"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Monday, October 11, 2010

OF SONG AND WATER . . . Shallots and Garlic!

Is it really October? October 11th?? Holy cow! The weather this past week has been so beautiful I've lost track of time. What have I been doing? Checking in occasionally on all of you and planting shallots and garlic-Purple Stripe, German Hardy and Porcelain, rows and rows.

One thing I did want to share with you this morning is the book I'm currently reading....OF SONG AND WATER.


This novel by Joseph Coulson is the story of Coleman, a jazz musician who can no longer play, his mentor and teacher, a black man trying to live quietly on the edge of a white town, his father, an expert sailor, and his grandfather who was a rum runner on the Detroit River during Prohibition. Coulson expertly weaves his tale between generations, from the shores of Lake Huron (our beloved inland sea)and the narrows of the river, to jazz clubs in Detroit and Chicago and a marina in winter where Coleman retreats to his father's sailboat.

I don't know how I happened upon this gem but it's a captivating story that had me from the opening paragraph.

He climbs without faith, the ladder unsteady, the wooden rungs brittle, each step filling the air with the sound of old bones. Don't look down, he thinks, watching the slow drift of his shadow, seeing its darkness on the long white surface of the hull.

I think it unusual to find novels that take place in and around the Great Lakes (UP reviewed here is another) and I'm always excited to find one.

Would you rather read a novel that takes place somewhere you've never been or one that takes place close to home in places you've seen? I think the latter adds an element of understanding because you can bring your own experience into the narrative rather than having to depend solely on an author's skill at guiding your imagination.

19 comments:

Joanne said...

I'm with you, I love reading stories that take place in my hometown region. It somehow really places me in the story when I see the familiarity in the scenes.

JC said...

That is an inviting work.

I like reading both. If I've been there, I can imagine where they are and if I haven't, I create it in my mind.

Wine and Words said...

I prefer novels that take place elsewhere, so imagination has full flight without the pull of reality.

Jade L Blackwater said...

Shallots and garlic - oh YES!

To your question about novel settings, personally I like both: I enjoy a lot of stories that take me some new place-time. However, months ago I read Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet, and I found myself enjoying the recognition of places, names, people, and familiar surroundings. As you mentioned, a book set in my hometown can deepen my understanding of its history and people.

Happy Pumpkin Month!!!!!!!!!!!

Talli Roland said...

I know - I can't believe October's almost done! Ah!

The book sounds great! I love reading about places I know.

Anthony Duce said...

I’ve read everything I can find on the Great Lakes. I consider them a part of me… But a good story doesn’t have to be from where I know. It’s nice when it is though. Thanks

Yvonne Osborne said...

Joanne,
Thanks! Yes, it really brings you into the story.

JC,
I like to imagine the way things are too. Thank you.

Annie,
Reality can be a downer. Not in this case though. At least not yet.

Hi Jade!
I've been meaning to read Bitter & Sweet. Maybe it'll be one of my winter reads. Happy October to you too! And, yes, we have pumpkins! Thanks for commenting. It's good to hear from you.

Talli,
Yes, October will soon be gone along with our Indian summer. The book is marvelous. Thanks a lot.

Tony,
I agree, totally. We certainly live in a special place. I love reading about the lakes, their history, lighthouses and shipwrecks. Thanks.

Lydia Kang said...

I love both. They each bring something special to me. And mmm, wish I had some of those shallots next year!

Jemi Fraser said...

I like both. I haven't been able to travel much and I love visiting other places through my reading. But there's always a special connection to a book written in an area I know well!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Lydia,
I love both also. It's just so rare to read something that's based here it's always a treat.
This is my first year to plant shallots and I can't wait for next year's harvest. Thanks

Jemi,
That is what I love about reading. It takes me places I know I'll never get to see in person. Thanks!

Taryn Tyler said...

I like books where the author makes me feel like I've been there even though I haven't.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Taryn,
That's an interesting point, and I have to agree with you. A good writer should be able to do that. Thanks for commenting! It's always neat to meet someone new in blogville.

Jessica Nelson said...

I like new places, especially when they're written well.
I love that excerpt! Gorgeous!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. :-) I hope query land gets a little easier for you!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Jessica,
Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it.

Queryland is a scary place. It takes a lot of self confidence to persevere. And help from writer friends!

My verification word here is angismst. I think that describes queryland pretty well:)!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Great question. I love to read books in which I recognize a place I've been, but it's also so cool to be transported to a time and place I know nothing about. I guess I love both!

Helen Ginger said...

I like reading books set in places I know. Those books seem more personal and intimate. But I also like reading ones set in exotic places or places I'd like to visit.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Suzanne,
Thank you!

Helen,
Thanks! There is something to be said for both. I guess that's why we all love to read.

layinda said...

A YA novel coming out in February that takes place in and around Lake Erie, is So Shelly, by Ty Roth (Delacorte Press). It's supposed to be a good one, too. :)

Yvonne Osborne said...

Layinda,
Thanks! I'll look for it.