Well, at our library, you can order books that the library doesn’t have. It’s called inter-library loan. I pay $1 per order and get whatever I want for a couple weeks. I used to do it all the time and still list books I read about, but haven’t ordered in years, mostly due to time constraints. I’m rushed all the time and I forget about it, etc. Anyway, the other day I took the time, filled out ten forms and sent for the books. About 4 days later, a book arrived, it was, uh, dang, I read it it one day, oh! No Time to Wave Goodbye, by Jacquelyn Mitchard. A few days later, seven more arrived. Yesterday, one more. I’m expecting one more, but I can’t remember what on earth it is.

These are the books and my opinions:

No Time to Wave Goodbye: Mediocre, not entertaining or engaging as to plot or writing. I’ve found this with Mitchard, she usually picks an interesting plot, but her writing is inconsisent in quality. This book is a sequel to her first, The Deep End of the Ocean. The boys are all grown up. I hate sequels. They seem lazy, like the author can’t take the time to make up new characters. This one wasn’t satisfying or well-written. The characters are mostly selfish and self-involved and I just didn’t like this book. I read it, but it was like eating a rather tasteless meal. Not horrible, just not great.

Cherries in Winter, by Suzan Colon: You guys, read this book. I’ve never heard of this writer, but I loved this book. She took recipes and advice that her grandmother had typed up and put them in the book, with her story and also her grandmother’s story of life in the depression. I read it in one day, too, and I want to buy it. The “Cherries in Winter” title is taken from an experience her mother and grandmother had of splurging for winter cherries. The author writes of being laid off in the recession and her efforts to tighten her belt–dang, she’s pretty good, too! But she also writes about splurging, just a bit, when times are tough. Her great-grandmother once bought some beautiful vases with the grocery money because she just had to have them. The family ate applesauce and bread for a week. But those vases are still passed down. Her grandmother splurged on cherries in winter, from a street vendor. Colon happened into a hig end food store (I just barely found out what’s the big deal about Whole Foods! I’m SO going to shop there, just once) and splurged on wonderful French raisins. She quotes her grandma saying “we may have been broke, but we were never poor” and tells about how her mom, at the end of the month—and the money, would sing “We need a little Christmas!” and take her daughter out for pie with her last $20. I’m a big believer on the hyacinth to feed ones’ soul. Loved this book.

Two of the books (so far) I’ve taken back without reading at all: The Financial Lives of the Poets, by Jess Walter; and If You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win, by Carol Liefer. I glanced through both, as I always do. I read the copyright page, the dedication, the first and last pages, as well as the author’s deal on the back cover on every book, before I decide which to read first. Then I skim the book. Both books have a lot of vulgarity, the “f” word, etc. Sometimes, it works, but sometimes it detracts from the story and cheapens it. That’s how I feel about these two and I’m taking them back without reading them.

Still to read:
Devotion, Dani Shapiro
The Last Cowgirl, Jana Shipman
The Man From Beijing, Henning Markel
Truth and Beauty, A Friendship, Ann Patchett

And I’m almost done with “Surrendered” by Chang Rae Lee. I’ve enjoyed it, it’s wonderful writing and an intriguing story, but I’m beginning to think I’ll be disappointed, because so far, the loose ends haven’t been tied up. I’ll let you know. It’s about a Korean war orphan, her conflicted relationship with her son, the child she bore with an American soldier and both their relationship with the tormented and addicted wife of a missionary. I think I’d recommend it, but it’s not filling, satisfying. Maybe when I’m done.

I have one other, but I don’t remember what I ordered, so it will be a nice surprise. One thing, I’m going to tell the kid ordering not to order them all at once next time. The lady who used to do it knew me and she’d order 2-3 at a time. It’s wonderful to have all these books, but I worry about getting them back in time.

I’m also reading “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” by Franz Werfel, about the Armenian massacre by the Turks at the beginning of WWI.

You guys reading anything interesting?

PS Did you read where our book club is reading “Going Rogue” this month? I can’t believe it! It’s not a good book at all, it might be historical someday because it’s written by the second woman to run for VP, but there’s nothing in the least literary about it. A woman suggested the other day we read Glenn Beck’s book, too! I said, “well, hell, why don’t we just invite all the Republicans and have our own little tea party?” There’s only one Democrat in our group and of course, she won’t like it, but she’ll probably whine and refuse to attend out of protest. Not me, I’m going and I’m bringing Barak Obama’s books and I am going to cram them down their conservative little throats. It’s a church book club, for heaven’s sake! My protest will not be whining. I said, “If Sarah Palin is the best woman the Republican Party has to offer, we are in trouble.” She’s pretty and I love her glasses, but she is not a statesman. Person.