About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book Teaser Tuesday - Eli the Good

My book selection for this week's Teaser Tuesday is set in familiar territory, eastern Kentucky where I grew up. I recognize the language, the people, and what they value as Silas House describes in Eli the Good. House himself still lives in that region and set his other award winning novels Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

Mis B over at Should be Reading is host for this weekly book meme which attracts over a 100 readers each week. Playing is simple and open to all:

--Open your current read to a random page (I cheat a bit on this);
--share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on the page, watching out for spoilers;
--give the book title, author, and perhaps a brief synopsis, so other players can decide if they want to add your selection to their TBR lists;
--post your link in the comments on Miz B's webpage and check out other players' links.

Eli the Good
by Silas House

"We were not a family who went to church much--both my parents believed that God could best be served by being the best people they could and treating everyone right and being thankful for all they had--so my guilt was not the kind that is created or fostered. I was simply made that way: a boy who cared too deeply for everything and therefore felt that any wrong in the world was partly my fault." pp. 81-2

Synopsis from the book jacket: "Girls line up on lawn chairs in pursuit of the perfect tan. Bob Seger growls from a transistor radio. And bicentennial fireworks blaze across the sky. Yet for nature-loving Eli Book, the summer that should have been the best of times is filled with terrible secrets. His beautiful, but distant, mother is caught between his father, a traumatized war veteran, and his aunt, a former war protester who has come to live with them. His beloved but wild older sister is struggling with her own painful discoveries.. And his best friend Edie, the only person with whom he can still be himself, turns inward when her parents split up. Surrounded by those he loves, watching from the sidelines while they begin to tear themselves and one another apart, Eli becomes swept up in the current of conflict and takes his first steps toward truth-telling and adulthood."

Now if this look inside Eli the Good has made you curious about either the book or the author, here's a video of House reading from the book and explaining some of the story background. The reading is accompanied by House's friend and fellow musician, Ben Sollee. House's voice takes me back to my childhood.


m (the misanthrope) said...

Wow! That's a teaser indeed. Sounds like a great book with fascinating characters! I also enjoyed your writeup about Colm Toibin. I have read a number of Irish authors but not him; I'd like to remedy that!

Cousin M said...

This is one of the books on my "to read" list, and after playing the video it's a definite. That Eastern Kentucky twang sure brought back my (our) childhood!

Faye said...

misanthrope--couldn't get over how how well Toibin described Brooklyn. It felt so familiar.

cousin m--for sure we recognize the cuisine--macaroni cooked in tomato juice. Still cook it to this day. What I also love about House's writing is that eastern Kentuckians are not all hillbillies and rednecks.

KittyHawk said...

You know, this book is sometimes listed in the young adult category. Maybe, but it's an enjoyable read. I'd like to see his tree, wouldn't you?

茂慧 said...

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Faye said...

kittyhawk--I was talking to a 10 year old after reading this book--which was Eli's age. Not sure she could handle parts of it. Maybe for a middle schooler? Apparently this book is autobiographical--House had a Vietnam veteran father, there were letters from him to House's mother, and he had a best friend Edie who was at the reading on this video.