Wednesday, April 2, 2014

No Time for Quilting

You know that feeling of despair that comes over you when you think you'll never find a really good book to read, ever again? That you've probably read all the good ones? You try a few that have been suggested but nothing seems to cut it, no good fits. For months, there's been a stack of books sitting on my bedside table I've been meaning to read. Now and then I tried a few and always just put them down, unfinished. Read a few that were just okay. Went to the library for a few more, but ended up not reading more than a few pages of each one. Nothing grabbed me or moved me. So I stopped reading fiction for awhile and then went into literary withdrawal.
 
 
I can't go without reading for very long. If quilting is my life, then reading is my Other Life. I'm picky about my books and choosing which ones I want to spend time reading is very personal. Knowing this, I hardly ever suggest books to others and rarely enjoy books that others recommend.  I usually feel terrible when someone suggests a book and I try it but don't really like it and can't finish it.  Even if it's a best seller that everyone else loves, I'm probably not going to like it.  In order to truly love a book, I have to fall in love with the characters and be open to the story, you know? Recently,  I fell in love with what some have called a totally unlikable character. And I needed to tell someone. Hey, I know. I have a blog!
 
I don't know what I was doing in 2008 when Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout was published, or in 2009 when the author was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature, but I somehow missed it. Late to the party again. The other day I was feeling too lazy to drive over to the bookstore so I borrowed Olive Kitteridge as a digital e-book from the library simply because it was available. What a wonderful surprise. I loved it so much that now I have to go out and buy it for my bookshelf. This book just blew me away with it's beautiful, subtle prose and wonderfully human characters. You know that feeling of excitement you get when you've finally found a book that you love and now you get to go back and read everything else the author has written? Elizabeth Strout, my new favorite author. After I finished it, I stayed awake for hours, savoring the fictional town of Crosby, Maine, and its inhabitants. The characters wouldn't leave me. HBO is filming a mini-series on Olive, which will be released later this year, starring Frances McDormand.
 
 
Late last night, after I finished the book, on a whim, I checked the library again and was happy to see that her newest book - The Burgess Boys -  was available. Oh, my goodness. I know what I'll be doing for the next few days . . . . No time to quilt. I'll be in Crosby, Maine. And then I'll probably have to go out and buy that one too.


22 comments:

Susie Q said...

Hi Kathleen, I know just how you feel. I have never joined a Book Club which surprises many people as I have over 1000 books at home but half the time I can't stand the books they choose!!! I know what I like and which Authors appeal to me. I love mysteries/crime/thrillers/fantasy that sort of thing. I will look up this book though and see if it is something I could read. Thanks for sharing. Susie x

Sherryl said...

Finally - someone else who loves Olive Kitteridge as much as I do! I've told a couple of people about this book and everyone who has tried it just didn't get what I loved about it. But I loved everything about it - including the somewhat unlikeable Olive. I GET her. In fact, it scared me a little that I could understand her so well. Thank you for making me feel less alone in the world! lol
Ii know you don't like other people's choices - but if you ever read The Widow's War - let me know what you think...
- sunshdws at yahoo dot com

kelley said...

Thanks for sharing...sounds like a book I'll enjoy too...

regan said...

I'm with you other's recommendations, too. I just can't get into some of their favorites! I've been thinking it was just me! lol I'm going to look for this author......and I'm thinking I might just love Olive, as I'm in Maine, too! :o)

Anonymous said...

I first read the Burgess Boys and then Olive Kittredge. Loved them. My recent favorite is the Orphan Train. We were visiting in Minnesota when I read it. My husband said his grandmother took two children off the train.
Try it!
Barb

Me and My Stitches said...

Well, what great timing - I just had an e-mail this morning that due to a class action lawsuit, I have a credit to spend on Kindle books! Guess I know what my first purchase will be!

peggy Hendrick said...

I couldn't have said it better myself...I love finding a book I really love but finishing it ruins the way I feel about the next one on my shelf...sometimes I need to take a break and start again in a few days...I actually go to our local library and after pursuing all the "new" fiction walk up and down the stacks to see what else I can find...and have been at times pleasantly surprised...I keep a notebook with names of books/authors etc...when it comes time to go to the library I make a quick list (after checking to see if my local library has it) and then head out...If they don't have something I request it through inter-library loan...they're pretty good at finding things...ps. I see you have the Guernsey book in your pic Loved it!

quiptowngirl said...

Loved Olive Kitteridge. I will recommend to you Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Defending Jacob, can't remember the author. Those were the last 2 really good books that I read. Finished Gone Girl in 1 1/2 days, because I just had to keep reading to see what would happen next. Defending Jacob kept me unsure until the end. If you try them, I hope you like them
Cindy

Susan D said...

What? You haven't read the Guernsey Literary etc., yet? Heavens, read it right now! Because the sooner you read it, the sooner you can read it again.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Read both Gone Girl and Defending Jacob. Liked them a lot. Before Olive, the last good book I read was The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. That was last year . . . Haven't tried the Guernsey book yet.

Rosemary said...

LOL I'm laughing because I was just going to forward this blog to my daughter, Sherryl but see that she had already commented. She absolutely loved that book. Me? Not as much. We are AVID readers here as well as avid quilters. Sherryl and I agree on most books and both need a book ready to start when we finish one. Driving time, it's Audible time .. but I need to hold a book in my hand as well. Just like I need to hold a piece of fabric. Life is good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Makes me appreciate you even more. ;)

Heartsdesire said...

I feel much the same as you about other people's book recommendations. Sometimes I like them, but most times I don't. However, I'm going to try "Olive" as I've seen some other reviews that were great. The Burgess Boys has also been highly recommended.

Margaret said...

Maybe you and I have similar reading tastes!?! When I began reading your blog entry, I wondered to myself if you had read Olive Kitteridge. I loved that book! Then I read Burgess Boys and I loved, loved loved that book!! And I wanedt to talk with someone about it, but I haven't found anyone who cares to read it. Ah, well. Reading tastes are particular to an individual, which can make it difficult to buy books as gifts, sometimes.

Well, I hope you truly enjoy that book.

Colleen said...

Oh my goodness!! I knew we were kindred spirits in quilting but now I know we're kindred spirits in reading, too!!

I have been exactly like you this whole winter. I could NOT find anything that held my interest. I went to a book sale in Oct. that our Historical Society puts on twice a year and I stocked up for the winter. Do you know how many books I read out of the 13 that I bought?? Two!! I'd read a couple pages or chapters of the others and they "grab" me so back on the shelf they went. I've always been an avid reader since I was a little girl so this has been so frustrating for me this winter.

I've never followed the crowed either when books would come out and hit the List.

I'm going to check out Olive. Thanks for the book report :)

Anonymous said...

Kathy, Thank you for sharing the books. I have put Olive Kitteridge on my list at the library. I like hearing what others are reading. It’s SOOOOO boring reading the stuff on the best sellers list. The only thing that list tells me is that people are buying the books, not reading or enjoying them. I just read "In Sunlight and in Shadow" by Mark Helprin. The prose is beautiful and I fell in love with the characters. Maybe it was because it was set in post WW2 New York. His more popular book has 73 people waiting to read it – A Winter’s Tale.The line might be shorter at the movies than on the book wait list.

Sharing books with others is a good way to get conversation going and to learn more about the other person. In the long run, whether I like the story or not, it adds to my perspective on life and helps develop the relationship with the person who recommended the book. Right now, I’m reading the bio on Sigmund Freud. Don’t even ask what road my brain took to get to that read! Mary in AZ

Crista G C said...

Muchas gracias por la recomendaciĆ³n del libro, lo voy a comprar maƱana.Un abrazo.

Cyndi said...

Great blog topic! Olive Kittredge book has been on my nightstand for years and I own the Burgess Boys too.....always like to support my Maine authors. You've given me impetus to read that book next! Right now I am reading a Jan Coran Mitford series. In addition to real books, I usually listen to an audiobook while I sew or drive. Just finished The Book Thief, Washington's Secret Six, Longbourne, and now The Bully Pulpit in the sewing room and biography of Alexander Hamilton in the car. Love history, even historical novels. Looks like many Quilters are Readers too! And that leads to reading quilt and quilt history books and now I need to crack open the latest book from Quiltmania.....Of Needle, Thimble and Thread!!

kdduncan said...

I loved the characters in Guernsey Literary etc much more that Olive Kitteredge. In fact, I read Soldier's Wife just so I could go back to Guernsey Island and was disappointed when I did not run into even one character from Guernsey Literary etc.! Is that Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time lurking under Guernsey Literary etc.? Another good read. And oh, oh, oh, how about The Book Thief?! And almost anything by Kate Morton? Or Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series? Gotta go. Books to read. And fabric to pet.

Beardie Mom said...

Give "Unbroken" a read -- its wonderful . . .

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just finished a great book: Monument Road by Charlie Quimby. I loved it. I sent you this because I too loved Olive and The Burgess kaye.

Tricia Sagen said...

Actually have that book sitting on my bed...waiting for a third or fourth re-reading! Great minds think alike!

kathleen waldron said...

Kathy,
I love Olive and am so glad to hear she has another ser in the same town. Our book club read Olive and we loved it. Reading someone else's choices in a club can be probl.ematic but I have to say I have read a much larger variety of books than I would on my own.
Thanks for the new title.
Kathleen

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