Sunday, October 23, 2016


"We are strong women in Texas,
If a fresh guy says something to vex us
We take a step back
Then deliver a whack
That will rattle his solar plexus."

Saturday, October 22, 2016


A memoir both delightful and thoughtful may well have began when Lauren Collins, a highly rated staff writer for the New Yorker, moved to London.  There she met and married Oliver, a handsome French mathematician who spoke English pretty well while her French consisted of “au revoir” and “bonjour.”  What happen after the first glow of marital translates into daily life?           

    When Oliver’s work takes the couple to Geneva Lauren finds that she cannot communicate with anyone and further she has not even spoken to her husband in his language.  What if they were to have children?  What would they think of a mama who could not speak what would be their language?  Louise determines to learn French as well as familiarizing herself with the nuances of French culture (which isn’t remotely connected to her North Carolina upbringing).  She doesn’t spare herself in recounting her often humorous attempts at mastering the language, such as when she told her mother-in-law that “she had given birth to a coffee machine.”

    A portion of her narrative is devoted to a scholarly discussion of language - i.e. how  French developed, why there are so many languages in the world, how some words are identified with a specific gender, etc.

    Ably narrated by Khristine Hvam When In French is both a tender love story and an erudite exploration of language - something for all of us!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


"Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water, it is said,
But the rumors in town
Are that Jack fell down
'Cuz they fetched something stronger instead." - GC

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


    Intense and engrossing The Trespasser by multi award winner Tana French comes to absorbing and sometimes frightening life when given an outstanding reading by Irish actress Hilda Fay.  The streets of Dublin come alive and whispers send shivers.

    Detective Antoinette Conway is unique in many ways - intelligent, intuitive and the sole woman on the Dublin murder squad.  She’s partnered with Steve Moran, and they’re both weary after a long shift when they’re given what seems to be clear cut - domestic violence - Aislinn Murray is found dead in her home after an anonymous tip reports that she fell and hit her head.  Not quite - the fall was caused by a swift punch to her face.  A table had been set for a romantic dinner for two, hence Aislinn’s boyfriend, Rory, seems the prime suspect.  However, he swears it was not him and that seems to be the case.

    Following what clues they have from an encrypted file on Aislinn’s computer to strange behavior from her best friend to hints that there may have been more than one man interesting her the detectives tramp all over London to no avail.  Leads take them nowhere.  At this point Antoinette begins to wonder if someone does not want the case solved.  Is someone in the squad sabotaging their investigation?

    French is such a deft writer that as the story unfolds we are privy to Antoinette’s thoughts and feelings - is she imagining things?  Is she paranoid?  Has she lost the skills that made her an outstanding detective?  A master craftsman at building plots and a wonderful writer French holds us in thrall until the last word.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

ALL THE LITTLE LIARS by Charlaine Harris

    Fans are delighted with Harris’s return to her first mystery series headed by Georgia librarian Aurora Teagarden.  I, too, have missed Aurora and share in her happiness now that she’s married to Robin Crusoe.  Their joy is boundless when they find  they are expecting a baby.  However, as in many a mystery joy is short lived when Phillip, her 15-year-old half-brother disappears.

    Phillip has not had an untroubled past as he came to Aurora after running away from his California home.  But all seems well when he finishes a semester of state sanctioned online instruction and appears to be looking forward to joining his friends Joss and Josh Finstermeyer at the local high school.
    Thus it makes no sense that one afternoon Phillip, the Finstermeyer twins, and 11-year-old Lisa Scott simply disappear.  Parents are frantic, the town is aghast and the police seem to have no clues.  Matters worsen when Joss and Josh’s classmate Clayton also vanishes and Joss’s girlfriend, Tammy Ribble, is found dead.  All of this seems more than anyone can bear.

    Of course, Aurora cannot simply stand by so she puts her life and her job at the library on hold while she and Robin begin their own investigation.  While the worst is feared readers are in for a few surprises.


Saturday, October 15, 2016


"Jack was nimble, Jack was quick,
But he barely cleared the candlestick,
He felt heat as flame singed his britches
(A new pair from Abercrombie & Fitch's),
Jack used to love jumping but now found
Candlesticks were what he'd walk around." - GC

Thursday, October 13, 2016


    Love and loss, actions and choices combine in this beautiful mesmerizing novel by Caroline Leavitt.  It is the story of a family rent asunder set in the late 1960s, the years of the Vietnam War, the Manson murders, a time of hope and disillusionment.

    The family at the heart of the story consists of three - Lucy, a pretty rambunctious teenager, Charlotte, her older, more settled sister who has looked out for Lucy since their parents died in a car accident, and there is Iris, a childless widow who took the girls in.  Iris has had no experience in mothering but as the years passed the three have become a family.

    Lucy is not an exceptional student while Charlotte is a standout.  But Lucy has her dreams and thinks they may have come true when her English teacher, William Lallo, takes an interest in her.  He praises her works, tells her she has talent as a writer.  Lallo is the kind of teacher most girls would fancy in 1969 with his jeans and long hair.  He seems to have an understanding of the kids and the world at large.  It doesn’t take long before Lucy is meeting him at his apartment.   From there it goes to running away together, after all they only need each other and they will make a home.  This all sounds so romantic to Lucy.

    Lucy leaves a note for Charlotte and Iris telling them not to worry (as if that were possible).  Lallo find another job in Pennsylvanis and finds a place for them to live in a desolate area where Lucy’s only company are chickens.  He tells her they must hide until she is 18 and of legal age.  Months pass and Charlotte and Iris hear nothing from Lucy.   There is no help from the authorities as “kids run away all the time.”

    Charlotte is desolate. Blaming herself for not being closer to Lucy and understanding her.  She leaves Lucy’s bedroom window open each night in the hope that Lucy will return.  As time passes Charlotte goes off to college yet her younger sister is never far from her mind.  Now Iris is alone and it is at this point that we learn her story.

    Lallo becomes more controlling, insisting that Lucy never leave the house.  Her isolation is almost more than she can bear and she manages to briefly forge a friend with Patrick who runs a nearby vegetable stand.  At one point she even manages to send a postcard to Iris and Charlotte.
Throughout this pulse pounding novel Leavitt has been building suspense that culminates in a tragic turn in Lucy’s life. 

    Iris and Charlotte are desperate for answers and Charlotte takes it upon herself to look into the matter full time.  Leavitt has crafted a stellar story - compelling, gorgeous and haunting which may leave readers pondering as to the real meaning of family and what family members owe one another.