Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Reviews?

Tami does... Book Reviews?

Well, it finally happened.  The cold/flu/nastiness that has been plaguing the children finally laid me low, and I mean it WALLOPED me.  I am totally blaming our visit to the pediatrician’s office, back when N had to be seen for her pinkeye - before that day I had remained smugly serenely somewhat healthy, even as the kids fell, one by one.  
I am over-dramatizing this whole thing, BTW.  :)  I did get sick; I got a dreadful cold that seemed to not want to play favorites between my throat, ears, sinuses and chest.  The worst symptom, though, was the fatigue.  I am not a terribly active person (insert my honey’s snicker of understatement here), but I am accustomed to having the energy to do something!  I didn’t craft, I didn’t paint, and I obviously didn’t post.  I made plans, and then I fell asleep.  
I did somehow manage to get GW on Sunday, and to the Thrift on Wednesday morning - it must have been a miracle!

Sunrise is a miracle we get every single day!
Seriously, though, what I did do was read.  When I had the chills and no amount of layers would warm  me, I climbed into our completely narcoleptic bed, pulled up the covers as high as possible, and dove into my stash of library books.  
Unless they are design, decorating, or DIY books, I almost exclusively read fiction for pleasure.  I also read fast - so I devoured 3 novels since I posted last.
I started with The Red Garden, by Alice Hoffman, who also wrote two of my favorite novels - Practical Magic and Turtle Moon.  

The majority of her books have a mystical or magical component, but not so much that it’s the single defining element.  In The Red Garden, the story unfolds in snapshots, almost short stories on their own.  Each chapter tells of a new generation of the descendants of  Hallie Brady, teenaged wife and only member of the town’s founding party willing to brave the Massachusetts wilderness in the blizzards of 1749 to keep them all alive.  Hallie passes down her affinity for nature and her connection to the creatures of the area, and each unfolding story introduces a new character to enjoy, and several have interesting interactions with historical figures that lead you on new paths of curiosity.  Central to the story is the titular Red Garden, where only red fruits and flowers grow, no matter what is planted, and secrets are made, hidden and eventually, revealed.
I enjoyed this novel, but prefer a more cohesive story myself.  Each vignette is entertaining on it’s own, but often left me with questions that could have probably been fleshed out into short novellas.  This book would be great for someone with limited time to read, as you could pick it up and read about a generation or two, and not feel too desperate to keep going when you had to put it down for a day or two.
This is a book worth reading - and Alice Hoffman is a prolific author whose work is definitely worth getting to know, if you haven’t already encountered it.  Give her a chance, and enjoy some magic!  My next choice is The Story Sisters, which I somehow missed when it was released in 2009...

I hope to come back to you later today, to tell you about the other two books I burned through in my sickbed.  Maybe I can make up for my slackitude {it IS a word!} earlier in the week.  :)
My big project today is going to be painting N’s room - we’re keeping her upstairs for now, and the decision was just made, so I need to get a move on if I’m going to have anything to reveal tomorrow, for her birthday.  So much to do!  It was NOT a good time to be shirking my decorating duties, and now I have to rev up!  Writing will be my “break” time today...
Talk to you soon,

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