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Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch: A Review

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Don’t let the size and weight of Donna Tartt’s 771 page novel, The Goldfinch, put you off.  My first reaction was “Oh Lord, how will I ever hold this, much less read it?” until I discovered that this novel does not need to be pried open page by page, but actually falls open to whatever page you might be reading. Unless you are a discus thrower, however, don’t try to hold and read this book, prop it up on something sturdy and let unravel itself.

That said, the book’s explosive opening – the terrorist bombing of a New York City museum—sucked me into the story. Carel Fabritius’ masterpiece, The Goldfinch, survives the blast (as it did in 1654 when a gunpowder factory next to the artist’s studio, exploded, killing the artist.  Also surviving is a thirteen year old boy, Theo, whose mother dies in the explosion. Theo awakens from the concussive power of the bombing buried in debris along with an old man who points to the dust-covered painting and pleads with Theo to save it. Before dying, …

The Reflectiveness of a quiet lake

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“When the pond mirrors the sky, Its soft blue sheen flawless, The pond will reveal its hidden life, A sign for you to dip your hand.”  --
Vic Klimosky, former director of the Benedictine Center at St. Paul’s Monastery, St. Paul, MN

The other day, while gazing out at Lake Superior, waiting for some sign of spring to arrive, I noticed a small flock of golden-eye ducks seemingly floating – one upon another—on the lake. It was reflection of course, but one rarely seen on our perpetually turbulent lake. Only the day before, the lake had been turgid with the runoff from wild rivers racing downhill, filled with snowmelt, mud, and debris. But that day, the lake was blue. The waters totally silent. The silt settled to the bottom, allowing the lake to reflect the immense sky above and the small creatures cruising upon it. Even more amazing was the clarity of the lake's waters. Each rock on the lake bottom next to our shoreline was revealed in all its amazing beauty and color. They were vis…

Black wolves and jolly hungry otters

Beryl, are those ducks?” Bill asked. I followed his finger to where a wide v-shaped wake speeded toward our shoreline. Binoculars revealed, what we’d never before witnessed in our 15 years in this house: two  otters racing toward shore. We watched in delight as they clambered, in their wonderfully playful way,  up the rocks. Their heads would bob into view and then disappear, as if they were having difficulty mounting the rock. “Oh, please,” I thought , “don’t take off for some more easily climbed rock.” They didn't leave but finally managed to breach the rocks, dragging with them a very large fish, which they then – very  un-playfully—proceeded to devour. It didn't take long, then off they went, their V-shaped wake pointing away from our rocks, until they disappeared into the deep blue of the Lake’s body. Bill was also the one to sight a large wolf loping toward him up our driveway as he drove down towards the house. While I've been seeing wolf scat and bear scat on our …

Wonders on returning home

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It hardly seems possible that, with the Summer equinox only days away, it should still be so chilly. Bill and I arrived home, having spent four months in Florida, to find we needed to fetch our long underwear from the cedar chest. From early May till now, June 13, we've had a log fire at night warming the house. The cold however, did not stop our beloved denizens of the shoreline … the eagles, the deer, goldfinches, sparrows, chickadees and the tiny hummingbirds (which arrived a week late -- from making their welcome appearances.
As I've been so remiss in blogging, I thought I’d hop back into the blogging world to share some of the wonders we've encountered on Lake Superior since our return. Florida was lovely and warm but my writing genie preferred the cold and the lake to the warmth and a pool.

On our first day home, a mother eagle settled onto our ledge rock to teach her two children to fish – or at least that’s what I think she was doing as both juveniles had a freshly…

Profile on Beryl in The Woman Today Magazine | Duluth-Superior

The Woman Today Magazine | Duluth-Superior  page 40-42

If you are interested in reading a recent profile, click on the above link.

Aaron Lazar's Next Big Thing

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Update: March 19, 2013. Aaron Lazar's Next Big Thing
Aaron Lazar is one of the most prolific authors I know, which is why I'm so pleased to feature Aaron’s Next Big Thing Interview . I met Aaron on Gather.com, a wonderful and diverse online community of writers, six or seven years ago. Since then I have watched in amazement as Aaron delivers one intriguing, suspense-laden yet heart-warming mystery after another. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it? You'll have to read Aaron's work to discover what I mean. 

The LeGarde Mysteries Series, Moore Mysteries Series, and Tall Pine Series -- each featuring different protagonists -- propel readers through the Genesee Valley, Adirondack Mountains, and even Paris, the city of lights. His latest book, For Keeps, features family doctor Sam Moore who wants nothing more than a quiet life with his wife yet is drawn constantly into one mystery after another. Please do check out Aaron’s Next Big Thing Blog and his Author’s Website 

John Caruso's Next Big Thing

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Update: March 18, 2013. John Caruso's Next Big Thing Interview

What joy it gives me to feature writers whose work I admire as I promised last week, Do visit John Caruso's blog, and his Next Big Thing interview.

I tagged John for this blog-hopping as he is a brilliant writer and I'd like him to receive the exposure he so well deserves. John recently published his second book, Hard Magic, which I've just begun reading and find myself totally, inexorably engrossed in the magical, mysterious world he so vividly portrays.

The Next Big Thing

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Do you find the term “tagging” confusing? I do. Most often you've probably been “tagged” in a photo or a post, yet you fail to find yourself either in the photo or in the post. Thanks to my dear friend Christin Lore Weber, I've now experienced a form of “tagging” that does make sense. It’s called The Next Big Thing in which writers “lift up their Next Big Thing for the entire world to see . . . most often right in the midst of writing it.” So, thanks to Christin for tagging me. Please check outChristin’s Next Big Thing . Christin is a brilliant blogger and scintillating author whose work you will not to miss. 

In the next couple of days, I’ll post links to the Next Big Thing bloggers I've “tagged,” for this project.






What is your working title of your book? 
The title, besides the cover, is often the writer’s most important tool for drawing the interest of the reader. My current project has born several titles. The most recent comes from the creative mind of the woman who best…