Books and more books

So I’m multi-reading again, and it’s caused a few novels to fall to the wayside. For example, I started reading “Finding Dorothy” by Elizabeth Letts about a couple of months ago. It’s a historical fiction book that sounded interesting from the description: “Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book — because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.

But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of ‘Over the Rainbow,’ Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her–the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.”

It’s one of the e-books available through the Plum Creek Library system. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the movie, but it’s an intriguing look at the life of Maud. Letts describes Maud as a tomboy growing up, whose mother dreams of her going to college. Maud’s not as enamored about attending college after her first year when she instead becomes enamored with the man who created to world of Oz. I had gotten about halfway through the book, along with a couple of renewals. But other novels grabbed my attention. The Plum Creek system got a couple of other e-books I’ve been wanting to read in its latest batch, plus a couple of paperbacks somehow made their way into my hands. So yeah, I have been probably taken on more than I can handle.

But I couldn’t resist….

A few weeks ago, a book titled “The Lager Queen of Minnesota” by J. Ryan Stradal was released. Now how could I pass up a book with a title like that? Here’s the description from Amazon: “Two sisters, one farm. A family is split when their father leaves their shared inheritance entirely to Helen, his younger daughter. Despite baking award-winning pies at the local nursing home, her older sister, Edith, struggles to make what most people would call a living. So she can’t help wondering what her life would have been like with even a portion of the farm money her sister kept for herself.

With the proceeds from the farm, Helen builds one of the most successful light breweries in the country, and makes their company motto ubiquitous: ‘Drink lots. It’s Blotz.’ Where Edith has a heart as big as Minnesota, Helen’s is as rigid as a steel keg. Yet one day, Helen will find she needs some help herself, and she could find a potential savior close to home … if it’s not too late.

Meanwhile, Edith’s granddaughter, Diana, grows up knowing that the real world requires a tougher constitution than her grandmother possesses. She earns a shot at learning the IPA business from the ground up — will that change their fortunes forever, and perhaps reunite her splintered family?”

I’ve read a few chapters of the book so far and am up to Helen’s years in college (so not very far). But I’ve enjoyed Stradal’s prose, the characters and take on life in small-town Minnesota. I’ve put it aside for a little while as I work on Jill Shalvis’ latest “The Lemon Sisters.” Her books are usually fast reads for me, while I want to savor Stradal’s novel.

Hopefully I’ll get these books back before they’re due.

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