cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Greyhound Bus”

Review Round Up: January


I began a new Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2017 in January. I made my goal of 101 books (with a couple to spare) for 2016, so I thought “why not?” let’s see if I can achieve it again–maybe I’m pushing it. After all, to hit my goal I need to read at least eight books a month. So far so good. Of the eight books read in January here are my top picks:

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

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The main problem with patterning a storyline after Hamlet is the knowledge there will be no happy ending. This is especially true when the main idea is about a boy and his dog–Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows–case in point.
However, I plunged ahead because I am always open to a Shakespeare retelling, especially if it’s Hamlet.
As a debut novel, it’s ambitious, to say the least. First of all, it takes on Hamlet. Secondly, it weaves the story around the complicated business of dog breeding. Then there is the unique physical attribute that Edgar (the story’s Hamlet) was born without a voice. What he saw he could not easily tell. Pun or a deep metaphor? I haven’t decided.
The story also provides unusual omniscient point of view chapters. We even hear what the dogs are thinking.
It works. (four stars)

 

Rory's Promise

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A fascinating insight into another historical aspect of the Orphan Train. The Foundling Society of New York administered by Catholic sisters provided a clean, safe environment for orphans, a much different perspective than the more widely known Children’s Aid Society who ran the Orphan Trains that went out West.

The protagonist, Rory, refuses to be separated from her sister and risks her life to keep her promise that she would watch over her.

Based on historical fact, and the meticulous research is evident in the story. (four star)

 

 

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A throwback to the days of Greyhound travels and 1950s culture and values, Last Bus to Wisdom is a coming of age novel busting with wry mirth. Seemingly a combination of Little Britches and Mark Twain adventuring, Ivan Doig’s last novel truly is a wise choice of reading. (four star)

 

These three novels got me through the bleak days of January’s wintry blah days of icy cold and snow. A good book (three–score!), a cup of cocoa, and a crackling fire. Hmm, that’s what I call Book Booster happiness.

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Road Trip Reflections


It’s been about a week since I’ve been back from my Road Trip. Along the way I jotted notes and here’s what I came up with:


Reader Board: “without ice cream all would be darkness and chaos”

Rest stop bathroom poster: “no one should force you to work”–immigrant worker rights poster

Parking lot: one legged-seagull and a choir of grackles.

Dairy Queen: girl to grandpa–“how do they get the swirl on top of cone?”

Wireless Connect Option:
Drunkengiantgrogshop; dishonestdon–what neighborhood have I stopped in?

Window Shopping: seen on bib–“these fools have turned my super cape backwards.”

Coffee Shoppe: eclectic chairs and tables, tall ceilings, bookcase of children’s books, windowed playroom with dress up clothes, chalkboard walls, train set, kitchenette hutch. A brood of children frolicking while moms and dads read, deviced, paperworked. Lovely chocolate chip cookies too.


At the park: full out barbeques and families on a Saturday night

Dessert

Any guesses what this deliciousness might be? Oooh, yummers. Dark chocolate wrapped around cheesecake with raspberry crème garnish sauce. Note the in-house signature chocolates decorating the sides. Caloric penance.


At the restaurant: a dessert so beautiful I actually took a photo


In the parking lot: grated fern, a statement of deeper naturalism versus industrialism that Keats, Byron, or any of the Romanticist poets would have found poignant.

Trapped Fern

This can be viewed as either a poignant expression of nature being trapped by encroaching society or how nature finds a way to bloom amidst the trappings of industrialization. Or–isn’t that weirdly cool?


On the highway: no way, amazing, sleek as a Woolworth counter grilled cheese sandwich on a pastel Bakelite plate, a blast from the past–an actual Greyhound bus sporting a “hundred years” sticker to boot.

image: greyhound.com What are your memories of Greyhound?



In the motel room: white noise box with ocean waves, complete with seagulls scree; forest dawn, crickets and birds quite charming,; rain pattering, too close to home; fan, buzzy hum. A novelty never before encountered and even available for purchase. Tried it on first night and grandkiddo, the one who needs a minimum of two-three books, some conversation, and a bit of snuggling was out within two minutes of being lulled by waves.


Return home: a road trip is not complete without road construction delay. At one section the two lane highway is down to one lane and nobody is moving. Not no way. Not no how. Behind a little red car which is behind a huge white truck, yet from strained sneak peeks the road looks clear ahead. The MEPA is quietly muttering for  the car ahead to edge around truck. Finally it does, and like a cork popping from a bottle, traffic started flowing again. The problem? The exit ramp so full it flowed onto road. No flagger directing traffic, construction crew absolutely  clueless to havoc below on highway.

Dinner stop: connection with youngest progeny for dinner. Roadside grazing produces guilt to eat lightly–salad bar. Yet when it’s $12.00 though all one can eat, I strive to get my  monetary satisfaction. It is possible to overdose on greenery, especially when artichoke hearts and curried chicken salad are involved.

Rolling in late to home some 6 hours later than the Google Maps prediction: truly there is no place like home

 

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