Friday, October 9, 2015

I have finishes...but first a book.

A couple years ago I discovered an author that I really liked.  Jennifer Haigh.  I read Faith when it first came out in 2011.  I learned of it from one of my favorite book blogs...Bloggin' 'bout Books'  (Thanks Susan.)  So, imagine my surprise when I discovered I'd read two of her previous books:  Baker Towers and Mrs. Kimble.

To my further surprise...I actually owned Baker Towers! I rarely buy or keep books.  Well, that's not totally true...I buy them but only keep the ones I really like.  But what I remembered of Baker Towers was that it was a story that didn't go anywhere exciting.  It followed the lives of one family in a mining town in central Pennsylvania.  Could I have been shallow enough to have kept it because I love the cover?  I suspect that I really kept it because I loaned it to two different people so it was off my shelves for some time.

(Photo from Amazon.  The book has a new cover but this audio version has the same cover as mine.)

Anyway, knowing now that I loved Haigh's writing (I have since read The Condition) I thought maybe I'd re-read Baker Towers.  Apparently this is the year of re-reading books because I've re-read 5 so far this year.

On my second reading I discovered an entirely different story.  Yes, the family saga was interesting enough but a little dull all on its own.  What I found this time was the story of the boom and bust of the town of Bakerton.  These few sentences made me stop dead in my tracks:  

     The town wore away like a bar of soap.  Each year, smaller and less distinct, the letters of its name fading.  The thing it had been became harder to discern.

     Whole neighborhoods went up for sale.

What I have come to realize is that I am fascinated by how easily a town can go from a boom town to a bust.  In preparing for a presentation on the subject a number of years ago I watched Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices  and Crawfort with fascination.  Both stories are sad, sad, sad.

I am not recommending Baker Towers because it is sad because I really did not find the story sad.  I am recommending, if you haven't already read Jennifer Haigh, that you seek out a book or two and settle in for a wonderfully written story.

And, honestly, I HAVE FINISHES.  I just have to run an errand before the furnace repair man arrives.  And then I will photograph several little stitching projects.

Happy rainy day reading.




  1. yes, the cover is indeed enough to draw one in!

  2. Ha ha -- This happens to me way more than it should! I hear about a book, think it looks intriguing, and am utterly shocked when I find a copy crammed on a bookshelf in my house. I'm turning 40 in a few weeks -- does that explain my constant absentmindedness?

    I thought BAKER TOWNS was dull as well. But, like you, I find it fascinating to watch the evolution of a town through the eyes of its residents.