www.annemoore.net

 

 

 

 

 

Books: Reading at Lac Pythonga

I ran out of books earlier this summer at our lake house and vowed to bring enough for my latest two-week visit. Other folks go to Lac Pythonga to fish, hunt, hike, sail. I go there to unplug, read, swim, sun, spa and hike. Mostly, I read.

I brought four books; I’ll tell you about the two I liked most. (To my new subscribers, welcome! And thank you.) 

Ann Patchett always delivers. Her Tom Lake is a pandemic story about a family of cherry farmers in Michigan who must shelter together. It’s spring, 2020. There’s a long-married couple, their three adult daughters, and the interwoven story of the mom’s young life in theatre and Hollywood, where mostly she played Emily in Our Town. There’s no mistaking the theme of this book — love and loss — and Patchett handles it deftly. She jogs back and forth between the past, when Lara Kenison first lands the Emily role, in high school, to the present, where Lara is the exhausted farm wife and mother to Emily, Nell and Maisie. There’s no rest when cherries need to be picked… To pass the time, the girls pester Lara to spill the tea on her romance with movie star Peter Duke, when they were both in Tom Lake’s Our Town, and later, when Lara starred in a Hollywood movie and lounged poolside with her older producer. How the heck did Lara go from there to a cherry orchard? I didn’t see the end coming; it’s a sweet and fitting comfort. I highly recommend this read. Note that cover art is “Bed of Daisies,” by Gustave Caillebotte, c. 1893.

 

I loved Christopher Nolan’s film, Oppenheimer, and felt like its three plus hours flew by. What a life! Such a fascinating time in history! A reviewer mentioned the film’s source, a 2005 Pulitzer Prize winning biography, American Prometheus, The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. 600 pages? Yes, please. The book traces Oppenheimer from birth to death and crucially describes his early education in New York City at The Ethical Culture School, where he learned to view the world not as it is, but as it could be. Too, the biography is a study of his marriage to Kitty, a brilliant woman of European royalty, a botanist, a divorcee and youthful widow of a fighter in the Spanish Civil War. Also a heavy drinker. Theirs was a love that never quit, even with his affairs and her temper. Their days in the Virgin Islands, on St. John’s, makes for especially entertaining — and endearing — reading. Loved the movie, loved the book. Worth the long read. Its cover art is a photograph of Oppenheimer by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Also in the blog

Can a book beat you up? I’ll carry the psychic bruises from John Updike’s “Rabbit, Redux” for a long, long time. I’m not complaining! I’d rather go for a wild ride than slog through some of the fiction I waded into this summer. I brought a stack to my favorite reading spot, a dock beside

(...)

I read all the time but there’s one place on earth I read most: Club Lac Pythonga in Quebec. My husband’s family has had a summer home there since the 1960’s. It’s a magical place deep in the woods, cut off from the Internet, cell phones, newspapers, cars. A central kitchen serves family dinners, freeing

(...)

Chief among my reasons to visit Montreal was to visit our son Evan, who is finishing up his last semester at McGill University, where he’s studying English literature and history. My friend Janet, whose son is in his second year at McGill, was my co-conspirator. We agreed on an early November visit: cold enough to

(...)

One thought on "Books: Reading at Lac Pythonga"

  • Erica Cohn says:

    Anne,
    I also loved Tom Lake, but didn’t read it. I listened to Meryl Streep do all the voices and the 11 hours flew by and left me hungry for more. We know they are both brilliant, but her voice and Patchett’s words were just a gorgeous delicious mix.

  • Leave a Reply