January 2016 Posts

Literary Passions – January 2016

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Favorite Reads

Favorite Reads


 January’s literary passions range from reimagining a Camus’ classic to stories of almost famous women, plus two thought provoking tales on the havoc politics wreaks on the lives of a Russian, and finally, that of  a Parisian.  I didn’t want any of these books to be over when I hit the last page. I promise you won’t be bored!

Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman,  elegant stories about women, whom history often has cast aside, but remain “almost famous” because of their creative impulses, fierce independence, and often reckless decisions,  Among them are Beryl Markham, Standard Oil heiress Joe Cartairs, Lord Byron’s daughter Allegra, James Joyce’s troubled daughter Lucia. These stories, and the women that inhabit them will linger long after the last page is turned.

 The Tsar of Love and Techno, by Anthony Marra, writer of prizewinning A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, these interlinked stories told in poetic language, begin in the tunnels beneath Leningrad and end at the edge of the solar system. Covering several generations of a family who are tied together by one man’s defiant act to keep his brother’s image alive, it is, to quote the Washington Post “A flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles..”

Submission by Michel Houellebecq, set in Paris, 2022, its narrator a professor at the Sorbonne who finds himself disenchanted with himself and his life, and finds unexpected salvation when the Muslim brotherhood party is elected to run France, altering the world as it is then known. This novel is a quite possible brilliant conceit written by one of France’s most “celebrated controversialists” and writers. Adam Shatz of The London Review of Books calls  this “a melancholy tribute to the pleasure of surrender”.

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud – Reimagines Camus’ novel, The Stranger, from the point of view of the unheard Arab victims of Camus’ tale. Daod’s writing is spellbinding as are the experiences of his characters. I suggest if you have not read The Stranger, or cannot remember it, you read a Sparknote summary so to be familiar with the story Daoud has so finely resurrected giving this reader much to think about.

Comments or discussions about these books very welcome!



24. What Would Happen If One Woman Told the Truth about her Life

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Welsh-Dickey summit ~ Waterville Valley, NH

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open,” wrote Muriel Rukeyser. And I believed this to be true.

Who can say that any single event precipitated my oddesey? Certainly no Bolsheviks came thundering through town threatening to rob me of my life; certainly I was not a victim of the Holocaust, nor was my life anything but one of privilege.

I grew up believing in the virtue of love, and in the responsibility to family and community.

Born in another time my eating issues might well have been diagnosed as a form of hysteria.I would have been sedated, my spirit silenced by a sniff of opium, a spoon of laudunum, or a swallow of a few Milltowns. Born in another time I would have swallowed my rage with my mother. I would have buried my disappointment of being trapped in a dysfunctional marriage.

Luckily, I was born in a time of great social revolution, the Sixties, when the country came together fighting for social change. My husband funded my return to college to get a BS. There I joined the revolution fighting for social justice. I discovered myself among a cadre of women demanding the right to determine their own destiny,

I did not understand it was this seminal event that unleashed my rebel spirit and survival instinct. Little did I know this moment was the beginning of everything I would learn after I thought I knew it all.

I’ve come to the end of this, my second memoir. I am now busy living the third installment!   Look for new blog posts about my wanderlust adventures where I  offer tips on everything to do with traveling.  Also coming are posts of reviews of the arts and literature, and columns about how I see the world: In Praise of Younger Men, to name one!

“To write a memoir is, I think, to be seduced by the idea of persistence, of a single identity. What in me persists?Who am I always? What was my force?”……..Christopher Noel