Thanks for stopping by.
Last week I told you I’d tell you about the visit of my sister. My sister and her family live in Southern California. It’s a ten-hour drive so we don’t see each other often. However, every Spring Kaye and her husband Don usually visit Yosemite National Park and then drive over to see us.
Here’s a rare picture of Kaye and I as we posed on our Town Green. (Kaye is on the right.)
We always have a great time playing cards, visiting area sites of interest, and eating local foods. Don usually shares pictures of Yosemite and especially my two favorite spots — The Yosemite Falls and Half Dome.
They are unusually spectacular this year because of all the rain and snow that visited California this past Winter. All the water coming over the Falls is amazing. And, if you look close, you can still see snow on the top of Half Dome.
I love talking about books and people who also love to talk about books. Thus I belong to two book clubs. Today I want to tell you about the last two books I read for those two book clubs. Here are the two books we read during June:
Into the Beautiful North by Alberto Luis Urrea is an amazing story about saving a small town in the mid/south section of Mexico. Because most of the men have emigrated north to the U.S. the town has only young women, the elderly, and no babies. Plus, the “banditos” are threatening to take over the town. Some of the women watch the movie “The Magnificent Seven,” and one of them, Nayeli, develops a plan to go north to find seven “warriors.” Nayeli and four others set off on a journey north for the express purpose of bringing home seven men to help with the town’s situation.
The journey was an eye-opening look at part of the US/Mexico immigrant problem. Parts of the story were funny, and parts were sad and maddening. It hurt to read about the living condiitons on both sides of the border and the political situation some people are forced to live with. The book made for an excellent book club discussion. So much to talk about]
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson is a character-rich story set in the south of England during the early part of World War I. The story begins when the main character, Beatrice, comes to the small town of Rye. She’s come to be the Latin teacher, an unheard of and scandalous idea. Her champion is Agatha, one of the important matrons in town who is frequently looking for ways to advance the cause of women’s rights without being pushy about it.
Within a week of Beatrce’s arrival war breaks out and the plot of the story expands with refugees arriving from Belgium and men signing up for service in the armed forces. In spite of the title, the story actually cover the entire period of the war, so we are able to see how plot lines develop and conclude. The major themes of the story were the status and righs of women and the secrets people keep to themselves. It too was a satisfying discussion, although I must admit not as lively as the discussion for Into The Beautiful North.
On The Screen:
Last Sunday I watched the first episode of a new series, Prime Suspect, on PBS. I loved the old Helen Mirren season of the same name – all seven seasons. This is new, a look back at Jane Tennison as a rookie on the London police force. It’s set in the 1970s and it really felt like the 1970s. Stephanie Martini is the actress doing a good job of playing the young Jane Tennison. Last Sunday was the first episode, the second is tonight, and the third next week. I highly recommend.
That’s it for me this week. I wish you and your family a happy and safe Fourth of July.