Laurie Notaro: Toss the Book You Have in Your Purse and Read These Instead

Categories: Literary
Mad Puppetstown.jpeg
Instead of Hunger Games, read Mad Puppetstown by MJ Farrell, AKA Molly Keane.
Think kids fighting kids in a dystopian society gets your mouth water? Try kids running wild over the countryside in Ireland in the 1900's as war breaks out. In between their roving, hunts and explorations, Easter and her cousins Evelyn and Basil dodge Irish rebels and English officers while continuing with their idyllic privileged childhoods as the estates and manors of their Anglo-Irish neighbors and friends are burned to the ground.

Although their family mansion, Puppetstown, still stands, Easter's family--san one stubborn aunt--are forced to leave for England under threat of violence, unsure if their ancestral home will survive or burn.

To find: This book might take some patience. To locate in hardcover is nearly impossible, unless you're willing to shell out collector's prices, but Virago Modern Classics republished it more recently, so on the used online market, it is amply available, oftentimes for a penny plus shipping.

Instead of reading Bringing Up Bebe, read Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis.
I don't care if you've already seen the classic comedy in movie form staring the glorious Rosalind Russell, this book is funnier. I swear. It is a delightful read, and should serve as the handbook for any parent who wants to raise a balanced, thoughtful, intelligent child who knows how to make a mixed drink by the age of 10.

Your children will be much more enjoyable to be around if they know how to attend to a parent with a hangover and can easily have an affable conversation with an Asian drag queen. Naked preschool, I agree, is a bad idea, but just like any parenting book, you pick and choose what you like. I believe this to be one of the funniest books ever written and that will ever be written. Simply genius on any level.

To find: Any bookstore worth its salt should have this on the shelves already. Scold them if they don't.

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And the very best western fiction being put out today is by an 80's-something cowboy named J.P.S.  Brown, who lives on a ranch between Patagonia and the ghost town of Harshaw. Brown's "Forests of the Night" is considered by critics to be one of the best books ever written about the Sierra Madre Occidental. His semi-fictional series about his own family in southeast Arizona during the late 1880s is great reading and "Jim Kane" and "The Outfit" are masterpieces. His recent works - "The Spirit of Dogie Brown" and "Serpentine" are just as good as his earlier works. Several pieces of his writing appeared in recent editions of Arizona Highways. Joe Brown is a great writer who will put you in the saddle and on the trail.


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Thanks, Laurie! (Although I did enjoy the Hunger Games Trilogy), now I have more books to add to my "To Read" list. 


Think kids fighting kids in a dystopian society gets your mouth water?

What? I reread that numerous times and still am stuck on stupid.


Correction - "The Spirit of Dogie Long," not Dogie Brown is one of Joe brown's latest works.


@kec1952 Don't fret!  I'll explain: there's an obviously unintentional error in that sentence.  "Gets" should be "makes."  There, does that help unstick you?  Sometimes we all need a little help.  :)

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