Harry Bosch is Michael Connelly’s lead character in a series
of detective books had thirty years in the LAPD. But now he’s out and doing his
own private investigating in The Wrong Side of Goodbye. A
reclusive billionaire contacts Harry. He’s haunted by a regret and wants Harry
to find a child he might have fathered. This was long ago, but there’s a vast
fortune at stake. Is the Mexican girl, now an old woman, still alive? Is
she even in the country? Did she have a child? There’s danger ahead for the
man, for Harry, and for the possible heir or heirs he’s seeking.
Cover blurb – But as Harry begins to uncover the haunting
story – and finds uncanny links to his own past – he knows he cannot rest until
he learns the truth.
Meanwhile, Bosch volunteers for a small town police
department and tracks a serial rapist – a baffling and dangerous foe. Michael
Connelly keeps all of the balls in the air as you hold your breath for Harry.
For a retired detective he’s the busiest man in Los Angeles. Fast paced, The
Wrong Side of Goodbye, is a darn good read with several
satisfying twists and turns to a crazy ride and heart pounding
I enjoyed The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey with a
book club. It was a worthy read and discussion and left me pondering part
of the overall book. Was she real or not? I don’t have the answer – you will
need to read and decide for yourself.
It’s 1920, Alaska and rough country for Jack and Mabel to
homestead. As they try to maintain their marriage after she miscarries, the
hard work and loneliness cut a larger drift in their lives. But one
evening, the first snow of the season begins to fall. Jack and Mabel build a
child out of snow. Cover blurb: The next morning the snow child is gone…but
they glimpse a young girl running through the trees. Faina, as she calls
herself, hunts with a red fox and survives in the wilderness. She visits the
couple more and more and slowly accepts their food and affection. As they come
to understand this child, who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy
tale, they begin to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful,
violent territory, things are rarely as they appear, and what they learn
about Faina will transform them all.
The descriptions of Alaska are beautiful. Ivey lends a wide
range of vocabulary to the haunting wildness of the terrain. Her characters
begin weak – will they make it in their new home? But Mabel and Jack grow
backbones. They meet neighbors who are quite colorful, and slowly there’s a
humor and richness to all their lives as they harvest the bonds of
friendship. And Faina is the sprite who grows up before them. She brings
anticipation to Mabel’s every day. P. 117 The December days had a
certain luminosity and sparkle, like frost on bare branches, slight in the
morning just before it melts.
The Snow Child is a unique story, rich in
character, setting, and twists. It’s got roots in the Alaska earth, and also
has a freeing native spirit – a mysticism of sorts. I liked this book a lot, as
did my book club group. What do you think about Faina? Read it and see.
Happy Easter weekend everyone! Here's my little tablescape at home. It was nice to pull out my bunny stuff. Spring pastels and cuteness. The little ceramic bunny - I made that back in junior high art class.
This bunny plate is a new treat. It caught my eye in the Anthropologie store in Southlake. Cheap enough kitschy stuff....heck yeah, I wanted it.
I am in PA visiting my Dad. We'll be eating Easter brunch at my brother's place. It will be nice to see everyone. A little spring renewal.
My sister is on spring break for the upcoming week and she'll be popping in and out. Will we accomplish any clean out? Will Dad allow us to pry stuff loose from his arthritic hands? Can we run faster than him using his walker?
Stay tuned. I will answer these questions and have some Dad senior stories at the end of the month.
Meanwhile - Happy Easter - enjoy the spirit of the season.
From the cover blurb – Commonwealth by Ann
Patchett is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of
stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and
responsibility that bind us together.
Patchett is a glorious writer who can weave together a tale
that will pull you in and not let go. Bert Cousins shows up for Franny’s
christening party. He’s not been invited, but the Keatings welcome him because
that’s what they do. By nightfall he’s kissed Beverly (the mother) and
has set in motion the dissolution of two marriages and the joining of two
Five decades are covered in Commonwealth.
The six kids unite and manage to become friends, united against the parents
who betrayed them. Franny, our heroine, begins an affair with a famous
author, Leon Posen. Her stories to him of her family become gristmill for his
award winning book. Can Franny survive this betrayal of sorts? Can the family
overcome the losses, guilt, and connection they have to the past to overcome
the future? Humor and heartbreak are the connections in Commonwealth.
Through it all, Patchett’s writing is lovely. She captures
the characters, weaves her plot, and keeps us wanting more. I highly
recommend this book and shall not give away more plot. You must delve into it
yourselves. Dig deep and root for this family to pull together and make it
work. This is very much a book about current times, blended families, and the
power of love.
Holy Cow – Colin Whitehead’s book Underground Railroad
is just stunning. The story, the writing, and the characters. Totally
worthy of Pulitzer Prize nomination and many awards for 2016. Whitehead
reimagines the underground railroad as a real train. Cora is a slave on a
cotton plantation in Georgia. Caesar compels her to take a risk and join him
for escape. Oh, but plans go awry. Now they are hunted. There’s a secret
network of tracks and tunnels. We follow Cora and Caesar as they navigate the
system and you root for them all the way. But it’s tough.
First stop is South Carolina. Seemingly idyllic, but hiding
slave catchers and others blocking true freedom. Cora is so strong and
her odyssey is a journey through time and space. From the cover – Whitehead
brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War
era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America. The Underground
Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to
escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the
history we all share.
I was transfixed reading this book. It will break your heart
and also strengthen your resolve in rooting for Cora. Just knowing what her
grandmother went through, and her mother, and then her. Wow – so strong and
vital, and smart, and good, and worthy of a chance. Whitehead’s writing
is lovely. I enjoyed his book Sag Harbor, and now in this book he is
just better and stronger. There is no agenda. Just darn good writing and
a story for the ages.
Cover blurb – Writing about yourself is a funny
business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show
the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this. Bruce
Bruce Springsteen was Born to Run – in music,
in his life, sometimes from himself. Just as he gives his all on stage,
in the studio, and on his recordings, he gives his all in this book. He
discusses his demons, his depression, his restlessness, and his need to write
and perform music. His words pour out on the page – well crafted, poetic at
times, and rough and raw on other pages. I enjoyed this book a lot and I hauled
out some old albums for backdrop music.
He grew up Catholic and poor in Freehold, New Jersey. Poetry,
danger, and darkness fueled his imagination. He played the bars of
Asbury Park, and became beloved at the Jersey Shore. With the E Street Band,
they toured, wrote, toured more, and struggled often.
p.15 I am alienating, alienated, and socially homeless…I
am seven years old
p.237 There was no master plan guiding band selection
beyond instinct, geography, and the power of the music once we began to play.
p. 243 describing the late Clarence Clemons-genius sax
player: He had the face of an exotic emperor, an island king, a
heavyweight boxer, a shaman, a chain-gang convict, a fifties bluesman, and a
deep soul survivor. It held one million secrets and none at all.
(any mention of Clemons is a joy in this book. The brotherly bond and love of
music shines through. And Springsteen loved and counted on Clarence Clemons as
a backbone to his life)
p. 369 on Patti Scialfa –his wife and bandmate – I was
more than a song, a story, a night, an idea, a pose, a truth, a shadow, a lie,
a moment, a question, an answer, a restless figment of my own and others’
imagination…Work is work..but life…is life…and life trumps art…always
If you love music, read this book. If you enjoy good writing
and a glimpse into a musical poet’s soul, read this book. Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen is genuine to the core.
I treated myself a few Sundays ago to a symphony ticket. How glorious. As part of the Pops series, the Fort Worth Symphony presented Rodgers & Hammerstein show tunes accompanied by film clips. Basically, the symphony played and the singers on screen burst into song.
I knew them all thanks to my folks. My mother and father loved theater and show tunes and I grew up knowing Oklahoma , The King and I, Carousel, Sound of Music, and South Pacific. Wow - so many great songs.
If I Loved You, June is Bustin' Out All Over, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Some Enchanted Evening, Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance, Oh What A Beautiful Morning, and more....
I had a great seat in the orchestra section. The symphony did a grand job, and the clips brought back such awesome memories. I was fortunate to actually see Yul Brynner many years ago in a touring production of the King and I - holy cow - he commanded the stage.
Anyway, support your local musicians and go see some and hear some great tunes. I'll be going back, that's for sure.
From the cover blurb – In Kayla Rae Whitaker’s bold and
vibrant debut, a life-changing friendship collides with all-consuming creative
ambition to explosive can’t look away effect.
Indeed, the Animators, is edgy and
different. Two twenty something girls meet in college and instantly connect.
Mel Vaught from Florida and Sharon Kisses from Kentucky are escaping their
families, their lives, and themselves as they create animated short films and
ultimately a feature film. In a unique world, they create and also work out
their respective family issues with blazing creativity. They have an
underworld following and ultimately win a very high award. With that
money, they work harder and dig deeper.
They identify Mel’s mother’s body in prison. That’s a harsh
awakening. Sharon has a stroke at a young age. They deal with that. They visit
Kentucky and Sharon’s past which includes a neighbor who was a child molester.
So many issues and harsh upbringings – all fodder for animation – their life
blood, their way of expressing themselves. But alcohol and drugs play
heavily and this reality could bring this successful duo down. So many
excess, so much strong personality, and of course there’s a competitive undertone.
Who’s the genius, the powerhouse, and who’s the workhorse?
How will this friendship survive and thrive with various
love interests – male and female, younger admirers, and creative boundaries? The
Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker is a strong debut book with very quirky
interesting characters. Her writing is bold, daring, and vibrant. I enjoyed
this book, was challenged by this book, and can recommend this book if you want
to step outside your comfort zone.
Hungry Heart – Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing
by Jennifer Weiner is heartwarming and endearing. It’s like hanging out
with a good friend who “gets” you. She’s now a bestselling author (Good
in Bed, In Her Shoes, et al), but she’s also a mom, daughter, sister,
wife, and is a mix of Nora Ephron and Tina Fey. (That’s a good thing!)
From the cover – hilarious and moving, Hungry Heart is about yearning
and fulfillment, loss and love, and a woman who searched for her place in the
world and found it as a storyteller.
She always felt like an outsider, even in her own family.
She was a “big” girl – healthy and athletic (competed in rowing), but loved to
eat, loved to read, and just followed a different path. She was smart and
knew it and didn’t let it hold her back. She found her voice in a newsroom,
then as a novelist, and now as an activist and New York Times columnist.
She worked hard at her craft. In a class with John McPhee she learned about
revising and revising again. P. 110 Every piece of prose had to be
whittled and buffed, fine-tuned and reworked and rubbed down and polished
again, until it was as close to perfect as you could get it.
I enjoyed this book – whether it was her describing living
in Philly and dealing with her kids. Or it was divorcing and rebounding. I
liked the chapter about her grandmother in the retirement home and the “mean
girls” there. Nothing in life really changes. You have to learn to be part of a
group whether you are a kid or a senior. Jennifer Weiner has learned to adapt
and embrace her differences to be part of a group. She’s found her writing
niche and keeps honing her craft. She embraces social media and tries her best
to help for positive change.
P. 402 Keep swimming. Keep talking. If something’s
wrong, speak up. I will always love you, and I will always see you, all of you,
inside and out. And every single part of you is perfect.
Sunday March 19th Ray and I went to the Dallas Arboretum - one of my favorite places on this planet. We are having a very early spring with a week ahead of 80 degree weather. The tulips are almost past their prime. Glad we could visit and see them
Absolute bliss. And I know this is rotten, when my Dad and family are all chipping away at ice and dirty snow piles in PA. Hey, it will come back to bite us in August with over 100 degree temps.
Meanwhile, we smile and use sunscreen. Spring.......sings
All Aboard - Tuesday September 13 - Denali to Anchorage via train
We boarded the McKinley Explorer at
9:30 am. I love trains and this one did not disappoint. We had comfortable
seats in a glass open bubble. The views
were breathtaking. Misty clouds, golden leaves, reflecting lakes, burbling rivers.
"Termination Dust" is a light snow dusting signaling the end of
Look up the Dr. Seuss House in Alaska. You could see it's unique design
from the train.
So smooth, we zoomed over look out after look out. How many vista pictures could I take?
Oh, yes, I can bore you to tears. Go do
And an eagle soared by the train as we pulled into Anchorage. So
We arrived in Anchorage at 5:45 pm.
A bus took us to our hotel. Back to reality. Not fancy, just a way
station. We did get a reservation at
7:30 at Simon & Beauforts - a worthy last meal complete with sunset vistas.
Wednesday September 14th was our farewell to Alaska. We enjoyed the
Anchorage Museum - a mix of art and native culture. Arctic themes and native
Eskimo installations. We learned a lot
Onward to to the airport for an 8:40 pm flight that will last six hours and
go through three time zones. We land at 6 am in Dallas on Thursday
Tired troopers. Our bags arrived
with us. Time for reality, laundry, and sort through our pictures.
So many memories. Farewell Alaska -
what an awesome state
Excellent Ray 60th Birthday Treat
Go book your land/sea adventure now........................
Land Ho. Monday September 12. Okay, I admit I do take some dramamine
because we are going to be on a bus all
day. You never know - better safe thank sorry.
Ray did check around midnight for the Northern Lights. Alas, too much
cloud cover. We never did see them.
2 pm tour bus for the Tundra Wilderness Tour. Book this now........wow, what a splendid
Justin, our tour guide, was studying for his masters in biology. He's been
studying wolves. His gig as a Denali bus driver is a bonus for us - the man
knows his park, the animals, and he sought to give us the best experience
The National Park system of the USA is a treasure and funds should not be
cut. That's my political statement of the day. In Denali they maintain a
natural eco-system. No interference.
What lives. What dies. That's how it goes. No hunting or thinning of herds.
It's maintained naturally. Regulated
buses run during the day. The park shuts at night. Only a certain amount of
certified photographers are allowed in per day. It is controlled for a good reason - try to NOT interfere
with mother nature. I was very
Denali is the size of Massachusetts.
Again the scale is mammoth and it's reassuring to know there is so much
wild still not developed. Trust me - go see and you'll be glad.
Caribou had migrated already. We could see the tracks. One lumbering
grizzly sought berries. His huge paws
dug furiously and found a yield. Justin stopped the bus and we watched
him. He dug, strolled, walked in front
of our bus, and proceeded to continue his search for food. The whole bus stayed quiet
as we snapped pictures. He was SO big
and just freaking amazing.
Altogether, in our seven hour day
(which flew by), we saw eight grizzly,
eight moose (they are humongous), grouse,squirrels, bear cubs, an eagle,and a rainbow.
Of course, Saturday September 10th dawns glorious. It's our day at sea, not
the Glacier Bay day. Oh well. There's a
lot of motion on the ship and we both have a slight sore throat and cough.
Probably best to stay on the down low. Ray does his one gambling foray in the
casino. That's a bust. We hang on our verandah in the sun and read. We do get
in our one mile walk on the Lido deck, but even that's getting tiresome. We are
ready to get off the boat for good. I can highly recommend Holland America. The staff has been fantastic, the shows
awesome, food is delicious, etc etc. But
we are not "cruise" people. We want to be on land and into the
Sunday September 11th - we say farewell to the Noordam. We have cruised.
Bus trip through Seward and we learn about the great quake of 1964. It
obliterated the city. Zoom on through Anchorage, Wasilla (I can see Russia from
here - ha!), Willow, and finally outskirts of Denali by 5:30 - the McKinley
Chalet. Nifty resort with a room
overlooking mountains and a river. The
yellow aspens pop - gorgeous fall colors.
We are now on our LAND adventure.
A tale as old as time….Beauty and the Beast gets
a live action Disney remake that is absolutely gorgeous and worthy. Go see it
on a monster big screen. Spring for the good theater with XD fancy screen and
sound. Get the big tub of popcorn and bask in an old fashioned musical.
Not much new to the story. Belle (Emma Watson) is the odd girl in an old
French town. She reads books, for goodness sake, and dreams of more to life.
No, she does not want to marry Gaston (Luke Evans) – the hot male in town who’s
an egomaniac. Her father (the always good to see Kevin Kline) is
eccentric and when he goes off to market loses his way and ends up a prisoner
in an odd creepy castle. His faithful horse shows up and takes Belle to find
him. There she says, “Step into the light” and meets the Beast.
This formerly vain prince had a curse placed upon him and
his castle. Now, until a final rose petal falls, he must remain a hideous
creature and his servants are stuck as candelabras (Ewan McGregor), clocks (Ian
McKellan), teapots (Emma Thompson), and the fancy wardrobe (Audra MacDonald-
fabulous voice), etc. Belle swaps places with her father and
shows her strong will. She’s not going to put up with crap from the Beast. But
slowly she realizes he is her match – he’s well read, has a fabulous library,
and she slowly makes him less selfish. Meanwhile, she charms the characters and
they love her.
Emma Watson is perfect in this role. She projects
intelligence. Her interplay with the Beast (a charming and worthy Dan Stevens)
works. And he slowly wins her favor and ours. Deep down he is human, he does
care, and does need and seek love. Can she fall for him in time to save them
all? Oh, you must enjoy the film to the end – bask in the lavish numbers
(Be Our Guest). Love is unpredictable, and sometimes you do have to look
into the soul, into the core of a creature to find what’s worthy. So,
yes, a bit of a lesson in this day and age. But the supreme goal of Beauty
and the Beast is to entertain, to tell a tale as old as time…and golly
gee, it will win your heart.
The finale of the UTA Maverick Speaker series featured Fareed Zakaria. His general talk on the issues of the global economy was enlightening. A key aspect he touched on was technology - money can change hands and cross borders at lightning speed. Communication has exploded exponentially. The speed of progress and automation affects perceptions and has heightened fears.
However Zakaria is optimistic. I liked his view that America has been great, is great, and if it can maintain the OLD American spirit we know - the generosity, openness, and ingenuity - progress can be made.
This is a man (an immigrant!!) who was born in India, educated at Yale and Harvard, has traveled widely, and is well regarded for his political and economic coverage of the world. His speech offered humor and was thought provoking.
Friday September 9 - It was a dark
and stormy morning". Alas, the big boat event day - our tour into Glacier
Bay was ominous. This would be our worst weather day. Oh well. You never know in Alaska what you will get late September.
We listen to a prep talk about where we are headed and what to expect. Then
we go to the Crow's Nest - 10th floor of the ship. Alas, it's misty glare and
way too crowded. Rumor has it they might open the bow. We hurry to our room to
bundle up. First we go to deck 3. Brrrr. Reid Glacier, Lansplugh Glacier, and
Johns Hopkins Inlet. Lots of wow moments despite the brutal weather.
Bow opens and we are layered with boots, hats, and multi-coats. We bustle
out and gasp. Rain, wind, and a massive glacier in view. Quite dramatic. We
snap pics with freezing fingers. Okay -
that's enough. We give. Nature wins.
Scurry indoors to change clothes. We are soaked through. Since we have a veranda we stand at the glass
with our noses pressed against the glass. Lovely. We break for lunch, then return to our room
for the grand finale - the Marjorie Glacier.
The weather has broken a bit so we even venture outside - bundled up of
course. Oh, the caves and blue ice. The Captain spins the ship slowly a full 360
degrees. Hey - we can even hear an ice calving - a dull roar and we can see the
splash as ice breaks off. Tremendous.
One can only imagine a sunny day - beyond spectacular.
We finish up our day killing time. Announcements are made about expected
boat rocking challenges. Ray even partakes of
dramamine. Any place you go on the boat, you weave and weeble wobble.
It's a disconcering feeling. However we
are able to sleep after seeing the Noordam actors present a lovely show.
Glaciers are an amazing wonder to see. And the only way to see this
National Park treasure is via cruise ship. It's well monitored and very conscious of the environment. We want to
preserve this purity!!
Skagway - Thursday September 8. This
is one of my favorite days. I highly recommend the Glacier Point Wilderness
Adventure. These excursions do cost extra but are worth the bucks spent. How
else to truly experience Alaska? You have to get out there...into the rugged
wild...albeit with guides. Prior to coming on a big trip like this I do
recommend walking. Get into some semblance of shape - you'll want to keep up and be worthy.
7:30 am and off the boat. We board a
harbor boat with Elise, our young perky guide, and twenty other intrepid
explorers. Captain Dan pushes back and we zoom for 1-1/2 hours through fjords,
inlets, passing waterfalls, mountains, misty clouds, and harbor seals lounging
on shore. It's not too choppy. Yes, I took my dramamine.
On land we meet our dudes - the wilderness guides. These are twenty
something guys who are college grads and not ready to settle down. They work
hard in Alaska from May through end of September. They enjoy hiking, nature,
and sharing this wilderness with
tourists. They've obviously done their research and their enthusiasm is
So, first stop is to put on waterproof boots. Then we hike on a narrow tree
rooted path downhill to a river. Canoes await and we board. Matt is our guide -
a dreadlocked white dude from the Midwest. He's very laid back and cool. We paddle a bit and then he kicks on the
motor. We zoom to the glacier.
The scale of this area is monumental. You think you are close to a glacier
but you are a mile or so away. Chunks of ice float by. Matt stops briefly and
hauls in a big chunk - it is crystal clear. The purity here is reassuring.
Mankind has not ruined everything.
Canoe lands and we slog ashore to walk about a mile on river walk. It's not
easy - hence, you should have trained a bit for this. Blue ice gleamed. Stunning
turquoise blue shades. Lapis hues take your breath away. Rocks are the size of buildings. This glacier
is HUGE. I'm out of adjectives to describe this. Any pictures you see - they are true and
more. Breathtakingly fabulous.
It was all exhiliarating. We
lingered - hating to return to the
canoe, paddling back, boarding our harbor boat and returning to Skagway. Refreshed and tired for a good
reason, we stumbled back to the ship by 3:30 for a nap.
I can't emphasize enough - book excursions. Get out there. Chat with your
guides - it's an engaging group of young folks
seeing the world and learning a lot.
So, nighttime on the ship. Dinner - brie appetizer, trout with spaghetti,
and a strawberry mousse. This is not buffet. The sit-down dinners are really
7 pm - Pub Trivia. Victory!
8 pm - Mike Bliss - comedy, juggling, and magic. We are amused
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.