June's Literary Blog
 

A LITERARY BLOG ABOUT BOOKS
How they affect us.
How they shape our lives.

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C.S. Lewis

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Book Review
Today is the 87th birthday of my BTB—Best Tennis Buddy—who, when on the courts, turns into a twenty-five year old athlete. Her forehand cross-court, most of the time, rockets past me, unreachable and un-returnable. She has this dinky drop shot that catches me totally unaware as I stand behind the service court line, literally dumbfounded as I watch it plop just over the net. It's gets me every time. And Betty knows it, using it to her best advantage.

Now, while we do keep score, we are not competitive; we do not play to win. We play for the sheer pleasure of being out on the courts together—when it's not as hot as this week has been—enjoying the balmy weather and the grace, finesse, and elegance of the age-old game once called the "sport of kings", playing it as it should be played. Tennis, Betty often tells me, is “...not a game of power. You don’t have to win to enjoy playing it. It's just a game—a game to be enjoyed with friends. It's fun!". The muscular, high-powered hitters on the pro-circuit today, despite their ambitions, bravado, and millions of dollars won, could learn a lot from my friend. Yeah, maybe you are number one in the world and you've won Roland Garros and aspire to win the U.S. Open. But are you having as much fun as Betty and I have together out on our small, ratty courts? I sincerely doubt it.

During the twelve or so years since we started playing together, our mutual love and respect for the game of tennis has become the foundation of a solid friendship. Betty and I have interesting conversations and often deep discussions between sets and after our afternoon matches, sitting on a bench shaded by a huge, old pine tree. We share stories, jokes, and trade books—both of us are great readers with similar tastes in literature. I have come to honor and respect her, her opinions and, often, her sage advice, sometimes given in tandem with her equally sage husband, Joe. They share with me illustrative moments of their lives, as well as provide support and encouragement. As a matter of fact, I dare to say, Betty is probably the wisest and nicest woman I know. Almost to the point when sometimes I teasingly and most affectionately call her "Mom".

My BTB doesn't celebrate Mother's Day, per se, stating that "Everyday is Mother's Day." So, each year for the last ten or so, we've spent the better part of the designated Sunday afternoon playing tennis. It's during these matches that I often think of my birth mother who I believe smiles down on the both of us, glad to know that there is someone here in the later years of my life helping to guide me through.
Someone once told me—probably Betty—that if you "do for one mother, you do for all". And I've come to believe that.

In an underlying sense, this is one of the major themes of Mia March’s second novel, Finding Colin Firth, released earlier this month. Mia has the knack of getting to the nub of what it truly means to be a family. In her novel, set in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, the actor, Colin Firth, is incidentally vital to the plot in which three women learn what "motherhood" really means.

 Mia was kind enough to have an advanced review copy sent to me and I inhaled it just a few days before it was published. You can read my comments on www.authorexposure.com. Enjoy!

In the meantime, it's time for me to go visit the birthday girl and celebrate.
1:02 pm edt          Comments

Monday, July 15, 2013

Who Done It?
I love a good literary mystery. No, not-the-shoot-'em-up who-done-it? kind—although I like those, too—but intrigues in the world of literature itself. Like today, when it was revealed that the newly emerging Robert Galbraith, who wrote The Cuckoo's Calling and whom critics have acclaimed as an "up and coming writer...one to watch...", is really J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. I gather she wanted the anonymity and the "freedom" to write and publish other novels without disappointing HP fans still expecting messenger owls and conjurers.

Many authors write under pen names other than their own. Nora Roberts, H. Munro as “Saki”, Charles Dickens as "Boz", William Shakespeare, just to name a few. Wait, did I just type "William Shakespeare"? Now, there's a man of mystery. Did he or did he not write a few, some, or all of his thirty-eight plays? Or was it really Sir Francis Bacon? Or, perhaps, a group of people with more literary and intellectual backgrounds than the cobbler’s son. Imagine Hamlet or A Midsummer's Night Dream or even Romeo and Juliet written by committee.

In The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett, the authorship of A Winter's Tale comes into question, forming the basis of this intriguing foray into the world of literary mysteries. What makes this a good summer day read is that Lovett brings his knowledge of the literati as a bookseller into his story, which he tells in alternating timelines and intertwining plots.

I read The Bookman's Tale a week or so ago and wrote up a review of it for http://www.authorexposure.com/, which was just posted this morning.

Please follow the link, read my comments, and see if you're not tempted to help Peter Byerly in his quest for "the holy grail" of literature.

I'm going to sign off now. I think I hear a cuckoo calling...
 
11:28 am edt          Comments


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June J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:

the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World War II
Forty-Thirty 
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members

Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Spinach Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A Collection of More Spiritual Poems

We Three Kings

Beauty and the Beast

Bethlehem

Noah's Rainbow

Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding Hood

 

 

Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She is currently working on her fourth novel.

June's novels can be purchased at amazon.com, through Barnes and Noble,
at the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area,
and 
the Gateway Pharmacy in Phoenixvile, PA
.

For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,