FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS & THE FRIDAY 56 – “AND THE DARK SACRED NIGHT”

4-30-curlupandread-001-framed-book-beginnings2friday 56Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time! 

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s featured book is an ARC called And the Dark Sacred Night, by Julia Glass, a story about the quest for an unknown father.

 

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Beginning:  She saw him through the trees, and she almost turned around.  In just eight days, she had come to believe that this wedge of shore, rumbled rock enclosed by thorny juniper and stunted saplings (but lit by the tilting sun at the western side of the lake) was her secret.  Each afternoon, it became her refuge—just one brief measure, a piacere, of solitude—from another attenuated day of rehearse, practice, and practice even more; of master classes and Popper etudes, hour after hour of Saint-Saens and Debussy; of walking over plush lawns, passing adults who spoke zealously, even angrily, in German and Russian; of waking and going to sleep in a room shared with three other girls.

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56:  He waited until the third night of his mother’s visit, by which time she had coaxed their lives into semiroutine.  They sat at the kitchen table, finishing the bottle of wine opened at dinner.

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Amazon Description:  In this richly detailed novel, Julia Glass brings new characters together with familiar figures from her first two novels, immersing readers in a panorama that stretches from suburban New Jersey to rural Vermont and ultimately to the tip of Cape Cod.

Kit Noonan is an unemployed art historian with twins to help support and a mortgage to pay—and a wife frustrated by his inertia. Raised by a strong-willed, secretive single mother, Kit has never known the identity of his father—a mystery that his wife insists he must solve to move forward with his life. Out of desperation, Kit goes to the mountain retreat of his mother’s former husband, Jasper, a take-no-prisoners outdoorsman. There, in the midst of a fierce blizzard, Kit and Jasper confront memories of the bittersweet decade when their families were joined. Reluctantly breaking a long-ago promise, Jasper connects Kit with Lucinda and Zeke Burns, who know the answer he’s looking for. Readers of Glass’s first novel, Three Junes, will recognize Lucinda as the mother of Malachy, the music critic who died of AIDS. In fact, to fully understand the secrets surrounding his paternity, Kit will travel farther still, meeting Fenno McLeod, now in his late fifties, and Fenno’s longtime companion, the gregarious Walter Kinderman.

And the Dark Sacred Night is an exquisitely memorable tale about the youthful choices that steer our destinies, the necessity of forgiveness, and the risks we take when we face down the shadows from our past.

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What do you think?  Intriguing?  Tempting?  I know that I have enjoyed this author and previous books, including Three Junes.

 

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: EAGERLY AWAITING “GOODNIGHT JUNE”

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As we gather around to share the upcoming releases we are awaiting, head on over to Breaking the Spine to see what lovely books are coming soon.

My choice today is from a favorite author.  Goodnight June, by Sarah Jio, is a story that re-imagines the origins of a favorite children’s classic.  Coming on 5/27/14, it will make a lovely addition to my library.

 

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The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon.

Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

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Doesn’t this sound delightful?  I know that I really cannot wait to add this book to my collection.  What are you awaiting?

 

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TUESDAY SPARKS: INTROS/TEASERS – “THE INNOCENT SLEEP”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s spotlight is shining on my current read, an ARC called The Innocent Sleep, by Karen Perry.

 

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Intro:  (Prologue – Tangier)

A storm is rising.  He can feel it in the strange stillness of the air.  There is no movement, no flutter of clothing, not a whisper of a breeze along the narrow streets of Tangier.

Beyond the lines of washing strung between the buildings, above the tiled roofs, he sees a patch of sky.  There is a strange luminous quality to it, a bluish hue and lights that look almost like auroras.

He stirs a cup of warm milk, blinks, and looks out again onto the changing and otherworldly colors of the sky.

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Teaser:  And that was the start of our time in Tangier, something that began as a dream and ended a nightmare.  I can’t tell you everything that happened there.  I can give you an idea, a sense of what the place was like—that’s all  (p. 67).

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Blurb:  When a couple’s lost child resurfaces they are forced to embark on a journey into their shared past—one rife with dark secrets and lies

Tangiers. Harry is preparing his wife’s birthday dinner while she is still at work and their son, Dillon, is upstairs asleep in bed. Harry suddenly remembers that he’s left Robin’s gift at the café in town. It’s only a five minute walk away and Dillon’s so tricky to put down for the night, so Harry decides to run out on his own and fetch the present.

Disaster strikes. An earthquake hits, buildings crumble, people scream and run. Harry fights his way through the crowd to his house, only to find it razed to the ground. Dillon is presumed dead, though his body is never found.

Five years later, Harry and Robin have settled into a new kind of life after relocating to their native Dublin. Their grief will always be with them, but lately it feels as if they’re ready for a new beginning. Harry’s career as an artist is taking off and Robin has just realized that she’s pregnant.

But when Harry gets a glimpse of Dillon on the crowded streets of Dublin, the past comes rushing back at both of them. Has Dillon been alive all these years? Or was what Harry saw just a figment of his guilt-ridden imagination? With razor-sharp writing, Karen Perry’s The Innocent Sleep delivers a fast-paced, ingeniously plotted thriller brimming with deception, doubt, and betrayal.

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This story has captured me in unique ways.  What do you think, based on these excerpts and this blurb?  Would you keep reading?

I hope you’ll stop by and share your thoughts and your links.

 

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SPARKING SOME COZINESS ON A SATURDAY

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Welcome to a cozy Saturday evening.  I’ve been reading, watching movies, and contemplating the week ahead.  Check out my Weekly Updates.

It is much easier to enjoy these leisurely pursuits when surrounded by cozy accouterments.  So here are a few things around me when I relax.

One of my favorite bookshelves, it houses books and some “fairytale” figurines.

 

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Here’s a close-up of the bottom shelf:

 

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And one of the books I’ll be reading this week is from a favorite author, Anna Quindlen.  Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

 

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I’ll be curling up here for the rest of the evening to read and watch more movies.

 

 

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What do you like to do on a cozy Saturday evening?

 

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HUMP DAY SPARKS: WAITING FOR “THAT NIGHT”

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Welcome to our bookish celebration of our eagerly anticipated upcoming book releases, hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Check over at Jill’s place to see what everyone is gushing over.

Today I’m drooling over the next Chevy Stevens book, coming on June 17, 2014:  That Night.

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Eighteen-year-old Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were wrongly convicted for the murder of her younger sister.

Seventeen years later she returns home, ready to move on with her life, but she can’t. Ryan is convinced he can uncover the truth; her mother still doesn’t believe Toni is innocent; and the former high school girls who made Toni’s life miserable may have darker secrets than anyone can imagine.

Before Toni can move forward, she must take a terrifying step back to her past to find out the truth and clear her name, before it’s too late.

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I love this author’s work…and this one grabbed me with the cover and the blurb.  What are you eagerly anticipating?   Come on by and share…along with your links!

CREATIVE SPARKS: BERLIN STREET ART

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Last week, I shared photos from my second son’s visit to Sierra Leone.  This week, take a look at some Berlin street art photographed by my eldest son, Craig Robinson Photographer.

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Hope you enjoyed the show.  Please come on by and share your own photos…and your links!

FRIDAY SPARKS: BOOK BEGINNINGS/THE FRIDAY 56 — “ENON”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

***

Today I’m featuring an ARC from Amazon Vine.  Enon, by Paul Harding, is the story of a year in the life of a man coming to terms with a personal tragedy.

 

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Beginning:  Most men in my family make widows of their wives and orphans of their children.  I am the exception.  My only child, Kate, was struck and killed by a car while riding her bicycle home from the beach one afternoon in September, a year ago.  She was thirteen.  My wife, Susan, and I separated soon afterward.

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56:  Houses retain traces of the people who have lived in them and I feel those traces immediately whenever I step into one.  When Susan and Kate and I looked at the few houses within our price range in Enon, there were times when my stomach soured and my head ached before i had walked through two rooms.

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Blurb:  Hailed as “a masterpiece” (NPR), Tinkers, Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, is a modern classic. The Dallas Morning News observed that “like Faulkner, Harding never shies away from describing what seems impossible to put into words.” Here, in Enon, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy. Grandson of George Crosby (the protagonist of Tinkers), Charlie inhabits the same dynamic landscape of New England, its seasons mirroring his turbulent emotional odyssey. Along the way, Charlie’s encounters are brought to life by his wit, his insights into history, and his yearning to understand the big questions. A stunning mosaic of human experience, Enon affirms Paul Harding as one of the most gifted and profound writers of his generation.

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I am eager to plunge into this emotional journey of a novel…and I will have a box of tissues handy.  Come on by with your own excerpts and links, please!

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CREATIVE SPARKS: FAMILY MOMENTS…AGAIN!

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

I have been hit and miss with these posts lately, but today I’m back with some family moments.  My youngest grandson, Noah, just turned eleven, and here are a couple of shots of him.

The first is a collage showing Noah in the present (left).  On the right, we see toddler Noah, (top right), and Baby Noah’s “sculptured” hand, (bottom right).

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Here is a picture of Heather and Noah “clowning around.”

 

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And finally…Heather and Steven put together a collage to celebrate their upcoming nuptials.  Harmony is a little coastal town where they might exchange their vows…and it is also a metaphor for what they hope their marriage will look like.

 

Wedding Venue - Harmony, CA

 

Okay…enough of that schmaltzy stuff!  lol

 

What are you sharing today?  Come on by and leave a link with your comments.

WHAT IGNITES YOUR INTEREST ON A FRIDAY?

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What sparks your enthusiasm as a weekend approaches?  What ignites your passion?

For me, it’s great books and movies.  One of my current reads is an epic story penned by a well-known Southern writer:  Pat Conroy.  Beach Music has been on my stacks for quite awhile…and it is a heavy-weight (literally).  With almost 800 pages, it is definitely one to savor, and it takes the reader back and forth in time and across countries.  From South Carolina to Italy and also to Holocaust times, we can immerse ourselves in the culture, the ambience, and the flavors of this world painted by this author.

From Amazon:  PAT CONROY, America’s preeminent storyteller, delivers a sweeping novel of lyric intensity and searing truth–the story of Jack McCall, an American expatriate in Rome, scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart.

Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. It is another masterpiece in PAT CONROY’S legendary list of beloved novels.

 

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Meanwhile, I am reading a few other books, just so I can see an ending on the horizon.  Right now, I’m approaching the 600 page mark in my epic novel.

Today is also a day to enjoy new movies, and I’m eager to see August:  Osage County, with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and many others.

 

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Now I’m off to see the movie….Sparky (my Kindle) is coming with me, so afterwards I can read while I eat lunch.  I’m taking this book along:  I See London I See France, by Paulita Kincer.

 

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So…again.  What sparks your weekend moments? 

 

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CREATIVE SPARKS: HOLIDAY MOMENTS CONTINUED

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

With Christmas behind us, I would love to share a few more mementos of the season before saying goodbye.  Here is what you see when you first enter my holiday home.

 

Enter My Decked Halls

Enter My Decked Halls

 

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Dining area

 

And as a nod to the upcoming New Year, I have rearranged my office space.  I moved the table that had been standing in as a desk to its new home (above), and placed the drop leaf table (below) in its place.  Here’s one view:

 

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And here’s another:

 

A closer view

A closer view

 

Now I’m eager to begin the New Year!  Happy Holidays!!

 

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