Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1: And It Didn't Snow!

though March's final snowstorm (6"!) did mean that we got a 2 hour delay, followed by 40 degree temps and lovely warm sunshine. Yes!

This Is the Story of a Happy MarriageThis Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I could give this a slider rating: I really like Patchett's writing, but somehow the way the book, a collection of various essays she's written over quite a span of years and for various purposes, was put together made it hard to "really like" the book as a whole. The title is one thing; the longest essay is the one about her (second) marriage, but that's at the end of the book. Before that, we get police academy, the Lucy Grealey controversy, opening Parnassus Books (one of my favorites; her wit really sparkles), taking care of her grandmother, a big flood. . . . I'm not sure what made this collection so hard to get into at first: perhaps an intro to each giving its date and purpose might've made the experience less disjointed. As it is, I'd say that the individual works are very strong, but the book as a whole feels uneven.

  The Ivy TreeThe Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read this several times in my youth (!!), but once again I found I remembered very little of it, and found a distinct pleasure in rediscovering it. Stewart's writing is skilled and descriptive, conjuring up the romantic setting of the nearly-ruined farm and its various characters. The plot is developed and, although she's more overt about who the bad guy is with this book than with some of her others, quite suspenseful. It's a highly enjoyable fluff novel: I felt I was in good hands throughout. Cultural note: so much smoking!!!! 1961 and tobacco is king, I guess!

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