Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I feel like we have all been "Mudbound" the past couple of months. What a lot of rain. I will probably regret saying that in July.

I finished Mudbound in one weekend. I felt like I flew through it. But I couldn't wait to see what the next person would say. I know several people are reading this book. I would like to know what other people think of the husband. Do women today put up with men like this? Who make all the decisions without even asking the wife? I think if my husband had come home and said, "Honey, I've bought a farm, we're moving," I would have told him he could move by himself.

I think I especially feel strong about it because I grew up on a farm and one thing I knew from the time I found out how to read, was that I wanted out. I hated the farm, (sorry, Daddy) and I knew I wanted to live in a small town like the people I read about in books. I wanted neighbors--some nice, some eccentric, some crazy. I wanted to walk to school. I wanted a drugstore with a soda fountain down the street. I knew my life would be perfect if I just lived in a small town. I never wanted to live in the city. Maybe because we knew Memphis. It was a little scary for me.

I would like to ask the author, why Mississippi? Is there something specific that wouldn't fit anywhere else?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Name for my house

While we were on our road trip, Terry and I tried to come up with a name for my house. While visiting Monteagle, we looked at the names of all the summer houses at the Methodist camp. One of them was "Thistle Dew." I really wanted to steal it, but I think it's called plagiarism.

I think the most important part of my house is the front porch that wraps around the side of the house, too. The house is 100 years old this year, and I think people have been sitting on the porch for that long. I have rockers, a swing, tables, a butcher block, a settee, footstools, and I just added a church pew. Lots of places to sit and read. Miss Mamie Thomas who lived here before me used to sit on the side porch and work the crossword puzzle every afternoon. She lived here until she was 99-years-old, so there must be some magic to the porch.

So I have chosen to name my house, "Rock-n-Read".

Saturday, May 17, 2008

3 shows in ONE DAY

Terry and I are in Crossville, TN, the home of Cumberland Co. Playhouse, an excellent rep company. We saw "First Baptists of Ivy Gap" at 11:00, "Flight of the Lawnchair Man" (my favorite) at 2:30, and "Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming" at 7:30.

We also ate fantastic food at the Stonehaus Winery, and bought some wine. When we walked into the restaurant between shows Terry saw the television in the bar was on and she ran in. She has been worried about missing the Preakness, but it was just about to come on!! We sat at the bar and watched Big Brown turn on the afterburners. He passed the other horses like they were out for a Sunday stroll.

Meantime I am reading All the King's Men I have already finished Mudbound and really loved it. I will write about it later when I am not so tired out from sitting in a theatre all day. But I guess I should be used to that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blogger: jo ellen's stage - Create Post

Blogger: jo ellen's stage - Create Post: "Run"

Judging a Book by its Cover

I've been thinking about how books look. looks are important to me. They tell me a lot about what kind of book I am reading. Last week I read Run by Ann Patchett. It has a beautiful cover, a very abstract snowstorm on top of winter branches and it gives you the feel of the setting of the book. Cold, winter in Boston. The cold and the snow are very important characters in the book. The cover is also a foil, embossed paper-- very professional looking and expensive looking. The pages inside are very good paper and the print is large enough to be very easily read. It just looks classy. I know this book is not Southern, but it was the one I was already reading when we started. (If you haven't read Bel Canto, you have to read it.) I'm just using it as a comparison to two others.

Last weekend I read Mudbound that was recommended by Maggie. When i first took a good look at it I thought it was at least a 20-year-old book. The cover is a very simple graphic of cotton bolls and a cabin with-- almost --stickfigures standing in front of the cabin. The colors are very faded red and gray and the whole thing looks like some high school design competition. The pages inside look cheap and yellowed. I had to get past all of that to read the book, which is very good, by the way.

Now I am reading All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren, a book I have never read but I've seen the movie dozens of times. I picked it up at the library and there were several versions. I picked up the best-looking one I could find. But that's not saying much. This is one of those "Modern Library" versions. It is the size of an old paperback, meaning small and the print is the size of a flea. Maybe I am going to have to start getting large=print versions, but this is very hard to read. Not only is the print miniscule, but it is printed so far into the middle that you have to pull the book open to see the words and even then sometimes you have to just guess. Maybe I need a magnifying glass. The paper looks about 50 years old, which is about the age of the book. The cover is just dark green fake leather. YUk.

I know all of this probably makes me sound like a very shallow reader, so what. I think if you have a great book, it should look great. There are an awful lot of readers who do judge a book by it's cover. I think that's one reason that I have a hard time thinking about internet books. What is around the words means a lot to me. I want a heavy book that tells you its weight is worth gold. I want a beautiful, colorful book that says someone very artistic and talented spent a lot of time planning it. I want rich paper and print that is easy to read, and belies its intelligence. When I walk through a bookstore or a library, it's the covers that catch my eye. I can tell what kind of book I am picking up. This doesn't mean I wouldn't pick a very old book. Some old books look treasured and well-designed.

If I had just seen Mudbound and All the King's Men without knowing anything about them, I probably would not have picked them up. That is a good reason to read book reviews and listen to recommendations.
Mudbound is a really good story that deserves a better wrapping. All the King's Men won a Pulitzer Prize. It deserves better. R

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

this is my first blog. Since it is about reading I should have a lot to say, except I have to quit reading long enough to work on my blog. This is hard to do. I'm reading Run right now by Ann Pattchet.

jo ellen's stage

this is an experiment to see if I am doing this right.