I’m a few days late in posting this – but here are the books I read in April – some better than others. Some were almost forgettable – now I know not to buy books at the Dollar Store – simply because they are there. Here goes:
BODY SURFING by Anita Shreve: I usually like Anita Shreve, but I found this book predictable, somewhat tedious and just okay. The most interesting thing about the book is she is revisiting a house that has been in a couple of her previous novels, most notably The Pilot’s Wife.
SAVAGE HARVEST: A Tale of Cannibalism, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman: With a title like that, it was hard not to be drawn in. As I was reading it, the story kept popping up on the news (from NPR to CBS Sunday Morning)! Michael Rockefeller disappeared off the coast of New Guinea in 1961. It was long thought and accepted he had drowned. Now after 50+ years and alot of research, this is possibly a true account of what happened. This is a story of a different culture, a detective story with cannibalism and headhunting, and a little art thrown in on the side. Michael’s collection of primitive art was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A STRANGER LIKE YOU by Elizabeth Brundage: I usually love books about Hollywood, but this was at the Dollar Store – and frankly – I’d forgotten I read it one rainy afternoon!
THE WRITING CIRCLE by Corinne Demas: Another book from the Dollar Store – but this one was somewhat better. The writers in the circle are professional published writers, which made it a bit more interesting. It was “okay”.
THE GREEN LINE by E.C. Diskin: I read this in one afternoon – as I do most legal thrillers. The Green Line refers to a a train line in Chicago. While I was aware of civil forfeiture, this spells it out and shows how innocent people can be stripped of their personal property without due process. While it is somewhat predictable with a very crooked police force, it was still fun to read and learn about this unbelievable law!
A PLACE AT THE TABLE by Susan Rebecca White: This book started out in familiar territory, my home of Decatur, Ga. The original inspiration is the friendship of Atlanta Chef Scott Peacock and his friendship with renowned Southern chef and author Edna Lewis. The two main characters, Bobby Banks – a gay man from Decatur and Alice Stone – an African American that grew up in Emancipation, NC. come together in a New York restaurant, where their love of home cooking draws them together and secrets are revealed. I enjoyed this book!
A MAN WITH A BLUE SCARF, On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucien Freud by Martin Gayford: Martin Gayford is a well respected art critic, and this is his telling of sitting for seven months for a portrait by Lucien Freud, widely regarded as one of the best figurative artists in the 20th Century. This is a great book about the creative process, as Gayford took notes throughout the process. Interestingly, when the painting was completed, he sat again for an etching which took another nine months. I plan on reading this again, as this is a great look into a great creative mind.
EMPTY MANSIONS: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.; What a story! Her father made millions in copper mining – he is the “clark” from Clark County (Las Vegas). They had a 121 room mansion on Park Avenue. Huguette and her mother were big music lovers and art collectors. Huguette played the violin, painted, but was extremely shy. One of my favorite stories is about a musician playing in their house and her mother suggested he start a quarter, but he told her the problem was they didn’t have enough instruments. So – she took a Cezanne off the wall, went to a gallery and sold it, came back and took the musician with her and bought FOUR STRADS! 2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello. Huegette also collected dolls and doll houses, loved the Smurfs, the Jetsons. She became a recluse, spending the last 20 years of her life in a hospital (she wasn’t sick!). Amazing story!
PLAY. CREATE. SUCCEED by Jean Hamilton-Fford: This was sent to me by the author as we are in a blogging group together. The subtitle of this is “Radical Thinking for a New Age”. There are so many golden nuggets in this!!! I read it quickly to get an overview – I wll definitely go back and re-read it slower and work through it. In reading through this, I realized I haven’t been playing much lately. I’ll write more on this later when I delve deeper into the book!
Another book I have picked up is COLOR: A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE PALETTE by Victoria Finlay . This is a fascinating book, but extremely dense. I have read the first chapter on the color Ochre. Each chapter could be it’s own blog post! (Maybe that will happen!)
One thing I realized in writing this list this month – I spent too much time readng things I didn’t fall in love with – I was just using up time. So – no more buying dollar books unless I have some background on the book. I’m going to take more recommendations – starting with a book left in a comment last month – THE OLD WAYS – A JOURNEY ON FOOT by Robert McFarlane, thank you Helen DeRamus!
I’ll take recommendations!