Except death, of course. Three friends lost loved ones last month. It's so hard to find the words to bring comfort, to somehow make it better, easier. I get tongue tied over death because the words seem trite, like I'm quoting from a sympathy card or something. It's easy to send a card, food, flowers, or a good book, but it's never the same as giving a big fat warm hug, just holding your friend and rubbing circles on their back as you squeeze them tight. I'm convinced there just are no words.
Anyway, on to more pleasant things in threes. I read three wonderful books in the last month. The first was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. It's a wonderful story that looks at the cruelties of war and how we regard others. It reflects back on Seattle during World War II, and the internment of Japanese/Americans, and follows the journey of a a twelve year old Chinese/American boy and his first love, a second generation Japanese girl who is cruelly parted from him. I won't discuss it further because we may elect to read this one for our next bookclub, and I'd hate to leave spoilers.
In my opinion: If you are interested in indepth stories of humankind, what makes us tick, and a touch of American history, then this is a must. It will leave you all warm and tingly.
The second book was from one of my all time favorites: Barbara O'Neal/Samuels.
The Secret of Everything. I adore Barbara's voice and her characters are always so well drawn. Tess is involved in a tragic accident when leading a hiking tour. She heals as much as possible at her father's beach hut, but still blames herself for her friend's death. Knowing she has to get back to work, she takes on research of Las Ladrones, high in the New Mexico mountains as the next adventure tour for the company, but she has a history there that dates back to her childhood. Part of her quest is to unravel mysteries of her past, come to a better understanding of her roots and her own strange upbringing, and get the tours restarted. She meets up with Vince, a widower with three young girls, who has his own past tragedy. Together they embrace the home and the family both have ached to find.
In my opinion: A must read for anyone who loves a happily ever after. And the recipes. Do not read this one while hungry. : )
The third book was Echoes, by Maeve Binchy. I used to love reading Ms. Binchy's stories in the eighties then for some reason she slipped off my radar. I think I got all caught up with writing and went in several different directions with that, plus I was raising kids...hmmm? not really certain why she slipped away from my sweaty little fingers, but all I can say is this was a treasure. A real find. A real keeper book.
First let me say it was the cover that caught my attention. It almost leaped off the shelf and fell into my arms. The yellow gold and deep red, the red polka dot skirt, the old fashioned red shoes...just gorgeous. Then I read the back cover copy and was sold. I don't think I even turned to the first page in the bookstore, which is my norm. I trusted my memory of her voice. And what a beautiful voice it is. Ms. Binchy is an Irish author. Her voice is full of the heart, and love, and whimsy of her native country. Nobody does Ireland better. The story covers a young girl's life from age eleven through about twenty-one. It's more than a family saga, kind of a small town saga because the townsfolk feature in each phase of the girl's growing up years, and even the bad guys are loveable. : )
In my opinion: if you love stories of small towns, of family, of real life that makes you laugh one moment and tear up the next, this story is for you. It's a treasure of a story that will leave you thinking about it for weeks to come.