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Posts tagged ‘John Irving’


The Bees on the Porch

It’s not that I want the bees to die. I just don’t want to share my house with them.

There is a beehive growing on the second floor porch of my house, three feet from my favorite white rocking chair that happens to be my de facto hiding-from-the-world space.  For days, I watch the bees work on their hive which gives me a full understanding of how the phrase “busy as a bee” came to be.

My mind wanders and it occurs to me that the housing industry would be completely different if we humans could figure out how to build homes as quickly as bees build hives. They all work together and don’t seem to worry about sub contractors not showing up; and the CEO is a female – a queen bee, to be exact. The bees actually work in beautiful harmony, which makes me feel guilty because I don’t want to share my porch with a beehive that is doubling in size every few days. Read more »


“The Girl on the Train”

Imagining something is better than remembering something.                 ~John Irving, The World According to Garp

Summertime is when everyone seems to be talking about “beach books”, which I never fully understood until I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. The Urban Dictionary defines a “beach book” as “easily digestible, designed to be guzzled down from a cramped airline seat or reclining poolside chair” and although that definition seems more like a description of a beer to me, I finally realized that a beach book is like a refreshment or some tangy pineapple that may momentarily satisfy hunger when descriptive prose and depth are just too much to think about. Read more »


“In One Person”

OH, THE WINDS OF change; they do not blow gently into the small towns of northern New England.

John Irving‘s newest novel In One Person is the fictional story of one man’s journey on a road less traveled. Written in the first person from the perspective of the main character – William (“Bill”) Francis Dean, Jr. – the story begins in late 2010. Bill is nearly 70 years old and looks back upon his life as a bisexual man trying to come to terms with who he is in a world reluctant to accept those that are different. Growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s in a small town in Vermont where conventional norms prevail, Bill struggles to understand his passions, his crushes, and his family. When he is introduced rather late – at age 13 – to literature by his newly acquired stepfather, Richard and the local town librarian, Miss Frost, he starts to better understand he is not alone. Read more »


Franzen and Irving: Rock Stars of the Literary World

Several months ago, Jonathan Franzen and John Irving appeared together at a book club forum in Hartford, Connecticut.  I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of seeing two of my favorite authors in a panel discussion.  This wasn’t a book store appearance but a chance to hear two very talented authors speak about writing and their thoughts on literature. My husband compared my enthusiasm to the anticipation most people feel before an upcoming rock concert. Point well taken but Franzen and Irving are rock stars in the oft ignored literary world. Read more »