Browsing Archives for Books & Letters

This is it folks.

The last of the country life book giveaways for my fabulous summer reading program.

Was that a huge sigh of relief I just heard?

Was it?

WAS IT???!!!?!?! 

Now listen here people, I happen to have a big place in my heart for books about wackos who go off and live somewhere hard and learn to survive off the land and build their own houses out of the twigs and mud and berries and make their own clothing from raw wool right off the back of a baby sheep. But I like to think there is more to me than just crazy fantasies of life in a cabin on a farm on a precarious cliff overlooking the ocean with no one to help but a three legged goat and a husband who prefers to work in the nude.

I like to think there is more to me than just that!

I also like mysteries…

and also…

um also…

I occasionally read books about… 



Sometimes I glance through…



And sometimes I read…


But other than that, I admit to being a little bit stuck in the genre of country life/ gardening/ people who build their own houses/ type literature.

So for the last go round of this genre I am offering three books on the above mentioned subjects that I absolutely adore.

And then we will move on.

I promise..

For a little while at least…

All the books are again from Alibris so don’t go thinking that I am stealing books from public libraries! 

Here are the selections.

Back to the Damn Soil by Tulsa, Oklahoma writer, Mary Gubser.

This book tells the story of a young couple who move out to the country and guess what?

Go on guess!

Can you guess?!?!

They start up a little farm and build a little farm house and the resulting tales are full of humor and inner strength and character and wit… etcetera, etcetera, blah, blah, blah…

But seriously, Mary Gubser lived her farm life adventure during WWII. Her husband, a young lawyer was recruited to run one of the airline factories during the war and he virtually disappeared, working very hard to keep American pumping out bombers. Mary was forced to run a farm and raise three small boys alone. She tells of breeding cows and horses and her crazy neighbors who ran an illegal bar and kept their illegal hooch buried in their illegal garden.

It is a great story both because it captures a snippet of extremely interesting American history, and it also is a funny country story which I yes, um, yes, happen to love.

Did you know I called Mary once?

Yes I did.

I fell so madly in love with this book, that once while staying with a friend on Grand Lake of the Cherokees outside of Tulsa, I called Mary Gubser to ask her for directions to the old farmhouse! I knew we were very close to it and I had to try and find it or I would die.

She was very nice and happy that people were still reading and falling in love with her book. She gave me directions and my friend and I set out to find it.

We eventually did find a house that looked like it may have been the right one, but it was no longer a solitary farmhouse miles from Tulsa. Instead, it was very much a part of Tulsa in a neighborhood that had probably sprung up in the 50′s or 60′s. So I did not exactly get to see the farmhouse the way I had always pictured it.

But I did get to talk to Mary.

And that was pretty cool.

The second book in this giveaway is Acres and Pains by S.J. Perelman.

Here is my copy of the same book.

I think that cover pretty much says it all.

I wish the copy I was giving away had the same cover but alas, I ain’t giving up my copy.

If you are unaware of the sterling contributions to American literature and theater made by S.J. Perelman you can get a small sampling here.

His writing was the humorous backbone of the New Yorker for years. He is simply one of the great American humorists and more people should read his books now. Right now! Right this very minute!

Finally – Ken Kraft and his book The Land of Milk and Omelets.

This is a book my sister and I both love dearly. So if you don’t trust my literary tastes, perhaps you will trust April’s. After all, she does homeschool her kids, so her moral superiority is clearly self evident. She also has pigs and chickens and a real live garden and I think this is all because I once let her borrow The Land of Milk and Omelets and the next thing I knew she was buying a flock of chickens.

And yes, it is just another book about people homesteading in the post WWII era. But it is written with so much spirit and enthusiasm and yes humor, that you can’t help but be entertained and even have crazy thoughts about going out and buying your own flock of chickens.

This book giveaway has come to an end

CDW Readers Recommend…

June 13th, 2008

Below, I have listed the favorite books and authors that were mentioned in the comments of The Summer Reading Book Giveaway Number One. I am listing them both for myself and for anyone else who is looking for a good read.

The first part of the list includes only the names of the books and authors that were mentioned. Following the list, are the comments and descriptions that were left with the books. The comments are helpful if you want a bit more information about the books. I trimmed the comments down just a tiny bit to make it easier to read. 

I hope to eventually get through this list of books myself, though it may take years. Several of them are old favorites of mine, a few of them are books I re-read every year, but many of them are completely new to me and I am looking forward to checking them out.

I am very anxious to read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee as it was mentioned six times! I think I have read this book before, but I am not sure and need a refresher to see what the heck the big deal is all about!

Secondly, I am very interested in the Harry Truman book Letters to Bess. I always liked old Harry.

Thirdly, I was thinking Habit of Being by Flannery O’Conner.

And Then!!!

And THEN!!!!

I am going to have to re-read Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons as that book is hilarious and so is the movie by the same name.

BUT FIRST, I still have to get through all the Beverley Nichols books I recently purchased.

What am I doing sitting here typing!

I’ve got some reading to do!

Favorite Books and/or Authors From CDW Readers

Italicized books are mentioned more than once.

Please feel free to leave your own favorite book in the comments of this post. I will add them to the list.  

Ken Follet, Pillars Of The Earth.

Onions in the Stew

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

Where The Red Fern Grows

The Kite Runner

An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of My Rural Boyhood” by Jimmy Carter.


Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Please Don’t Eat The Daises by Jean Kerr.

The Ivy Tree Mary Stewert

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Elizabeth Speare

Rosamunde Pilcher

Louis L’Amour

Anything by Mauve Binchy

Confederacy of Dunces.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Follow the River by James Alexander Thom.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.

The Secret Garden

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski.

Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Little Women

The Outsiders

Anne of Green Gables

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

My Sister’s Keeper

The Man who Loved Clowns

Spirit Bear.

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or Joy in the Morning, both by Betty Smith

Little House on the Prairie.

Pride and Predjudice

Karen Kingsbury

Dee Henderson

Beverly Lewis

David Baldacci

John Grisham

Lynn Kurland.

Philippa Gregory

Little Boy Blue” by Eugene Fields.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.

Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Mountain

Snow Falling on Cedars

Memoirs of a Geisha

Jane Eyre

Pride and Prejudice

To Kill a Mockingbird

She’s come Undone by Wally Lamb.

Gone with the Wind

Where the Red Fern Grows

Jane Eyre

Sacagawea – By Anna L. Waldo

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

The Red Tent 

The Egg & I

O Rugged Land of Gold by Martha Martin.

Twilight and Eclipse and New Moon by Stephenie Meyers.  

Brendan O’Carroll – The Mammy, The Chisellers, The Granny

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum 

The Family Secrets of Nazi Germany

Little Women

The Plague and I, By Betty McDonald

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Encyclopedia of Country Living

Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Nourishing Traditions

Living with Chickens

The Shack

The Secret Life of Bees

Mama Makes up Her Mind by Bailey White  

The Princess Bride

Jane Eyre

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Kite Runner

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Ordinary Princess

Julie Garwood’s historical romances

He’s God and We’re Not by Ray Pritchard

Max Lucado

David Jeremiah

Luci Swindoll

Marilyn Meberg

Dear Bess by Harry Truman

Anne of Green Gables series

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty

the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

One Man’s Island

Cathie Pelletier books

Pride & Prejudice

Raney, by Clyde Edgerton.

James Herriot books

Were the Red Fern Grows

Sandra Dallas, Chili Queen.

Betty MacDonald’s Egg & I   

Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle

Or Northanger Abbey

The Cat
Brother Cadfael  

To Kill a Mockingbird

Jane Eyre

Pride and Prejudice

The Habit of Being by Flannery O’Conner

A Prayer for Owen Meanie (Meany?)

Because of Winn Dixie.  

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

Bloody Kansas by Sara Paretsky.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

And Now For the Comments With The Books!

Pillars of The Earth By Ken Follet

I`m sassy, said…
Not normally my kind of reading but turned out to be a surprisingly wond
erful book.

suze-oz said…
Onions in the Stew

is one of my favourites. My mother loved it so much she has kept my copy. I have chuckled my way through it many times. The world was such a different place. If I ignored the smoking and drank a little my gp would approve…he often tells me that there is not enough scotch in my blood! He is a wonderful man who has a sensible view about life.  


chocolatechic said…
I have lots of favorites, but one series of books that have griped me ever since I read them was the
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
The Kite Runner
There is just something about this book and I love how it wraps around you.  

Where The Red Fern Grows
justaroundthecorner said…
I love this story and tend to chase people down in the kid section of the bookstore and suggest they read it.

donna said…
“An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of My Rural Boyhood” by Jimmy Carter.

Or Seabiscuit.
Honestly, who can pick just one favorite book?

gina said…
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach (I am the self help queen…maybe I can send some along to you?…Not that you need any self help…I mean, just a suggestion…I’m pretty crazy, but you just may be nuttier than me :)

melissa said…
I have always loved Please Don’t Eat The Daises by Jean Kerr. I read it when I was 15 and have always had a copy on my book shelf. I just reread it again about a month ago. She makes me want to write.

stephanie said…
OMG I have way to many to mention..Off the top of my head
The Ivy Tree Mary Stewert
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Elizabeth Speare
Rosamunde Pilcher
Louis L’Amour

jeanette from texas said…
Anything by Mauve Binchy. I love the settings in Ireland.
I have one all time quirky favorite, Confederacy of Dunces. It is weird, funny and for some reason I love it.

To Kill a Mockingbird was one of the first favorites.
Dee from Tennessee

hw said…
“Follow the River” by James Alexander Thom. I like any of his books. They are all historical; but I read any genre.

jenn said…
My very favourite book is
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.

The Secret Garden”.

I just love that book! As a child/preteen, I also loved to read anything by Lois Lenski…since I am from Florida, my favorite book of hers is “Strawberry Girl”.

Deb in Florida

suzanne said…
Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a close second.

I love Rawlings though. I visited her home in Cross Creek, Florida, which is now a home museum. It was like walking into a time machine, back to the old Florida that I remember from the summers of my childhood in the early 1950′s. It was magic.

Although I have many, many favorite books, when someone asks me the title of my favorite book, for some reason, I always think of the books I loved as a child first. My favorite book of all time is

“Little Women.” : )

Mrs. I.

julie said…
I have so many favorite books. I love
The Outsiders,
Anne of Green Gables,
Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas,
My Sister’s Keeper,
The Man who Loved Clowns,
Spirit Bear.
Oh, how I love books.

noble pig said…
Oh my fave…
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan…love it…just love.

I have so many favorites, but right now I would have to say
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or
Joy in the Morning, both by Betty Smith.

I can read just about anything though. My favorite pasttime.
Wendy Clark

kristin said…
I love so many books it is hard to pick. The book that sucked me into my all time love of reading was
Little House on the Prairie. I still enjoy that one with my daughter. I also recently read

Pride and Predjudice and will read any of

Karen Kingsbury,

Dee Henderson or

Beverly Lewis for lighter reads.

David Baldacci and John Grisham when I’m in the mood for a thrill.

foofeee said…
Right now, anything by Lynn Kurland.
Philippa Gregory is an all time favorite.

How about a favorite poem? I can do that!

“Little Boy Blue” by Eugene Fields.

June 7, 2008 10:37 AM

mer said…
My favorite book is Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. It is a beautifully written story!!

jenny said…
I recently read Cold Comfort Farm that you had recommended on your blog and it was great! Quirky…very, very funny!

When talking about favorites I think I go for romantic, cultural…tragic? – the deep stuff, because my favorite book list includes Cold Mountain,
Snow Falling on Cedars and
Memoirs of a Geisha.
It also includes Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.

leah said…
Okay, I know I sound like a total geek and this is such an un-original choice, but it’s To Kill a Mockingbird. True!

mcatho said…
One of My favorites—I have many as I am an avid reader– is

She’s come Undone by Wally Lamb.

jenni said…
Just one favorite……
Gone with the Wind, maybe. But really I have tons of favorites.

JustAroundTheCorner mentioned Where the Red Fern Grows, just the mention of that book brought a tear to my eye. I haven’t thought of that one in such a while.

karen yvonne said…
Jane Eyre . . . When I was in high school, talking in study hall one day, my English teacher who was monitorint the SH pulled Jane Eyre off the bookshelf, told me to be quiet, and to read the first 100 pages before I decided I did not want to read the book. Of course, long before 100 pages, I was hooked and have read it several times, enjoying it every single time.

heidi in wisconsin said…
Sacagawea – By Anna L. Waldo… I read this book over and over and over again in high school. The one I cherish the most is a smut novel by an unknown author. It makes me fall in love with my hubby all over again – no Fabio is not on the cover! Its a sensual Native American man with gorgeous black hair to his waste. Reminds me SO MUCH of my blonde, blued eyed,geeky, Norwegian husband that I want to have more of his children – that is after I have this one in July. LOL

cheryl said…
Gosh, I have so many favorites that it is hard to choose. I guess

“The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” is the latest one I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

My favorite book is

“The Girl with the Pearl Earring”. I have never read a book that I felt more in the book than reading it. I heard the sounds, smells the odors and enjoyed the period of time.


kim said…
Off the top of my head, I think,

The Red Tent is my favorite book.

I would like to thank you for the wonderful reminder of,

The Egg & I.
I had forgotten all about this terrific book!

kelly myers said…
O Rugged Land of Gold by Martha Martin. I read it every year about fall/winter time and it does inspire me.

karly said…
I have bunches of favorite books but my favorite so far is

Twilight and Eclipse and New Moon they are great and they are by Stephenie Meyers.

kc said…
They are a trilogy by

Brendan O’Carroll. The Mammy, The Chisellers and The Granny

I have so many “favorite” books that I can’t choose just one!!! I’m currently reading

>Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum and I am absolutely riveted by

the family secrets of Nazi Germany! SO good!

Kristina in Nebraska

hazel said…
My favorite book would have to be

Little Women. My mother used to read to us when we were very young and this book impressed more on me than any of the others. I think I always wanted to be Jo!!

pat said…

My goodness gracious me…you won’t believe this. I was thinking about Betty M’s Oninons in the Stew, the other day! I would love to read that book again. Even though I was actually on the earth at the time it was first published, I wasn’t old enough to read. I actually read it after seeing the movie and I believe that was about 45 or so years ago! Oh and we have quite a little collection of Ma & Pa K, movies. It’s amazing how much our 18 year old granddaughter loves to watch those movies and has watched them many times over the past few years!

I’ve read The Plague and I, By Betty, also.

My favorite book. The one I go back to again and again and no matter how many times I read it I love it even more is

To Kill a Mockingbird.
I actually read that book when it first came out. I think I might have been late teens or twenty.

pamelotta said…
I don’t get a lot of time to read, so all the books I’m reading right now are in a stack on my nightstand and they are as follows:

The Encyclopedia of Country Living,
Taking Charge of Your Fertility,
Nourishing Traditions,
Living with Chickens,
and the one I just finished yesterday,
The Shack

The Shack is my current favorite. I’ll let you know about the rest. I’m obviously more into non-fiction than fiction.

karen deborah said…
I think my favorite is whatever I just read or am reading. I recently finished

“The Secret Life of Bees” it was a great story. MY house is so full of books it looks like a library. I have never heard of this book and some of your other titles so it will be fun to see what they are like. Ma & Pa Kettle were some of my childhood favorites. One you might enjoy that is really funny is,

“Mama Makes up Her Mind,” by Bailey White.

donna boucher said…
So hard to pick.

I will say….

The Princess Bride.

marmee said…
Jane Eyre

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Kite Runner

just to name a few….

maudie-mae said…
I have too many to choose from
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Ordinary Princess

for fluff reading I like Julie Garwood’s historical romances

for serious reading
He’s God and We’re Not by Ray Pritchard
Max Lucado
David Jeremiah
Luci Swindoll
Marilyn Meberg

my problem is that I work in one of those used book stores that lists books on Alibris (as well as a couple of other sites) and anything I want to bring home from the store is MINE MINE MINE to read. I have a stack of books beside my side of the bed that comes to the window sill, and then I have a floor to ceiling book case FULL. Sigh

darlene said…
One of my favorites is

“Dear Bess”.
The letters from Harry to Bess Truman 1910 to 1959.

I learned a lot about President Truman from these letters. A great read.

beth said…
It’s so hard to decide, but I can’t help but list the

Anne of Green Gables series.
One of my more recent reads, though, is

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.

Some of my favorites are

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty,

The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and

Alaskan/Canadian memoirs like -One Man’s Island – the author and his wife bought an island off the coast of British Columbia in the 1940′s and homesteaded there. I also love to read interesting and old cookbooks. Nancy in AK

kari said…
Before I started homeschooling (and reading REALLY good books – where every.stinkin’.one is my favorite) I read all the

Cathie Pelletier books I could get my hands on. She has such a warped sense of humor…and laughing inappropriately at situations at home is much more fitting than doing so in real life.

waterside living said…
Well, of course

Pride & Prejudice, but where’s the fun and originality in that? So I’ll mention another of my favorites:

Raney, by Clyde Edgerton. A bust-a-gut funny story of a young bride in small town North Carolina. In fact, its been so long since I read it I might have to go find it and read it again!

liz said…
James Herriot books (English country vet) -I’ve read, re-read, read to my kids and read again. I’ve laughed till I couldn’t read through the tears. His story telling is the best! Warm, funny,’s all there.

p said…
Gosh I have so many–it does not happen very often that you do notfind me reading something. My son just finished the book Were the Red Fern Grows and I picked that up to re re re read again today. Thanks for the chance.

susan p. said…
Speaking of reading…My favorite usually depends on what I’ve just read and liked. Most recently that was

Sandra Dallas, Chili Queen.

Right now I’m reading a

Dorothy Cannell mystery which is fun.

cynthia said…

I think that my fave is Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle.

Or Northanger Abbey,

or The Cat who series,

or the Brother Cadfael series

amy w said…
My favorite – “To Kill a Mockingbird”

coffee bean said…
I love so many books… there are just so many wonderful ones out there… but, I’d have to say

Jane Eyre is my favorite if I can only say one.

rachel keller said…
My favorite books is

Pride and Prejudice, for obvious reasons, I cant get over the crush I had on Mr Darcy when I was 16…I go all giggly when I think of it and read the beloved words again!

beth c said…
I love lots of books, but my absolute favorite is

The Habit of Being, which are Flannery O’Conner’s letters. It’s an amazing book on many levels.

jeannie in okc said…
I’m a voracious reader, and I love many books. One adult book that comes to my mind is

A Prayer for Owen Meanie (Meany?). Loved that one!

Since I write for children, I seem to mostly read children’s books. Some of them are great literature. One I just reread while teaching my fourth grade class is

Because of Winn Dixie. It is a beautiful book about loss and forgiveness.

mama bear said…
Too many books to choose from! I read anything and everything.

Harry Potter,
Laura Ingalls Wilder,
Stephen King, you name it! Usually I find one author and if I like his/her book, I read everything written by him/her.

I recently enjoyed reading

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Excellent! I plan to go to the library tomorrow to search out another of hers and will probably have read every one of her books by the end of summer.

mrs. c said…
I have a lawn mower just like Betty’s and I use it!

Oh, but my favorite book. Today it is

Bloody Kansas by Sara Paretsky.

But tomorrow it maybe something else, like the

Happy Hollisters.

June 8, 2008 8:38 PM

marie said…
I can’t seem to get out of the childrens room at the library with all of my kids, so all I can get my hands on is Childrens Lit. I recently enjoyed

The Theif by Megan Whalen Turner.

June 8, 2008 9:33 PM



For the second book in my summer reading program, I am choosing We Took To The Woods By Louise Dickinson Rich. It may become clear to you as this summer reading program progresses, that I have very specific likes when it comes to books. I strongly prefer non-fiction, first person accounts about people who go off and do strange things in difficult places and have either a rib cracking sense of humor about it or who are so deftly poetic in their writing that I am borne away on the wings of their prose… to another world… full of waving flowers in a meadow… while little elfin antelope deer birds frolick… in the dense fragrant forest… of love…with lutes… and fifes… and bagpipes…and unicorns…



Oh yeah, I like writers that are you know… good writers.

Louise falls into the later category but she is also funny. Kind of funny strange, but also funny funny.

Here is the basic synopsis. In the 1940′s, Louise goes on a canoe trip with some friends. While on this trip she meets a woolly bear who turns out to be a man who turns out to marry her who turns out to sweep her away forever to the remotest corner of Maine, which today probably has a McDonalds and a Home Depot, and at least seven strip malls along a four lane highway that has a Mister Moose Canoe Outfitters and a Lumberjack Backwoods Mountain Man Pizza Grill in each one.

But back then, it was remote. Really remote. So remote that Louise and her woolly bear husband didn’t see other people for months at a time. And they entertained themselves by trying to stay warm and keeping the logging road clear enough for the occasional visitor to get through.

So when it came to having babies and getting groceries and shopping trips to the mall for a new pair of shoes, Louise’s life was kind of hard.

Inside the cover there is map of all the places that were a part of Louise’s very hard, very remote, very no internet or television or even library life.

I love books with maps.

The copy I ordered for you also has a dust jacket with a picture of their cabin. Sadly my own copy does not have the dust jacket. I thought about keeping the dust jacket for myself, but that seemed wrong.

This bloggy giveaway has been forever buried in the sands of time immortal.