The Sunday Salon-Reading on the Road

What luck! The hotel lobby is nearly empty this morning, and there are plenty of big overstuffed chairs, conveniently gathered in a cozy circle around the fireplace.  Although we hardly need a fire this morning, since the sun is shining, setting the Grand River alight with sparkles.  At long last, it seems spring is arriving here in Michigan.  Complementary coffee awaits, and it is very good.  Help yourself, and welcome to the Sunday Salon.

I’m playing the groupie today, traveling to the west side of the state along with my husband and Measure for Measure, the men’s chorus he sings with.  There are a group of wives who have tagged along on this trip, and while the men have set off to prepare for the church service where they will participate later this morning, the women have been left behind, and will be bussed into the city later on.

How nice for me – some extra time to read.  (smile)

It’s been a very satisfying reading week~I finished The Blue Star, by Tony Earley, and enjoyed it immensely.  Some of you may remember Earley’s first novel, Jim the Boy, which was a bit of a sleeper hit about five years ago.  In it, he tells the story of young Jim Glass, and his childhood in the small town of Aliceville, North Carolina, back in the 1930’s.  The Blue Star  takes us back to Aliceville, and Jim, who is a senior in high school on the eve of World War II.  There is an air of poignant reflection to this book, as we all know the times are a-changin’, and life in this small town will probably never be the same. 

I find it interesting the way books about small town life in the past become such favorites – I’m thinking of Jan Karon’s Mitford series, which is another in this vein.  Perhaps we all yearn for that simple life again, a lifestyle where the world moves more simply, where people interact and care for one another in a very fundamental way. 

When I (reluctantly) closed the cover on The Blue Star, it was with more than a hint of sadness, as if saying goodbye to some new/old friends. 

And so I set off to my stack in search of just the right book to bring along this weekend, knowing that most of my reading would be done in fits and starts, whenever I could grab a few moments. 

I settled on The Senator’s Wife, Sue Miller’s latest novel, which I must admit, has garnered some mixed reviews.  “By the end of that book, I was just so mad at everyone of those characters,” my friend Barbara told me last week.

Hmm.  I remember experiencing that same feeling last month, when I re-read Miller’s The Good Mother

I’m only about 50 pages into The Senator’s Wife (reading time has been more limited than I even anticipated), but so far the novel has grabbed my attention, with Miller’s characteristic ability to define her characters and their inner dilemmas so well.

I listened to an interview with Sue Miller earlier this week, and she talked about the ways she investigates the power of change in her writing – the individuals ability (or lack therof) to change their lives or their personalities, and the necessity to come to terms with what cannot be changed.  So I’ll be keeping that in mind as I read The Senator’s Wife.

Oh, I’m sensing some activity around the doors, as the other wives arrive to board the bus.  I’d best gather my things, perhaps pour another sip of coffee for the road, and join them.

Have a lovely Sunday, all of you…I’ll drop in later and see what you’ve been up to.





15 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon-Reading on the Road

  1. Right, that settles it. I saw a very good deal on the web the other day for three of Miller’s novels. I’m off now to do something about it. It will have to be a web buy. Some of us woke up to five inches of snow this morning. Don’t talk to me about Spring having arrived! Have a good week.

  2. It’s lovely when you have a good reason to spend extra time reading – lucky you. the Senator’s Wife sounds a good read. Like Ann I woke up to snow this morning, and newly flowing plants were wilting but the sun came out and the snow has nearly all disappeared now.

  3. What fun to be a groupie to your husband! I hope you and he both have wonderful touring experiences! I’m so glad someone I trust is reading The Senator’s Wife. The chances are I’m going to have to get hold of it….. I know what you mean about small town novels as well. That intimate gossipiness is just a wonderful anecdote to our fragmented lives sometimes.

  4. I have not read any of Sue Miller’s books, but I do like the concept of change in novels. Some characters seem to evolve so much and others just a little. It is something to consider. This is my first time here and I really enjoyed your post!

  5. Hope the service was wonderful! Oh wow, I remember those Mitford books. I really liked the first ones in the series… Such gentle reads.
    I will be waiting to hear what you think of The Senator’s Wife. I am curious about that one definitely.

  6. I pawed The Senator’s Wife this morning at the book store. I’ve never read Sue Miller, so I think I’ll start with something from the library. I’m glad to see your endorsement of her writing. 🙂

  7. Ann-I think you would enjoy her writing. While I Was Gone is one of her better books, I think. And snow! I’m so sorry…

    BooksPlease – I hope your flowers survivied – and I’m glad the snow didn’t last too long.

    Litlove – We did have a lovely morning – the service was splendid and the choir was very well received. Yes, you would probably like this novel very much. Another for your extremely large stack!

    Wendy – Do let me know what you think when you’re read it!

    beastmomma – Welcome to Bookstack! Miller has eight novels, a volume of stories, and a memoir to choose from. My favorites are The Good Mother, and While I Was Gone.

    Iliana – The service was lovely, thank you! And yes, the Mitford series was so calming. I always felt as if they were set in the past, even though it really was present day. It just seemed the simple lifestyle belonged to another era.

    Andi-Do give her work a try. She has one volume of short stories, Inventing the Abbots, but I’ve never read them. (You know I’ve not been all that keen on stories, until recently- I’m warming to the genre however!)

  8. I adored the Mitford Series. Reading them just felt like home to me. Are there books that do that for you too?
    The Senator’s Wife will surely leave you with a whirlwind of emotions. I am anxious to see your thoughts when you’re finished.
    Happy Sunday!

  9. I’ll be curious to read what you think about “The Senator’s Wife” when you are done. Like Wendy, I have it on my list to read.

    Have a fun time! 😀

  10. I’m totally loving these comfy chairs!!! I have “The Senator’s Wife” on my bedside table…my friend Beth gave me her copy when we had coffee a few weeks ago and I’m eager to dip into it!

    I just finished Philippa Gregory’s “Virgin Earth” and have “The God of Animals” to start tonight (which you discussed a few weeks ago).

    I’m trying to finish up my libary materials and then get on to the books I have that are my own!

  11. Hope you had a great weekend and Max had a great performance! Glad your foot is good enough to hit the road!

    I’m like Mrs. B. who enjoyed the Mitford books — or the first five, at least. We visited the real town Mitford is based upon — it was a bit different — far more touristy, I think by then! But they are filled with fun characters and warmth. Not rocket science but a very pleasant visit.

    I thought of you this weekend at the Antiquarian Book and Paper Show here! Great fun, and totally overwhelming, as always! I’ll post a bit on my blog. Between that and the final “Jane Austen” on Masterpiece,” you were on my mind!

    Isn’t it lovely out?

  12. First, I really enjoyed reading this. Right now I’m reading about ten things at once.

    Second – wordpress has stopped emailing me my comments, so I didn’t see your comment at Bibliotica til just now. Forgive me for not responding sooner?

  13. Pingback: The Senator’s Wife « Bookstack

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