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September 18, 2022
BOTW: two beloved villages from With Strings Attached

A while back I decided it was time to revisit Port William, Kentucky, by reading or rereading the several volumes of Wendell Berry's stories I acquired many years ago.*  It was part of a resolve to read what was already on my shelves rather than adding more.

Almost three years after that grand declaration I've finally finished A Place On Earth, Berry's 1993 revision of the 1967 edition.  

 A Place on Earth is set in the spring of 1945, a pivotal time for the larger world and for the small Kentucky community.  Virgil Feltner is missing in ...

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September 1, 2022
BOTW: catching up on August from With Strings Attached

This Books of the Week post should more appropriately be Books of the Month.  I will get back to more frequent book reviews in September.  

It's been a long time since the last Merry Folger mystery and this new entry in the series is most welcome.   The setting is current: November, 2021, when Nantucket brings back its traditional Winter Stroll to usher in the holidays -- with Covid masks on. Merry, now police chief (after her father) deals with two murders. One is a woman photographer living in a ramshackle cottage owned by her long-ex-husband. The woman recently reconnected with ...

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August 8, 2022
BOTW: two for fall from With Strings Attached

 Two more ARCs (advance reading copies) from the ALA Annual Conference in June. These will be published in October.

The Wilfs have lived on Division Street in suburban Avalon since the late 1960's.   Ben is a family physician, Mimi is a community volunteer. Sarah and Theo are typical suburban teens. On a summer night in 1985 their universe shifts when Sarah and Theo Wilf cause a deadly car accident. They survive but they never forget. Nor does their Ben whose effort to save the victim is unsuccessful. 

Fourteen years later, on the eve of the new century, Ben again ...

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August 5, 2022
BOTW: the book of the summer from With Strings Attached


Every summer deserves a book like this. It is a deliciously long 576 pages. Do I read fast to find out what happens, or do I slow down to savor every scene, every utterance, to catch every clue? The setting is achingly beautiful. The characters, primary and secondary, are memorable.

Agnes Lee and Polly Wister have known one another since birth. Their great-grandfathers, Philadelphia Quakers, built the rambling shingle "cottages" at Fellowship Point on the Maine coast (near Sorrento, I figured out). They have spent every summer of their lives on the Point. "They knew each other so well that ...

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July 25, 2022
BOTW: mystery and history with recipes from With Strings Attached

 BOTW = Books of the Week. It's the new name for my weekly reading roundup.  

Mia Manansala's debut is a fast-paced cozy mystery featuring a Filipina-American protagonist and her extended family. When Lila's ex-boyfriend drops dead during lunch at her grandmother's restaurant Lila is considered a prime suspect. She enlists her friends to help her find the real culprit. Assumptions are made mistakenly, conclusions are leaped to, and there is a lot of food (Filipino and otherwise).

One of my favorite genres, narrative nonfiction, combines with one of my favorite subjects, American regional foodways, in a well-researched ...

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July 17, 2022
BOTW: mysterious teens, now and then from With Strings Attached


Private investigator V. I Warshawski -- better-known as Vic -- is, as usual, supposed to be working for her paying customers when she gets caught up in a complicated series of coincidences. While out running she hears a cry for help and discovers a teenaged girl wedged in the rocks of the breakwater along Lake Michigan.  The girl is taken to the nearest hospital where she is treated -- and from which she disappears.  Finding the girl entangles Vic in a web of intrigue. Vic can never leave her south side neighborhood behind as this new case proves.  It involves a synagogue in ...

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July 4, 2022
Books of the Week: a new feature from With Strings Attached

For some time I've wanted to separate the book recommendations in each Weekly Update post from the quilting news.  I've had trouble coming up with a good name for a book post. I've settled on Books of the Week (BOTW) and hope that will stick.

In 1918 Dorothea Lange left her home in New Jersey to discover the world. She got as far as San Francisco.  California became her home base where she honed her skill as a photographer. When her portraiture business collapsed in the Depression she became a documentary photographer for the Farm Security Administration ...

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