Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Turn The Page ... Tuesday


For my 'pull off your shelf' challenge I decided to go for one of my favorite authors. I don't know why A Wedding In December lingered there for so long. Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say "ABig Chill–like group reunites for a 40-something wedding in this melancholy story of missed opportunities, lingering regrets and imagined alternatives by Shreve (The Last Time They Met). Bill and Bridget were sweethearts at Maine's Kidd Academy who rediscovered one another at their 25th reunion. Bridget was already divorced; Bill left his family; the two have now gathered their Kidd coterie to witness their hasty wedding—Bridget has breast cancer—at widow Nora's western Massachusetts inn. The death of charismatic schoolmate Stephen at a drunken high school party hovers over the event. Stephen's then-roommate, Harrison, now a married literary publisher, remains particularly tormented by it, especially since he had (and still has) romantic feelings for Nora, who was Stephen's then-girlfriend. Abrasive Wall Street businessman Jerry, now-out-of-the-closet pianist Rob, single Agnes (who teaches at Kidd and has a secret of her own) and various children round things out. Tensions build as the group gets snowed in, and someone gets drunk enough to say what every one's been thinking. Though Shreve's plot, characters and dialogue are predictable (as are her inevitable 9/11 rehashes), she sure-handedly steers everyone through their inward dramas, and the actions they take (and don't) are Hollywood satisfying."

I don't know if I agree with the "Hollywood satisfying" although this book would probably make a good movie - teenage angst turned into adult longing, a tragic death, abusive relationships, infidelity, a terminal illness. In this day in age you don't need your 25th reunion to reconnect with old pals - you just need Facebook. This book was written before the era of social media but it certainly brings to light the age old question "when do you leave the past the past". Although I enjoyed the book maybe it home too closely in that I am aging too. I certainly didn't have as dramatic high school (or college for that matter) experience as this group and I don't long for what could have been. I do however feel the clock ticking (maybe it's the approach of my 39th bday- yikes!) that has me a bit sentimental. This book to me was a double edged sword - the characters and their struggles saddened me but Shreve's writing had me hooked and wanting to know what in the world was going to become of everyone.



Next up is a much lighter read and one of my book club selections. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott is a delightful summer (or anytime) read. Apparently there is quite a bit known about Alcott, her family and especially her philosopher father but there is limited documentation regarding a summer spent in Walpole, N.H.. This is where the author takes her lead and the story becomes historical fiction. I loved reading this book. There is just enough drama and a bit of heart wrenching in an Alcott fashion (even though Alcott is not the author) that you feel like you are on the sidelines pulling for team Joseph (her love interest) or team Louisa - or both at any given time. I really liked this book ... did I say that already? I loved it so much that I need a bit of Louisa herself ...
So I picked up my copy of Little Women that I've had since I was a tween and dug in. The similarities in the two books are comforting. While reading The Lost Summer we got to know Louisa and her family just as we do while reading Little Women. I couldn't help but buy into Jo being Louisa and then picking out each sister and assigning them their namesake. I never finished LW when I was a kid; I'm not sure why but I'm glad I revisited this classic and made it to the end. I also have Little Men  and Eight Cousins on my shelf and I couldn't resist this deal for my Kindle: The Best of Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom - all for 99 cents. Uh hu ... you know what's coming soon!

So tell me - where has your nose been? Tackle any TBR? Add your link and let us know!

8 comments:

Paula said...

Funny - I never made it through Little Women either, but it's hanging out on my shelf - next to Little Men. I do need to revisit those and am adding The Lost Summer to my list. Happy Reading!

Sara said...

I have never read Little Women...but I liked the movie...will have to read it now!

Debi said...

I love Anita Shreve and December Wedding is one of my favorites. I did reread Little Women earlier this year... it wasn't as good as I remembered!

Jill said...

Little women.... little women... hmmmm, I don't think I've read that. I like the Louisa May Alcott book, too!

Ohh, so many books, not enough time! :)

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Argh! I am so far behind. I promise, by tomorrow I'll be linked up with TTPT. Where did this month go?

I loved, loved, loved Louisa's stories. I hope you do to. They're such classics. I was so obsessed with her that I've made it a point to visit her home in Concord, MA -- not once, but twice.

Stacey's Treasures said...

Little Women is a good classic. I watched the movie not to long ago.

Ruth said...

I usually read a big pile of books in the summer but this time I haven't been able to. Once again summer is filled with projects here. Right now I am working on my son's room. It's been busy and I usually fall right to sleep at night. I start off reading but never make it past the first page.
Adding Lost Summer to my reading list.
Ruth

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I was a day late -- but I made it! I loved Louisa's books. I hope you do to. If you're ever in Massachusetts, you should visit her home in Concord. I've been there three times.