• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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After All, Miss, This Is France

I actually don't eat clams "trayf" but wanted to throw in some local color.

I was a guest at my sister’s Cape Cod house this weekend. There was a moment, I swear on my Little Necks, when everyone was reading! My sister was reading Abraham Verghese’s new novel for her book club. My brother in law was reading a Harlan Coban, my nephew was “reading” on his ipad, his fiance was reading some upscale trash that looked really good, my daughter was reading Member of the Wedding (school reading list), and of course I was happily  reading a manuscript.

Later, I killed everyone at mini-golf. What about you?

40 Responses

  1. In between what appeared to be manic fits of domesticity, I read The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. I wouldn’t admit to killing anyone this weekend, but we still have 2 hours to go.

  2. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan and reread Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Just finished watching True Blood and I’m really hungry.

  3. Just finished Little Bee. Wow and sigh…

  4. I cleaned the house and watched a range of DVDs about heists. But then, I have 4-day weekends, so I have plenty of time to split between reading and watching (and hopefully not too much cleaning).

  5. Love to read! I always keep my book close and when things get really crazy I look at it and pretend to escape, perferably to a hot beach in the Carribean …oh yeah back to making the mash potatoes…

    My book is Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
    Good read..talented writer.

  6. The David Shields interview in Tin House disparaging fiction, then grazing research for my new novel: Gaston Bachelard’s Earth and Reveries of Will, Louise Bourgeois interviews, Plains Woman–the Diary of Martha Farnsworth, 1882-1922, and cost of living charts for 1973.

    Highlight of weekend, the movie Winter’s Bone.

  7. My 9 yr old’s ms. Over 70 handwritten pages this summer. She wanted to discuss the setting and tightening her characters since she included a writing book in her summer reading. I didn’t want to tamper so mostly listened and asked questions. Amazed.

  8. I picked up Justin Cronin’s “Mary and O’Neil.” (I like it.) Wanted to read something from the guy before committing to his 766-page doorstop. Has anyone picked that up?

  9. I joined Facebook, and before that, I couldn’t imagine being more addicted to anything than your blog, but I’m even more addicted. (I guess I’ve got an addictive personality.) It’s fun, crazy, and makes me totally neurotic. I’ve told friends (real ones, not Facebook ones) that I need to go back to my old shrink just to discuss Facebook. I’m not reading anything, but I’ve got gOD IS NOT GREAT ready for Fire Island. Started it and I like the way this guy writes.


    • I admired and enjoyed _God Is Not Great_ tremendously. Christopher Hitchens is always a man with a point of view and a good deal of ammo with which to defend it. Even when I don’t agree with him (which is rare, and was not the case with the book in question), I feel invigorated by contact with his writing. I hope you come away feeling the same.

      • I expect to. I’d rather read a good writer who’s an atheist than a drippy believer. Though my work is spiritual, not enough distinction is made between the conventional God and religion versus the gods that are in all of us.

  10. Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. And Tristessa by Kerouac. And the collected letters of Neal Cassady. And The Paris Review Interviews, Vol. IV. Bad habit of reading many things at once. And The New Yorker, which comes too often. Like a tennis ball machine. They shoot another one at me as soon as I finish the last 5 I had backed up. I’m drowning in the NYer. I don’t give a damn about like 40% of each issue (in a “good” issue) but feel compelled to read them cover to cover.

  11. Too hot to move. Watched a pseudo-documentary, “Aro Tolbukhin: En la Mente del Asesino” and the match against Uruguay on Saturday. Continued reading 2666. Started THE SELFISH GENE by Richard Dawkins.

  12. Very disappointed in NO PLACE LIKE HOME by Brooke Berman, which I read as far as I could, and then scanned in very brief snatches to the end. None of the reviews that I read had the codes that I watch out for, so I expected it to be another MY SISTER EILEEN, about the laughs and tribulations of living in New York City. The back book cover did say “penetrating,” which I am now going to read as a new code word for RAPE DESCRIBED. I don’t care who’s writing it, a book that has a large portion about rape and rape recovery is not “hilarious.” In addition, I thought her mother (from the blurbs and reviews) was going to be more of an Auntie Mame. I guess the mother’s illness and death was the back cover’s “harrowing” part (I thought “harrowing” was going to be about rats.) If I can find the receipt, this will be the second book I’ve returned to Amazon in my life. I’m not even gonna MENTION the New Age idiocy.

  13. Traveled 600 miles for a reunion of 11 friends I’ve known since kindergarten. Not one of them mentioned he was reading a book. Then again, we were all masters of fiction by the end of the weekend, revising and retelling the lies of our youth.

  14. The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. Reminiscing about last summer’s trip to Venice and wishing I could go again. Wishing I could find a topic to write a book about while living in Venice like a native.

  15. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. Funny, touching and quietly intelligent.

  16. Ate. Played with the dogs and my kids. Watched MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Reading Ivan Doig’s new one. Wrote pages I’m happy with. Oddly blissful, really.

  17. I was in Cape Cod, too (a couple of weeks ago). We didn’t play mini-golf, but we did go to the drive-in. Loved TOY STORY 3!

    I read THE GOLDEN AGE OF ESTATE GARDENS (research for my novel), upscale trash, and THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN by Kate Morton.

  18. Went to Montreal on Saturday. Did nothing on Sunday. Take-out pizza for dinner.

  19. At a backyard BBQ I listened to a discussion about Honduras real estate. Some people think it’s better to build a retirement house on the beach, but some people say that you get more of a breeze on the mountain top.

    At 4AM when I couldn’t sleep I read about the sad life of the guy who wrote “Raintree County”. Now I want to read Raintree County.

  20. drove home from the BC wilderness with two giggly teenaged girls, listening to them babble about everything, high speed. OMG. made some killer clam chowder and consumed it with a glass of dry reisling. watched ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. read a bunch of Alice Munro stories and couldn’t get over how long each story was. tried to read ‘The Sheltering Sky’. confusing.

  21. I wasted my weekend plodding through the second half of The Echo Maker. Ugh.

  22. I spent the weekend writing upscale trash that won’t rate links.

    Should’ve focused on my magnificent, sweeping novel that moves from India to Ethiopia to an inner-city hospital in New York City over decades and generations. Never heard of Cutting for Stone, but with a Mad-Libs look-at-me-I’m-literary title like that, ten bucks says there’s three rape scenes and someone loses a child. Or maybe one rape scene and three dead babies. Either way.

  23. Followed the oddly hypnotic Tour de France for more hours than I care to admit, while working on Book Thief and starting 2666.

  24. Saturday and Sunday, I spent seven hours watching two “episodes” of the Tour de France, the second of which heralded the end of an era. Though my admiration for Lance Armstrong is not unalloyed with other feelings, what happened yesterday was so striking (for me, having followed the TdF since Miguel Indurain’s dominance in the early 90s) that, in my journal this morning, I wrote one of my occasional notes to my mother, who died last year and who had always been willing to share, and even join in, my enthusiasm for that race.

    I also spent four or five hours riding my own bicycle, and an hour getting home yesterday after an unfixable flat. Watched most of _The Thin Blue Line_ before getting sleepy. Read parts of the new _Economist_ (because I feel compelled to know what’s going on in parts of the world that no one I know is likely ever to mention) and a fairly small chunk of _Moby-Dick_. Almost lost among that clutter was the couple of hours I devoted to churning out a few more words in a memoir draft.

    In a way, I envy those who can and do devote so much of their weekend to reading. I do it sometimes (as when I was reading Douglas Hofstadter a while back), but if I did it every weekend, I’d start to feel something else was going hungry.

  25. I am a discerning, verging on cold and withholding, blog reader. But yours is one of my favorite blogs. Thus I am commenting to that effect.

    Mini-golf is not my thing, but I kiss ass at air hockey.

    Enjoy your vacation. Mine is still 3 weeks off but I’m already planning my reading list and what wine to pair with each book.

  26. Ha! Meant to say “kick ass” but kiss ass works well enough too.

  27. Chauffeured kids around and joined them for swim at an outdoor pool – it’s been unseasonally hot in England – finished The Coral Thief, placed Solar on my bedside table to start tonight.

  28. Unseasonably? Yeah, think that’s the one.

  29. I, too, was at the Cape. I finished both “Snow Island” and “Sarah’s Key”. Mini-golf will wait until next weekend.

  30. spent last few days at Wrightsville Beach, dropped my youngest off at camp further up the North Carolina coast, older two are gone, boy at ancient canoe camp 300 miles north of Toronto freezing his ass off and foraging for berries, girl at davidson college, home alone with husband for first time in 17 years, am shifting from computer to bed after i post where i have the latest new york magazine and last month’s playboy in the queue (bolano short story), am most of the way through “A Visit from the Goon Squad” (overrated, I think, though it soars in parts), David Mitchell’s “A Thousand Autumns of Jacob Loeb” up next…

  31. I was reading Nancy Horan’s novel, Loving Frank. The rest of my weekend was a stinker.

  32. I gave up trying to write the last 10 pages to make someone else cry. Once that was out of the way, I ended up with pages that made me cry (in a good way).

  33. Reading TRAVELING WITH POMEGRANATES with my college-aged daughter. Delightful summer read, especially with such company.

  34. Right now I’m reading Nick Reding’s METHLAND and Selby’s REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, an oldie but goodie. I sometimes feel like I’m playing perpetual catch up, like I missed reading all the good books– the books everyone else was busy reading in their ivory towers while I was clawing myself up from white trashdom. The world I grew up in, no one read books– magazines, maybe, or the occasional romance novel while they were waiting for the dentist– nowendays when I see someone who’s not a writer reading I’m always shocked.

    The other day one of my coworkers (a teacher in the South Bronx) was reading a book on Kindle and when I asked her what it was she said it was called something like Age 10 and Divorced but she couldn’t tell me what country it was set in or if it was fiction or nonfiction. My point being, Knowing how to read and Knowing how to read are two different things entirely. I do a lot more skimming of Reding’s book than I’m proud to admit but the fact is I think I’m still learning. Reading still feels, a lot of times, like work for me. I try to be easy on me.

    I’m just trying to picture my family sitting around reading books– or playing mini golf together, for that matter. We’re more the eating in front of the TV, watching America’s Got Talent- type of clan. Needless to say, I don’t go home very often…

    I spent the weekend in Alanon meetings, trying to feel grateful.

  35. What the hell is upscale trash? Please give me an example as I fear my bookshelves may be full of it.

    p.s. Just finished “Potrait of an Addict as a Young Man.” Does that qualify? And even more pressing: what is the scoop on that guy? Do tell.

  36. I laid up short of the windmill on 13, then tapped a superb stroke through the blades, off the angled board and into the hole for a deuce. My boyfriend tried to fly the windmill. What an idiot!

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