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Monday, September 29, 2014

Make a Little Time to Read

I’ll Read When the Baby Goes to College
By Elaine Rooker Jack

The book: Lacuna
The Author: Barbara Kingsolver
The publication date: 2009

Why I picked it up: Barbara Kingsolver is one of my all-time favorite authors, and this is her latest novel. I thought the book got off to a slow start, but I stuck with it because it’s Barbara. I could read her grocery lists, so I gave her longer than I might have with another writer.

What it’s about: The life of fictional character, author Harrison William Shepherd, set in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s in Mexico and Ashville, NC. During his youth in Mexico, Shepherd works for artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and later the exiled Lev Trotsky. After coming to the United States Shepherd becomes a famous and popular author, and then attracts the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

What hooked me: This sentence, on page 78, attributed to the character of Frida: “Anybody has the right to make a kite from his pants.” Shepherd describes Frida: “She is a marvel or a trickster, a brilliant, terrifying friend.”

If you aren’t hooked immediately, stick with it until: Harrison goes to work for Frida. And if you’re still undecided, wait for Violet Brown, his stenographer, from deep in the heart of Appalachia. You couldn’t find two more different characters; I loved them both.

Why I recommend it: It is beautifully written, about characters who are rich and complete. And after reading this book you will understand the life of the artist in the 40’s, during the era of fear and suspicion. Kingsolver gives you plenty to think about.

Who would like it: It’s the story of someone’s life in historical context, so give it a try if you like historical fiction, memoir/biography, and character-driven novels.

Quotes from the book:
“The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don’t know.”
“Anything that falls to the care of Diego could well be shoved under the leg of a wobbling table, or put in a sandwich.”
“There are some who’d hardly lift a finger for kindness, but they would haul up a load of rock to dump on some soul they think’s been too lucky. They take it as duty, to equal out life’s misery.”

Tip for making reading happen in a busy life: You know that little device you have with you always? You can probably download a book onto it – either to read or listen to!

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