Entree: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. I love to come back to this author every few years or so. Her books always take place in Baltimore (where she lives now), but the stories are so real, so humorous, so human. She writes about everyday people who are like us, yet so unique (aren't we all?).
Side: Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig. Think of an 11 yr old kid in 1951 living on a Montana ranch, where his grandma is the cook for the ranchhands. When Grandma has to have a mysterious female operation, Donal is sent to Wisconsin to spend the summer with Aunt Kate and Uncle Dutch. Bossy Kate puts Donal back on the dog bus to Montana, but Dutch decides to join him. Very enjoyable adventures follow.
Side: Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane. This was the only book in my neighborhood library from the Book Lust list on Irish authors. Another book about the Troubles.
Side: This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison. A recent widow decides to go on the cruise to Alaska that she and her late husband had planned. Harriet's trip allows her to look back at her life in a surprising way. This book about an older woman by a male author is supposed to be "funny and moving." Ok, let's see.,,
Dessert: Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid. I love almost everything by or about Jane Austen, so I was happy to hear that British author, Joanna Trollope, has enlisted some colleagues in writing a series of modern variations of Austen's classics. Trollope wrote a version of Sense & Sensibility, which I have yet to read, but this is a crime writer's version of Austen's mystery novel.