Book “D” of the Alphabet Soup Challenge is one I picked out at a library near the university where I work, Over the Hills and Far Away by Matthew Dennison. Published in 2017, it is a fine biography of Beatrix Potter, renowned children’s author and illustrator. I learned many fascinating facts about Potter that demonstrated how ahead of her time and what a resilient, versatile woman she was. The photographs and illustrations added a nice touch to the author’s description of a woman I have come to admire.
Here is the first line from Sapphire and the Slave Girl by Willa Cather, which I have just finished for book “C” of the Alphabet Soup Challenge:
“The Breakfast Table, 1856
Henry Colbert, the miller, always breakfasted with his wife–beyond that he appeared irregularly at the family table.”
Yes, this book is as quaint as the first line suggests, and although the Southern ideas about slaves and slave owners is so out-of-date and politically incorrect, I enjoyed this lesser known book by the author of My Antonia and Oh Pioneers!
Natalie Basizle’s Queen Sugar is my second choice for the Alphabet Soup Challenge for this year. It was chosen by my Page Turner’s Book Club for its February selection. Basizle wrote it in 2014, and it was the basis for an original, hit series on Oprah’s OWN Network. As critics remarked, the novel is “exquisitely written” and tells about the “joys and sorrows of family, love, endurance, and hard work.” Charley Bordelon, the owner of a sugar cane farm her father left her, certainly embodies the last two. With Micah, her eleven year old daughter, she leaves her home in LA and moves to southern Luisiana to farm the 800 acres she inherits.
My favorite part of reading the novel was appreciating the author’s ability to form and develop “complex characters” the reader was led to empathize with. It is, as it’s cover advertises, “heartbreaking,””page-turning,” and delivers the promised “hint of bayou magic.” Miss Honey, Charlie’s grandmother; Ralph Angel, her half brother; Violet, her sister; and Hollywood, a neighbor and Ralph Angel’s high school buddy round out the cast of characters. And, what reader could ever forget the wisdom and support of her partners, an elderly African American retired sugarcane farmer and an ornery white cane farmer who has lost his spread? More than once, they saved Charley from disaster and even from herself. The villain, a white man named Landry threatens Charley early on, “Cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business.” This challenge spurs Charley on to prove him and everyone else wrong.
Especially for a debut novel, this is a”darned good read”
After doing the Alphabet Soup, (Title Edition) Challenge during 2019, it s just too tempting to follow with the author version in 2020. So, Dollycas, count me in!
My first read of the new year/new decade was a book whose author’s name started with an “S,” Sanchez, but that was before I started this challenge. I will be reviewing Daughter on PWR soon.
My first read of the 2020 Alphabet Soup Author’s Edition is Lara Avery’s YA novel, The Memory Book. Sammie Mc Coy has Niemann-Pick Type C disease, and she is trying to record her memories before they leave her as she dies. Two love interests are present: Cooper, her neighbor who has “gone wrong” and is no longer a friend at the opening of the novel and Stuart, the dreamboat every girl wants, but for some reason is interested in Sammie.
The novel is Sammie’s journal directed at her future self “so she will never forget the most important parts of her life.” This story definitely appeals to John Green fans, including this blogger.