Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, February 20, 2017

A nice little literary vacation with a library haul stop on the way

Well, we have another long holiday weekend to enjoy here and what better way to relax than picking up a few good books? While not every book that I selected for this occasion is light reading, all of them promise to be smartly soothing for the soul.

For example, the leading lady of Jenny Colgan's Little Beach Street Bakery is definitely looking for a change of scene and she certainly gets one after taking up residence in a remote seaside village in Cornwall.

Polly Waterford is trying to rebuild her life after her last boyfriend and their joint business venture have gone their separate ways. She decides to focus on her love of cooking, mainly bread making, to keep her spirits up and soon, it becomes clear that her destiny is to start up a new bakery and perhaps a new love as well.

So far, this story is as delightful as the other Jenny Colgan titles that I've read and if all goes well, I may have to get the sweet sequels to this tasty tale to boot:

With the Oscars coming up, I thought it would be good to read one of the books that the nominated films are based on and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly fits that bill perfectly.

The author grew up around many of the people who knew the talented trio of women that the book focuses on, each of them who worked for NASA as mathematicians(also known as human "computers") during that critical era of the Space Race in the fifties and early sixties. Her narrative of this previously untold story has an intimate ring to it that highlights their personal struggles in this arena.

 Dealing with both racial and gender bias of that particular time period, these ladies,including Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn, persisted in doing their utmost to having our country make international history.

 Since such an inspirational story like this can influence generations to come, I really hope that this film does well at the Academy Awards but at least the book will also be on hand to offer more insight into the lives of these remarkable women:

With this being a holiday, my big outdoor excursion was to the library both to return and pick out new reads. One of those was In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, an author I haven't read since my teens.

This novel is intended for adults as it tells a tale told by numerous characters who were all affected by a triple set of airplane accidents in Elizabeth, NJ during the early 1950s. These deadly crashes occurred within a short time frame that left long lasting impact upon the locals, especially Miri Ammerman and her mother Rusty.

I'm only a few chapters in yet this book does feel a lot like the Blume novels that I devoured in my youth(one of my favorites was Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself) and that is a plus in it's favor. Blume's knack for creating vibrant characters that you can connect to in times of troubles is a rare gift among writers and one that she appears to use wisely and well here:

To accompany that book,  I chose Susan Vreeland's Lisette's List which also has a blend of fact and fiction as the young woman of the title finds herself moving to Vichy,France in 1937 in order to care for her husband Andre's grandfather Pascal.

 Instead of becoming bored in such a remote locale, Lisette finds herself embracing the art world, due to Pascal and his artist friends such as Cezanne and Pissaro, who have given him some of their paintings out of appreciation for his help in mixing the materials for their paint colors.

That collection is endangered when the Nazis sweep though France and with Andre enlisting in the fight against such invaders, it is up to Lisette to protect the family art as best as she can. I fondly recall reading Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue years ago and this sounds like just as beautifully crafted as that book was:

Well, I'll still be reading these books for some time to come but it is fun to plan a little literary R&R time when the right date falls on the calendar. Having a stay at home vacation(for the most part) does have it's advantages, one of the best being no worries about how many books you can cram into your suitcase-you always have room for more in the comfort of your own home!:

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