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Friday, January 31, 2014

The Last of the O'Sullivan Sisters. Part 1 of 2.


Catherine(Kit)O'Sullivan in her heyday.

Today my mother would have been 100 years old if she had lived. A rare thing, you'd think. But you'd be wrong. Her grandmother, my great-grandmother whom I remember well, lived well into her nineties and had a misstep on her stairs and fell to her death when I was, what, 8 or 9. So 100 would not be far-fetched. It certainly wasn't in the case of my recently deceased aunt who lived to be just shy of her 95th birthday.

I was fortunate enough to have 8 blood aunts. My father had 5 sisters, my mother 3. They wended their way in and out of our household when we were growing up and my father's two surviving sisters, when he had passed, would meet for lunch once a week in a fancy hotel in Cork when well into their nineties.

However, my mother died in her fifties leaving her 3 sisters and her mother bereft along with her own husband (my father) and 6 children, 3 of whom were teenagers.

I have written of some of my aunts before, here's a link.

My maternal aunts along with my mother were four stunning girls and in that old expression would make the heads of the blind turn and weep at their beauty. I have no trouble believing that, having been at several Nollaig Na mBans when I was growing up and listening to their raucous stories. The sisters remained extraordinarily close to the end of their days.

My mother's last surviving sister died last week. I visited her every year I returned home to Ireland. Up to a few years ago she played golf and bridge but then her baby, a son of 49, died a horrible death from lung cancer and she 'turned'. She looked inward then, much like my grandmother did when my mother died, and was never the same. Inner memories pertaining to the deceased loved one were deleted, never to return, while girlhood reminiscences were embraced as if they were yesterday.

We take our ease and comfort where we can and losing a child is unimaginable, no matter what the age.

Part 1 of 2. See Part 2 here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Reminder that Spring is on its Way?

The latest in the series of Newfoundland & Labrador tourism ads. And yes, it is a magical place.

After all I chose it.

Or did it choose me?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On life and death and the whole damn thing.....



Pete and the Clancys

I'm not much into the cult of stardom and notoriety and grieving for people I've never met. Maybe seen. But not met. But in the last few days two people dear to me have died. I say "dear". One was an elderly aunt, well into her nineties. A powerful role model for her children and nieces. More on that on a later post.

The other was Pete Seeger, also in his nineties. I saw him in concert a few times and never met him but the heart wrenching grief I've felt astounded me. Until I thought: this is all tied up with your aunt's death and peace and flowers and your own optimistic youth. You've been stoic about that.

I held back the tears when a brother told me of all my aunt's surviving children singing her favourite songs at the service. They were all great musicians in the family. But then Pete. His passing has unleashed something fierce in me. A mourning of the hippie me, the younger me. When aunts and uncles were alive and the protests against the Vietnam atrocities felt like they could change the way we did things. When I did put flowers in my hair and wore long dresses and asked where all those flowers had gone. When I first awoke to the injustice and misogyny and patriarchy and the military industrial complex and never went back to complacent sedation again.

Pete helped me do that. And you should have seen him play with the Clancy Brothers. I cry thinking of it.

Meanwhile, who'll ask about all those flowers now?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Coming Late in Life to Simple Delights


Rhubarb jam made this morning on the woodstove.

I post pictures of foods to FB and to here. Mainly because:

(a) I've lived long enough
(b) I never really had the chance to delight in food preparation for so very many years.

Meals were all need driven. A single mom, two kids, a full-blown career very much in a man's world, long hours. Free time was dedicated to making ends meet: sewing the clothes, making the curtains, knitting the sweaters, freezing the fall vegetables, preserving, rushing through food preparation and lunch making. Catching my breath in between. Juggling mostly. Not really having a good time with it all.

Now?

It's a never ending delight. One of the attractions in my choosing to live here was the distance from restaurants. I ate out a lot in Toronto. It was the lifestyle of many of my friends and I fell into it.

Now I delight in prepping food, creating my own recipe book, feeding friends and feeding myself. Making my own bread, freezing meals for those days. Making jams, preserves from home-grown fruits.

I freeze rhubarb among other fruits in the summer and then take it out in batches and make jam after soaking it overnight with sugar on the woodstove. Like this morning.

And I take an inordinate amount of pleasure in this never having to rush, enjoying the textures, the colours, the scent of something happening in my kitchen.

Bliss. We need more of it in our lives.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Lonely Engineer - Part 2


See Part 1 Here

Before the feast began, Denis would sit in the front room and talk to us older children. I still, to this day, remain enchanted with the vast range of general knowledge he had, his intimacy with landscapes and buildings everywhere, his unending political knowledge, his encyclopaedic musical abilities, his unerring certainty (he was a diviner) of where precious metals lay, where long dead forests were located, even the depth of the water table under our house and the placement of the skeletons of long dead farm animals - for our house was built over farmland, the original suburbia of the fifties.

Lying in bed, I would often imagine all that lay beneath our house, layers of history, maybe even human skeletons. Denis would often wield pencil and paper and draw things, spell out long words for me, tell me what they meant, what language was the source, and how it compared to other languages.

I said to my father once: "He's a genius, right?" I'd never met a genius, I'd read about them but here was one in the actual flesh in our home, so to speak. "But of course," Daddy responded in a matter of fact way.

We would try to avert our eyes when Denis ate, as Mummy had told us not to be rude and stare. It was very difficult and not from a judgement point of view, but from an absolute fascination with the gargantuan quantities of food he would down: a dozen eggs, ditto bacon, ditto sausages, three or four chops, a bowl of Mum's home cut chips and then half an apple tart with cream followed by an enormous wedge of Mum's delicious fruit cake.

One time, one of my brothers who was about 4 at the time, circled Denis as he sat in our sturdiest chair and with his eyes just about popping out of his head said in amazement: "Oh my-my-my Daddy, what a tummy!"

You see, Denis was about 32 stone in weight - nearly 400 lbs. Daddy told me once his car, a Ford Prefect, had to have special bracing to hold his weight. Lorry suspension, Daddy called it.

He lived by himself in a flat on a main-floor somewhere and his landlady cooked for him. No family, Daddy had said when I asked one time, only a dead sister. He could no longer travel abroad because of his size.

I imagine our family was the only family he would ever feel a part of. I remember clearly the look on his face when my little brother made his awestruck comment on his size. A flash of bleakness, something unbearable. I had to look away.

Denis lost both his legs to diabetes eventually.

Before he died, and he wasn't too old, Daddy would always visit him once a week in the care home where he resided. And bring him Mummy's baking and the really tough crosswords out of the English papers.

Daddy told me once in later years as we travelled around the U.S. together that he still missed "the magnificence of Denis' mind."

Me too.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Lonely Engineer - Part 1


The Sentimentalist - Johanna Skibsrud
P.87
"...a sadness that would make you, when you saw it, want to pull the edges of your own life up around you, and stay there, very carefully, inside."

I hadn't thought about him in years. Until I read the above quote in the book I'm enjoying at the moment. He was a great friend to my father. I imagine he was about 20 years older. And I believe, today, that there was an unspoken debt (of gratitude?)for something Denis had done for Daddy. They were originally from the same small town and Denis had achieved some prominence as a gifted engineer in the government offices where my father worked. Some strings were pulled, I would imagine.

Denis, a lifelong bachelor, would visit our family about twice a year. And my mother would get into a hive of preparation: baking, cleaning, even painting. I was given to understand that Denis was highly important and a very good friend indeed to Daddy.

A measure of visitor importance in my family back then was when both the 'front' room and the dining room had both fires lit and banked high. Growing up, we were banned from the front room as were many children then. The too many children of the typical suburban semi-detached would spoil the furniture, wear out the carpet, crush the ornaments, destroy the curtains, fingerprint the walls and damage the piano. But when Denis came for his afternoon and evening with us, all those rules were tossed and we could enter the front room at will.

Denis would arrive with many suitcases (yes, heavy leather suitcases)stuffed with food. Boxes of chocolates and sweets, tins of biscuits, acres of sausages and bacon, black puddings, white puddings, assorted luscious 'chops', even eggs. He would never insult my mother by bringing any baked goodies. Our eyes would all light up in the anticipation of it all and we would help him lug in the contents of the packed boot (trunk) of his car, my eldest brother and me jointly handling one of the suitcases at a time they were so heavy.

Part 1 of 2

See Part 2 here

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5%


It was +5C yesterday and I treated myself to the full Aran effect for my long afternoon walk with the wonderdog, Ansa. I had to take a pic. I made it all myself over the years. A headless selfie wouldn't have done it justice at all.

My morning meditation had it:

"We only spent 5% of our lives doing what we love to do best."

It stopped me in my tracks.

Imagine! Only 5%!

Some of the 95% is maintenance, I imagine: roof, food, clothing, medical, etc.

Another chunk would be addiction: booze, food, TV, interwebz.

What do I love to do best?

Write. Read. Knit. Have friends and family in. Take photographs, play the piano. Write and direct plays. Visit friends and family.

I'm caught again by the weather today and had to cancel all town appointments including medical, lunch and dinner with friends, groceries and hair chop.

It is -10C with windchill and freezing rain now to be followed later on by 10CM of snow, followed my more rain. My larder is looking light but I have pre-prepped meals in the freezer.

And I'm writing. Even if it's the blog. I'm writing. Increasing that 5% even a wee bit.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mmmmmmmm


10 really, really, really favourite food likes:

Gorgonzola cheese.
Anchovies.
Field mushrooms, picked by me from actual fields, preferably in Ireland.
Scallops. Large. Wrapped in bacon. Broiled.
Cappuccino.
Crepes.
Bastible bread.
Aloo Gobi.
Beef Wellington.
Steak & Kidney Pie.

And yes, I make/use them all.

You?



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wee Blisses



My sister and I talked on the phone for nearly 2 hours yesterday. I now get a cheap rate to Ireland of 5c a minute on my mobile. Ridiculous really. I love talking with my sister. My only sister who is nearly 14 years younger than me.

I'd given up hoping for one when all those boys started to arrive in our house. So had my mother. So had my father. When she was born somewhere around midnight on March 1st 195*, my taciturn father, a man who showed very little emotion and only cried once in my presence, burst into my bedroom in the small hours of the morning and could not contain himself: "It's a girl, it's a girl!" I didn't believe him. I had to see her.

And she was beautiful. I couldn't get over her. My mother (who was ill for a long time afterwards) and I mothered her. And dressed her in gorgeous clothes. I would knit her little jackets and Mum would make her dresses and we would clap our hands and exclaim to each other how simply lovely she was, how clever, how her blonde curly hair went to her waist in such a way Shirley Temple should be worried. I would take her in to high school with me and show her off. And yes, everyone was envious. They still remember it.

To this day, my sister never has had self-esteem problems and is a fabulous mother to 4 herself. When I think happy homes I think: my sister's place. She and her husband live in a very old house in Cork, one with rambling halls and back kitchens and an old conservatory and a big kitchen where everyone helps to cook and dance to silly music when they're doing it. She never stands on ceremony and I've seen her huge old table in the kitchen have two circles of chairs around it, the more agile eating on their laps and everyone talking at once. She has that way about her.

The sweetest thing among very many sweet things she says to me: "Your room is always here, WWW. Your room here has your name on the door. Always."

And one of the best things? Grandgirl and her friend are staying with my sister for a while this summer as they backpack Europe.

I get such a ridiculous charge out of calling my young sister "Great-Aunt."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Manifesto of Aging


I watch myself like I'm an experiment in a petri-dish sometimes.

The subtlety of behaviour changes.

My personal manifesto to aging.

No more sleeping in. Ever. Regular as clockwork. No late nights. No alarm. Up at 8.00 a.m. Without fail. Bed made. Dressed. Breakfast the same every morning without fail.

Showers and hair washing are not daily anymore. Skin and hair too dry. They need time to recuperate and gather themselves for the next aquatic assault.

When items around me go even slightly wonky, like needing a repair, I panic. Much like my dad did. My mother died too young for me to observe her in her elder years. Why can't it be fixed today! (Implied – I could be dead by the time it works again.)

I basically lived by the seat of my pants it seems like forever. Now I'm that kind of model citizen I would laugh at (don't they ever have any fun for gawd's sake?). Regular hours. And bowel movements. No hangovers. No desserts. No seconds. Eating out rarely because home-cooked is best – you know what goes into it. Watching the pennies – ha-ha, I'm living longer than my savings and my pension just doesn't cut it. Keenly watching the weather for negotiability.

Hearing myself speak my father's words, my granny's (she outlived my mother, her daughter), setting firmer boundaries, having clearer dislikes and likes. But every pain/ache gets magnified a little. And I try not to talk about them. That is hard.

But also, more confident. My dramatic (my gawd, she has balls!) move to Newfoundland celebrated over and over again. My not caring really, anymore, about what you think of me. My opinions more cherished – by me. And my gifts. I never could see them before, I would demean them, tell you anybody could do what I would do, play piano, write, knit, sing, speak at public forums, host large get-togethers. Speaking openly about ageism, sexism and racism. I am more offended than ever at jokes about any of it. No, it's not funny. And don't tell me I have no sense of humour. But I refuse to laugh at the expense of a demonized group, like elders in diapers or prostitution or gays. And no, it's not extreme PC-ness either. You're the one who needs to grow up and become more aware of how offensive it is.

But being more at peace with myself is the best change of all.

And not too, too crotchety. Yet.

I'm waiting in anticipation.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tell Me A Story


My gosh, old friends. Friends that have long vanished down the tunnel of their own lives, breathing and doing and celebrating and grieving - without you.

I can never sing the praises of FaceBook loudly enough. As I've mentioned before.

I had a friend, 12 years older than me – though I had forgotten exactly how much older she was as she had that younger energy around her until she reminded me. We played bridge in those days. A lot. In the absence of a foursome, her 12 year old son and my 9 year old daughter filled the gap. We were lucky they were so brilliant.

We lived around the corner from each other in a small town in Ontario. In enormous century homes of red brick and atmosphere. History breathed from each others' walls. I've never lost my love for old houses, obviously.

We cottaged (a uniquely Ontario term for going off to a wilderness cabin for a while) with our kids and husbands of the time. And drank together. Boy, did we drink together. The name of the cottage was “While You're Up”. Tells you everything you need to know. And then there was an incident, as there sometimes is. And the friendship survives or it doesn't, And ours went into a coma.

But I never forgot. And neither did she apparently. Because through FaceBook we have reconnected and it's been so very easy after, oh my, 35 years perhaps. So we now email. Lengthily. We pursued our individual artistic souls after we 'broke up'. And she ended one of her recent emails with: “Tell me a story”.

And so I did and ended mine today with: “Tell me one.”

This could go on for a very long time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Carpe Something.


Daughter's kitchen and its wall of cast iron goodies. All of which she uses regularly.

Daughter brought her cream of broccoli soup, gluten-free, dairy-free, legume-free. I made my smoked salmon frittata. She also brought muffins.

We sat in front of the fire and ate this delicious repast. And got caught up. There has been limited visiting with each other because of the weather. So this time together was to be treasured. Later on we had a long walk, the old boreens were pretty packed with others carpe-ing while they could. We admired the sea views, the clear blue skies, how joyful Ansa was on the walk, the fellows out cutting wood on the edges of the road, the fellows with half a moose on the back of their trailers.

We spoke of of the Newfoundland Grand Blackout of 2014 which seizes every bit of writing and reportage around these parts and even to the national level. Our premier, Kathy Dunderdale, has been blistered repeatedly for her arrogance and down-talking to the peasants, basically telling us peons it wasn't a crisis even though people were dying and elders moved from senior homes to generator-run hotels in the dark blizzards of the night on stretchers borne down countless freezing concrete emergency stairs. Rumour has it that Kathy was banjed off on a beach in Florida and had to be dragged back kicking and screaming into darkened Newfoundland by her handlers to orate to her pitiful peons. As some pundit put it so well: "She speaks to the residents of the province like some vice-principal berating a class of poorly behaved 4th graders." She does.

But we survive. About which I've written previously. The kindness of strangers and neighbours and that Irish dark humour that keeps us all going. And emergency preparedness like torches and wood and batteries and candles. Note to self: buy some kerosene when it's back in stock again for those decorative oil lamps.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Ennui



en·nui


/änˈwē/


noun

noun: ennui

Def:

a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

synonyms: boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, weariness, enervation;

I've never been bored. I don't know what that looks like, actually. There is enough around for me to fire up any creative juices that remain after this continuing weather assault.

New Terms/lingo/phrases, generated by this latest weather permutation:

Polar vortex.
Rolling Blackouts
Warming Centres
Elder Shelters.

Ennui. I always wanted to use the word. It sounds like I'm flopped on the couch, back of hand pressed to forehead, moaning "woe is me", or somesuch. Well, one afternoon I did. I neglected the woe-is-me part and read a book until I fell into a deep sleep and awoke to the fire in ashes. Not bad. I recommend.

I did a bit of writing: started an article that was requested of me. I did some reading. I did office work. I even did some knitting. And bread-making. And even freezer-prepped some dishes. And baked a bastible. So there.

Not enough ennui to qualify me as a full participant, I suppose. But ohmygod will this fecking weather unrelent itself and defrost my outdoor pathways so I can put on the old shyte-kickers and just vacate my house even briefly? Please?





Tuesday, January 07, 2014

From the Hermitage.


We've been through a rough time on this island. Power outages. No water. The pump house frozen solid. Outrageous weather of lashings of snow and freezing rain completely outside of the norm for the bay. We usually are all green until February.

I am trapped in my house as the ice outside is severe. I laid down salt earlier, hardly a dent on the ice pack. First time ever I had to cancel my Nollaig Na mBan. But, time and again I realize I am never alone. Neighbours astonish me. Trucks arrive with hot (yes, hot!) water, trucks arrive to ferry me elsewhere for dinner, plumbing genius digs out pump house, runs heater into it, defrosts pump. Blessed water pours forth after another day. I genuflect to my wood stove every night during this. I cook on it and it heats the house.

Perversely, I am glad of these emergencies. They show my 'hood in its true colours, kind, caring, sharing. My chicken lady's husband delivered eggs today. Calls of care and compassion come in. A friend hands me an old fashioned phone to plug in. Those wireless fancy things do not work in a power outage but the old fashioned kind do. Note to self. And others out there.

And all systems are now go again. But I'm wondering about tomorrow, wondering whether I can leave here to head into my office up the road. I am wary of this ice. I have the utmost respect for it.

It looks so damn pretty but I know it hides nasty underneath.

Friday, January 03, 2014

A Reluctant Farewell


I wouldn't call him a friend, exactly. But he was more than an acquaintance or a ship passing in the night. I wonder why there isn't a word for those in between relationships.

He helped me a few times with research in the library. I was looking into the Blue Puttees - a Newfoundland regiment that fought in Beaumont Hamel in France in WW1 to an enormous loss of life and devastating effect on this island - a whole generation of young men wiped out and sacrificed for nothing. We'd meet frequently at cards and engage with each other relentlessly. A sort of semi-flirtatious repartee. Tall and quite handsome with a full head of silver hair, he was a life long bachelor with an obsequiousness for all things Catholic.

He reminded me greatly of the old Catholics I was surrounded by in Ireland. The sanctimonious ones who would lodge in one ear while renting out the other one.

The most peculiar thing he'd do would be staggering around on Good Friday up the road outside the church with a cross on his back, atoning for his sins.

He struck me as always being terrified. I'd heard he'd had a nervous breakdown way back in the day and was forced to retire early from teaching. He filled his long retirement years manning a volunteer library which he kept stocked and sorted and indexed. He opened it up two afternoons a week but you had to call first to make sure his opening the library was worth his while.

We bonded over books, though he was easily scandalized by any "unmoral" writings which forced me to tease him mercilessly. I did try desperately to be kind but the sight of him blushing and sweating would encourage me in the other direction. Though a small part of me still insists he enjoyed being scandalized.

He drove around to my side of the bay and brought me green peppers from his garden one year which I made into green pepper soup and froze. But he would never come into my house as he was terrified of dogs and didn't know why anyone would have one in the house where people ate and slept.

According to local lore, he was a savage gossip and just about ran the local church, the right hand man of the priest who was on the right hand of God himself. Inwardly, I referred to him as "priesty man".

I am saddened at his passing yesterday. Suddenly. He never travelled off the island and admitted to me the thought of leaving it made him "sick." He would laugh long and hard and inappropriately at something that confused him which could irritate those in his company.

I feel I could have done more for him. Been kinder and more welcoming when he'd stop his car when I was out road- training. He'd ask me if I was coming to the library soon or could I drop by for a cup of tea at his brown house across the bay.

I never did.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Books of 2013


Well, I beat the 78 record of The Books of 2012 with 79 total books read in 2013. My ambition years ago was to read 100 books in a year. Not even close. I'm getting more fussy as I age. I toss far, far quicker than I used to if a book is not to my taste or interest or just badly written.

The short list of the very best were:

Austerlitz - W.G. Sebald
The Two Minute Rule - Robert Crais
Bel Canto - Ann Pritchett
A Virtuous Woman - Kaye Gibbons - I read it again, I love it so.
The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman
The Book of Ruth - Jane Hamilton
Fidelity - Michael Redhill
Saints & Sinners - Edna O'Brien
Three Junes - Julia Glass
Home from the Vinyl Cafe - Stuart McLean
Amy & Isabelle - Elizabeth Strout
We need to talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver
Mr. Sandman - Barbara Gowdy
The Hidden Mountain - Gabrielle Roy
Swamp Angel - Ethel Wilson
Friendship,Hateship, Loveship, Courtship,Marriage - Alice Munroe - again for Book Club and honouring her Nobel.
Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout

I am so pleased to see that many are Canadian. This was unintentional. Most are also female writers. Also unintentional. I read the choices of my book club, recommendations of others, and family-friends gifts/loans.
The best, by far, was "The Hidden Mountain" by Gabrielle Roy. Lyrical and beautiful. I would read again. And again. And anyone to whom I've recommended it are astounded by its beauty. Summary: 16 out of 79 were superb. Not a bad ratio.

Here is the complete list:

(1)Two Girls From The Bay - Helen Best-Colgan* Lecturing/reminding the reader,awful editing. Sad, sad story deserved much better.
(2)Martin Sloane - Michael Redhill****
(3)On the Natural History of Destruction - W.G. Sebald****
(4)What we all long for - Dionne Brand****
(5)Summer of Hate - Chris Kraus****
(6)Brick Lane - Monica Ali(gift)***1/2 too long
(7) (8)An Intimate History of Humanity
(9)Sweet Tooth - Ian McEwan**Huge construct with no payoff
(10)Hit Parade - Lawrence Block - dropped, pathetic 0
(11)Charade - Sandra Brown oddly compelling **
(12)The Great Fire - Shirley Hazzard****
(13)The Two Minute Rule - Robert Crais*****Brilliant
(14)Saint Maybe - Anne Tyler****
(15)The Reconstruction - Claudia Casper**
(16)Bel Canto - Ann Pritchett*****Brilliant
(17)A Virtuous Woman - Kaye Gibbons***** (2nd Reading loved it both times)
(18)Left Bank - Kate Muir***
(19)The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman{BC}*****
(20)The Monkey's Raincoast - Robert Crais*Oh Bobby what happened to you? I'm now officially offya.
(21)The Book of Ruth - Jane Hamilton*****Extraordinary
(22)A Pale View of the Hills - Kazuo Ishiguro***lovely but unfinished?
(23)The Secret Stones - Dee Holmes**
(24)Vertigo - W.G. Sebald
(25)I, Fatty - Jerry Stahl***(fascinating story of the origins of Hollywood and the movies)
(26)No Fixed Address - Aritha van Herk(thanks Daughter)Marvellous****
(27)Fidelity - Michael Redhill*****
(28)The Time In Between - David Bergen**
(29)The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje***{BC}
(30)Saints & Sinners - Edna O'Brien*****
(31)Quench the Lamp - Alice Taylor****wonderful memoir of a Cork childhood
(32)Home from the Vinyl Cafe - Stuart McLean*****laugh out loud funny
(33)Three Junes - Julia Glass*****fabulous,complex{BC}
(34)Amy & Isabelle - Elizabeth Strout*****Stunning
(35)Bad Dirt - Annie Proulx
(36)We need to talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver*****riveting, appalling
(37)The Good Mother - Sue Miller(did I read this back in the day?)**never got to care for this character, selfish almost narcissistic
(38)The Red Room - Nicci French****excellent for its genre
(39)Sweetwater Creek - Anne Rivers Siddons**all filler no meat
(40)The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams****made me cry
(41)Where She Has Gone - Nino Ricci****
(42)Fear the Worst - Linwood Barclay**formulaic
(43)A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again - David Foster Wallace***
(44)The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell***
(45)The Badger Riot - J.R. Ricketts****(a period in NL history beautifully captured)
(46)The Summons - John Grisham*(unread book supply needs massive transfusion)
(47)The Stories of Eva Luna - Isabel Allende
(48)Girls Like Us - Sheila Weller****
(49)Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight**** (unputdownable)
(50)The Salt Road - Jane Johnson
(51)The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison{BC}***(not as impressed as most)
(52)The Redeemer - Jo Nesbo 0 - who recommended him? Scenes and characters jumping around even on the one page. Could not finish. Awful
(53)Priest - Ken Bruen****
(54)Mother - Linda Ann Rentschler
(55)Mr. Sandman - Barbara Gowdy, what a wonderful read! Thanks Daughter!*****
(56)Six Metres of Pavement - Farzana Doctor disappointing structure, poor editing**
(57)Bring up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel - thanks, bro. Don't understand The Booker or the fuss**
(58)The Magdalen Martyrs - Ken Bruen - can't get enough of this author****
(59)The Age of Hope - David Bergen*** {BC}
(60)A Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling - thank you Grandgirl!503 pages!****
(61)A Door in the River - Inger Ash Wolfe**Disappointing 3rd book in a series.
(62)The Hidden Mountain - Gabrielle Roy*****Lyrical, gorgeous writing - TY Daughter
(63)The Guards - Ken Bruen****
(64)Hungry Hill - Daphne du Maurier - thanks, bro!****
(65)Defending Jacob - William Landay{BC}****Unputdownable!
(66)Icy Sparks - Gwyn Hyman Rubio* FAIL
(67)Places Lost - Scott Walden*****
(68)The Dramatist - Ken Bruen***
(69)Headstone - Ken Bruen**
(70)Castaway - Elin Hilderbrand***
(71)Swamp Angel - Ethel Wilson*****
(72)The Black Box - Michael Connolly***
(73)Friendship,Hateship, Loveship, Courtship,Marriage - Alice Munroe(again)*****(BC)
(74)Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (again&again)still hate it
(75)Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout*****
(76)The Year of the Flood - Margaret Attwood - dropped 2/3 in, not a fan of later Maggie
(77)White Heat - M.J. McGrath****
(78)A Death in Belmont - Sebastian Junger****
(79)Caught - Lisa Moore**** (thank you, Grandgirl!)