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Words! And More Words!

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Heavy snow covers the ground and makes Boston’s Beacon Hill appear more like a mountain. While some Bostonians love the lamp-lit and historic cobblestone streets glistening in white, I’m ready to admit, I’m all set. Farewell brownstone Newbury Street shopping! We’ll get them next season, Red Sox! It’s been “wicked” fun Copley Square! Oh, Boston, how I’ve enjoyed stumbling down your side streets with close friends, but the time has come to “book-it” back down south. encore book worms, I’m happy to finally be able to say: My husband’s year-long deployment is over. He is finally home—we are finally home!

While Interstate 290 dissipates in the rearview mirror of our U-haul, and New England digs itself out from the grasps of Old Man Winter, spring has already sprung in my heart. I present the overview of encore’s 2011 spring book club selection. Rest assured, this season is not about escaping. Instead, it’s all about settling back into where the heart is: home.

“Love and A Bad Hair Day”
By Annie Flannigan
See last week’s encore. My editor ran the preview before the announcement of all book-club entries. Forgive her, she’s in “Best-Of” hell, right now.

“Stand by Your Man”
By Nancy Bartholomew
Maggie Reid is a beautician-turned-country singer in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her lovable yet “good-for-nothing” ex-husband, otherwise known as the “Satellite Dish and Mobile Home King,” Vernell Spivey, has mysteriously vanished and so, too, have his millions. Everyone seems to suspect Reid as the murderer, including the seedy and outlandish personalities of the “Redneck Mafia.” In order to clear her not-so-innocent-name, Reid pursues the mystery on her own where she finds the studly and gorgeous Detective Marshall Weathers. His team wants to know what Reid is all about. Reid just wishes to avoid potential mob hits, find love (again) and give Vernell a piece of her Southern mind—dead or not!

“Autobiography of a Face”
By Lucy Grealy $12.99
Harper Perennial (2003)
Suggested for encore book worms by Rennie Dyball, contributor for People magazine in New York City, “Autobiography of a Face” is a heart-wrenching memoir that tells the story of a young girl’s childhood to adulthood, spanning a 20-year period of devastating physical and mental suffering. First misdiagnosed at age nine and, finally, identified as having facial bone cancer (Ewing’s sarcoma), “Autobiography of a Face” recounts for readers Grealy’s trials and tribulations as she undergoes several surgeries, and more than two years of intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Born from an award-winning article published in Harper’s in 1993, “Autobiography of a Face” is said to be a salient testament to our culture’s fixation on physical attractiveness. It supposedly will offer every reader a clearer perspective concerning true beauty.

“Some Days There’s Pie”
By Catherine Landis $14.99
St. Martin’s Griffin (2003)
Considered to be a “folksy” novel, Catherine Landis’, “Some Days There’s Pie,” tells the story of two radical and free-thinking Southern women who find each other at exactly the right moment in their tumultuous lives. Narrator Ruth thinks she has found her golden ticket out of Tennessee and elopes with a stereo salesman. However, she soon finds herself in the middle of fleeing her restrictive marriage and desperately seeking to start anew.

A gossip-monger, troublemaker and elderly reporter, in denial of her terminal illness, Rose is too stubborn to accept her own demise. Together, Rose and Ruth find a friendship, which hardens the glue that binds this idiosyncratic and eccentric novel. Noted from Publisher’s Weekly as “wise, poignant, droll and sassy,” “Some Days There’s Pie” depicts the beautiful effects a life-changing friendship can have in times of need.

“Like Normal People”
By Karen Bender
Mariner Books (2001)
A Los Angeles Times bestseller and one of the Washington Post’s best books of the year, “Like Normal People” follows Lena, a 48-year-old mentally trapped in childhood. Lena escapes her residential home and goes missing with her 12-year-old-niece, while her widowed mother searches for them.

A novel that navigates through the life of a family’s intricate and delicate peculiarities, yearnings and loves, Port City author Karen Bender promises to expand our sense of what it means to be a “normal person” in a world where normalcy is hard to find.

“Binocular Vision”
By Edith Pearlman $12.50
Lookout Books (2011)
An outstanding collection of short fiction by award-winning writer Edith Pearlman, “Binocular Vision” encapsulates 13 of Pearlman’s new stories, 18 stories from previous books and only three early stories never collected before. They follow themes of juvenile love, death, seasoned love, family, unsuccessful love and love scorned.

A fellow Bostonian, her settings will take readers from Maine, Central America, Hungary, Russia and to the fictional Boston suburb of Godolphin, Massachusetts. Noted by the New York Times as odd, wry and funny, with absolute honesty and astonishing uses of voice, “Binocular Vision” undermines the large multi-media conglomerate and will undoubtedly find a home in every reader’s heart this upcoming summer.

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