Saturday, August 21, 2004

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson

On the last Saturday morning of the summer - the morning of my daugther's 10th birthday - I began reading The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters. This novel is the last library book I save from the pile before I return the other books I won't be getting to this summer. I think I save it for the cover. It shows a little girl with a magic wand and I want to use it to erase the reality of the coming school year. It is the story of a young film maker who is called back to Ohio from Los Angelos to be with her sister while she suffers from leukemia.

Friday, August 20, 2004

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

While on vacation with the kids in Toronto and Montreal, I read The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. This novel was recommended to me by my cousin's wife, who is Jewish. She read it this summer and thought it should be taught in schools. It is the story of two Polish children who escape the Nazis by hiding in the woods with a wild woman who is believed to be a witch by the people of her village. It is obviously a parable, based on the Hansel and Gretel Fairy Tale. I had a hard time getting through this whole novel because it is so disturbing. It opened my eyes to a lot of practices that took place during this horrid time in history.

Friday, August 13, 2004

And Then There Were the Audio Books

Before leaving for Virginia in June, we subscribed to As David and I drove to Virginia back in June we listened to T.C. Boyle's Drop City - at least part of it. We couldn't quite figure out how to get the Ipod to go back to the part we had missed, so we listened to the first 12 chapters or so and then got "dropped" into the middle of a chapter 100 pages or so beyond that point. I don't have a real clear feel for the middle of the book, but it is about a group of drugged-out hippies in a commune in California who decide to relocate in Alaska.

My other goal of the summer was to begin running 5 miles. I had previously been running 2 -3 miles each time I ran. I have been running in the Metroparks with my audible book and enjoying doing two things at once. The latest for me is Carl Hiaassen's Skinny Dip. This funny book tells the story of a woman who was pushed off of the deck of a cruise ship by her husband on their anniversary. She is rescued by a retired cop who proceeds to help her spook her husband who, of course, believes she is dead.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Some Things That Stay by Sarah Willis

This is another gem of a novel with an innocent young narrator. Her parents move every spring to a new furnished house in a new remote location so that her artist father can have a new landscape to paint. Her mother, who never complains, has been hiding her tuberculosis through several moves, until it becomes so bad that she is sent to a sanitarium. The narrator decides it is time to stay in one place and hold the family and their lives together.

National Book Festival

Here is the information about the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. This year there will be a great gathering of authors. I would love to go see Joyce Carol Oates, since her work is the subject of my Masters Thesis.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Reader's Bill of Rights

I found a great little book a few years back called Better Than Life by Daniel Pennac. This book includes the following
Reader's Bill of Rights. It is interesting food for thought.

1. The right not to read.

2. The right to skip pages.

3. The right to not finish.

4. The right to reread.

5. The right to read anything.

6.The right to escapism.

7.The right to read anywhere.

8. The right to browse.

9. The right to read out loud.

10. The right to not defend your tastes.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty

Here is another interesting comparison between the covers of the hardback and paperback editions. I had seen this book at the bookstore and ordered it from the library. When I went to the library to pick it up, the cover art seemed so much more serious looking than the book I was expecting. It is a dellightful story told by an innocent 10 year old narrator who interprets everything in her world - from her mother's unexpected pregancy, to the evolution versus creation debate at her school, to the difference between God and Jesus. I really enjoyed the narrative voice.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Books About Books - Or Getting Ready to Teach

Ruined by Reading by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
This book was the first I read to prepare for my first day AP English Summer Reading presentation. Schwartz has many opinions about reading that I agree with. She describes herself as an addict and tries to explain the reasons for her addiction to reading.

So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid
This book is full of observations about the world wide literary condition. Zaid is a Spanish writer who lives in Mexico.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Summer in the Land of Skin by Jody Gehrman

Okay so it is August. And I am reading a smutty sounding Beach Book. Actually I saw an ad for this book in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine's spread about Beach Reading. The cover looked interesting since I live in a house of guitars. Then when I saw the book at Borders last Monday and turned it over to read that the author ". . . has a weakness for fine guitars and the people who play them" I figured it was a good book to throw in my beach bag. Today I began it while laying in the sun at my parents' cottage near Vermilion. It is the story of a young woman whose father was a luthier. She becomes interested in his craft after his sudden death, and begins a journey to find out more about her father, and untimately, herself. So far it is quite good. I am also interested in the publishing company, Red Dress Ink. According to their website, the publish Chick Lit written exclusively by woman. And they are accepting submissions. So if I can just find time to write a novel yet this summer . . .