July 22, 2017

My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
2016 Random House Audio
Read by Kimberly Farr
Finished on October 21, 2016
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lies the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.

After reading Bellezza's glowing review for My Name Is Lucy Barton, I knew I had to give it a chance, in spite of my disappointment in The Burgess Boys (which I did not finish). I read Amy and Isabelle many years ago, and more recently Olive Kitteridge, both of which I enjoyed quite a bit. I wish I could echo Meredith's praise for this particular book, but it failed to move me, even after listening to the audio, which I started as soon as I finished the print edition. I can't remember the last time I did that, but I really wanted to give it another chance since Meredith loved it so much. My Name Is Lucy Barton was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, BookPage, and LibraryReads. I am obviously in the minority, as I barely gave it an average rating. 

July 21, 2017

Looking Back - Yonnondio: From the Thirties

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Yonnondio: From the Thirties by Tillie Olsen
1980 Virago (first published in 1974)
Finished in March 1997
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Yonnondio follows the heartbreaking path of the Holbrook family in the late 1920s and the Great Depression as they move from the coal mines of Wyoming to a tenant farm in western Nebraska, ending up finally on the kill floors of the slaughterhouses and in the wretched neighborhoods of the poor in Omaha, Nebraska. Mazie, the oldest daughter in the growing family of Jim and Anna Holbrook, tells the story of the family's desire for a better life – Anna's dream that her children be educated and Jim's wish for a life lived out in the open, away from the darkness and danger of the mines. At every turn in their journey, however, their dreams are frustrated, and the family is jeopardized by cruel and indifferent systems.

My Original Notes (1997):

Another very good book, but bleak and depressing. Written very poetically. Reminded me of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Man vs. industrial "monster." De-humanizing. Very harsh.

Set during the Depression.

My Current Thoughts:

I haven't a clue what this book was about, other than what I read of the publisher's blurb. Not exactly memorable.

About the Author:

Tillie Lerner was born on a tenant farm in Nebraska, the second of six children of Samuel and Ida Lerner, Russian Jewish immigrants who left their homeland after their involvement in the failed 1905 revolution. She grew up in Omaha where her father worked as a painter and paperhanger and served as State Secretary in the Nebraska Socialist Party. Tillie was strongly influenced by her parents' revolutionary heritage and by their humanistic and socialist beliefs. From a young age Tillie was a voracious reader, and though she dropped out of high school after the 11th grade ending her "formal" education, in her words, "public libraries were my sustenance and my college." (from the author's website)

July 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Depoe Bay, Oregon
July 18, 2017

Click on images for larger view.

July 16, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
2016 MacMillan Audio
Read by Georgia Maguire
Finished on October 21, 2016
Rating: 5/5 (Outstanding!)

Publisher's Blurb:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Behind Closed Doors is a suspenseful, unputdownable thriller that grabs you from the opening pages and doesn't let you go, even after you have long finished! I looked for every excuse to find time to listen to this book. It's compelling, chilling, disturbing and menacing; everything I like in a thriller. I hated Jack, who is the classic evil wolf in sheep's clothing. The tension in this book is evenly paced and while I found myself holding my breath, fearful of each dark corner, I had to stick with it and see if the ending was satisfying. Maybe not a happily-ever-after, but not ambiguous either. I tried to think of why I shouldn't give this a perfect rating and couldn't come up with a thing, other than the absence of lyrical passages. For this genre, though, that isn't one of my requirements, so... 5/5 stars!

Georgia Maguire is the perfect reader for this audio. Her accent, as well the tremor in her voice when Grace was frightened, made me believe everything that was happening was REALLY happening. It seems strange to say that I loved a book that involves such an evil, sadistic character, but I was spellbound and couldn't wait to return to the audio. The storyline and characters invaded my dreams and I still find myself thinking about the book and Grace's situation after all these months. Behind Closed Doors is one of the best psychological thrillers I've read. Fans of Sleeping with the Enemy (remember that creepy movie with Julia Roberts?!), Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl will not be disappointed. Intense!

July 12, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Gleneden Beach, Oregon

This is pretty much how I've been feeling for the past two months!

Click on image for full size version.

July 5, 2017

Heading West - Day Five

Day Five:

Pendleton, Oregon to Depoe Bay, Oregon
326 miles
5.5 hours
Sunny until we hit the coast.

Click on photos for larger view.

Eastern Oregon looks a lot like Nebraska.

Tree farms

First glimpse of the Columbia River.

Mt. Hood

The Dalles Bridge and Dam

Doppio Coffee in Hood River

Quick stop at Multnomah Falls. We'll return when we have more time to spare.

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Willamette Valley

D River Beach, Lincoln City. Almost home!

This could wait until morning!

July 2, 2017

New Name!

Now that we've moved to the coast, Prairie Horizons doesn't really work for this blog anymore, so I'm trying out a new name. Since I'm posting about our adventures, as well as books, I decided not to use Lesley's Book Nook, either (although that remains in my URL with Blogger). I was also going to add "fish tacos, brews, and chasing sunsets," but that got too wordy and was voted down by my husband. :) We're picking up our Canadian 19 foot Escape travel trailer in August, so that's where the backroads come in. Lots of road trips on the horizon! So, unless I change my mind in the next day or two, you're now reading Coastal Horizons... books, beaches, and backroad adventures. I hope you enjoy all that I plan to share in the coming months. 

Rod & I are settling in to our new home and community and loving retired life (although we've never been so busy!). I hope to share more pictures in the coming weeks, but here are just a few from yesterday. We volunteered to help clean up our private cove, which gets a lot of driftwood from the winter storms. It was a lot of fun and a great way to meet more neighbors.

June 28, 2017

Heading West - Day Four

Day Four:

Twin Falls, Idaho to Pendleton, Oregon
350 miles
6.5 hours

Click on photos for larger view.

Excellent coffee at the Lucky Perk in Meridian, Idaho.

We made it!

Heading toward Baker City with the Umatilla National Forest on the horizon.

Baker City, Oregon.

Found this great little cafe (Lone Pine Cafe) on Tripadvisor.

Hipster jukebox.

Probably the best carnitas I've ever tasted! The Rogue Dead Guy was pretty good, too.

Had to check out this independent bookstore. Only bought one book (If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende), but I could have easily walked out with a lot more.

I-84 at Cabbage Hill. We had heard a lot about Deadman Pass, so we were prepared for the steep descent (6% downgrade for seven miles). It wasn't nearly as stressful as I'd anticipated, but I wouldn't want to drive it in the winter or at night!

Runaway truck ramp. Thankfully, the Silverado has an engine breaking switch, which I used quite a lot on this trip.

Another Tripadvisor find! Hamley's is a great restaurant that we'll definitely return to, if we're ever back in Pendleton.

Rod's dream bar!

June 25, 2017

Heading West - Day Three

Day Three:

Rock Springs, Wyoming to Twin Falls, Idaho
364 miles
6.75 hours
Mostly sunny

Had we not had beautiful weather and the gorgeous scenery to admire as we drove, this would have been a pretty boring day. As it was, the leg from Ogden to Twin Falls was not my favorite part.

Click on photos for larger view.

Gorgeous red rocks!

The Wasatch Mountains took my breath away with their beauty!

Roosters Brewing Company
Ogden, Utah

Excellent fish tacos and a Junction City Chocolate Stout.

Ogden, Utah

Somewhere in Idaho. It reminded me of Nebraska.

The Snake River
Twin Falls, Idaho