Friday, May 23, 2014

Half Broke Horses

"Half Broke Horses"(Audio)
by Jeannette Walls

I read the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls many years ago and loved it.  Sadly I wasn't writing about the books I was reading at that time.  It was a memoir of growing up with parents who were dreamers and drifters.  Parts of it romanticizing (my take on it) the childhood of living without boundaries and much of it horrific, living homeless, cold, and hungry. 

This prequel delves into the history of Ms. Walls' family, through the life of her maternal grandmother.  Ms. Walls calls it a "True Life Novel" as she has filled in and embellished, as a writer, the stories passed down in her family.  I don't believe she has embellished on facts, so much, as taken liberties with conversation and such, as the story is told through the voice of her grandmother.

Ms. Walls tells the story of this remarkable woman, her grandmother, Lily, starting with a time in our history where cars were just a vision of the future and families struggled daily to make a living off the land.  Lily was a bright, courageous and adventurous woman.  As a teen she rode by horse alone for days to take a job teaching a couple of states away.  She later moved to a big city to find work just to end up as a maid. She fell in love with and married a man who already had a wife and children, unbeknown to her.  

She left the city and returned to teaching when teachers were scarce due to the war. She married, raised a family, eventually got her college degree, helped run a ranch, learned to fly a plane, continued teaching school and more.  A true pioneer coming into the industrial age.  

Walls also tells of the life of Lily's daughter Rosemary, who was to become her mother.  Initially she wanted to tell Rosemary's story, but her mother insisted the real story was about Lily.  It's hard to believe the book could be as entertaining without Lily.  

I enjoyed this story very much and I'm now inspired to re-read The Glass Castle, something I rarely do.  

Four of Five Shots by me.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Time is Not Always Right

In a Facebook conversation the other day a friend commented regarding a book we had both started a long time ago,  She said, "Sometimes, the timing isn't right, but the book is always there when it is."  

Such a simple statement but so profound.  

Her comment was in regard to "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb. Mr. Lamb is a very engaging writer but his subjects tend to be very deep and emotional.  For the comment to be made about such a book is completely understandable. 

But I find that simple sentence floating through my mind as I avoid returning to the book I've been "reading" (not) each night.  It's good.  I really engage when I pick it up. But I just don't feel drawn back.  

Perhaps the timing just isn't right.  

Which brings me to book clubs.  I love the idea of book clubs and have joined more than one.  I've been attending one recently but guess what.... 

I have yet to read a book they've selected.  

I think I'm not cut out for book clubs.  They pick a book and I either don't read it or force myself into it. It seems more often than not, the timing just isn't right. 

I need a book club, but mine will have to be different.  I want to meet on that once a month schedule and just talk about books.  Any books.  What you've read, what I've read, what we want to read.  That's a book club I could get into and I only have to read books for which the timing is right.