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August 27, 2007 Review

My Summer of Southern Discomfort, The Big Sky, and Your cat, simple new secrets to a longer, stronger life

Reading Recommendations

Submitted by Nancy Bannister

August 27, 2007

My Summer of Southern Discomfort, a novel, Stephanie Gayle

Today is Monday.  The calls do not come as before.  Weeks elapse between them, and when I answer the phone there is no overlap of voices, only my mother’s.   She spends much of the conversation avoiding mention of the pink elephant trumpeting in the middle of the room.

The pink elephant would be my defection to Georgia.  When I telephoned with the news of my imminent relocation my father asked, “Georgia, as in the Republic of Georgia by the Black Sea, or Georgia as in the Peach State?”  He hoped I meant the former because that Georgia promised unique opportunities to advance the democratic cause of justice.  What could Georgia, former land of the Confederacy, offer?

Convicting arsonists and thieves in Macon, Georgia was never Harvard Law grad Natalie Goldberg’s dream.  The pay is abysmal, the work is exhausting, and the humidity is hell for a woman with curly hair.  But when a steamy romance with her high powered New York boss went bad, Natalie jumped at the first job offered, packed her bags, and headed south. 

Natalie’s leftist Yankee background brands her a conspicuous outsider in this insular community.  Her father, a famous civil rights lawyer, refuses to accept her career change, or talk to her.  Her best friend begs her to come back home, and Natalie keeps thinking she sees her former lover everywhere.

But Natalie’s not completely alone.  There are a garden obsessed neighbor, a former beauty queen turned defense attorney, and a handsome colleague who has a nervous tic whenever she gets near.  Ant then there’s a capital case that has her eating antacids by the truckload.

Yes, it’s going to be one heckuva long—hot summer!

Try this one for an evening of light entertainment.  Once the reader starts, he or she will not put it down.

And, The Big Sky, a novel by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. with a foreword by Wallace Stegner.

Originally published more than fifty years ago, The Big Sky  is the first of A. B. Guthrie’s epic adventure novels of America’s vast frontier. The Big Sky  introduces Boone Candill, Jim Deakins, and Dick Summers, there of the most memorable characters in western American literature. Traveling the Missouri River from St. Louis to the Rockies, these frontiersmen live as trappers, traders, guides, and explorers.  The story centers on Candill, a young Kentuckian driven by a raging hunger for life and a longing for the blue sky and brown earth of big, wild places.  Caught up in the freedom and savagery of the wilderness, Candill becomes an untamed mountain man whom only the beautiful daughter of a Blackfoot chief dares to love.  With The Big Sky Guthrie gives us an unforgettable portrait of a spacious land and a unique way of life.

A.B. Guthrie, Jr. Pulitzer Prize winner, lived much of his life in Montana.  His is the author of numerous books, including The Big Sky novels, as well as the screenplay for the Academy Award winning film, Shane.  Guthre died in 1991, is honored for his contribution to literature and his timeless portrayal of the American West.

And, a new book takes care of your cats’ needs from birth to the grave: Your cat, simple new secrets to a longer, stronger life written by Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V. M.; SSQ.  Dr. Hodgkins runs her cats-only practice in Yorba Linda, California.  The reader will enjoy this even if living in a cat-free household.  The pictures are precious and the reader will understand how to handle the neighbor cat.

See you at Rylander—the place to find most how-to hints for everyday life.