What Are You Reading?

books.jpg So, have you read any good books lately?

I just re-read Adriana Trigiani’s first three Big Stone Gap novels and now, I’m reading her latest Home to Big Stone Gap. Once I start reading her books, I cannot put them down. I’m so glad Ms. Trigiani returned to Big Stone Gap and the story of Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney. It’s a rare book that can simultaneously conjure up dreams of dancing at the Carter Family Fold and of climbing the Italian Alps, yet her novels do that for me. One minute, I want to load up the car and the children and head on over to watch the outdoor drama The Trail of the Lonesome Pine and have a picnic beside the Big Cherry Reservoir and dance the night away at the Carter Family Fold. The next minute, I want to leave the children behind and head away to Italy for a romantic second honeymoon, hiking in the Alps, drinking fresh water from a cool mountain stream, and sipping coffee while watching the locals take their traditional after-dinner walk each evening.

I went to college in Bristol, Tennessee, not far at all from Ave Maria’s Big Stone Gap. I was close friends with a guy from Pennington Gap, and I remember my 20th birthday and the long drive he and I took back into the mountain, down Gate City Highway and into Pennington Gap. We probably drove on the Trail of the Lonesome Pine. It’s easy for me to picture the story of Ave Maria’s life as it unfolds in these novels.

Maybe it’s because I am from the mountains of West Virginia, but I love stories set in the mountains. I see my extended family, my high school classmates, even myself in the characters. I can hear their voices in my head — the way they say “tarr” instead of “tire” and “theAter” with the long “a.” I can picture the small-town dynamics and the landscape details. I can smell the smoke from their fireplaces and the foods on their tables. It’s true of Ms. Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap books, and it’s also true of Lee Smith’s Appalachian stories and Sharon McCrumb’s mysteries. And even though they aren’t specific to my mountains, it’s true of other Southern writers like Olive Ann Burns and Eudora Welty.

Ok, I need to do some laundry and bake a birthday cake (Lauren is 9 today!) and unload and load the dishwasher. I’m also hoping to devour a few pages of Ave Maria’s life here and there throughout the day.

How about you? What are you reading?

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8 Comments

Filed under books, miscellaneous

8 responses to “What Are You Reading?

  1. Those books sound good! I’m reading Digital Wedding Photography right now–not that exciting. 🙂 I was hoping to find the first book in Karen Kingsbury’s “Firstborn” series while at Barnes and Noble last night, but no such luck. 😦

    Happy birthday Lauren!

  2. Gmama

    I just finished that novel recently and I agree with you. Her colorful characters are just like people I know and the dialect used is not that difficult to understand. Thanks for reminding us of some of the really good novels out there.

  3. Julie A.

    Happy birthday sweet girl! Hugs and kisses from Colorado!
    Right now I am reading an assortment of business/branding/marketing books. In The Culting of Brands, When Customers Become True Believers by Douglas Atkin, he actually compares some companies and those loyal to them to cults- i.e. Apple, Harley-Davidson, and Mary Kay. It is really funny. I am also reading the Starbucks Experience, and a book on Emotional Intelligence and Corporate Re-alignment. I wish I could say I was reading some fun children’s literature (my preference) but work reading is squishing out my fun. Jenn- any children’s books y0u could recommend to me (and Jacob) for the summer would be great. Jacob and I both finished Bridge to Terabitha this spring and we loved it, but I am looking for something a bit “lighter”. Bridges upset me for weeks afterward.

  4. Shannon K

    I have been reading missionary biographies for the past few months thanks to the library at church. I am reading about Adoniram Judson right now. It’s really hard for me to get into novels – I’ve just never taken to them. I end up reading about one per year. I’m also readin Raising Lifelong Learners that Laura Freeman lent me.

  5. Martha

    Oh, I miss those Appalachians! I have to say though, Pikes Peak was beautiful today with low hanging clouds.

    Calm My Anxious Heart (Linda Dillow), Boundaries with Kids (Trent & ?), George Mueller (homeschool Sonlight) and Detectives in Togas (the same). Hoping to get back to Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion #3 this summer…

    Happy Birthday, dear Lauren!

  6. WV Grammy

    I recently read The Shunning and The Confession by Beverly Lewis. I am ready to start reading The Reckoning soon but need to get some things done around the house before I start. I, too, have a hard time putting a good book down. I have also read The Postcard and The Crossroad written by Beverly Lewis. I have The Preacher’s Daughter, The Englisher, and The Brethren to read but it may be Fall before I get to them. I almost never read just one book at a time but normally have 2 or 3 started. One is the 12th book in the Left Behind series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins. I started it quite some time ago and put it down and just haven’t picked it back up to finish it. Hum. Now, where did I put that book?

  7. I’m not reading anything!

    Weird! Really weird for me! 🙂

  8. Jeff

    Just finished “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller, and am currently reading “Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell and “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Buckingham & Clifton. Up next is “Paul The Jewish Theologian” by Brad Young. I also found a book I want called “Christ and the Caesars” but I don’t think my wife will let me get it- it turns out it is out of print and the only two copies I could find are about $250. Maybe the library has it?

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