11.12.13 – What is Making Me Happy

First, the date.  11-12-13 – How fun is that?  I guess it’s the big wedding date of the year – what will next year’s big date be?  12-13-14 I guess.

Other things making me happy –

On the reading front…

  • I’m feeling a little bit like I got my reading groove back!  Yay!
  • Since “Freud’s Mistress,” I’ve read “Falling Together” by Marisa de los Santos,
  • “Paris was the Place” by Susan Conley (see review here) and
  • “My One Square Inch of Alaska” by Sharon Short (for FC book group next week).
  • I’m currently reading (and flying through!) “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” by Helen Fielding,
  • and listening on audio (slowly) “Finn & Lady” by Cathleen Schine.
  • Woot!

    QUESTLOVE
    QUESTLOVE (Photo credit: thetortmaster)
  • I think the moral to this story for me is that I need to read books of my choosing rather than for book tours and blogging for a while. I have enjoyed the books I’ve read for book tours, but find that I read them even slower than normal and the blogging aspect adds even more time.
  • Hopefully I can crank out (and enjoy!) a few more before the end of 2013!
  • Next on my reading list are “Pope Joan” for the ED book club,
  • and “Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove” by Questlove and Ben Greenman.
  • Then maybe I’ll FINALLY read “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah, and some other seasonal reads.

On the film front:

  • On DVD or streaming on Netflix:  “The Oranges,” – a slightly disturbing story about a college aged girl who starts dating her dad’s best friend and neighbor; “Springbreakers,” – a very disturbing story about spring break gone awry, jumpy and weird; “Bachelorrette” – a story about a bride who asks high school friends to be in her wedding, even though they were mean to her in high school, interestinglly famous cast;  “Mike Birbiglia‘s: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” – stand up routine by this guy… love his stuff;
  • and in the theatre on a mid-week date night, “Enough Said.”  Elaine Bennis (Julie Louis-Dreyfuss) and Tony Soprano (James Gandolfino) meet and begin dating.  It’s James Gandolfino’s last film and it was a very sweet story.  Lots of good discussions – in the movie and after.

On the social front:

  • Lots of great dates with Chris – whether it’s cooking a meal, eating out, going to football games, exploring the SPAM Museum, watching DVDs or going to movies, we have a good time.
  • Met some girls at 4 Daughters’ Winery for a delicious afternoon lunch and conversation!  Was a great time and hope to do it again soon!
  • Had 1:1 time with great friends, as well – Beth came to Rochester and we hit consignment shops and had a great lunch and some coffee, had a birthday lunch with Ellen last week, and Vicki and I shared a bottle of wine in Mom and Dad’s basement, discussing life!
  • The SPAM Museum with Chris and Marissa was a ton o’ fun… I don’t know what it is about that place!  Maybe the SPAMples we ate throughout our time there, the gift store with everything SPAM you can imagine, or the knowledge that was absorbed, as evidenced by the SPAM game show.  Fun fun times.
  • I went to the ED Book Club for the first time last night to discuss a book I recommended to them and read in 1998!  I didn’t re-read it but read the SparksNotes for Angela’s Ashes, and there was great discussion with people I don’t know very well.  Was a fun night and I’ll go again!
  • Feel like I’ve been working a lot, but I guess no more than normal.  Just recovering from overnights, so a little brain dead yet today.
Spam Museum
Spam Museum (Photo credit: isNoOp)

And so I’ll close… I feel a little bad that I’m not participating in the month of Gratitude leading up to Thanksgiving… the days fly by and there is always something to be thankful for.  I’m working this Thanksgiving, so I am trying to figure out what I can do to celebrate in some way.  I’m thankful for TimeHop App which tells me what I posted on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare for the last 5 years, so that I can remember all the good things that have gone on before… Life is good!

What is making YOU happy??

Paris Was the Place

Paris Was The Place

Storytelling.

“Paris was the Place” is a story about a poetry teacher, Willow (Willie) Pears, who moves to France to be near her older brother and her college roommate.   It’s 1989 and she teaches poetry at a University and begins volunteering at an immigration center where girls who are in France illegally are kept while they await their asylum hearings.  She works with the girls to find the words to tell their stories which they will tell the judge.

An integral part of the story is the relationship that Willie and her brother, Luke, have with their mother and father while growing up, and the relationship she has with her brother in the present.  She is still hurting from her mother’s death and feeling estranged from her father.  Luke is her connection to the past and her reason for being in France at the present.  Willie navigates Paris streets and neighborhoods, the Paris immigration system for the girls whose stories she elicits, a new relationship with a divorced immigration lawyer with a young son, and her brother’s mysterious illness.  She becomes entranced by the lives of the girls seeking asylum and goes a little too far to help one of them.  It jeopardizes her new relationship with Macon, the lawyer, and her friends, but she is forgiven.

Her brother’s illness is a pall that hangs over the entire book and sometimes paralyzes Willie.  But Willie is awarded the opportunity to go to India to meet with the daughter of the famous poet, Sarojini, in the hopes that she will be trusted to write a book about her story, and she is able to make the trip reluctantly.  Willie loved the poetry written by this Indian woman and is honored that she is able to take the words home with her study.

Willie has always been enamored with words and their meanings.  In this book she gives words and meaning to the lives of the girls at the immigration center, to her mother’s life and death, and to her brother’s illness.  Storytelling.  This book is about a teacher and storyteller.  It’s about the power of words in relationships and it’s about forgiveness and hope.

SYNOPSIS

With her new novel, Paris Was the Place (Knopf, 2013), Susan Conley offers a beautiful meditation on how much it matters to belong: to a family, to a country, to any one place, and how this belonging can mean the difference in our survival. Novelist Richard Russo calls Paris Was the Place, “by turns achingly beautiful and brutally unjust, as vividly rendered as its characters, whose joys and struggles we embrace as our own.”

When Willie Pears begins teaching at a center for immigrant girls in Paris all hoping for French asylum, the lines between teaching and mothering quickly begin to blur. Willie has fled to Paris to create a new family, and she soon falls for Macon, a passionate French lawyer. Gita, a young girl at the detention center, becomes determined to escape her circumstances, no matter the cost. And just as Willie is faced with a decision that could have dire consequences for Macon and the future of the center, her brother is taken with a serious, as-yet-unnamed illness. The writer Ayelet Waldman calls Paris Was the Place “a gorgeous love story and a wise, intimate journal of dislocation that examines how far we’ll go for the people we love most.” Named on the Indie Next List for August 2013 and on the Slate Summer Reading List, this is a story that reaffirms the ties that bind us to one another.

Release date: August 7, 2013.

Pages: 354

Publisher link: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/204489/paris-was-the-place-by-susan-conley

ISBN: 978-0-307-59407-5

Buying links:

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/204489/paris-was-the-place-by-susan-conley

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Was-Place-Susan-Conley/dp/0307594076

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Was-the-Place-ebook/dp/B00BVJG4CM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paris-was-the-place-susan-conley/1113784351?ean=9780307594075

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paris-was-the-place-susan-conley/1113784351?ean=9780385349659

https://itunes.apple.com/be/book/paris-was-the-place/id623835456?mt=11

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780307594075/susan-conley/paris-was-place

 

Susan Conley2Author bio

Susan Conley is a writer and teacher. Her memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf 2011), chronicles her family’s experiences in modern China as well as her journey through breast cancer. The Oprah Magazine listed it as a Top Ten Pick, Slate Magazine chose it as “Book of the Week,” and The Washington Post called it “a beautiful book about China and cancer and how to be an authentic, courageous human being.” Excerpts from the memoir have been published in The New York Times Magazine and The Daily Beast.

Susan’s writing has also appeared in The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Gettysburg Review, The North American Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. A native of Maine, she earned her B.A. from Middlebury College and her M.F.A. in creative writing from San Diego State University. After teaching poetry and literature at Emerson College in Boston, Susan returned to Portland, where she cofounded and served as executive director of The Telling Room, a nonprofit creative writing center. She currently teaches at The Telling Room and at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program.

Contact Information

www.SusanConley.com

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I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I’m thankful to be part of the France Book Tour!

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