Posts Tagged Rebecca Rasmussen

in the realm: Summer Reading Part I

[descriptions from Goodreads]


Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian [Doubleday, July 8]
–story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily’s parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened?


Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen [Knopf, July 8]
–It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin.


Euphoria by Lily King
–For years, English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field studying the Kiona tribe of Papua, New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brother’s public suicide, and increasingly infuriated with and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of killing himself when a chance meeting with colleagues, the controversial and consummate Nell Stone and her wry Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just finished their studies of the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell’s ill health, the couple is ravenous for another new discovery. Together with Bankson they set out to uncover the Tam, a local tribe with an almost mythic existence.

rise and fall

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman [Dial Press, June]
–Tooly Zylberberg, the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. She prefers never to mention the strange events of her youth, which mystify and worry her News arrives from a long-lost boyfriend in New York, raising old mysteries and propelling her on a quest around the world in search of answers.

I love you more

I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy [Doubleday, June]
–Picasso Lane is twelve years old when her father, Oliver, is murdered at their summer beach house. Her mother, Diana, is the primary suspect—until the police discover his second wife, and then his third. The women say they have never met—but Picasso knows otherwise.

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BOOKS: My 20 Best of 2011

I’ve read about 100 books this year. These 20 made particularly lasting impressions.

1. The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaajte [Knopf]

2. Caribou Island by David Vann [Harper]

3. The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanha [Greywolf Press]

4. A Stranger on the Planet by Adam Schwartz [Soho Press]

5. The Astral by Kate Christensen [Doubleday]

6. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett [Harper]

7. The Submission by Amy Waldman [F,S&G]

8. Irma Voth by Miriam Toews [Harper]

9. The Rape of the Muse by Michael Stein [The Permanent Press]

10. The Lies Have It by Jill Edmondson [Iguana]

11. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta [St. Martins]

12. My New American Life by Francine Prose [Harper]

13. Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward [Random House]

14. The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl by Marc Schuster [The Permanent Press]

15. The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen [Riverhead]

16. The Ringer by Jenny Shank [The Permanent Press]

17. Slant by Timothy Wang [Tincture]

18. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen [Crown]

19. The Social Climber’s Handbook by Molly Jong-Fast [Villard]

20. Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson [Ecco]

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The Bird Sisters: book review

The Bird Sisters , by Rebecca Rasmussen. Publisher: Crown (April 12, 2011). Literary fiction. Hardcover, 304 pages.

After her father returned, wild-eyed and windblown, Twiss ran to him, but not as quickly as she could have. It was as if he had inadvertently told her something essential about himself, a secret she would have to keep forever: You can’t count on me.

In a small Wisconsin town, two sisters live together in the house in which they grew up. Townspeople refer to them as “the bird sisters” because they treat wounded birds and return them to the wild when healed. In 1947, as teenagers, Twiss and Milly envisioned different lives for themselves. Twiss wanted to be a golf champion and Milly expected to marry her crush.

Author Rebecca Rasmussen shows the sisters in present day and back as teenagers during the summer when everything unraveled. Twiss adored her father and wanted to be golfing with him every day. Milly developed a crush on Asa. It seemed like a wonderful match for her. A visit from their cousin Bett turned their insulated world upside down. The savvy Rasmussen creates this unique world which overflows with hopefulness and security, not sadness.

Her mother uncrossed her legs and then crossed them again. “Being a girl takes practice. You have to learn to do things boys never have to do.”
“Like what?” Twiss said.
“Like painting your fingernails,” her mother said. “Or holding your tongue.”

Completely different in nature—Twiss is tough and no nonsense and Milly is more sensitive—the sisters made the choice to forgo their dreams and remain faithful to each other. Neither one would ever be hurt, disappointed or alone. They find comfort and happiness through their sisterly devotion. The Bird Sisters is not about loss and regret. It’s about choice. This novel shines with charm and unpredictability. Author Rebecca Rasmussen writes a smart and compassionate story about how these two intriguing sisters end up alone but not lonely. Unmarried yet leading a completely fulfilling and satisfying life. Different can be a positive thing.

When I first glimpsed a press release perhaps describing The Bird Sisters as a story about two spinsters, I silently screamed inside. I feel that most people probably look at me, unmarried at 40, as a weirdo spinster and I just didn’t want to read a story that perpetrates society’s rules and expectations. There’s enough pressure on women as is. Instead, The Bird Sisters is genuine and wonderful.

Rebecca Rasmussen is on tour. Visit her web site for details.

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purchase at Amazon: The Bird Sisters: A NovelContemporary Literature)


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