Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Bowlaway’.

Holly A. Phillips here… reporting live from Austin, Texas, where it has not stopped raining in (what seems like) 10 days. I swear, every time I look at the weather app on my phone, it’s just solid cloud with thunderbolt, and nothing else!

Friday night, the news reported we got seven inches of rain in less than two hours, and since it rained again yesterday (Tuesday), there’s all kinds of road closures. I’m keeping my eye on the weather today — I heard a forecast that said rain, wind gusts up to 50 mph, and possibly hail! Has hurricane season come early?

Anyway, I laid out at the pool for the first time this year on Sunday — it was still pretty cloudy, but it was a nice way to get some reading in! This morning, I finished reading the latest pick from Blanche’s Book Club: “Bowlaway” by Elizabeth McCracken. Here is the book’s description, from Google Books:

From the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the beginning of the twentieth century – nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin and fifteen pounds of gold on her person – Bertha Truitt is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts.

She has no past to speak of, or at least none she is willing to reveal, and her mysterious origin scandalises and intrigues the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her.

But Bertha is plucky, tenacious and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark – with Bertha its most notable resident. She changes the town forever- her singular spirit resonating powerfully through every board and brick and bone.

I came across this book at the beginning of the year and quickly added it to my 2019 Reading Guide – it sounded SO different from anything I’d ever read.

Well, it definitely was different! This book had lots of great imagery and I really loved the snippets of description all throughout it. However, it was such a fantastical story — I don’t want to say it was fantasy because that’s an entirely different genre — that at times, it was hard for me to understand what was happening.

I will admit that any book that veers off the standard path is often a struggle for me; I can’t even handle more than three characters most of the time, so it could just be me.

However, I’m not sure WHO I would recommend this book to given how different it was. On the flip side, there’s some pretty neat information in there about candlepin bowling, which I’d never even heard of before picking up this book!

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Path Made Clear” by Oprah Winfrey.

I’m signing off to get some work done today — I’m traveling tomorrow (a short road trip to Sugar Land) so I’m hoping this rain clears up in time for that… I’m terrified of driving during a storm.

If you’d like to see more writing from me, I curate and edit an email newsletter focused on local news and entertainment in Austin, Texas, called Inside Austin. It comes out every Tuesday and Thursday, but once I hit 3,000 subscribers, it gets a third day of publishing. Sign up to get Thursday’s newsletter and/or read past issues!

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