could do one of those voting things with three options instead of two. Anyway, I'll start counting! I guess we're looking at an August 1 start?

Jun 23, 2010, 8:09pm Top

My vote is for #3, since we're due for a fiction book. But obviously I'll read anything we pick!

Jun 24, 2010, 10:17am Top

Hmmmm...I wonder if I can get This is Graceanne's Book through ILL. It looks really good.

The only one at my local library is Dangerous Water so I I'll cast my vote for it only because of convenience and the fact that we've never read a true biography. At least I think not. The Hotchner book was a memoir as I recall.

Like Jennifer, I'll read whatever we pick. I'm not that picky! :-)

Jun 24, 2010, 11:37am Top

Wow, my library doesn't have ANY of those books! I found all of them on WorldCat, and have placed ILL requests for all of them. I'll cancel the 2 we decide against.

As far as my vote goes, I'm having trouble deciding, but I think I'll go for This is Graceanne's Book. Obviously, though, I don't feel strongly about it and will happily read whatever the group picks - assuming I can get a copy of it!

Jun 24, 2010, 1:10pm Top

I've never done an ILL search online, but it appears to me that there are only two copies of This is Graceanne's Book available statewide!?! It's also available for purchase on Amazon for $17. That's a little pricey for an unknown book for someone who has been buying her most recent books for $1.00.

Lindapanzo, maybe you can tell us just how good this book is. I'm willing to change my vote if I hear a good argument in favor of it!

Jun 24, 2010, 6:00pm Top

#63 Donna, on our library catalog, there is a link to WorldCat. (I think there also used to be a link on LT, but I don't know if it's still there - maybe on the works page?) Anyway, the gateway is a screen that says "Show-Me the World", indicating - I guess - that there is a consortium of MO public libraries that are all linked through WorldCat. When I called the ILL department at the library, I asked if there was any way to tell which of the 3 books is most likely to be received. The short answer was "no", but she said that Kansas City public library, and Johnson Co (KS) public library both have Graceanne. Maybe your daughter could check it out for you?

When I went back to look again, I found this about "Show-Me the World": Show-Me The World is a program of Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and the Missouri State Library in partnership with the Missouri Library Network Corporation (MLNC). It is funded through the Library Services & Technology Act and powered by the OCLC FirstSearch service.

I also saw that the Joplin library has a copy of this book, and it is listed in the Christian Co. library (Ozark). Have you asked your library for help finding it?

Jun 24, 2010, 6:08pm Top

Thanks, Sandy. I just looked at the Mobius link on our library website.

If that's the book we choose -- which is perfectly acceptable to me -- then I'll just make it easy on myself and make the request in person as I'm a frequent library visitor.

Jun 24, 2010, 6:29pm Top

I'm curious how the voting will go - it was hard for me to name one book above the others. They all look good.

Jun 25, 2010, 5:47pm Top

I was thinking the same thing, Sandy. In fact, I haven't even chosen one to vote for yet! I did notice, Donna, that Abebooks has several copies for less than $4.00. I'll probably go that route if it wins. I may go that route regardless!

Edited: Jun 25, 2010, 6:18pm Top

I'm just back from Missouri--saw the Eagles and the Dixie Chicks concert in St Louis last night. We were really fortunate that it wasn't that hot.

Anyway, I thought This is Graceanne's Book was excellent, a coming of age-type book. Note that the author is an old friend of mine. I had no idea it was that tough to find though. I checked ILL for the Chicago North Suburban Library System and we've got seven copies.

It's a novel of life in small town Missouri in the 1960s narrated by Charlie, the 9-year old brother of Graceanne.

As for my vote, all three sound terrific. I rarely re-read books but This Is Graceanne's Book is one I would be happy to re-read. I vote for #3. If we have a second choice (I don't think we do), I'd go for the one about Mark Twain as my second choice, #2.

Jun 25, 2010, 6:44pm Top

>67 tloeffler:: I've never bought anything from Abe books, Terri. I certainly like the price. Do you know what their postal rates are?

>68 lindapanzo:: It looks like the consensus so far is for This is Graceanne's Book. I am perfectly fine with that choice. Plus, I think it's pretty cool that you are friends with the author, Linda.

Eagles and Dixie Chicks together? I saw the Eagles when they opened our new arena here several years ago. Wonderful concert.

Jun 27, 2010, 1:38am Top

Donna, I have had wonderful luck with abebooks.com. The shipping depends on the bookseller--the ones I saw were like $3.63 with free shipping. You can find almost anything through them, and overall, they're the most reasonable I've ever found. Highly recommended.

Why don't we go with This is Graceanne's Book then? And what do you think? August 1? Or maybe August 2 (that's a Monday).

I'm off to Abebooks! I'll try to save one for you, Donna!

Jun 28, 2010, 8:50am Top

Abebooks is a great site. Amazon is as well. I found several copies of this book at Amazon for $3.65 which includes shipping--so that's about 1 cent for the book. I don't buy books new at Amazon--or anyone else--unless there's no other choice.

Jun 28, 2010, 10:11am Top

#70 Sounds good. I'll rummage around for my copy. I hope you'll enjoy Polly's book (but of course, can't guarantee it).

How about starting on Monday, August 2 then?

Polly, the author, was raised in Missouri (probably born there as well), though she's lived elsewhere as an adult. I met her on the online mystery discussion forum, Dorothy L, in the the mid-1990s, and, for quite awhile, we were daily email correspondents, we've met in person several times.

Before this book, she wrote several mysteries (set in New York City) under her name, Polly Whitney.

Jun 28, 2010, 11:44am Top

#70 Sounds good to me, too. I've got my ILL requests already in for all 3 books, so I'm going to go cancel the other 2.

I just finished a Missouri book that I'd like to mention, if not add to the suggestions list. A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield is about a 50-year old woman who killed her long-abusive husband but was not charged with a crime, thanks to the sheriff choosing to overlook much of the evidence. Now she acts as a sort of vigilante, hiring herself out to other abused women and confronting their abusers and using whatever means necessary to convince them to leave their victims alone. The story is told with a lightly humorous tone, and I found it very enjoyable. There is a sequel, A Bad Day for Pretty, that I won as an ER book and will be reading soon. The author is a Missouri native, and the story is set in Missouri, somewhere between KC and the lakes. Maybe about Clinton? She uses fictional names for the main places in the story, but does have her characters making quick trips to Harrisonville and The Lake, and mentions that KC is only 50 or 60 miles away. A fun, quick read that actually has someone trying to do something about the bad family behavoir that is so rampant in fictional Missouri.

Jun 28, 2010, 3:47pm Top

It's on the list!

Edited: Jul 10, 2010, 1:36pm Top

As a reader long interested in Missouri stuff, I'm delighted to have found your list. I'll be looking for This is Graceanne's Book and tuning in.

Jul 10, 2010, 1:44pm Top

Welcome to LT and the Missouri Readers, Missourian. I had to go through ILL to get my copy of This is Graceanne's Book but should have it next week. It looks like a good one, and we're always glad to have more people join our discussions.

Jul 10, 2010, 2:13pm Top

Welcome, Missourian! Haven't located a copy of This is Graceanne's Book, yet, but still trying.

Not really a future suggestion, but thought the upcoming publication of the unexpurgated Autobiography of Mark Twain might be of interest to the group:

New York Times review

PBS NewsHour segment

Jul 10, 2010, 3:26pm Top

I want to read the new autobiography, too. I wonder what he put in it that made him insist that they wait 100 years before publishing it...

Jul 10, 2010, 4:16pm Top

My ILL copy of This is Graceanne's book came for me yesterday, so I'll be reading it this week. Only a 7 day check-out. I read a couple of chapters last night, and so far, so good. (I especially enjoyed the descriptions of "Noah softball" - played on a flooded field!) Hope everyone else is able to locate copies soon.

Welcome, Missourian. Looking forward to having you join the discussions.

Jul 10, 2010, 8:18pm Top

I think I've set my ILL to arrive the week of July 19th. I'll have it for three weeks, which should work out fine. I can't seem to find my copy from 10 years ago.

I'll probably read it ahead of time, too. I think we're back from Dubuque on Aug 2 and I probably won't get much reading done that weekend.

Welcome, Missourian!!

Jul 11, 2010, 10:25pm Top

Adding another "Welcome, Missourian!" We look forward to hearing your thoughts! My copy came in the mail yesterday ($3.64--abebooks.com), but I may wait another week or so to start it. It doesn't look like a difficult read.
And I'll add the Twain autobiography to our list. We can always vote it down later!

Jul 14, 2010, 2:52am Top

Hello Missouri Readers -- Unless I couldn't find it the St. Louis County library didn't have a copy of this. What a shame. I bought a copy from Amazon for $4.00. Can't wait to join the discussion.

Mark Twain is good for me. Can't go wrong with him.

Aug 17, 2010, 10:48am Top

The discussion of Graceanne seems to have died down for now. Do you think it's time to choose another book? For discussion in, what?, October?

Aug 17, 2010, 1:54pm Top

October sounds good. Shall I put Mr. Keith to work again drawing three titles from the hat?

Aug 17, 2010, 5:06pm Top

I say "yes" - what about everyone else?

Aug 17, 2010, 5:21pm Top

Sounds good to me, too.

Aug 17, 2010, 9:32pm Top

Excellent idea. Keith has done an outstanding job of picking for us so far. We'll probably end up reading them all eventually (I hope), but this is a fun way to decide which book comes next.

Aug 20, 2010, 9:23pm Top

Okay, Keith has done his magic, and the 3 books he pulled out of the hat were:
Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell (suggested by Donna828 in message 3)
The Tender Land: A Love Story by Kathleen Finneran (suggested by Becky/labwriter in message 8)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (suggested by Sandy/sjmccreary in message 73)
Ladies and Gentleman, Cast Your Ballots Now!

My personal vote is for Mrs. Bridge.

Aug 20, 2010, 9:33pm Top

I vote for A Bad Day for Sorry. Something with a lightly humorous tone would be good. Actually, all three sound good.

To clarify, is it just Mrs Bridge or Mr Bridge as well?

Aug 21, 2010, 11:45am Top

I recently read Bad Day for Sorry, so I'm voting for Mrs Bridge. Linda, Mr Bridge is the sequel, and they were combined for the movie. I haven't read either book, OR seen the movie.

Aug 22, 2010, 8:33pm Top

Well, of course I vote for The Tender Land: A Family Love Story. The author grew up in St. Louis. When I was working as an R.N. many moons ago, her sister was one of my co-workers. This is a lovely family memoir with some dark undertones--suicide of a family member, and by saying that I don't think I'm giving anything away. I understand that some people might prefer to take a pass.

I've been waiting for her second book for years, but it hasn't happened yet, although I notice that she teaches both at Washington University and at my old stomping grounds, she leads workshops on memoir and personal essay at UMSL (U of Missouri at St. Louis). Hmmm. . . maybe I ought to check that out.

Aug 24, 2010, 10:37pm Top

I have to cast my vote for my nominated book Mrs. Bridge. I read this quite awhile ago and remember it as a gentle, quiet story. I think we're due for one of these after Graceanne.

Aug 24, 2010, 10:45pm Top

Vote tally so far:

Mrs Bridge--3 votes
The Tender Land--1 vote
Bad Day for Sorry--1 vote

Aug 25, 2010, 12:56am Top

I'll throw my vote in for Bad Day for Sorry.

Aug 28, 2010, 6:11pm Top

I say we give it one more week, since Mrs Bridge and Bad Day for Sorry are so close. So send everyone you know over here to vote, and we'll decide Friday!

Aug 28, 2010, 10:46pm Top

I vote for Mrs. Bridge. But Bad Day for Sorry sounds good too. If the voting stays close, would we consider the runner up for December?

Aug 30, 2010, 2:44pm Top

That works for me if it's okay with everyone else!

Aug 30, 2010, 2:46pm Top

When would we be talking about Mrs Bridge or whichever book we choose? Early October?

Aug 30, 2010, 3:19pm Top

Early October works for me...

Aug 30, 2010, 3:50pm Top

Hopefully, I'll be rocking my new granddaughter in early October, but I'll take my laptop to Texas with me and be ready to discuss Mrs. Bridge, if that is indeed our choice. Reading the runner-up book in December is a good plan.

Aug 30, 2010, 7:29pm Top

Sounds good to me!

Aug 31, 2010, 11:14pm Top

Well, then instead of waiting for Friday, do you want to just decide Mrs. Bridge for October, and A Bad Day For Sorry for December? Any opposed, say "no" or we'll start talking about Mrs. Bridge on October 4!

Aug 31, 2010, 11:21pm Top

Sounds good to me. If anyone is doing TIOLI, Mrs Bridge would count in September. I think for the "book with a title in it" category.

Sep 1, 2010, 3:10am Top

I am fine with it as well. I'll order my book tomorrow.

Sep 1, 2010, 9:20am Top

>103 lindapanzo:: Thanks for that reminder, Linda. I'll add my name to the TIOLI wiki and read Mrs. Bridge in September....hey, that is this month. Yay! for fall coming!

Sep 1, 2010, 10:38am Top

#105 Yay! for fall coming! Hallelujah!

Sep 4, 2010, 1:16pm Top

I got my copy of Mrs. Bridge yesterday. Seems like a quick read. What date does the discussion start?

Sep 5, 2010, 9:45pm Top

How about October 4? Mondays are always good days to start things!

Sep 6, 2010, 12:34pm Top

October 4 is OK with me. I picked up Mrs Bridge from the library the other day, so that should be no problem.

Sep 9, 2010, 4:26pm Top

Good for me as well.

Oct 14, 2010, 6:45pm Top

I feel like a horrible person!! I posted and you all received me back so well, and then I just 'dumped' all over you again by jetting! I'm really going to have to try to keep up! Would one of you mind adding me as a friend on Facebook so that way we can keep in touch that way too? I'll send you my info so you can search for me on there :)

Edited: Oct 14, 2010, 6:48pm Top

I can add you on facebook, Becky, to keep you updated. My real, facebook-linked email address is on my profile page, if you want to just do a search and find me that way. We've missed you!

ETA: on my LT profile page, I mean.

Oct 15, 2010, 5:27pm Top

Silly Becky. You are not a horrible person. You're just missing some great books!

Oct 26, 2010, 6:10pm Top

Thanks Jfetting for letting me add you on FB! At least I think that was you I added....j/k!

Oct 26, 2010, 6:23pm Top

Hi Becky, I'm glad you're going to be back with us. Have you seen this post?

Oct 26, 2010, 7:33pm Top

totally me - I'll be sure to keep you updated on when we start the next book!

Dec 9, 2010, 6:43pm Top

I haven't read it but would like to add the book Egan's Rats by Daniel Waugh to the mix for future consideration.

I had no idea but there are several books out there about the criminal past of St Louis.

Dec 9, 2010, 8:27pm Top

I read that last month, and I'm now reading Gangs of St. Louis: Men of Respect by Daniel Waugh. I had already put this book on the list, because I'm liking it better, but I'll add Egan's Rats too!

Dec 9, 2010, 9:09pm Top

That was the other one I saw. Thanks, Terri.

Dec 10, 2010, 4:20pm Top

It's interesting, Linda, because some of those guys broke away and joined with Capone, and have been mentioned as being part of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, so there's a Chicago connection for you!

Edited: Jan 23, 2011, 4:43pm Top

In the Books section of today's Sunday Star, there is a new Missouri book featured. The author lives in KC and the story is set in the Ozarks in southern MO. "Miss Me When I'm Gone" (no touchstone yet) by Philip Stephens. He is a poet and this is his first novel. Can we add it to the hat?

The author's extended family hails from southern Missouri, so he has strong ties to that area. I just skimmed the parts of the article that told about the plot of the story - the paper is terrible about giving spoiler alerts - but it sounds like there are similar elements to those present in Winter's Bone: teenage pregnancy, widespread drug use, low high school graduation rates, etc. Cyrus, the main character, is a fiddle player (as is the author) and the role of folk music is another big theme in the book. Quote from the review: "Despite the melancholy lives it reflects, 'Miss Me When I'm Gone' celebrates Missouri life because it refuses to shy away from its shortcomings. We connect with the place for the same reason we relate to Cyrus - for its humanity, for the flaws. Stephens has made this part of the Ozarks an underdog we can get behind and root for. It resonates out of the pages like an old folk song."

edit: Ack! a BIG cover! I don't know how to resize it, since it didn't come from LT. But I like that we can see the details in the picture.

Jan 24, 2011, 4:47pm Top

Sounds good, Sandy! It's on the list!

Jan 24, 2011, 6:45pm Top

I'm glad the cover is big so we can see all the detail. It looks good to me, especially the part about resonating like an old folk song. I don't think we have to worry about running out of books anytime soon. It's great to have a variety of choices.

Feb 18, 2011, 11:02pm Top

So is it time to start thinking about choosing a book to read in April?

Feb 19, 2011, 1:11pm Top

Whenever Keith is ready...

Edited: Feb 23, 2011, 6:38pm Top

Here's a book suggestion. I haven't heard much about it, it might be new. I like to read social history.

The Dead End Kids of St. Louis: Homeless Boys and the People Who Tried to Save Them by Bonnie Stepenoff

I'd also nominate Stepenoff's book Big Spring Autumn. This one is about the Ozarks.

Feb 23, 2011, 11:29pm Top

those both sound good, Linda

Feb 24, 2011, 4:36pm Top

Didn't we read a Daniel Woodrell book earlier? Not sure if you've read it before I joined but his the movie based on his book, Winter's Bone is up for Best Picture at the Oscars this weekend.

I think it's set in the Ozarks.

Feb 25, 2011, 10:50am Top

We did read Winter's Bone, but I never saw the movie. I should--it would be interesting to see how the portrayed it as opposed to my own "mind pictures."

Feb 26, 2011, 12:20am Top

#128 I heard it was filmed near Branson - in the Ozarks. But I didn't know it was up for best picture. Have you read it yet?

#129 It's already on netflix, and the library has listed the DVD on the forthcoming titles list. I've got requests for it on both places. Am anxious for one of them to get here.

Feb 26, 2011, 12:25am Top

#130 No, I haven't read it. At the library the other day, I was looking at the bestseller lists and saw his name, which rang a bell with me.

Feb 26, 2011, 9:46am Top

Read the book, see the movie. Be prepared to be puzzled by the plot and depressed by the darkness.

Winter's Bone doesn't have a prayer to win an Oscar, but the movie will have you on the edge of your seat and tug at your heart. I'm so glad this local author is getting the recognition he deserves.

Mar 25, 2011, 2:20pm Top

Sorry I haven't been around for the group reads, but I've had to stop doing them so that I could get some other projects finished.

I was wondering if the group has read Fannie Flagg's novels set in, I think it is, Elmwood, MO: Welcome to the World, Baby Girl: A Novel, Standing in the Rainbow, and Can't Wait to Get to Heaven? These three novels use the same characters who age "gracefully" over time. They're feel-good and funny without being too sweet. I plan to read them this summer, I hope.

Mar 26, 2011, 9:06pm Top

I don't believe we've read them as a group, although I read Can't Wait to Get to Heaven and didn't realize it was a "series." I'll add them to the list!

Mar 27, 2011, 7:13pm Top

Those sound good, Becky. Should they be read in a certain order?

Mar 30, 2011, 10:48pm Top

Probably yes. I've not read these, but the way I understand it, the novels move chronologically from *Welcome* to *Standing* to *Heaven*.

May 18, 2011, 8:11am Top

I finished all of the Fannie Flagg novels (those three that I mentioned) and loved them all. I think I gave them all a 4-star rating. They are all pretty much stand-alone books, but if I hadn't read any of them, I would suggest that they be read in the order they were written.

May 24, 2011, 9:31am Top

I would like to suggest a novel called Beauties by St. Louis author Mary Troy. It would seem that the touchstones aren't working this morning.

I know Mary from my days at UMSL. When I was there she was the director of the MFA program. She's written three books of short stories, but this is her first novel. The setting is South St. Louis. The one review I read of the book is that the characters are wonderful, but she has too many story lines. The book is told through the voices of two characters, Shelly and Bev, one who is living through a divorce and the other who has lived all of her life with a deformity--born ugly into a family of women who are beautiful and who consider outward beauty of great importance. It might be worth a try.

May 24, 2011, 9:56am Top

Thanks, Becky, for more book suggestions. Beauties sounds like a beauty! Sorry, I couldn't resist.

I just read Anne's (AMQS) review of Stoner by John Williams. The main character grew up on a Missouri farm, went to college to study agronomy and ended up in the Literature program. Sounds great! Let's add this one to the list - if it isn't there already. At this rate, our group won't run out of books anytime soon.

May 24, 2011, 8:02pm Top

Oh, good! Two more books to read!

May 30, 2011, 11:23am Top

Both on the list now! It brings us to 28! We may have to move up to one a month, instead of every other month!

Sep 24, 2011, 12:19pm Top

I'm adding another book to the list that sounds interesting and is by a MO author: Cemetery Bird by Bridget Bufford. If all goes well, I'm going to the book-signing on Monday night. Here's the website: http://www.bridgetbufford.com/CEMETERY_BIRD

Sep 24, 2011, 1:23pm Top

looks interesting, Terri

Edited: Feb 25, 2012, 12:01pm Top

For a future book, I propose that we read the long-lost new Jetta Carleton novel, Clair de Lune.

Here's more info from the publisher about it. It's due out in early March of 2012.


Jan 11, 2012, 9:24pm Top

Oh, Wow! I had given up on that one ever coming out! Onto the list it goes!

May 24, 2012, 12:53pm Top

Gillian Flynn is out with a new book - Gone Girl. We've already read Sharp Objects and Dark Places, so I'd like to put the new one on the list for sometime in the future.

Edited: May 28, 2012, 12:50pm Top

You got it!

ETA: Wow, it's got some really great reviews & ratings! But as we know, she does a great job!

Edited: Jun 9, 2012, 11:48am Top

I am new to Library Thing and just joined this group.

I am a native of St. Louis, and now live in Ballwin, MO. A couple of weeks ago I took an out of town guest to the Arch then to the "Old Court House" where I picked up the book Rollin on the River The Story of the Admiral in St. Louis.

If you have ever taken a trip down the Mississippi on the Admiral, I recommend you get this wonderful book.

Jim in Ballwin

Jun 9, 2012, 1:04pm Top

Welcome, Jim. I left you a message on your profile page with information about our upcoming meet-up in Kansas City on Thursday 6/14. Also, I hope you'll join in on our bi-monthly group reads.

Rollin on the River sounds interesting. My local library doesn't have it, but I'll be in St Louis this weekend and will see if I can find it there.

Edited: Jun 19, 2012, 9:09pm Top

Welcome, Jim! Many, many, many, many years ago, my dance recitals were held on the Admiral. And my father proposed to my mother there. I need to get that book!

ETA: It's available via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Store at http://www.thepost-dispatchstore.com/Saint_Louis_Books_s/31.htm. And it's on sale, along with many other fine books, most of which I either own or have on a wish list!

Edited: Jun 22, 2012, 11:13am Top

I'm sorry about taking so long to get back, It took me awhile to remember where this thread was located.

If you look in Rollin on the River The Story of the Admiral in St. Louis on page 112 you will notice a radar display on the left hand side. Then on page 117 you can see the scanner on the top of the pilot house. I installed this radar in 1973/4.

Then for an advertising photo I hired a photographer to take pictures while underway. After the Admiral turned around and headed North, I had a harbor tug from St. Louis Ship come out and pick us up. I'm not aware of anyone else taking a half way trip on the Admiral.

This book brings back many pleasant memories.

Does just looking at the pictures count as "reading" the book?

Jun 23, 2012, 6:30pm Top

How fun, Jim! I love it when a picture brings back a late memory! I may just have to buy it next week when I get paid. My book budget was shot in Kansas for this last paycheck...

And of course it counts! It's your list, so you can make up your own rules!

Edited: Jun 25, 2012, 7:13pm Top

Terri I noticed you have two books I am interested in, The First World War by Michael Howard, and To end all Wars by Adam Hochschild.

Do you recommend them? I have them located on ABEbooks and ready to hit the buy button.


Jun 28, 2012, 7:46pm Top

Glad to find another WWI aficionado!

Group: Missouri Readers

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