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Toni Hanner has commented on (3) products.

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
Amy and Isabelle

Toni Hanner, November 25, 2014

Strout's characters are so real you want to enter the book's pages and shake them, say "don't you see what you are doing to each other?" Amy and Isabelle are so mutli-dimensional it hurts. Each fine layer of each woman's character is totally justified by circumstance and culture. The third character in this book is the small town of Shirley Falls (and O what a wonderful name that is). The people of Shirley Falls move in and out of the lives of Amy and Isabelle, each one changing things just a little. Some seem central to their lives but turn out to have been false idols. Others seem peripheral and turn out to be at the heart of the book and Amy's and Shirley's lives. I would have to read Olive Kitteridge again to decide which is the better book (and I will), but Strout is a master and I am astonished at her skill and heart.
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Neither Here Nor There:: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
Neither Here Nor There:: Travels in Europe

Toni Hanner, August 3, 2014

I confess--I'm a travel essay junky. I love Bill Bryson's humor and the fact that he never begins a chapter with anything like, "I was beginning to wonder if the Bengal tiger would maul me before I managed to extricate myself from the 300 foot chasm I had fallen into." Bryson's adventures are much more ordinary, and charming for it. He is a bit of a bumbler at times, spraining his ankle, losing his wallet to a charming 10 year old pickpocket. He's also extremely knowledgeable and conveys a great deal of information without seeming to try. This book isn't a guidebook, by any means, but is chock-full of Bryson's wry opinions, and would be as good a starting point as any for the virgin traveler to Europe. Bryson wrote Neither Here Nor There in 1992, and intersperses present day stories with anecdotes about a trip taken with his friend Steven Katz twenty years earlier.

It's been over twenty years since Neither Here Nor There, and high time for Bryson to get back over the pond and write the sequel!

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The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice by Kelli Russell Agodon

Toni Hanner, April 22, 2014

A writing prompt for every day of the year -- it's been done before, but never so creatively. Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano join formidable forces in this "workshop in a book." It's called "The Daily Poet," but the prompts could be used by any writer. The format is pleasing to the eye and at the beginning of each month there are lovely sketches of old-fashioned writing implements. Two Sylvias Press has given us a gem of a practice book.
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