I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

Maggie is a real estate agent and former Miss Alabama, who has a to do list, and when it’s accomplished, she will do away with herself, except she just can’t get her list, that she created to relieve her friends and family of any messy business after she is gone, gets completely finished. Along the way, she finds out that life is not as bad as she thought!

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Caleb’s Crossing

Ths is the library Brown Bag and a Book selection for June.  I don’t want to give away the story, but I will say I enjoyed the book very much once I got past the language of 17th century Puritan community.  Some of the words are archaic and only by reading and using context clues can you figure out the story.

Told by Bethia Mayfield, the daughter of the minister on a remote island, the story is both heartening and tragic.  I imagine that is what life was about in the first few years of an established colony.  Bethia is not the typical daughter of a colonist.  She longs for an education equal to her brother’s, but women are not educated equal to the men in that era.  Also, the author delves into Native American and colonists’ relationships, educating the Native American boys, converting the Native Americans to Christianity, and the rights of the women in the colony.

An interesting book, to say the least.

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The World As We Know It

Ed and Allard save a new neighbor from drowning after she falls thru the Baker River near their New Hampshire home.  This sets up a lifetime of friendship for her family and the boys’ family.  The three grow up together with an inseparable bond.  The youngsters plan to start  “Baker River Productions”, a wildlife media studio.  Allard and Sarah get engaged and plan a wedding after college, but a week before the wedding, Ed and Allard go camping for Allard’s last fling beofre tying the knot.  On the return trip from the camp, Ed meets up with an accident and is stuck under a boulder.  Allard goes for help, but by the time he gets back, Ed has succumbed to hypothermia.  Unable to deal with his guilt, Allard disappears and then starts working with various production companies in the Northwest.

A few years later, Sarah signs on for the same project as Allard.  They end up working together to film some narwhals, whales with a unicorn tusk.  Sarah has a hard time forgiving Allard for abandoning her and they talk a lot about why.  Since Sarah is already engaged to another man, Allard must work hard to win her back.

Will Allard be able to win back his first and only love?  Read the book and see.

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The Call

This is the story of a family in the northeast, the father, David, is a vet, the mother, Sarah, is a stay at home mom, Sam is the older child and his sister, Mia, is the baby of the family.  The family has a normal life, the dad answers vet calls from home.  One day he and Sam decide to go hunting, and an unknown person accidently shoots Sam, who falls from the tree and hits his head.  Sam falls into a coma.  The family gathers round him for a log vigil.  The police can not find any clues to who fired on Sam, but awhile after the incident, the family begins to get calls where the caller will not say anything when they answer.  The family slowly begins to become unhinged as David imagines that every person he meets is the gunman.  He also begins to imagine that a spaceship comes at night and only he can see it.

One day, Sam wakes up from his coma but even he has no clue who shot him.  A few weeks later a stranger comes to the door.  David imagines it must be the shooter, but it turns out to be his a son he did not know he had. (He became a sperm donor in college, to pay the bills).  The son tries to help David find the gunman, but can only guess who it mught be.  Then the son, Mark, asks something of David, that he can hardly believe and it turns the family on its end.  Mark needs his father’s kidney to get off dialysis.  Sarah is greatly opposed to the idea, so one day DAvid just slips away and goes to the hospital and donates his kidney.

Will the family ever find out who shot Sam or ever be the same after David’s donation?  Read and see.

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Weird Sisters

This was a fairly good book about 3 sisters, Cordy, Rose and Bianca, and their parents.  Their mom has cancer and their dad is a professor of Shakespeare at the local university.  They have grown up immersed in Shakespeare lore since they were tiny babies.  After leaving home to be on their own, Bianca “Bean” and Cordy return at the same time when their mother is diagnosed.

Each sister has her own problems to solve, besides trying to help their parents cope with Mom’s cancer.  Rose can’t decide if she wants to marry her fiance and move to England or not.  Bianca embezzled some money form the company she worked for and also owes others.  Cordy has a hippy lifestyle and comes home pregnant.  While they care for their mother, they must solve their own problems.  The problem is that as they said in the book, “We love each other as sisters, but we don’t like each other.”  Secrets are kept between them and somehow they must learn how to straighten out their lives.

Can they learn to help each other solve their problems and become more close to each other?  Read the book and see.

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Standing on Tiptoes

This is the life story of Eranelle Inscoe Burns who grew up in Logan County, KY. She was the middle child in a family of several children, who lived on a farm with their mother, Dovie and father Elna Orman. They grew up very poor, living off the frm and odd jobs their dad could find. The children went to a one room school and it varied as to which one, depending on wheter the school could get a teacher or not. Eranelle’s mother died of peritonitis when Eranelle was 8, so she ended up being the cook and housekeeper for the rest of the family. She literally was “standing on tiptoes” to get to the cookstove and wash the dishes. She also had to go to school during this time, so she never had much of a childhood, until her dad met and married “MIss Martha” which Eranelle described as “the old maid down the road”.

Things got better for Eranelle and her brothers and sisters after Miss Martha came to be their mother. They were able to be children again without having the responsibilites of an adult. Eranelle was able to complete high school, go to business college and get a job in Louisville with the phone company where her sisters also worked. While living in Jeffersonville, she met and married Wib Burns and had 3 sons.

The 2nd half of the book was not as interesting as the 1st part. Eranelle seemed to have a lot of chronic illnesses and a lot of the book was about that. One thing about her illnesses was that she never let them get her totally down, and I think she learned her stubborn determination from her childhood. I really liked the 1st part of the book bettr, because I identified with the things that Eranelle’s family did on the farm.

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Rode

My sister gave me this book the other day; I looked at it and saw a horse on it and thought “not another horse book”!  but this is a great book, beautifully written and researched by the author.  The book is based on the song “Tennessee Stud” by Jimmy Driftwood and recorded by many country singers.  The author was intrigued with the story and the song, so he set out to research the orgins of the lyrics.

This is the story of Robert Johnson, a resident of Tennessee.  He lives on a small farm and wants to settle down, marry and raise horses from his special stud horse.  He is  in love with Jo, a neighbor’s daughter.  Her family does not want them to marry and they would like to dispute the ownership of the land Robert claims as his own.  They would also like to steal his horse.  They end up framing him for a murder he did not committ.  To escape hanging, Robert takes off through Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas, one step in front of the bounty hunter, MacDonald.  Riding his gifted and beloved “Stud”, they have many adventures, do some racing and come close to starving to death several times.  Set in the 1820’s, the horse and owner endure many hardships as they avoid being brought in by the bounty hunter.  They meet up with some Indians, who steal the stud, Robert’s belongings including his shoes and clothing and leave him to die in the wilderness.  Some Mexican vaqueros find and rescue him and the story continues.

Will Robert find his horse, return home to the woman he loves and prove his innocence?  Read and see.

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963

A Newbery Award winner by Christopher Paul Curtis, the story is told by Kenny Watson, a preteen black youth living in Flint, Michigan.  Kenny lives with his parents, Daniel and Wilona, big brother, Byron and little sister, Joetta.  They live a nice life; mom stays at home, dad works at the auto plant and the three children go to school.  Mom is from Birmingham, where the winters are not so brutal as Flint.

When Byron is deemed uncontrolable and a trouble maker, his parents decide to send him south to spend the summer, hoping Grandma can straighten him out.  After careful planning by mom, the family loads into the “Brown Bomber”, dad’s big car and start the trip south, deciding not to take the 3 day trip but to drive straight through.  On the trip, the parents give the children a warning that they are going is nothing like where they are from.  “Separate but equal” still exists in the south.  The black population must keep in their places.  Civil rights is a very hot topic.

When the family arrives, the children find that the warnings their parents have given are true.  Kenny sees a big differece in what is acceptable here as apposed to Michigan.  It is also so hot that the children can’t sleep.  They have a few adventures.   One scary adventure Kenny has is a battle with the “Wool Pooh”,at Collier’s pond, where he almost drowns until Byron saves him.  The next day is Sunday and Joetta goes to Sunday School. Kenny stays home, worn out from his near drowning that neither his brother nor he told their parents about.  Kenny goes outside to rest under the large magnolia tree, but before he rests much he is shaken awake by a loud noise and then frantic cries and running toward the church.  Kenny is fearful and heads toward the church himself, worried about little sister Joetta.  He sees bodies pulled from the bombed church and thinks one may be Joetta.

Fortunately, Joetta is safe and she tells Kenny that she thought she saw him motioning for her to come back home so she didn’t go to church at all.  Kenny is puzzled but so shocked about 2 terrible events in several days that he withdraws from life.  Mom and Dad now decide that Byron can’t stay so they load up the car and drive back home.

Kenny is still withdrawn.  He does not talk to anyone, quits spending time with his friends and retreats behind the sofa in the living room.  His only hope, he feels, is the healing power of “The Watson World Famous Animal Hospital” where the family’s pets go when they are sick or injured.  He remains there hoping to feel better.  It takes some consideration from his parents and his brother to lure him out, and finally Byron is able to get him back to his regular life.

The book is about social change and how you deal with it, as seen through a small boy’s eyes.

 

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