Summer began beautifully.
Vacation Church School for my kids.
A dandy cold.
If only I was so cute. No, when I catch some silly summer cold, I take to my bed. I take to my bed while my kids whine and complain about my utter lameness. I take to my bed while my kids whine and complain about my utter lameness while I read to the colony of zits that took up residence on my cheek like it's 1989 and I'm contemplating colleges.
At least I've had some creepy companions until I rose from my tissues.
Part bodice ripper - at least according to the reviews I read, after listening to A Reliable Wife in short order - part Gothic tale set in the never ending white Wisconsin winter, I loved this story from beginning to end. Ralph Pruitt places an ad for a reliable wife and opens up his world to the enchanting Katherine Land, reawakening past demons and holding my attention with spellbinding prose.
Remember when I raved about Gillian Flynn's debut novel, Sharp Objects? (Just smile and nod for the nice lady if you're new around here.) She came out swinging with her second novel, Dark Places, and proved you can too impress your readers after your first book is a huge success. Most reviews I've read are quick to point out that the protagonist is dark and unlikeable, but I'm tired of the Oprah book club approved, cookie-cutter Plucky Pollyannas. Show me someone steeped in tragedy and give me the truth: They damaged and altered, and I don't mind it a bit.
And that leaves me with Knockemstiff, a collection of overlapping short stories based on the resilient and troubled residents of Small Town America. After each perfectly crafted piece, I would pause and read the back flap again and sigh. Pollock grew up in Knockemstiff, quitting high school to work in a meat packing factory and later spent 30 years working in the town's paper mill. The stories are bleak, and full of longing and desperation. Beautiful. I can only hope he has many more tales to spill.