Saturday, July 28, 2018

From Inside My Book Fort - - - Tom Robbins' "Tibetan Peach Pie"

Welcome to the Book Fort!

Today Annabelle and I are reading an excerpt from a book written by another of our literary heroes.

Tom Robbins

LordAMercy, but I do adore Tom Robbins' work

And him - what a cutie!

I got to meet him, ever so briefly, and I can tell you his personality is huge and lovely and fills a room.

Here's a bit from his "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life."

From  Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.

Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels—including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates—provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.
In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, stitching together stories of his unconventional life, from his Appalachian childhood to his globetrotting adventures —told in his unique voice that combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy. The grandchild of Baptist preachers, Robbins would become over the course of half a century a poet-interruptus, an air force weatherman, a radio dj, an art-critic-turned-psychedelic-journeyman, a world-famous novelist, and a counter-culture hero, leading a life as unlikely, magical, and bizarre as those of his quixotic characters.
Robbins offers intimate snapshots of Appalachia during the Great Depression, the West Coast during the Sixties psychedelic revolution, international roving before homeland security monitored our travels, and New York publishing when it still relied on trees. Written with the big-hearted comedy and mesmerizing linguistic invention for which he is known, Tibetan Peach Pie is an invitation into the private world of a literary legend.

“Robbins continues to embody Zen coolness and bohemian charm.” (Booklist (starred review)"

“Memoir or not, the form suits Robbins’s digressive style, philosophical musings, and self-deprecating humor. Each piece stands on its own, but when read side by side they develop into a powerful argument about magic and the necessity of imaginative, interior worlds.” (Library Journal (starred review))

Tibetan Peach Pie is a late, welcome gift from a philosopher-novelist who continues to believe in the transformative qualities of ‘novelty, beauty, mischief and mirth’ - qualities apparent on every page of this lively, large-hearted book.” (Washington Post)

Tibetan Peach Pie is a gift to his fans, the story of a man who had the sense to follow where his imagination led… How lucky for his readers that we got to tag along for the ride.” (Seattle Times)


Monday, July 23, 2018

Louise Penny's "Kingdom of the Blind"

Louise Penny's books always leave me with things to think about long after I have finished reading them. 

And always with at least one passage I want to share. 

From "Kingdom of the Blind," there's this: "There were few things more soothing, Jean-Guy thought, than hearing people you love talking softly in another room." 

This took me immediately back to my childhood remembering going to bed before my parents, going to sleep listening to them talking, often about what they were watching on TV. Sometimes laughing at what they were watching. 

Simple, uncomplicated. 


How much do I love Louise Penny's work?  I don't know enough words to tell you.

Note:  I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher, but with no guarantee of a review by me in return.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

From Inside My Book Fort - "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Welcome to the book fort!

Today we're reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon's "The Shadow of the Wind."

The first in his Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.

The fourth, and final, book, The Labyrinth of Spirits, will be released in September.

"Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘cemetery of lost books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print."
"Wonderous... masterful... The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero." --Entertainment Weekly (Editor's Choice)

"One gorgeous read." --Stephen King

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

July 17, 2018

The day after trump stood on a stage committing treason - Yes. He. Did. - he's tweeting his usual bullshit about the fake news and how they're going crazy over the great meetings he had with NATO and Putin. 


 Um, Bubba? 

 It's treason you ugly ignoramus. 

 It's kinda something the American public (including the news media) isn't accustomed to.
The guy is, in my opinion, insane.


What about the Grand Old Party with their half-hearted rejection of this idiot? 

I'm sorry, but "shameful?" Doesn't get it. 

"The Russians are not our friends." Duh!!! 

"Deeply troubled." Yeah, boy howdy - me, too! 

"Missed opportunity." Only a fool would have expected this to be any different than it actually was.

How 'bout this.

Calling it what it was.


Now get your sorry white wrinkled asses moving and do something.

You are sworn to uphold the laws of this country.

To protect the citizens who voted for you (bless their hearts).

It's past time.

Do it.

And hey - you Democrats? You are not off the hook. Grow some spine, for god's sake.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

So, there. . .

How do I feel about members of Trump's administration, former members of his administration and members of congress being approached and yelled at by people who are disgusted by them and their destruction of democracy and of this country's very foundation?

 Their treatment of small children? 

The elderly? 




Raping the poor and middle class to make the rich even richer? 

Stealing health care and social security? 

I say good. 

Shout it loud and shout it proud. 

Perhaps if people had felt so moved to yell at Nazis early on instead of following the "law" instead of what was morally right we would not have had all those years of innocent people being murdered. 

I'm sorry, but I don't think this is the time for being nice and mannerly. 

These people are no better than those nazis and many of them are proud of that fact.

The following was shared on my Facebook wall.  Sadly, I do not know who the author is.  If anyone does, I'd appreciate knowing.

“Nope. Not feeling a wee bit sorry for anyone in this administration getting 86'd out of a restaurant and not being 'allowed to eat their meal in peace.'
Can a woman enter a Planned Parenthood in peace?
Can a Muslim ride the train in peace?
Can a black teen walk home at night in peace?
Can a trans woman use the restroom in peace?
Can black girls use a community pool in peace?
Can a Latino ride the subway in peace?
Can a black girl sell water on a hot day in peace?
Can an LGBT couple show PDA in peace?
Can a black family have a BBQ in the park in peace?
Can a Muslim worship at a Mosque in peace?
Can an attractive woman [edit: any woman] walk down the sidewalk in peace?
Can a Jewish person walk home from Shabbat in peace?
Can a kid go to school in peace?
Can a woman have a prescription filled in peace?
Can an LGBT couple shop for wedding cakes in peace?
Can they?

Then, no. They don't get to eat their dinner in peace while most of us are living in fear because of the racist dog whistles, Nazi propaganda, white nationalism, pathological lying, misogyny, homophobia, and hurtful policies of this administration.

We don't have to be violent, and we shouldn't ever be, but we can certainly peacefully protest THEIR privilege of peace."

Saturday, July 7, 2018

From Inside My Book Fort - - - Anne Rivers Siddons' "Colony"

Welcome to the book fort!

Annabelle and I welcome you to another day in the book fort.

We're reading another excerpt from another of our favorite books by another one of our all-time favorite authors.

Anne Rivers Siddons.

I'm not sure we'll ever see any more books from Ms. Siddons; probably not.

But those that she's written will stand the test of time and will remain modern southern classics.


"An unforgettable story of love, acceptance, and tradition.
When Maude Chambliss first arrives at Retreat, the seasonal home of her husband's aristocratic family, she is a nineteen-year-old bride fresh from South Carolina's Low Country. Among the patrician men and women who reside in the summer colony on the coast of Maine, her gypsy-like beauty and impulsive behavior immediately brand her an outsider. She, as well as everyone else, is certain she will never fit in. And of course, she doesn' first.
But over the many summers she spends there, Maude comes to cherish life in the colony, as she does the people who share it with her. There is her husband Peter, consumed with a darkness of spirit; her adored but dangerously fragile children; her domineering mother-in-law, who teaches her that it is the women who posses the strength to keep the colony intact; and Maine native Micah Willis, who is ultimately Maude's truest friend.
This brilliant novel, rich with emotion, is filled with appealing, intense, and indomitable characters. Anne Rivers Siddons paints a portrait of a woman determined to preserve the spirit of past generations--and the future of a place where she became who she is...a place called Colony."

"An outstanding multigenerational novel...We are hooked from the moment we meet Maude."
The New York Times

Friday, July 6, 2018

Lesa Holstine

You can't scroll through Facebook right now without running across people congratulating Lesa Holstine on being awarded the David Thompson Special Service Award, which she will receive at Bouchercon in St. Petersburg, Fl this September.

A well-earned, much deserved award.

If you're not a member of the mystery community, you may not know who David Thompson was.

I did not know David personally.  We never met in person.  I was one of the hundreds that he would send out an occasional note to.  Just a quick email saying, "I think you'd like this book!" 

He was a man who embodied the spirit of the mystery community - the world of books in general. He left us much too soon, and I think he'd probably be a little baffled, and charmed, by the fact that his name lives on in this award.

And that pleases a lot of people.

I think he'd be pleased with Lesa Holstine receiving this award.

She is a perfect honoree.  She's another Book Angel.  She, like David, loves to match up people to books she has a knack for knowing they'll enjoy.

There is no one who loves books any more than Lesa.

And she loves reviewing them.  It's her way, I think, of helping people find the books they need.

Her blog, Lesa's Book Critiques, has been up and running since 2005.

That's a long time for a blog.

And that's not the only place she shares her love, and knowledge, of books.

She'll never bring it up in conversation, spoken or written, so you may not have known before this award that she also reviews for Mystery Readers Journal,, and in Library Journal. She's the blogger for The Poisoned Pen Bookstore. And the author of the “Mystery Fiction” chapter in Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (7th ed.). She's been a panelist for Sisters in Crime at the Public Library Association’s conference and has served on panels at Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon. She's moderated crime fiction panels at the Tucson Festival of Books.

She's a member of several book groups. She reads to a group of little kids. She volunteers at Ruth's House Women's Shelter.

She's politically active.  She puts her time and her money where her mouth is.

All this while working full-time at the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.

And I have never, not once, heard her complain about being too busy.

It's not in Lesa's nature to complain about much of anything, truth be told, which is one of the reasons she is so well loved, so well respected, by so many.

I wanted to send a special toast to a woman whose friendship I cherish.

She makes me laugh, she makes me think, she makes me cry sweet tears. She "gets" me.

She puts up with my moods.

She stands by me.

It's what she does for all her friends and family.

And she opens her arms to us and makes us part of her family.

We've roomed together at Bouchercon in Raleigh and in New Orleans, we've played in Paris.

I am sad not to be able to be in St. Petersburg in September to give her a hug when she accepts her award - so here's my "virtual hug."

I love you to the moon and back!

And here's to many more years of love, fun, and adventures, Lesa - sister of my heart.

Bouchercon - Raleigh

Bouchercon - New Orleans

and Paris . . . 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

  - - Abraham Lincoln

Painting by Childe Hassam

William Eggleston

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

4th of July - What are YOUR plans?

In response to the crazy conservative person whose name I refuse to even utter who's trying to spread the ridiculous rumor about liberals planning the start of a civil war on July 4th. 

There have been SO many clever responses. 

Here's a few:

Liberal Arts Professors Platoon. There will be reading, essay assignments, & CRITICAL THINKING.

Canadian Reserve Grammar division forces. Our motto: “Sorry. It’s you’re”

34th Sarcasm Airborne

Comfortable Shoe Division reporting for duty

The League of Militant Librarians. We will come armed with words and books. Ignorance will fall before us.

Watch out for the 43rd soccer moms. They can organize AND STAY HYDRATED

I've decided to gather my little family into a mini-battalion and we shall call ourselves The Fried Chicken First Airborne Camera Mountaineers.

Never start a war without eating first. 

And never forget your camera! 


Maybe we'll just call this another 4th of July picnic.

Monday, July 2, 2018

November Road by Lou Berney

I'm not a reviewer - I'm the world's worst at trying to concisely convey anything. 

All my life I have had friends roll their eyes while I attempt to tell a story, begging me for the "Reader's Digest Version." 



I am also a person who's been known to "push" a book or two. 

If I love it, I'm going to squeal about it, and friends can feel assured they'll have this book placed in their hands at some point. 

My latest squeal is for Lou Berney's "November Road." When I first heard about this book I knew it was going to tug at me until I was able to get a copy. 

First - it's Lou Berney. 

Second - like most people my age, I'm still drawn to stories about the 60s. 

Third - The Kennedy assassination. It's still, after all these years, a mystery, and one that still has me in its thrall. 

November Road isn't always an easy read. There are, after all, New Orleans mobsters and they're not nice guys, so expect them to be written realistically. Brilliantly realistically. 

But. There are also some moments, and characters, who are going to give you hope. 

Berney possesses what other successful writers possess - an ability to communicate character emotion; empathy, compassion, intelligence. 

Pick it up and fall in love with a man named Guidry, a woman named Charlotte, two kids and a dog. 

From the book description: "Set against the assassination of JFK, a poignant and evocative crime novel that centers on a desperate cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America—a story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone."

As often happens while reading a book that resonates with me, I found a quote that will stay with me for a long, long time.  Something Charlotte said: "When I have a camera in my hand, it reminds me to look in new places. To have new thoughts . . ."   I wish I had written that
Note:  I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher, but with no guarantee of a review by me in return.