All posts tagged: home

A Blazing Portrait of a highly enmeshed sibling relationship, a crumbling English house, a despondent writer-illustrator mother and a slippery twist in Daisy Johnson’s SISTERS

By Leslie Lindsay  A taut, twisty, mind-bending read that is so superbly written, so lyrical and tragic.  ~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~ Spotlight: Siblings A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR ONE OF THE TOP TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR —VULTURE “Daisy Johnson is the demon offspring of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King.” —The Observer (London)“Builds a gothic plot to an artful and shocking climax.” —The New York Times“Ends with a magnificent twist.” —The Boston Globe From a Booker Prize finalist and international literary star: a blazing portrait of one darkly riveting sibling relationship, from the inside out. Something unspeakable and unbearable happened between sisters July and September, just 10 months apart and named for their birth months. What presents as not-quite a thriller, not quite-a novel, not-quite horror or prose poetry, it is but all of those things, and that’s what makes SISTERS (Riverhead, August 2020) such a slippery one to pin down. Reading this story is strange and fantastical, a bit like a …

MEREDITH HALL talks about her luminescent novel, BENEFICIENCE, about one Maine FARM family’s experience with a terrible loss, the way we absorb grief, and the subconscious way of art + thinking about characters long after

By Leslie Lindsay  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS  A deep, ravishing, quiet tale of a family upended by grief, a timely and topical exploration of what it means to be a family, and yet divided. Years ago, I read and loved Meredith Hall’s sweeping memoir, WITHOUT A MAP, and knew I had to get my hands on her first fiction, which is every bit as luminous and perceptive. When they met in the 1930s, Doris and Tup’s love was deep and visceral and immediate. Doris leaves behind her mercantile-minded family, where a life running her father’s shop was in the works, for Tup’s family farm, where his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents worked the land and are buried underneath the pines on farm cemetery. Their lives follow the calming–predictable–cycles of the seasons, the land. Cows are milked, calves are birthed, hay is rolled. There’s the garden and the canning, the laundry, the children–all three of them. Each day, they are grateful. But then the unthinkable happens. Faith is shattered. Grief permeates the walls, …

Writers on Wednesdays: How five women intersect in this gorgeously told debut, Ella Joy Olsen talks about being inspired by her hundred-year old bungalow in ROOT, PETAL, THORN, the permanence of place, family lore, & how reading is definitely a perk to being an author

By Leslie Lindsay  What an amazing read! Five fascinating women. The same historic home. One hundred years. Interconnected stories of love, courage, and heartbreak.  When I first read this description of ROOT, PETAL, THORN (Kensington Publishing, August 30, 2016), I fell in love.  The first home my husband and I owned was a two-story stucco built in 1920. The front was flanked with a charming three-season porch, a maple tree, oodles of peonies, hydrangeas, and more charm inside: wood floors throughout, fireplace, claw foot tub, and small built-ins. I often wondered what families had inhabited the house before us. Obviously, we knew who we purchased from: a childless artist couple, their impressive art lining the plaster walls. Once, we met a little girl dressed up as a fairy princess on Halloween, who rang our doorbell and boldly told us, “I was born at this house.” And we knew who built the house: a minister and his family. Apparently, it was on the grounds of the church, the church long gone, ironically. And then ROOT, PETAL, THORN …

Write On, Wednesday: Author of REAL EMOTIONAL GIRL Tanya Chernov Talks About Home (Series 4/5)

By Leslie Lindsay Having recently read Tanya Chernov’s memoir A REAL EMOTIONAL GIRL, I reached out to extend my kudos on her moving account. It’s relatable to many–loss, grief, and ulimately a place of home.  Her family camp for girls “up north” will always represent comfort, safety, and love for her. What Gathers Beneath the Surface “Though I was born in Milwaukee, I spent much of my childhood at the summer camp my family owns and operates in northwestern Wisconsin. “Up North,” where the mosquitoes are said to grow as big as hummingbirds, and the nearest town has perplexingly sustained a population of 521 souls, the region harbors a blissfully stagnant kind of atmosphere. A quiet exists there you can’t find elsewhere in the world, a quiet you haven’t heard since 1985. Maybe even ’82. There’s a spit of swampland between the butt of our lake and curve of County Road I, where—even that far from our boundaries—you can hear the laughter and cheering of the campers issuing a steady susurrus from down the road. I like to paddle my solo canoe out …

Write On, Wednesay: Special New Series (1/5)–Defining HOME featuring Caroline Leavitt

By Leslie Lindsay  (image source: http://www.alphabetart.com 9.4.13) I have a giant grin on my face today.  Other than the fact that I have the house to myself, a laptop, brain (let’s hope), and basset hound at my feet, I have a new series to share on Wednesdays!  It’s all about the concept of HOME.  Ever notice how nearly every book you read has some element of home buried deep within the words on the page?  Your reading material may have something to do with big green monsters eating every chocolate chip cookie and then running off to school, but I would wager that those monsters began at say…home?!  The book I just finished reading (Tanya Chernov’s A REAL EMOTIONAL GIRL) had almost everything to do with home (but was largely masked by her grief over her late father).  The next book I picked up, BRAIN ON FIRE (Susannah Cahalan)  might really be about her lost month of insanity, but delve into the pages, and you see an underlying theme of home…her junky New York studio, …

The Teacher is Talking: Special Back-to-School Series–Organizational & Memory Strategies

By Leslie Lindsay As a kid–and even as an adult–I love to be organized!  Give me a three-ring binder and some tab dividers and you might as well put me in nerd-heaven.  Wait?!  What’s that you say?  Your child is anything BUT organized?  They have a junky room?  Backpack is over-flowing with notes, papers, Kleenex?  Ah…I see.  I have one of those, too.  I call her my oldest daughter.  How is it that the Queen of Organization gave life to the Princess of Junk?  It baffles me, too.  But there is a little hope in the Kingdom of Clean.  Princess Junk is entering 3rd grade.  And from what I can tell about 3rd grade, it’s the year of learning to be organized, resourceful, and independent.  That said, this post will cover all grades–early education through elementary school. ORGANIZE IT! EARLY EDUCATION/PRESCHOOL: Teach what goes in and what stays out of the backpack each day.  Take actual photos or make your own visual reminders by either drawing or priniting out Clip Art from your Word program. …

Fiction Friday:

By Leslie Lindsay Another excerpt from my novel-in-progress.  Plowing ahead!  Remember, this is original work–women’s ficiton.  Enjoy!  Thinking about Annie—about her life now—who she is, who’s she’s become.  A wife, a mother.  Pregnant? Could that be just another illusion?  I mean, I knew she had kids—two of them to be exact—and Beth, well all she ever wanted was what Annie had.  It was like a bad joke; a twist of fate I wasn’t expecting.  Annie had everything she ever wanted—children, a home, an education.  Joe.  I wince.  An impediment to my goal.  Annie.     And all Beth wants is a baby.  With me.  I rake my hands through my hair.  Pregnant.   How can that be?  I always assumed Annie and I would have children someday.  It was one of the reasons I fell so hard for her.  I pictured us having kids together—nurturing, maternal Annie.  If anyone was cut out for the job, it was her.  What more could I want—a wife who was a nurse.  Maybe a school nurse, who would place Band-aids on skinned …

The Teacher is Talking: De-junking Your Kid’s Space

By Leslie Lindsay Last Tuesday, we tackled the junky room of the century (my daughter’s) and now we’re moving on to the basement playroom.  While I love the idea of this space, I have a hard time keeping it clean–or rather, teaching my daughters to keep it clean.  Together, we worked out some of the kinks.  That’s not to say it will continue to be clutter-free, but when I indicated the basement playroom is still part of the house (not just a dumping ground), and that we put things away after playing just like we would in a classroom, they began to “get it.”  Here are some ideas that may work for you: Locate several buckets/tubs and mark them: “Donate,”  “Resale,” “Repurpose” Grab a trash bag.  Mark it “Trash.”  Then find a big paper shopping bag.  Mark is “recycle.”  That’s for all of the construction paper scraps and projects that are no longer. Turn on some music that you and your kids like.  You may even consider setting a timer, if your kiddos respond to that kind …

In My Brain Today: There’s an App (mag) for That!

By Leslie Lindsay My daughter is in Brownies.  She wears that brown vest plastered with patches and sings songs about smiles in pockets and friends being the color of precious metals.  She takes hikes and pets snakes at nature preserves.  She loves it.  She also participates in the fall fundraiser (don’t get me started on fundraisers…that’s a whole other blog post).  Don’t get your hopes up too much: the fall fundraiser is not the infamously tasty cookies.  It’s nuts and magazines.  That’s cool.  Good timing for holiday gift-giving. So, last weekend my hubby and I sat sipping coffee after a leisurely breakfast (our darling daughters were creating a toy bomb in the basement playroom)–magazine catalog spread on the table. “Who can we give a magazine gift subscriptions to?” we mused. Well, let me tell you–a printed publication (I think we used to call those magazines), exists for just about every interest, hobby, age-group, whatever your little heart desires, it’s there.  From Family Handyman to Civil War Chronicals to Bird &  Garden.  Heck, there was even something about guns and …