No, the three have nothing to do with each other. But that’s what’s on my mind and so that’s what I wrote. And the photo above has nothing to do with the books and movie but I just loved it. The kids in Texas play on their iPads whenever they are allowed “screen time” but they play a lot of card games when we’re around.
First, Louise Penny. I discovered her a few years ago when I read A Beautiful Mystery and liked it a lot. I went on to read her books that came out after that one but never, until last week, backtracked to her first Gamache book. So many books, so little time…no time to go back to the beginning, I thought. Better just to move on.
But Jerry and I were driving to Texas and we needed some books we both could enjoy And Jerry had never read any of Penny’s books. So it made sense to download the first three and I’m so glad I did. It made the trip pure pleasure…even in the midst of near blizzard conditions in Dallas (okay, we turned the book off then so I could concentrate on the road). Honestly, getting to know the villagers of Three Pines as Armand Gamache got to know them and getting to know Gamache and Reine Marie, Jean Guy and Isabelle Lacoste was pure delight. And that bistro with food to die for that made me think of Croissant and Company here in Venice, warm and welcoming, a safe place to be. I want to go to Three Pines, stay in the bed and breakfast, eat in the local bistro and check out Myrna’s bookstore. It reminded me of the time when Jerry and I stopped in Crisfield, Maryland on our way to the Outer Banks one year because I had fallen in love with Cynthia Voigt’s books about Dicey Tillerman. We stopped in the visitor center where I started asking questions about landmarks in her books and the woman gently said, “You do know Dicey isn’t real, don’t you?” Yes, I did but no, I didn’t. I wanted to find her house way out on a dirt road close to the bay so that the fastest way into town was by boat and drive by the junior high where Dicey first met the people who would become lifelong friends. I know it’s fiction but I truly wish it weren’t.
I used to think Louise Penny’s books were good…now, I KNOW they’re spectacular.
And I just finished reading Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. Lovely book, a treasure. I left her book with new eyes…I mean I like plants. I love trees and anything green. But when I read this book I realized how miraculous our plant world really is. Hard to explain. But this book makes you stand in awe of every tree in your yard.
And the movie…Manchester By the Sea. I saw La La Land and it was delightful, as I said. And I left smiling. Manchester by the Sea, on the other hand, broke my heart. All I knew before I went was that it was about a guy who had to go back to his home town to take care of his teenage nephew after his father had died and, for some reason, he had left his home town hoping NEVER to return. Anyway, Jerry and I saw it yesterday and it’s unbelievably sad but also breathtaking. And honest. And beautiful. And, if I were handing out Oscars, poor La La Land would have to step aside. Manchester would get them all.
So lots of good “stuff ” out there these days. And not enough time for it all. Busy days ahead. I’m going to DC for the Women’s March with my good friend, Martha and then heading back to Texas for Declan’s and Calli’s birthdays, a checkup at MD Anderson and a visit with my sister, Anne and her husband. Jerry will meet me in Texas. And we’ll be home (hopefully for awhile) in early February.