Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It was a two book weekend

I had the best time getting lost in two novels last weekend. Both had to do with the secrets of families.  Both were the kind of reading that reminded me of being a kid and taking a book with me everywhere, even in the boat on the lake.  Why I wanted to be transported from a beautiful lake in Minnesota is beyond me, but stories had way too big of a pull to keep me planted in that boat with nightcrawlers and picnic baskets of fried chicken.  Right now I'd give anything to be back on that boat.  But then?  Give me a book and I was happy!

Ellen Baker is a Minnesota writer who has just published her second novel "I Gave My Heart To Know This".  What I like about it is how in-depth Ellen goes into WWII and the roles that women had (in Superior, Wisconsin) as welders and workers while the men were off to war.  She shows these women with all their strengths and weaknesses.  And believe me, they have both of these, in spades.

"I really loved reading this powerful and poignant book, which, though it acknowledges pain, regret and remorse, ultimately is a celebration of life.” —Elizabeth Berg, author of Once Upon a Time There Was You and Open House

The other book I read "Maine" by J. Courtney Sullivan, also told the story of a complicated family.  A family shrouded in secrets.  The Kelleher's are a big clan of Irish Catholics who have never quite gotten over the death of their patriarch, Daniel.  Where once they gathered together and celebrated (with their fighting and bickering of course) now the family barely interacts with each other, even splitting the summer months up at their cabin in Maine instead of all going there together.

“Sullivan beautifully channels Alice through her memories…The dialogue sizzles as the tension between the women’s love and anger toward one another tightens…You don’t want the novel to end.” –The New York Times Book Review
 Ellen Baker is my guest this week on Realgoodwords, and J. Courtney Sullivan will be later in August. Tell me about your summer reads!


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