It rained off and on for two days. I loved it. I am never as serene than when I’m cozy inside while Mother Nature waters my gardens outside.

The rain was my music. The thunder was the occasional crescendo.

It is so quiet now. Charlie is in his usual place on the left side of me. He likes to be squeezed in between me and the arm of the couch. Sitting here I can turn my head and gaze outside at my patio garden, enjoying the fruits of my labor.

I picked up the various eye drops for my cataract surgery on the 15th. I was lucky as all the drops came to a total of $25. I’d heard how expensive these drops are and was kind of holding my breath as I waited at the pharmacy for them.

I’ve never really been terribly apprehensive about having surgery. But I’m particularly uneasy when it comes to my eyes. I have worn glasses since I was around 13. Many of my friends wore contacts. But the thought of putting something in my eye made me shudder.

I finished reading Karin Slaughter’s “The Kept Woman” and am now reading “Shadows Of The Dead.”

Anne Tyler’s “Clock Dance” came in the other day. Anne Tyler is one of my favorite authors, but I haven’t read anything written by her in some time.

Amazon blurb of Clock Dance:

The book Clock Dance

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance.

In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be.

Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane.

This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places.

A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

***

I’ve always thought Anne Tyler’s writing of women’s fiction was top notch. My very favorite novel she wrote was “Breathing Lessons,” which won the Pulitzer prize for best fiction in 1989.

If you can locate it somewhere, buy it. It is a wonderful novel and filled with every emotion, including much laughter. I saw on Amazon that many gave it a bad review. But I thought it was wonderful. Here is a synopsis…

The book Breathing Lessons

Unfolding over the course of a single emotionally fraught day, this stunning novel encompasses a lifetime of dreams, regrets and reckonings.  Maggie and Ira Moran are on a road trip from Baltimore, Maryland to Deer Lick, Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of a friend. 

Along the way, they reflect on the state of their marriage, its trials and its triumphs—through their quarrels, their routines, and their ability to tolerate each other’s faults with patience and affection.  Where Maggie is quirky, lovable and mischievous, Ira is practical, methodical and mired in reason. 

What begins as a day trip becomes a revelatory and unexpected journey, as Ira and Maggie rediscover the strength of their bond and the joy of having somebody with whom to share the ride, bumps and all.

Regarded by many as Tyler’s seminal work, Breathing Lessons celebrates the small miracles and magic of truly knowing someone, and evokes Jane Austen, Emma Straub, and other masters of the literary marriage.

***

I no longer have a copy, but I’m going to try to get it. I’ve read it several times but not in some years.

Are you an Anne Tyler fan? Who is your favorite author?

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41 Comments

  1. I ❤️❤️❤️ Anne Tyler’s writing ! My favorite book of hers is “ Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant “. I’m reading presently her new book . She is a writer worthy of noting and a proven artist.

  2. I was delighted to read this post as I have a copy of Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler upstairs in my “library”. I haven’t read it yet but surely will now! In fact I think I’ll start it tonight. I swap books with a dental assistant where I go to the dentist and then we pass the books on to others. I’ve come across some really great reads this way. If you’d like, I’d be happy to send you the book when I’m finished.

    1. I’m going to look online for it today. I may take you up on that if I can’t find it. But I can probably find it somewhere.

  3. As a retired Registered Nurse and some who had cataracts removed from both eyes they will give you something to relax you. The Doctors usually give Valium.

  4. I am a big fan of Anne Tyler, but have not read Clock Dance, or A Spool of Blue Thread, nor have I read any of Elizabeth Berg’s books. What a nice surprise in my day to learn of these books! For anyone who has not read Anne Tyler’s books, The Accidental Tourist might be a good one to start with. I liked it a lot, as well as the movie with William Hurt and Geena Davis.

  5. Hasn’t rained here in ages. My grass is brown. It’s cloudy today and so we have a chance of rain tomorrow. I sure hope so.

    I haven’t had cataract surgery myself, but my mom has and so have a few other people that I know. They all said it was no big deal at all. I have a feeling that the apprehension is the worst part. I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old, but started wearing contacts when I was 16. Back then, they were the hard ones, and boy, were they ever uncomfortable! When soft contacts came out, I wore them all the time up until I was in my late 40’s. Rarely wore glasses. But now that I’m (almost) 56, I can’t wear contacts FT anymore. I’ve tried every kind and every brand. I just don’t see as well out of them as I do glasses.

    I love Anne Tyler and read Breathing Lessons a long time ago. I looked on my bookshelf where I have all of my Anne Tyler books – I have nine of them – and doesn’t it figure, not one of them is Breathing Lessons! I would’ve mailed it to you if I had it. If you want a copy just to read and not to keep, I’m sure your local library would have a copy. Let us know how you like this newest book of hers. The amazon reviews aren’t too favorable.

    1. Yeah, I saw those reviews. Not so great. I’d like to keep a copy of Breathing Lessons, because I’ve read it a number of times and probably would again.

  6. My husband usually just reads how-to books but he has started reading some detective/western books lately. So I’ve started to read them so we can discuss them. We’ve been reading the Longmire mysteries by Craig Johnson, which center on Sheriff Walt Longmire in Wyoming (there also is a TV series based on these books that is on Netflix), and also mysteries set in the Southwestern states by Tony Hillerman. Both authors mix in a lot of native American characters and traditions which is really interesting. We get our books at the public library.

    I’ve worn glasses since junior high school, but in those days I just needed them for seeing distances. Now I need glasses for close-up reading as well. I pretty much have on glasses all day. I, too have not worn contacts, but my son wears them all the time.

  7. Glad you are all set for eye surgery. My hubby had it and it went well!
    I just read Clock Dance and I didn’t care for it! Too rambling or something. I have enjoyed her other books so maybe it was me!

  8. I’ve never read Anne Tyler before, but I just reserved Clock Dance at the library. The review sounded interesting. I read so much and like so many authors, but don’t have a favorite current author. My all time favorite is Phyllis Whitney. Read all of her books growing up and I’ve started buying them when I find them at garage sales or Goodwill.

    I hope you are enjoying this cooler weather today. The rain we’ve had was nice.

  9. I’ll be curious to see how your cataract surgery goes as I’ll be having the surgery in a few years. I guess it is the price fot getting older. Enjoy listening to the rain (one of my favorite things to do) and snuggling with Charlie boy.

    Carol and Molly

    1. I’d been told some years ago that I was developing cataracts. So now it’s time. I’ll let you know how it goes, Carol and Molly.

  10. Dear Brenda, Don’t worry about the surgery, you will be just fine. I know so many that have had this procedure, myself included, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, and everybody I talk to, is apprehensive in the beginning, but then when they have the second eye done, and know what to expect, they are all fine with the entire process. It’s the not knowing, which is scary…

  11. I had cataract surgery on both of my eyes ten years apart. Boy, did the surgery change. That was years ago and I imagine they have improved it a lot since then. It wasn’t bad the first time and a real breeze the second time. and they have improved the implants , I believe. Mine are set to distance so I have to wear reading glasses but only recently went to distance glasses for driving. I am not quite ready for bifocals. For reference, I had my first surgery about 1997. Think about the improvements since then.

  12. I love Jane Austen. and I also love the cozy mystery series of M.C. Beaton. Agatha Raisin set in the villages of the Cotswolds and Hamish Macbeth in the highlands of Scotland. with my bad memory I can re-read them every few years. LOL. also… anything by Elizabeth Berg.
    I’ll be interested in your surgery experience for cataracts. I too need it. but though I’ve had major surgeries and one cardiac arrest with an LAD stent… I’m petrified of the cataract surgery! something about the eyes. it’s just always been a touchy point for me! I’d rather wake up and have it DONE! 🙂

  13. I read A Spool of Blue Thread, but didn’t like it very much. I’m going to try again with Breathing Lessons. Maybe I picked the wrong first book to read of Anne Tyler’s. One of my favorite writers is David Sedaris and my favorite book of his is Me Talk Pretty One Day. I loved Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper. Those are off the top of my head. Like you, I do prefer the mysteries though. We had the best storm for a chaser last night in Phoenix. It ran the gamut with wind, dust, lightning, thunder and rain. Too much wind though for little birds in nests and any animals that are scared of storms.

  14. Good morning Brenda,

    It has been raining here for what seems like weeks, and although I love a gray rainy day once in awhile I am getting a little tired of it.

    I too hate to put anything in my eyes, luckily I do not wear glasses but as I age my eyes seem to get more and more tired by the end of the day. Probably too much time on the computer.

    I hope all goes well with your surgery.

    Have a great day!

  15. Hi Brenda,
    I love hearing about the books you read. We read very different books, I like chick lit and love stories.
    One of my favorite authors is Dorothea Benton Frank. Have you ever read any of her books? They are so enjoyable. I haven’t ever read suspense novels. But I guess I need to give them a try. I have friends who love to read them. I like more fun and happy novels that take me away. haha
    I think I would love “Clock Dance” it sounds really good. I also need to try “Breathing Lessons”. Thanks for the advice.
    My sister-in-law just had cataract surgery. She is so happy with the results. She has wore glasses since she was little too and now she don’t need them. So I think you will be very happy after it is over with.
    Blessings,
    Angie

    1. They told me that I will still need glasses as I do now. But that’s okay. I can’t afford the other plans.

  16. Your description of being cozy inside while it rains is what I long for these days! Enjoy the reprieve from watering!
    Anne Tyler is a spectacular author. I read many of her books in college.

  17. Brenda, here in IL we had two days of much-needed rain as well! It is a balm for my soul. I so get the cozy comforting feeling it gives.
    I have had several friends who had the cataract surgery, and they are all very pleased with the results (as is Eileen). I remember my grandmother having that done years ago. She was in the hospital for a week and could not move. Thank God for medical progress!
    I love Anne Tyler!
    Best wishes, Peggy

  18. I’ve had lasix surgery on both eyes which changed my life as I was myopic and went to 20/20 vision. I was told I was a perfect candidate. The procedure was scary because you aren’t “put under”, and I had to go back for adjustments on each eye. Not fun, but the rewards have been so worth it.

    Just breath deeply and slowly, focus, almost a meditative state. It really works.

    You’ll be fine. You’ll be happy with the results. Our vision is so important.

    1. My daughter had Lasix surgery I think in 2004. But now she has to wear glasses. Supposedly it didn’t last.

      1. Lasik surgery lasts only about 10 years at best before you need either glasses or contacts to assist you again. But those 10 years are great!

        1. I also have had cataract surgery in both eyes. It’s an easy surgery and the results are wonderful. Be sure to follow the doctors orders with your drops.

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