Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s feature is Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, by Ann Hood, which I have downloaded for Sparky.


Intro:  To Sparrow, her father was a man standing in front of a Day-Glo green VW van in a picture dated June 1969.  The picture had been taken the year before Sparrow was born.  In it, her father’s hair was bushy and blond and he had a big droopy mustache.  Sparrow liked the way he was looking up, with his head tilted back and his mouth open in a wide smile.

Sparrow’s mother, Suzanne, never talked about Sparrow’s father.  Suzanne was a serious businesswoman.  She dressed in pleated skirts and Oxford shirts with little bow ties.  She would tell Sparrow to forget about the past and look ahead.  “Don’t worry,” she would say, “about things that happened a long time ago.”  Sparrow’s obsession with her father began to grow when her mother started to date Ron.


Teaser:  For the past year or so, Sparrow’s mother called her Susan.  She said that the name Sparrow was too dated, too silly. (4%)


Amazon Description: “Brilliant….[The Vietnam era] is vividly captured by Ann Hood.”—New York Times Book Review

In 1969, as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest antiwar slogans, three friends find love. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a child she will call Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. Elizabeth and her husband marry, organize protests, and try to rear two children with their hippy values. By 1985, things have changed: Suzanne, now with an MBA, calls Sparrow “Susan.” Claudia spirals backward into her sixties world—and into madness. And Elizabeth, fatally ill, watches despairingly as her children yearn for a split-level house and a gleaming station wagon. Reading group guide included.


I love revisiting this era through books and movies.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?





Earlier today I was grabbing images from Pinterest and found a potpourri of VW cars, from little bugs to buses.  Then my mind traipsed back to the 1970s, and a novel I wrote that spotlighted those times, as well as the decades that followed.  Of course, I had to create this collage to remind me of spring and the times of my life back then.

In this excerpt, which features an incident at the beginning of the 1980s, the MC Lindsay Malone has just gotten off the phone with her younger sister, stunned by the news of her older brother’s mysterious death.


Abruptly, Lindsay began grabbing up her keys, her bag, and quickly checked her hair and makeup.  Since she had already changed for the evening, she had only to turn off the lights and head out to her orange VW bug.  She had recently repainted it, so that it now looked shiny and new.  This car represented a time when she had lived more casually.  She fondly recalled those days and, as if in a trance, she drove the two short miles to Promises.

She thought about her brother, the only family member who didn’t judge her.  Who hadn’t judged her, she reminded herself.  He was gone!  He had been her ally in childhood, her mentor in high school and college, and had made her believe in herself back then.  What would she do without him?  Forlornly she drove, and when she pulled into the parking lot at Promises, she sat there for a moment, remembering.  They hadn’t spent much time together over the past few years because of his work and research.  He had recently started teaching at a college in the desert, where he was the new coordinator of environmental studies.  He had kept her updated through letters and postcards.

Jarred back to reality, Lindsay heard the music from the band, pulsing, alive.  Pushing back tears, Lindsay forced a smile onto her face and pulled open the heavy door….(pp. 40-41-Miles to Go)


Lindsay's Vintage VW

Lindsay’s Vintage VW

When you think of those nostalgic moments in your life, are there images and unique possessions that seem to define the time for you?