Florida to Michigan by way of Idaho (and Nazi Germany)

The plan was that I would read novels about Florida while I was in Florida. Simple plan, right? Then, something flew by on my daughter’s Goodreads update (I stalk my daughters on Goodreads) about a novel with a Michigan setting. There aren’t a whole lot of decent novels set in Michigan that I know of (and no, Jim Harrison is not exactly to my taste and yes, I know he is a highly acclaimed writer, yada yada). So I added to my plan to return to Michigan reading Marlena.

Best laid plans? First of all, we did a lot of driving and I am not the best passenger in the world. Just ask the GG how many times I freak out. Or maybe don’t ask. But I do not sleep in the car and I cannot [usually] get engrossed in a book in the car. I can: check the news on Twitter a billion times, check facebook for updates, and do xword puzzles. Those activities allow me to keep one eye on the road. Also, here I was, thinking I would get to the Sea Club and spend my days sitting around *reading*. Uh, yeah. How about walking boardwalks through the mangrove swamps, visiting Floridian Cfam members, an afternoon at the Ringling Art Museum, “shopping” at St. Armand’s Circle. Took us a couple days to settle into a somewhat relaxed (I will not say sedentary) routine but by the time we got to that point, it was time to pack up and leave. Nevertheless, I read two Fla books although I finished the second one literally on the last five miles of the trip (I have written about this before but am too lazy to look it up).

My Michigan book plans got way-laid at BFF’s house in Atlanta by a book called Idaho (by Emily Ruskovich). Did I want to read it? She didn’t exactly understand it but I think it prompted a lengthy discussion at book group so I think she understands it better now. I put off Marlena for a bit and read Idaho, which I enjoyed greatly. Did I understand it? Not exactly sure but yeah I think so but can’t exactly put it into words, especially not after the chaos I had to write about at work today. I guess the best thing I can say is that I like to get *inside* books and their characters and I definitely did that with this one. There is some difficult content to read though, no Pollyanna in this book, but I still liked it. I kind of wish (sometimes) I had a book group but not sure I would fit in very well…

And then somehow I still put Marlena off because I read The Women in the Castle (by Jessica Shattuck), which I heard about on a Sunday morning NPR show. I am still processing this one but in the end, I did get *inside* the book and loved it.

And now. Finally. I am reading Marlena (by Julie Buntin). It is set in the Kewaunee Petoskey area, and most of the characters range from poor to destitute, scraping a living together honestly (cleaning houses) or dishonestly (cooking meth). And how tenuous both those means of earning a living are… … … I am not finished with the book yet but I am liking it even though the characters are teenagers and I want to shake them sometimes. Or probably in part it’s their parents who need the shaking.

I am not sure how I feel about renaming Petoskey and some of it’s surrounding towns and enclaves. I mean Gaylord is Gaylord and the Mackinac Bridge is the Mackinac Bridge, and those are real. But “Coral” for “Bayview”? We don’t have coral in the great lakes that I know of. That’s a Florida thing.

2 Responses to “Florida to Michigan by way of Idaho (and Nazi Germany)”

  1. jane Says:

    Did you ever read The Lake, The River, and the Other Lake? by Steve Amick (of A2)

  2. Margaret Says:

    You are doing some very interesting reading! I can’t read in cars either because I get sick to my stomach. I can’t really even look down at my phone.