Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Books Sound Wonderful!

I'm planning to buy a few new books. That interests some of my readers and I'll tell you about them here.
by Charlie Leck 

Near the end of my reading of the local newspaper, I came upon the book section and decided to pour another cup of coffee (with a dash of real cream and a dribble of English Toffee flavoring) and sit back and read with enthusiasm.

The Death of Santini
Pat Conroy, one of America’s favorite and most successful novelists, has written a memoir. The Death of Santini will be a must read for me. Conroy is a writer with heart, verve and attitude. His novels are delicious and I have a feeling this memoir will be as fascinating as his fiction. Conroy will be in town on November 12 to talk about the new book (Talking Volumes, 7 PM, Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul).

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land
This is a first novel by P.S Duffy and it has some special appeal for me. I’m trying to plan a solo trip to Nova Scotia this summer. This World War I story is set in both that section of Canada and in France. The protagonist in this story would be a man that parallels my father’s approximate age and time, so that makes the book a double temptation for me. The story sounds like it will be both emotional and complex. The author will talk about the book on November 6 at a book store in the neighboring village of Wayzata. I’ll try to make that gathering.

Stealing Sugar from the Castle
is a new book of collected poetry by Robert Bly. Bly is a local treasure and a nationally recognized poet of extraordinary talent. He’s also quite aged now and not nearly as sprightly (or dangerous) as he once was. Those who know his poetry will understand what I’m talking about. Bly has always been a man of deep emotion and occasional fits of self-doubt and depression.
Recently, at an evening gathering at the University of Minnesota, Bly read some of the poems from the new book. At one point he read…
“Each of us deserves to be forgiven, if only for
Our persistence in keeping our small boat afloat
When so many have gone down in the storm.”

Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House
is a non-fiction work by NY Times reporter, Peter Baker. This review caught my eye immediately. I’ve always wondered about the real story behind the working relationship between Bush and Cheney. The answers may lie in Baker’s work. He was close to the action in his days as a White House correspondent. How closely was power shared between these two? That’s the question I’ve always wondered about and now, after I purchase this book, I’ll gain some insight.

I’ll stop into the local bookstore tomorrow afternoon, or make a drive over to Garrison Keillor’s wonderful bookstore in St. Paul, to pick up copies all four of these very interesting sounding books. If you read any of them, let me know what you think. You can put it in a comment here or send me an email as explained in the Why Not Follow Me paragraph below.

Alice Munro, Nobel Prize winner
I had not even heard of Alice Munro before she was awarded the Nobel Prize a couple of weeks ago. I read a lot of the praise for her and so I ordered a couple of her collections of short stories. In the last few days I’ve read about twenty of the stories and I find them quite wonderful. There are readers who would classify them as women’s stories. Whether they are such or not, they are brilliantly written and easy to read; and they are able to paint those wonderful visuals in one’s mind as they are read. I recommend her. I have in front of me right now a collection called Vintage Munro, published by Vintage Books in 2004. I purchased it for a buck through the ABE web site.


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  1. Thanks for the book tips. I love Conroy. Do you know that his dad didn't speak to him for a couple of years after he wrote "The Great Santini" ? Too close to home.

    I also love Nova Scotia. I took two solo trips there about 45 years ago. One by motorcycle, from Jersey and around Cape Breton Island. My heart pounds when I remember CBI...the cliffs, the ocean and the birds. It was the first time I ever stayed at a B&B. I was in my 20's and loved the gracious, generous people I met I met there. I stopped at the town of Lunenburg where they still were building wooden-hulled ships...they were finishing the Bounty for the movie when I was there. I was sad when it was lost at sea last year in a terrible hurricane. You'll love Nova Scotia...go.


  2. Yeh! The Conroy story is quite amazing and I'm looking forward to these memoirs. I think I'll wander over to Garrison Keillor's bookstore today and try to pick up all these books. I appreciate your comments.