Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Sunday Salon

Show of hands, everyone ... who else isn't a big fan of this whole time change nonsense? It wreaks havoc on my kids' internal clocks (especially Boo's, which is set in his own time zone to begin with) and it just depresses me when it gets dark before 5 p.m. 

On the other hand, the extra hour this weekend means I get to spend a little more time with what is shaping up to be one of the best books I've read this year.

I am absolutely loving Mrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy Winn.  (Isn't that cover gorgeous?)  This debut fiction collection of ten linked stories spans six decades in the lives of the residents of mill-town Lowell, Massachusetts.  It begins with a splash in the mid 1940s with a mysterious but progressive-minded woman working in the hosiery mill - and with one of the best first lines I've ever read:

"Lucy Mattsen was nobody - like all the women I worked with - until the day the baby fell out the window."  (from the first and title story, "Mrs. Somebody Somebody.")  

The stories continue with a soldier's return from the Korean War ("Blue Tango") back to a domestic life that only resembles that which he left behind and contains shards of deception ("Glass Box," one of the best short stories I've ever read).  It continues with his children's lives ("Frankie Floats") as we follow the characters - who are connected with the town's mills - through the modern day.  I have two more stories to go before finishing Mrs. Somebody Somebody (which I plan to do today ... somewhat reluctantly, I might add.)  If you enjoyed Olive Kitteridge (as I absolutely did), I think you would also enjoy this. 

Speaking of books enjoyed, many a book blogger has been raving about The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.  I spent most of my pre-and post-Halloween days with this 466 page novel ... and sadly, I'm not among those singing this one's praises.  I thought this would be spookier and scarier than it was (and I'm very much not a mystery novel kind of girl, so that's fine with me) but at the end of the day I found myself not liking or caring much about any of the characters.  Which is kind of a disapppointment after spending so much time with them ... but whatever. 

But if you want frightening, give a listen to Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.  (Or read it.)  As I said in last week's Salon post, these stories are horrifying and heartwrenching, made so by the fact that these stories are obviously true and that these atrocities are still going on this very day

This has been my audiobook for the past week and then some. The irony isn't being lost on me as I listen to account after account of depravity against women half a world away while I half-absentmindedly drive to a meeting, order a Pumpkin Spice Latte in the Starbucks drive through, or run errands on autopilot.  (Most of my travels have been short ones this week, so my listening is being done in snippets ... which, honestly?  is the only way I can take in the incomprehensible truth of this book.)

Hope you're spending your extra hour this weekend with a great book!

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Gavin said...

Mrs. Somebody Somebody sounds wonderful. If it is anything like Olive Kitteridge I will love it. Thanks!

Booksnyc said...

Isn't it amazing how many opportunities and freedoms we take for granted? It is easy to forget here that these are hard won! Half The Sky has been on my TBR for awhile - I will have to pick it up soon!

Shon said...

I've seen Mrs. Somebody Somebody several times at the bookstore and wondered about it. I'll have to pay attention to it next time I'm there.

Like you, I enjoy the extra hour of sleep (and that today feels so much longer), but I don't like that it gets darker earlier. The first week of the time change is always an adjustment for me, esp my commute home.

Iliana said...

Oh darn, I'm sorry to hear The Little Stranger wasn't for you. I really liked it but I agree, it wasn't as spooky or scary as I expected. I've read some of her other books so I shouldn't really have had those expectations but I did.