Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ten to read in 2011: Old Gold - the first 4 recommendations

Here are some of my favorites that you might have missed through the years. You should be able to find most of them at your library or though a local bookstore. They are not in any particular order and range from classics to romance to historical fiction - something for everyone!

10. Paint the Wind  Cathy Cash Spellman’s western historical romance is a sweeping tribute to the boldness of the frontier and the men and women who carved out their destinies following the Civil War. You’ll take a “Fancy” to this one with its tale stretching from Louisiana to a Colorado mining town  to New York City and a cast of characters including a madam, miners, and the two men who love the same woman.

9. Confederacy of Dunces  by John Kennedy Toole.  The title for this singular (and posthumously awarded 1981 Pulitzer Prize winner)  tome comes from the Jonathan Swift quotation, "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." The book takes place in New Orleans (home of the author) and tells the story of Ignatius J. Reilly a thirtyish slob who although well educated believes that lady fortune (ah, goddess Fortuna where are you?) doesn’t shine upon him and his job hunting (through no fault of his own of course!). Unforgettable, with characters so colorful you will find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe the film has yet to be made. Hollywood please hurry --- but PLEASE don’t ruin this masterpiece!

8.     Tender by Mark Childress.  Growing up dirt poor in Mississippi and then becoming the most famous rock and rock legend in history – kind of sounds like Elvis Presley. That will be your guess too when you read this well written and fascinating novel about “Leroy’s” early years, including the twin he lost at birth, his adoring and overly attentive mother, a voice unlike any other and the quest for fame.  An emotional ride through the fictionalized life of the boy from Tupelo who called Memphis home.

7.       In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. When a middle-aged career woman enters a cloistered Benedictine convent her entire life becomes centered on quiet, thoughtful contemplation, prayer and life within a community of other women. Huge lifestyle change! Rumer Godden does a beautiful job of weaving the fabric of religious life along with the emotional upheaval, spiritual quest (and questions) community (including the stories of the other nuns) as she tells the story of Phillipa Talbot and her new life as a cloistered nun in an English convent. (You may remember the 1970’s movie with Diana Rigg).