THE GOOD HUSBAND by Gail Godwin, 1995. A New York Times Notable Book. (Why doesn’t the word ‘notable” have an ‘e’ in it? It seems to logically be pronounced Not-able, Noteable is the truer spelling and pronunciation)
This is the story if Magda Danvers, a 58-year-old college professor dying of ovarian cancer. She is married to a man named Francis Lake, 12 years her junior, who doesn’t have a paying job. He’s a house husband to his busy wife, whom he takes care of gently and tenderly as she lays dying. I suppose he is “the good husband”. It does seem a solemn story, so I’ll have to let you know what I think of it later.

NOTE: This story is full of “pretentious words”, but I’m actually enjoying it anyway since I like the characters so much. The “GOOD HUSBAND” was in the habit of studying “MISERICORDS” while he travels with his wife when she giving her lectures. Although the local college is named Misericordia University,  I never once wondered what the college’s name means, and I thank the author for telling me about it. Here is the definition for you all:

a room in a monastery set apart for those monks permitted relaxation of the monastic rule.
Also, subsellium. a small projection on the underside of a hinged seat of a church stall, which, when the seat is lifted, gives support to a person standing in the stall.
a medieval dagger, used for the mercy stroke to a wounded foe.

NOTE: So you see Francis Lake, the ‘good husband’ photographs and studies the undersides of seats in the choir stall of many ancient churches. I find the subject very interesting since I LOVE medieval books with all their calligraphy and artwork. I am a modern FRAKTUR folk artist after all!

NOTE: the word “subsellium” is NOT in my Firefox spell checker, I find that it needs much updating.

Gail Godwin teaches at universities herself or at least she did in the past, so she writes about the real thing.

Other books by Gail Godwin I wish to read:









NOTE: I choose not to read her short stories.


Library Book Sale

I went to a library book sale recently. On the first day of the sale you pay their price for the books: 50 cents for a paperback, a dollar for a trade paperback or an older hardcover, 2 dollars for a cookbook, (really? Only the big, newer ones are worth that much). And a newer hardcover can cost as much as 5 dollars or more. (I would never pay that price.) That day I came home with a few trade paperbacks and several romance paperbacks. Later that week I went to a thrift store and bought more romance paperbacks! Now I have a grocery bag full of them! Then last Saturday we went to the last day of the week long library book sale. That’s my favorite day to shop. I only had 5 bucks to spend so I bought a reusable plastic grocery bag to fill and my cousin bought a $10.00 box to fill and we traded, since I had a nice big wire cart on wheels to place the box on. Then I proceeded to fill it mainly with trade paperbacks, (my favorite way to find new, unknown authors). Now I have a box and a bag full of books to read, right now I’m reading THE GOOD HUSBAND by Gail Godwin, 1995. A story about a dying woman who’s about my own age… hmmm. Yes, I like quirky and unusual story lines because those romance novels at all alike, and yes I do read them too but a bit of quirky reading helps enliven my mind.

VINEGAR HILL by A. Manette Ansay

VINEGAR HILL by A. Manette Ansay, (1994,1998) This is the story of Ellen Grier, who along with her husband and two children is stuck living on Vinegar Hill in Holly’s Field, Wisconsin with her in-laws after her husband lost his job. They must live in this loveless, rigid house, where an angry God seems to rule. I just started reading and already I also feel “stuck”. Oh boy! (I’m going camping, so I  better take along a few other books to read in case this one stagnates like it’s characters! Hopefully it won’t.

The Blurb says “Behind a facade of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a young woman’s passionate spirit. And here Ellen must find strength to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves.”

NOTE: Well I’ll just have to let you know how I like it.


THE PHANTOM LIMBS OF THE ROLLOW SISTERS by Timothy Schaffert. What is it about MEN writers I don’t like? Maybe I don’t believe they know how we feel as women? This is the story of two nearly orphaned sisters, trying to overcome childhood wounds. Their mother ran away from her husband and two young daughters. Then her husband kills himself years later. Then the sisters were raised by their eccentric grandmother who steals items form churches to sell in her antique store.

NOTE: I’ll tell you right now that I skipped over the last half of this story until I got to the end, but that doesn’t mean YOU won’t like it!

Medieval Letter-People

Medieval Letter-People


The human body is one of the most common objects encountered in art, whether in paintings, sculptures or other objects. Things have not changed much since medieval times, when artists loved to fill their work with human figures – commonly saints or individuals affiliated with biblical stories. Among the great diversity of depictions, there is one type that stands out in that the body is used (or rather, abused) to express something other than itself. These particularly fascinating and often amusing depictions are found on the medieval page. We see people bent and stretched into unnatural shapes in order to change them into something for which the book was created: letters (Fig. 1).

British Library, Add. MS 8887 (15th century) Fig. 1 – British Library, Add. MS 8887 (15th century) – Source

Looking at these unfortunate victims of book decorators – in this case the letter G from the Macclesfield Alphabet Book – may bring a smile to your face…

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