Saturday, May 17, 2014

More Praise for Indies, EB White's Letter and Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

 It's easy, as a reporter, to get cynical and despair of the levels the human race can sink to, when you're faced with news each day of horror and stupidity and cruelty. I have always tried hard to fight against despair by being optimistic and believing in the goodness that is within each of us, if we only look for it. I'm not alone in my belief, as this letter from EB White to a reader shows.
Dear Mr. Nadeau,
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
Sincerely, E. B. White

 A brave testament to the importance of independent bookstores. They bring a community together. 

"This is what a local bookstore is, and each local business in the
community has its own version of this story. We cherish our customers
not because they shop with us, but because they are us. Perhaps you
learned to read in our children's section, and maybe someday we'll be
selling your novel among the bestsellers. Or we met you when you were a
baby, hired you in high school and we hope to be here for your children
one day.

"This is the story of community. This is why we have always urged people
to shop locally whenever possible. With your help, there will always be
an Iconoclast Books, along with other local businesses, to serve you. In
our book, this is how we all will remain strong, no matter what man or
nature throws at us, in the cruelest month or the kindest. And that is
worth far more than a bargain."

--Sarah Hedrick, owner of Iconoclast Books, Ketchum, Idaho, reflecting upon "20 Years of Iconoclastic Bookselling
a post at the Los Angeles Review of Books' Naked Bookseller blog.

I have a copy of this book in my immediate TBR pile, but I've just not been able to get into it yet. There are books that demand that you read them when in a particular frame of mind, or at a particular time and place, and Wolf Hall is one of those books. 

Damian Lewis (Homeland, Life, Parade's End) will play Henry VIII in the
BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels Wolf Hall
and Bring Up the Bodies, directed Peter Kosminsky. He joins a stellar
cast that includes Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, Mark Gatiss (Stephen
Gardiner), Anton Lesser (Thomas More) and Jonathan Pryce (Cardinal
Wolsey). BBC News reported that the "much anticipated six-part
miniseries, to be aired on BBC2 next year, has begun filming in both
Bristol and the Wiltshire National Trust properties of Great Chalfield
Manor and Lacock Abbey."

"I love it when an author, such as Hilary Mantel, does her research and
discovers an original understanding of a very familiar piece of
history," said Rylance. "Even during our rehearsals her detailed
imagination of the world of Thomas Cromwell is alive in Peter
Straughan's ingenious and faithful adaptation."

Another quote about independent bookstores that I could not resist posting.
"So what, then, makes independent bookstores matter? They represent the
essential belief that humanity matters--each person matters.... We are
bibliophiles passionate about the power of books, but also the power of
community and humanity.... We understand the structure of a busy life
and, with that, the allure of convenience, but we want you to know, if
you need to stop, breathe deep, and explore for awhile, we're here,
seven days a week.

"We thank you for being an integral part of what we love and what we
do--none of this magic could happen without you. We curate this space
for you. We matter. You matter. This is why independent bookstores
 Julie Glover
a bookseller at Chop Suey Books <,
Richmond, Va., in a piece for the shop's e-newsletter. 

I must see this movie, it looks wonderful from the trailer. It reminds me of the adaptation of Under the Tuscan Sun, which was such a beautiful book and gorgeous movie.
DreamWorks has released the first trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey
based on Richard Morais's bestselling novel, reported. The
film stars Helen Mirren and is directed by Lasse Hallström, with
Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake producing. It hits
theaters August 8.
Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman is a book that I'm reading for my Tuesday evening book group at the Maple Valley Library.
Though I've got a copy of Hoffman's previous work, "Saving Cece Honeycutt" I haven't read it yet because I have the feeling I'd read it before, and have just forgotten the plot (this is becoming more of a problem the older I get, but as a veteran bibliophile, I refuse to let that stop me from buying more books!). Still, after discussing the last book we'd read in my group (Never Let Me Go) and all of us agreeing that it was a terribly depressing novel, I was afraid that this book wasn't going to be any better.
My fears were unfounded, however, when I became so engrossed in this story that I read it straight through in one day, from morning til night. A novel in the same style as Fanny Flagg's wonderful Southern fiction, Looking For Me is the story of a Kentucky farm girl whose brother disappears and is presumed dead. 
Here's the blurb :
Teddi Overman found her life’s passion in turning other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques. Leaving her hardscrabble Kentucky childhood behind, Teddi opens her own store in Charleston. She builds a life as unexpected and quirky as her many customers, but nothing alleviates the haunting uncertainty she’s felt since her brother Josh mysteriously disappeared. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi returns to Kentucky, embarking on a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and find herself.
Teddi and her friends and family are quirky and eccentric and utterly fascinating. Teddi's passion for reclaiming furniture and for caring deeply about her grandmother and her long lost brother, as well as the crazy people that inhabit her orbit in Charleston, SC, brings tears to the eyes of readers and tugs at the heartstrings.
I identified with Teddi's difficulties with her mother, and her unrelenting belief that her brother was still alive and living in the forest. Her late in life love affair and her persistence also rang a bell or two in my heart, and I found that by the end of the book, I felt as if I could hop a plane to Charleston and have a glass of iced tea with Teddi at the local cafe.
Hoffman's prose was just poetic enough to be emotive of the place and time of the novel, and her plot ran along greased rails, so smooth that it never missed a beat. A definite A, with a recommendation to all those who love family stories and Southern quirky characters.I enjoyed it so much I plan on buying a copy and sending it to my mother in Arizona. As a fan of Laura Child's  Tea Shoppe mysteries and Fannie Flagg's novels, I know that she'll love it.


Beth Hoffman said...

This is a wonderful surprise! Thanks so much for reading my novel. I'm delighted that you enjoyed "Looking for Me" and appreciate your kind words!

DeAnn G. Rossetti said...

Thank you so much for stopping by to read my blog, Ms Hoffman. I really enjoyed Looking For Me, and I did buy another copy for my mother, who lives in Arizona, and she is currently reading and enjoying it, too! My book group will be discussing Looking For Me on June 10, and I am certain that at least 90 percent of them will tell me, the moderator, that they loved it! Nicely done, by the way, excellent prose and wonderful characters! Please write more! You are welcome for the review, it was well deserved.