Traveling with Books

July 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 5 Comments

Tomorrow we’re picking up our marriage license – in another state.  It also happens to be my birthday tomorrow (big 3-4), so that’s a pretty nice gift.  The trip will be a combination of family fun and wedding planning. 

Luggage is always interesting at my house.  At the end of the bed is a large wooden chest.  On top of it are two bags:  one, a small rolling suitcase with two compartments, and the other, a classic carry-on with a shoulder strap.  In the left-hand compartment of the little suitcase are my clothes for four days, plus an extra shirt and a bathrobe just in case.  In the right-hand compartment are my man Rocket Scientist’s clothes.  In the outer pocket is Beat the Reaper.

The carry-on with the shoulder strap contains:  five books and my SoniCare toothbrush.

That’s how it goes.  The two of us can fit all our clothes in one 15-pound bag, while a bag that is 85% of the size is needed to haul my reading material.  There may not be a name for what I have, but I’m sure it’s diagnosable.

Here’s the other thing.  My wedding is 6 weeks away, and I don’t have a dress yet.  Since the proposal, I’ve read 161 books.

The Able McLaughlins

July 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Challenges, Fiction | 8 Comments

All right, I’ve finally moved past my stumbling block in reading through the Pulitzers.

Product Details

The Able McLaughlins, by Margaret Wilson, is perhaps one of the more obscure winners on the list.  It was difficult to track down – none of the library systems in my area carried it, and it only seemed to be available for electronic purchase through a single source.  Finally I broke down and paid $20 for this paperback on Amazon.  Then I had it sitting on my shelf, I’d read the first 8 pages or so, and I felt this reluctance to pick it up and finish it.  I’m glad I did, though.

The Able McLaughlins holds its own against the other early Pulitzers.  I’m surprised to be able to say that I enjoyed it more than One of Ours, though I am a big Cather fan.  There is nothing about this book that would seem to prevent its being more widely read.  The core conflict would translate well to a Jodi Picoult story, though in more of a Little House on the Prairie setting and with a little less Movie of the Week-style drama.  There is something transporting about the pastoral atmosphere of these early works.

The thread continues where it began with His Family.  The early Pulitzers are still focusing on traditional family values and moral uplift.  It can be difficult at times to read something lacking our modern sensibility for race and gender equality.  Yet there is still an element of wholesomeness in this lost world of churchgoing farmers, something we don’t tend to see often.  It’s refreshing to encounter it minus the soft lighting and the violins – old-fashioned, decent people encountering various crises in a real human manner.

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