Wednesday, September 02, 2015

#30 Authors: Sara Taylor on FATES AND FURIES

Hello one and all, and welcome to the second day of #30Authors! You may remember that I reviewed Sara Taylor's The Shore not too long ago, and that book quickly shot to the top of my "favorites of 2015" list. Likewise, I've loved Lauren Groff's books in the past, so today's post is a magical combination for me.


#30Authors is an annual event connecting readers, authors, and bloggers. Throughout the month of September, 30 authors review their favorite books on 30 blogs in 30 days. The event has been met with incredible support from and success within the literary community. In the six months following the event’s inaugural launch, the concept was published as an anthology by Velvet Morning Press (Legacy: An Anthology). Started by The Book Wheel, #30Authors remains active throughout the year and you can join in the fun by following along on Twitter at @30Authors, using the hashtag, #30Authors, or purchasing the anthology. To learn more about the event and to see the full schedule, please click here.



A few years ago I read Lauren Groff’s Arcadia, and then cried for several days because it is the most devastating novel that I’ve ever not been able to put down. So when I got a copy of Fates and Furies I was almost frightened to pick it up, figuring that a writer with the power to make me bawl my eyes out would use it as often as possible. Happily for me, though sad things do happen they are more a necessary seasoning than the main ingredient.
Fates and Furies is a novel about a marriage – a marriage that appears to outside observers to be almost too perfect. Lotto proposes to Mathilde the first time he sees her, at a college party in the early 1990s. They elope a week later, at the age of twenty-two and on the cusp of graduating and beginning their adult lives. They move together through the challenges of youth into a middle age marked by comfort and approbation as thought fated to do so – or is it fate?
The novel is written in the third person but the first half follows Lotto closely, sinking often into his psyche so that the reader can gather his impressions of his friends, his work, and his wife, and build what feels like a complete picture of his life with Mathilde. Then, in a reversal reminiscent of Gone Girl, the second half of the novel brings to light all those things that Lotto could not see, all of the secrets that he did not know about, and all of the things that people have hidden from him to protect him or themselves. And it isn’t only Lotto who has failed to spot what was being kept from him: almost every character in this novel has a secret that will come to light before the last page.
Though I couldn’t guess where the book was going and what the twists would be – something that I like in my books – the mythic allusions might give an alert reader an inkling of what to expect. Lotto’s work in the theater often draws on classical narratives and elements, which he tends to alter to suit himself, and the novel as a whole is studded with asides and digressions made by an omniscient voice that is reminiscent of the chorus used in ancient Greek theater, a voice that the reader can trust and that provides a gentle counterpoint to the often close focus of the main narrative.
Over all, Fates and Furies is more than just a vehicle for a neat midpoint twist, or even a clever series of reversals. The story gains depth proportionate to its length, so that the first chapter is like stepping into a shallow pool and the last is like dropping naked into the ocean, with the weight of all the chapters before stretching darkly beneath. The last chapter also brings with it a sense of an ending, a feeling of closure that seems to have gone out of fashion in novels, but which I find still to be the most satisfying thing in the world.

Sara Taylor’s debut novel The Shore was longlisted for the Women’s Prize. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of East Anglia in England, where she researches censorship, writes fiction, and is occasionally entrusted with the teaching of undergraduates. The Shore was published by assorted imprints of Random House in 2015.

You can find Sara at her blog or learn more about her book at Goodreads.

Thank you SO much to Sara Taylor for her fantastic review and to Allison from The Book Wheel for organizing this event once again!

Monday, August 31, 2015

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X! These Are My Peril Pools!

It's RIP season! It's RIP season! And guess what? Carl needed a little help with the event this year, so Heather and I are hosting RIPX at!

We've been so excited, we almost lost our minds. Without further ado, let's talk about the Perils!

I'll be undertaking (har!) Peril the First: to read four books from creepy-to-me genres.

This is my physical peril pool. Not to be confused with my digital peril pool.

  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
  • A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • In the Woods by Tana French
  • The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
  • The Quick by Lauren Owen
And the digital peril pool:
  • Zone One by Colson Whitehead
  • Rivers by Michael Farris Smith
  • 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
  • Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Right now (no really, RIGHT NOW), I'm finishing up The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, which is also suitably disturbing. 

I always get a little tooooo ambitious during this reading event, but I expect I'll dip into and out of the Peril of the Short Story, and I'm totally onboard for Peril of the Group Read because Amanda, Heather, and I will be hosting a readalong of The Quick by Lauren Owen. 

So tell me, tell me! What's on your pile? 

Image used with permission, property of Abigail Larson.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Week for Dinner - Week of 8.30.15

Credit to for an awesome graphic!
Sunday: We usually eat leftovers and fend for ourselves on Sundays. That probably means leftover pork fajitas for lunch, cereal for dinner, and a grilled cheese or quesadilla for Greyson.

I also like to do a bit of meal prep on Sunday evenings so I'm not buying breakfasts out all week. Breakfast is definitely the meal I'm worst at planning ahead of time! I'm thinking a couple of ham and cheese frittatas for this week's breakfasts and maybe some pecan pie muffins later in the week.

Monday: School lunch will be an apple and peanut butter "sandwich" with grapes, and a cheese stick. For me, probably a Marie Calendar frozen meal.  Dinner: salmon patties with veggies (we have tons of frozen veggies in peas, lima beans, corn, you name it), so we'll go with whatever mood strikes.

Tuesday: School lunch will be chocolate chip mini pancake "sandwiches" with an apple/banana pouch and baby carrots.  Lunch for me will probably be leftover salmon patties and veggies with grapes. The grapes right now are SO good and sweet. Dinner will probably be breakfast casserole.

Wednesday: School lunch is a waffle PB&J sandwich with organic graham crackers and chips. I'll probably take some leftover breakfast casserole for lunch, and dinner is sausage and cheese pizza with glazed carrots.

Thursday: Greyson will get leftover pizza in his school lunch, and I'll probably take it, too. I'll give him a box of raisins and maybe a cherry yogurt. I'll probably throw in some fruit for me.

Friday: School lunch will be a ham and cream cheese tortilla roll-up with more grapes (or maybe an apple) and baby carrots. I usually end up eating out with friends for lunch at least one day a week, so we'll just allot that here.

Saturday: Wild card!

What are you having this week?

Check out all the Weekend Cooking goodness at Beth Fish Reads

Images by Freepik