All posts tagged: houses

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 …

IF THE HOUSE…an arresting collection of poetry that begs the questions of obsessions, motifs, memories, flaws, and so much more–MOLLY SPENCER ON this plus how poems ‘talk’ to each other

By Leslie Lindsay  IF THE HOUSE…a lyrical and emotive collection of poetry about the most basic structures of creation and recreation. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ POETRY FRIDAY Well-known spaces of homes are examined with lush and precise prose in IF THE HOUSE by Molly Spencer (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019), and being a ‘house person,’ I found myself completely absorbed. Here, we navigate the experiences of land and home, person and family, the cycles of nature, as well as ordinary and extravagant things–a kitchen table, a memory, the sky. It’s complex, it’s metaphorical, it’s all things good poetry should be. And like all good poetry, it is best savored and read aloud, and revisited–like an old homestead–often. Molly Spencer’s poetry has appeared in various well-known and recognized literary journals. She is a poetry editor for Rumpus and this collection won the 2019 Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Molly Spencer back to the author interview series. Leslie Lindsay: Molly, welcome back. I so loved IF THE HOUSE and HINGE (see …

Poet MOLLY SPENCEr talks about her astonishing, award-winning collection, HINGE; serious illness, the body, growing up in orchards, how obsessions can often lead us to our writing material, PLUS the structure of roofs.

By Leslie Lindsay  Myth, legend, landscape…lush and razor-sharp lines…HINGE is exactly that: revealing and concealing–sometimes squeaky–moments in time. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~  POETRY FRIDAY Aside from the arresting cover, HINGE by Molly Spencer (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, 2020) is a gorgeous meditation of motherhood, the passage of time, a stunted world–in terms of all–land, home, marriage, and body. There’s a great deal of tension and then well-earned release, the world and imagery rich in details and texture, about creation and recreation, told in a simply elegant, yet mournful voice. I have a wealth of images trapped in my mind from the words–and worlds–created within these pages. It’s about space and homes and how they all tie together, but also seasons and cycles and interiority. HINGE is the perfect read for the bleaker days of late fall, into winter, as we naturally fold within ourselves. Molly Spencer’s poetry has appeared in various well-known and recognized literary journals. She is a poetry editor for Rumpus, and this collection won the Crab Orchard Series Open Competition in Poetry 2019. Please join me …

What do we do when it all goes wrong? we can read books about home; AND YET THEY WERE HAPPY by Helen Phillips & Virginia Lee Burton’s THE LITTLE HOUSE can help us find the light

By Leslie Lindsay  Home. It’s a place we go back to again and again. And it’s always open.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|SPECIAL EDITION~ As I write this, on a blistering day, one in which the sky burns blue and the walls provide structure and stability, I am shaken. The events of the last several months have been enough to stun and awaken. The last few days have ripped the floor from under me, taken my breath away. My children have opened delicate conversations seeking solace and understanding. Social media is revealing a surge of activity in movements and messages. In the global world, protests are happening. You know this. I’m not sure I can possibly say anything that hasn’t already been said. Do I share another author interview? Normalcy, escape, reliability, there’s a value in that, right? But the world is hurting. When we hurt, we seek comfort. For many of us, that is home. In my town, the curfew for all individuals has been extended another night.  We all must be tucked safely in our …

Erica Bauermeister, author of THE SCENT KEEPER turns to memoir in her fascinating exploration of renovating a 1909 Foursquare in HOUSE LESSONS, plus art, writing, empty-nests, and more

By Leslie Lindsay  A meditation of space, home, and what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a writer in this transformative memoir. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Can a home be cathartic? I think so. Can a home teach us life lessons? Absolutely! I know we’re not supposed to fall in love with a book based on its cover but O.M.G.! And the title: HOUSE LESSONS: Renovating a Life (Sasquatch Books, March 24 2020)…AND it’s a memoir? Sold. Erica Bauermeister is the author of mostly recently THE SCENT KEEPER, but has written other books, too. HOUSE LESSONS is her first memoir. This is a tale of love and family, hope and potential, all arising quite literally from a pile of junk. The 1909 American Four Square sat in eccentric Port Townsend, WA, not even for sale with the author and her husband stumbled upon it and knew it was ‘the one.’ Previously owned by a hoarder, Bauermeister and her family go about purchasing the home and cleaning it out, rebuilding the foundation, and renovating the interior …

Therese Anne Fowler’s stunning new fiction, A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD, will leave you breathless, questioning everything–it’s a must read.

By Leslie Lindsay Hugely gripping contemporary novel that examines the American dream through the lens of two families living side-by-side in an idyllic neighborhood, but that summer their lives change irrevocably. ~WeekEND Reading SPOTLIGHT!| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Five GIANT stars to A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD by Therese Anne Fowler (St. Martin’s Press, March 10 2020). I cannot say enough about this book. It’s emotional, it’s timely, it’s affecting, it’s thought-provoking, it’s urgent. Read this book, you won’t regret it. Here’s what drew me: Neighbors, neighborhoods, trees, houses, families. Suburbia. But there’s so much more to this story. So much. Don’t take my word for it. Jodi Piccoult says this of A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD: “Therese Anne Fowler has taken the ingredients of racism, justice, and conservative religion and concocted a feast of a read: compelling, heartbreaking, and inevitable. I finished A Good Neighborhood in a single sitting. Yes, it’s that good.” And if that’s not enough, Kirkus gives it a starred review and Library Journal does, too. Many others are calling it ‘speechless,’ and ‘powerful,’ a ‘tour de force.’ …

In Material That Matters, I share what I imagine my mother’s life was like as a newlywed, her dreams & hopes and how, when she was in her thirties, she had a ‘nervous breakdown’

By Leslie Lindsay A daughter recollects her mother before she was her mother; her creativity, and ultimate psychosis. It’s about motherhood and mystery, how she fits into this intricate network, and more. ~MEMOIR MONDAY~ This is my mother before she was my mother. She had a thrumming, electric energy, as if her skin was embedded with diamonds, glistening with potential. In the 1970s when she met my father, she dreamed of happily-ever-after, flower boxes and flat driveways filled with Big-Wheels and scooters, the giddy shrieks of children. Together, they purchased a plot of land in a new subdivision, one that had a name like Southern Hills or Southhall or maybe it was Westfield, a moniker resembling cardinal directions. Something in her peripheral vision reflected mirth and yet, darkness. Her blue eyes conveyed intelligence, but sadness, too. She planned everything, prepared herself to be a homemaker, an artist, a mother: a sewing machine, canvases for the walls, macramé plant holders dangling from hooks on the ceiling. She culled through Butterick patterns at Cloth World and emerged with …

Gorgeously stark, yet lush poetry collection about homes, architecture, design, & more by Middlebury College President Laurie Patton

By Leslie Lindsay  A deeply moving and stirring collection of poems about houses and homes inspired by Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 classic, THE POETICS OF SPACE. Houses, homes, dwellings…they all have a mystical experience for me. They may be composed of timber and hardware, plaster and bricks and glass, but they hold truths deeper and darker still. A house may live only once, but it encompasses many lives.  HOUSE CROSSING (Station Hill, May 2018) is a “simple poetry of houses,” as author Laurie Patton says. Ultimately, she was inspired by the “geometry of intimacy” in urbane, basic architecture–a corner, the end of a hallway, a window, the attic. While the 32 short poems in the collection are a study in brevity, they pack such a soft-focused punch, going deep and leaving the reader with a disquieting contemplation. Titles are simple, but oh how they had me swooning: eaves, cupola, well, demolition, grave.  I don’t mean to be glib when I say these poems are haunting. Patton’s work dwells in the white space, the what-might-have-been. One reads the words and imagines a scene, but …

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 …