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Showing posts from March, 2011

Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden

For those of you who enjoy poetry I'm sharing this link to the poem "Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden.  The last stanza of the poem was used as an epigraph for the previously reviewed (see below) Pack Up The Moon by Anna McPartlin.  The novel's title comes from a line in the last stanza of "Funeral Blues."  I rather enjoyed the poem after I looked it up in its entirety and thought others would too.

Wystan Hughes Auden (1907-1973) was born in York, England, but later achieved U.S. citizenship.  In addition to poetry, he also wrote many prose essays and reviews on a variety of themes that he also addressed in verse.  He was also involved in performance art and documentaries.  After teaching stints at the University of Michigan and Swarthmore College, Auden worked in Europe for the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey at the close of the second World War.  Upon completing this work he returned to the U.S. where he continued his teaching career at several American univer…

Pack Up The Moon by Anna McPartlin

I loved Pack Up The Moon the debut novel by Anna McPartlin, whose follow ups to this debut I have also read and reviewed for this blog.  In my review for Apart From The Crowd, which is the novel after this one but was written before Alexandra, Gone, which was the first McPartlin novel I read and reviewed, I thought that Apart was not as well written as Alexandra and that perhaps this reflected the novelist's growth as a writer between Apart and Alexandra.  But having read Pack Up and found it as well written and as good as Alexandra, I've now come to the conclusion that for whatever reason, there was just something a little off with the writing in Apart.  I loved Pack Up The Moon and I love Anna McPartlin--she has most definitely gained another fan.  I'll refrain from worrying about when her next novel will drop until after I've finished As Sure As The Sun which is the last McPartlin novel I haven't read.

Have I said I loved this book?  Well, I did, and it was hard…

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress (A Memoir of Going Home) by Rhoda Janzen

Every time I review a non-fiction book on this blog, I always say non-fiction isn't normally my book of choice, but every once in a while I find one that I actually finish reading as opposed to jettisoning after only two chapters.  This is the first memoir that I've read.  I started this book and after two chapters I was undecided as to whether or not to continue reading.  In the meantime I read another chapter and just like that a switch flipped and I was in it for the rest of the book.

As someone from Pennsylvania Dutch country and who is 100% Pennsylvania German, I assumed the Mennonite of the title was of this history, heritage, and extraction.  Our own Mennonites (and Amish as well others of German heritage) immigrated to PA from Germany in the eighteenth century.  As someone who has been researching family history for many years, I've read a little bit about this early German immigration.  There were several waves of German immigrants to the New World starting as ear…

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Lately it seems I've amassed a canon of Irish writers that I follow.  Besides the newly discovered Anna McPartlin, there's also Tana French and Cecelia Ahern; all three of these stellar writers set their novels in Ireland.  I also read John Connolly's Charlie Parker series set in Maine; it details the misadventures of an American private investigator to whom trouble and evil are attracted like a moth to flame.  All of these fine writers write from different genres, and I highly recommend you pick up one of their books sometime--in the cases of Connolly and French you may have to read with all the lights on, but you won't regret it.

Tamara found her father after he committed suicide.  In the wake of his death Tamara and her mother are forced to sell their house and everything they own when the massive debts accrued and hidden from them by her father are finally revealed.  Tamara's mother is consumed by her grief and has withdrawn from the world, including from her o…